Friday, January 8, 2010

One of my favorites

With daily threats of scattered rain showers and cloudy skies prevailing, now is a great time to reminisce. On the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe, nestled between Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf lake, sits the mighty Mount Tallac. The highest point on the rim of Lake Tahoe, the summit of Tallac is 9,735 feet. The 3,300 vertical feet of hiking to gain the summit takes between 1:45 to 3:30 hours depending on your route, the snow conditions, and your fitness. Mount Tallac boasts one of the highest concentrations of gnarly lines in the area, and some of my favorite ski runs. The Babycham is one such run, pictured below.
The entrance is somewhat hidden just a couple hundred feet from the summit. While hidden from view the lucky skiers who know of the existence of this line are rewarded with stomach in the throat steeps and heart pounding out of your chest turns. This ski run is unrelentingly steep, with the steepest part being the bottom, also the narrowest part. The exit of this chute is completely hidden from the view of the skier for the entire run, as the pitch seems to just roll away from you the entire way. If you're smart you can ski it in powder, which I think is the preferred condition for a line this steep. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go anywhere near this thing in firm or less than ideal conditions. With steep powder skiing good slough management is a must, I once saw a dog with poor slough management skills take an unexpected ride top to bottom in here, he was fine. I try to ski this line at least once every season, but with nowhere near enough snow at the moment all I can do is dream about it. In the photo below my good friend Charlie Berg inches his way into the entrance of the Babycham, please note that I am looking straight down while taking this picture. Also, notice how the chute curves away out of sight lower down... I can hardly wait.

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