Outside with Charlie: Scenic treks

By From page A11 | February 15, 2013

Snowshoe enthusiasts have to go high into the mountains for good conditions. The area around Echo Summit is a good place right now.

Echo Summit is 7,382 feet in elevation. Just short of the summit if you come from the west is Johnson Pass Road. Take this road and drive 1/2 mile to the Snow Park. The snow park permit is enforced.

Once you’ve parked and gotten your gear together, go across the road to the Echo Lake road. Put on the snow shoes and start towards the lake.

If you are a newcomer to snowshoes, trekking down to the lake will be ideal for you. The only steepish part is right as you get to the lake.

When you reach the lake you will be able to find several areas to snowshoe in. You can simply follow the other snowshoe tracks and have a great day at lakeside.

The other possibility here is to head up to Becker Ridge and Becker Peak. There are several ways to get up to the ridge. The safest thing to do is to go with someone who knows how to get there.

As you trek on the road to the lake, about the time you can see the lake, look up hill. The cabins will have snowshoe tracks going past them. Take one of these existing tracks, and head uphill past the cabins.

The climb is a bit steepish, but it is short. You will know when you’ve reached the ridge. Turn to the west and follow the tracks along the wide ridge. Echo Lake will be on your right, Highway 50 and the American River Canyon on your left.

You’ll reach a few spots that are relatively open. At the last big open spot before you’d be heading up to Becker Peak, you’ll see Sierra-at-Tahoe to the south. Look carefully and you’ll find the Grandview Lodge.
Ahead is Becker Peak — it’s all those rocks that stick up out of the snow, reaching for the sky.

Going up into the rocks should be done with caution. If you aren’t used to the altitude or you are new to the back country, stay away from attempting the peak.

If you go back a couple of times you will find alternate routes to the ridge top.

As always when going into the back country, go prepared. Check the avalanche conditions (, the weather predictions and always go with a buddy or two. Bring enough food and water to stay fueled and hydrated plus a bit more just in case your day becomes extended.

The trek up to Becker Ridge is a beauty. Get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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