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Waterhouse Peak Ski Tour

Lake Tahoe Backcountry Skiing
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 2.5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Waterhouse Peak (and it's western peaklet, Powderhouse) is a favorite for a quick backcountry day trip. It is often lapped by locals ... more »

Tips:  A GPS track is NO substitute for skiing ability, avalanche safety knowledge, winter travel experience, map and compass navigational... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking on Luther Pass Road

There a several pullouts along the south side of Luther Pass road. The best place to park for the approach to the true summit of Waterhouse Peak is on one of the easternmost pullouts, near the pass summit elevation and National Forest signs.

2. Skinning up

Usually there is a skin track (or 2) leading straight to the top. If not, you'll have to break trail up the ridge. Just head uphill to the northeastern ridge and keep going until you reach the summit.

Take time to enjoy the snow and the trees.

3. Summit of Waterhouse Peak

True summit of Waterhouse Peak (the easternmost peak). The west peak is lower and commonly nicknamed "Powderhouse" for the good quality of the snow over there. Powderhouse is also commonly skied, and offers slightly steeper descent options.

4. Summit register

Nestled in the rocks at the summit, inside a box, is a summit register notebook for you to sign and read. Please leave it in place for the next visitor.

5. Descent back to Luther Pass road

There are numerous descent options down the mountain which will return you to your car. Make sure you head toward the meadows, and if visibility is poor, check your compass, as it would be easy to head too far to the east (and end up in Hope Valley).

6. Powderhouse Peak

Powderhouse Peak is the subpeak to the west of the main Waterhouse. Many skiers chose to ascend and ski Powderhouse. In that case, park a half mile to the west of the forest service sign, and follow tracks up. Be sure to return to the meadow, and if visibility is poor, check your compass. Going too far to the west is easy and forces you to ski... More

7. Luther Pass Meadows

Cross-country skiing around Luther Pass meadows is also popular. If you're not inclined to go up and ski down, consider a loop around the beautiful, flat meadow.

8. Ski down to Hope Valley

It is possible to instead ski down the eastern slopes of Waterhouse Peak and end up on highway 88 in Hope Valley. You'll probably want to have a friend shuttle your car down there, otherwise you'd have to ski back uphill, walk on the road, or hitch a ride.