For the past few years I have been in high demand on New Years Eve which I really enjoy. I am usually hired out by awesome groups of people and provide entertainment until the ball drops. But this year I wanted something different. I turned down multiple gigs and decided to climb a local mountain in Reno. What the big deal?
Mount Rose is an extinct volcano located between Lake Tahoe and Reno and due to the high elevation, most of the precipitation that falls on the mountain is snow. Most people visiting Reno are often confused by the name as Mount Rose Ski Tahoe is nearby but is not on Mount Rose. Despite the name, the resort is actually on the slopes of Slide Mountain, which is on the other side of Nevada State Route 431.
Mount Rose is the 2nd highest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the highest Tahoe Basin peak in Nevada. With an elevation of 10,776 and standing over 6300 feet above downtown Reno, the mountain looks daunting. But that shouldn't scare you away from attempting this great hike. The mountain is home to well maintained trails and I consider it to be a moderate level hike...you need to be in shape but don't need to be Lance Armstrong. Throughout 2013 I climbed the mountain 5 times and find it a wonderful place to clear your head from the daily distractions.
For this particular hike I wanted to summit the mountain so you would reach the top right at sunrise. This meant it would be a nighttime hike full of snow and ice. On top of that it was a New Moon...complete darkness! On a good summer day I can summit Mount Rose in a little over 2 hours. I figured I needed at least 3 with it being in the dark and a snowy trail...did I mention 22 degrees!
I packed food, layers, and my trusty headlamp. A few days prior I snowshoed around Tahoe and realized the snow was pretty packed down. So I decided to forgo my snowshoes. Just a pair of hiking boots and a few layers of clothing.
Sunrise was set at 7:20am on New Years Day so I figured getting on the trail at 4am should give me enough time. Boy was I wrong! At times the trail seemed to disappear with only a headlamp to guide my path. The snow was compacted but quite slippery with thick patches of ice. I was very happy I decided to bring my hiking poles.
The wonderful picture you see was taken an hour from the summit (thank you Jessica). As much as I wanted to be at the top when the sun crested over the eastern peak, it just didn’t happen. I didn’t anticipate how much longer it would take dealing with the extra elements (the hike took a little under 8 hours, normally taking me 3 1/2). An hour later I pulled myself up to the top and looked out over Tahoe and Reno, in what I believe to be one of the most stunning views.
My girl says hikes like this reboot your system. They put things in perspective and give you time to think without the distractions of your daily life. I left Mount Rose feeling rejuvenated and ready for what 2014 plans to bring. I wish you all a Happy New Years!