5 hrs 55 min
This is a difficult out and back trail to Eagle Falls in California.
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Don’t park in either of the Bliss State Park lots on either side of hwy 89. Skiers could rally for access to these lots in the future, but it hasn’t been neccessary. Caltrans kindly and reliably plows out a large pullout on the east side of hwy 89, just south of the Bliss State Park headquarters. Bring a big shovel; you’ll still need to help work out a clean parking spot after recent snow. The Eldorado Sherriff who has been patrolling this area recently told me he would NOT ticket skiers who park in this spot. It seems to be a pullout just for skiers that has been maintained by Caltrans for decades. THANKS! You can see the entire lake and most of Desolation Wilderness from the large summit area of Jake’s Peak. This mountain offers beautiful and widely spaced old growth trees on its north and east slopes. Finding your way to the car on the north side can be tricky at times, but you’ll always hit the road if you go downhill. Look for tracks, listen for the road, or head back uphill to find the skin track if you get turned around down low. If you ski the popular wide-open, east facing avy paths, continue all the way to the road and walk back to your car. When it’s time for springtime corn snow, park a mile further south on Hwy 89,at the Emerald Bay Avalanche Gate Closure Turn-around. Make sure you are well off the road, and not blocking room a plow may need at the turn-around. In times of firm morning snow and deep coverage, try just booting straight uphill above your car to the summit. Or skin up the snow covered dirt road, past the old cabins, and head up the avy gully above Emerald Bay. This area has recently become quite popular. The terrain is very steep up higher, and there are no trees for a reason... be careful over here. If you’re stuck somewhere snowless, dreaming about skiing Tahoe’s glorious backcountry, chances are that Jake’s is flashing through your head. With incredible terrain variety, long vertical drops, no approach, and acid-blue Emerald Bay at the base of the hill, it’s no wonder that Jake’s is one of the area’s most popular backcountry objectives. South of Rubicon and Hidden, Jake’s is the southernmost peak on Tahoe’s classic West Shore ridgeline. During and after storms, North Tahoe locals gather en masse to harvest Old Man Winter’s offerings, and many individuals ski almost nowhere else around the lake. This can be a blessing during larger storms, where regular uphill traffic can keep the grueling skin track from disappearing. From the top, descents north and east afford some of the West Shore’s steepest glades through a beautiful old growth forest. These glades are well spaced, and sometimes have large enough openings to allow small slides to occur, so be careful. Most Jake’s skiers will ski this upper pitch 1,400’ down to the midway bench before turning around for another lap. When descending out of this bench for the car, traverse skiers right until reaching the skin track. Moving south from Jake’s true summit onto the eastern aspect, a steep, open avalanche path is carved through the trees making for a unique opening on the otherwise forested West Shore. South of this avalanche path, Jake’s changes character from gladed terrain to a network of chutes and couloirs similar to the terrain of the Eastern Sierra. South of Jake’s summit, Emerald Point is the next peak down the West Shore, and holds some of Tahoe’s most inspiring descents. Emerald Chute and Eagle Chute both have somewhat hidden entrances, and will take a bit of exploration to find. Emerald Chute requires a deep snowpack to be skiable to the bottom, and sometimes requires a short rappel over a small waterfall near the end of the run. Separated from Jake’s by a large gully, Emerald Point can be linked up with Jake’s southern aspects to make for an incredible day. If trying to score powder on any of these south facing lines, be sure to get an early start before the sun bakes your cold snow. Parking for Jake’s is found in two main areas on Highway 89. If skiing Jake’s treed terrain, park in a plowed pullout 16.5 miles south of the “Y” in Tahoe City, and 1.0 mile north of the northern avalanche closure gate at Emerald Bay. This lot is distinguished by a large rock outcrop on the west side of the road, and chain control signs. From the parking area, begin skinning to the right of the rock outcrop. Keep this rock band on your left during the ascent. Upon reaching about 7,600’, the skinning mellows briefly at the midway bench. Above this flat landmark, the trees become more spacious and steep, and summit navigation becomes more apparent.