Great Snowshoe Hikes in North Tahoe
The ascent to Andesite Peak is a reasonably short hike to fantastic views of the northern realm of the Lake Tahoe region. The vistas are nearly as good as those from the summit of Castle Peak, which requires an additional three miles and 900 vertical feet to reach. Except for a couple of steep slopes, one near the beginning and one at the end, the trip would be classified as easy since the navigation is fairly straightforward — gain the ridge and follow it to the top. A lack of popularity will almost guarantee an uncrowded journey. Certainly you should see less people than on the more traveled Castle Peak route.
How to Get There
Follow directions for Peter Grubb Hut.
Follow the route to Peter Grubb Hut to the snow-covered road. Immediately leave the road and head directly up the tree-covered slope below Andesite Ridge. After 0.1 mile, you will intersect a road heading west. Follow it a short distance until you find a convenient place from which to begin a curving ascent of the steep slopes below point 7605 shown on the Norden topo map. The immediate goal is to reach the top of Andesite Ridge just below and northwest of point 7605.
Once the ridge is gained, the grade eases considerably as you stride northwest along the apex of Andesite Ridge. The scattered forest allows for sublime views of Castle Peak and the Donner Summit area. Straight ahead lies your goal, Andesite Peak. The next half mile provides easy snowshoeing across mild terrain, eventually returning to moderate forest cover below the base of the peak. Avoid the extreme east edge of Andesite Ridge and Andesite Peak, as large cornices may be present, due to the prevailing west winds blowing over the Donner Summit area.
The grade increases dramatically as you approach the last 600 vertical feet to the summit. Initially the route passes through more heavy timber, but your perseverance will be rewarded higher up the slopes as the trees begin to thin again where you have dramatic views of Castle Peak. Continue to ascend until the terrain begins to ease just below the final ridge leading to the broad summit of Andesite Peak.
The view from the summit is quite spectacular. Castle Peak looms majestically to the northeast, while off in the distance in all directions you have an incredible panorama of the peaks of north Tahoe.
Retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Come in from the Cold
For respite from the cold, see Loch Leven Lakes.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication