Roundtop Rondo

21 Mar 1999 - by Arun Mahajan

It is getting to be quite a ritual for some of us in the PCS to celebrate the two major events of the world around this time of the year by doing a climb of Roundtop Mountain (10381 ft). The first event being the arrival of the spring with it's attendant good weather. The second being the Dandelion Weekend that is celebrated with much fanfare almost nowhere else in the world except in the bustling town of Jackson, California.

We gathered at the Carson Pass sno-park in the chilly morning of Sunday, the 21st of March, cursing the weather service for having floated the vile rumour that it would be a sunny day, when all we could see in the sky were the clouds.

Clad in multiple layers of clothing, some on skis and some on snowshoes, we set out through the forest, following the ski tracks over undulating terrain. It was a strong group and we made good time getting to the ridge above Lake Winnemucca. The wicked wind that came our way, kicking up the snow and lashing our faces with it, also blew the clouds over the summit making it nearly invisible.

As we came to the final saddle, by now wearing crampons, the weather seemed to have worsened and we debated the possibility of turning around. While we were so debating, there came a lull in the wind and we decided to make the most of it and made a push for the summit that seemed to be only a couple of hundred feet higher. Now the top snow layer was calf deep and then as we reached the final section there was a thin layer of ice over the rocks. The chink of the crampon spikes going through the thin ice and hitting the rock made us dearly wish that we had rental crampons instead!

Regardless, we all summitted and headed down quickly without spending any time at the summit as once again the clouds had started doing their swirling bit. After a short break at the point where we had left our snowshoes, we headed out to the cars and were back at 2.30 pm. Yet another successful PCS climb of Roundtop, this time in just a little over five hours in foul weather.

The peak climbers who participated in this trip were: Grorge Van Gorden (leader), Peter Maxwell, Brian Wachter, Greg+Gina+Marie Hanson, Dee Booth, Ahmad Zandi, Ted Raczek, Alex Keith, Mike McDermitt, Larry Cetti and some fellow they found hanging out at the parking who volunteered to write the trip report, Arun Mahajan.

Peter Maxwell adds:

Two things you didn't mention:

  1. Some of our thoughts drifted to the South Col on Everest, as we were huddled on the saddle waiting for the weather to lift.
  2. The skiers left the snowshoers in the (snow) dust on the return.

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