This year we will climb Mt Agassiz in Desolation Wilderness. With it overhanging, “diving board” summit hanging in the air over the heart of Desolation Valley, Agassiz has arguably the best views in the Tahoe Basin. Plus, it has an easy (if somewhat long) approach and is non-technical, i. e. can be climbed without any gear. Here is a picture of the summit:
And here is the view from the summit:
Is it nice or what?
The approach from the trailhead to the base of the mountain is about 6 miles (one way) on a nice, well-maintained, not-steep trail. The trail ends at a tiny alpine lake above tree line – that will mean fewer mosquitoes. Those who decide not to climb the mountain can rest, picnic, and go for a swim there (the water will be ice-cold though).
With those who still have the energy and desire to climb, we will leave the trail and hike to the top of the ridge that connects Agassiz to Pyramid Peak, then walk this ridge to the top of Agassiz. This part of the hike is on broken rock and is steep but completely safe and non-technical. You may occasionally need your hands for balance, but there’s no climbing involved. We will eventually come to the summit block that looks like this:
Despite its forbiddng appearance, getting to the top requires nothing more than a straighforward scramble – you will definitely need your hands but there are no technical moves. Most people will find it easy, but I will bring a rope and other gear just in case and belay anyone who feels uncomfortable at any point.
The top is a completely flat slab of granite that can easily accommodate us all. We will take a well-deserved break, have lunch, do yoga, lean over edge to enjoy the exposure, etc. Then we will scramble down to pick up the folks who’ve been cooling their heels on the lake and follow the trail back to the car. It should not be hard to get back before dark.
More details to follow