Hiking Stats as of 11/12/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Mar 28, 2015 - Twin Peaks


Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 13.18 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,176 feet

Trip Time: 6:06

Maps and Stats:
3 months into the year and somehow I had not yet summitted any peaks in high country. I didn't even realize this until later, because its not as if I hadn't been up to Tahoe recently. Kyle and I had been up only a few weeks earlier, looking at vacation houses which wound up taking many more hours than we had expected. On that day we had hoped to summit Phipps Peak, an OGUL peak and thus of high value for me. Since we ran out of time that day we were back again to give it a shot.

We met up at our usual location, the Target in Rancho Cordova and we carpooled up to meet our real estate agent in South Lake Tahoe. After looking at 4-5 houses, one of which had amazing views but required climbing about 50 steps to get to the front door (and was painful to let go, since we don't mind climbing stairs but based on how long the house is sitting on the market everyone else does mind), we drove on over to the Eagle Lakes TH of Highway 89 to try for Phipps Peak. Unfortunately, because it was so late in the day we were unable to find a parking spot. Hiking in such an overcrowded area didn't look like it would be at all fun at all, so we decided to keep driving north on Highway 89 in search of another of the few OGUL peaks we had yet to visit. There aren't many, but Twin Peaks was still unclimbed by both of us so that became our objective.

We had been to the TH for Twin Peaks last year, when we made a long hike up Barker Pass Road and then from the Pass made a left over to Ellis Peak in the snow. Today we would try to be a bit more efficient (and lazy, since neither of us wanted to hike up the long road again) and go cross country up to Twin Peaks instead of heading back up to the pass and making the right turn over to Twin Peaks. We arrived at the Sno-Park (absent snow) a bit before 2 PM and got started on the walk up the road. It wasn't long at all before we could see Twin Peaks framed nicely in our view, looking mighty tall and capped with some snow on top. We had elected not to bring the snowshoes, given the historically low snow levels in the mountains and hoped that we would not regret this decision as we got higher up.

We exited the paved road and followed a dirt road for a little bit, referring to the TOPO map I had downloaded from the Peakbagger app in an attempt to follow a long abandoned 4x4 road up the hillside. We found the road, and followed it up for maybe 20 minutes, up past bits of snow and past a stream. We were quite surprised to come across large memorial, with a cross and several dozen rocks, along with a broken sign reading "RFH JR. 1995". An online search revealed nothing about who this was or what had happened to him, although a study of the parcel maps did show that the memorial was in a tiny corner of a non-public plot of land.

We eventually lost the road, opting to go cross country in search of the Tahoe Rim Trail, which we knew would take us most of the rest of the way to the top. We kept heading up, and by about 4 PM we intersected the TRT and followed that. The TRT turned out to be quite gentle, switching back over and over, and probably was a bit slower than just going straight up. While that sounds easy, there were sections where the trail was covered in snow, and getting across was a bit tricky. After about a half hour of this we were at the top of the ridge, with Twin Peaks visible up ahead. This last section was a lot more snow covered, with the last little bit in the Granite Chief Wilderness.

We made it to what looked like the first (lower) of the peaks, but once on top we could see that the first of the Twin Peaks was still a little bit ahead of us. It was now 5 PM, so finding that we were still not yet even to the first of the Twin Peaks was a bit worrisome. We moved more quickly, with me reaching the top of the first of the Twin Peak and Kyle right behind me. From the top we could see that there was no connecting rocks from where we were to where the summit was located. We would have to drop back down to get to the peak. I didn't like the looks of the class 3 rock up high and opted to drop down to safer ground before traversing around to the summit blocks. Kyle on the other hand decided to stay high, traversing the class 3 rock. Kyle took the lead on the way up to the summit where we finally arrived a bit before 5:30.

The views were spectacular, especially towards Lake Tahoe. WE also had nice views to the south, towards the snow capped peaks of the Desolation Wilderness and of the Freel/Jobs/Jobs Sister peaks to the southeast. Looking back at the lower of the Twin Peaks we were surprised at how steep the peak looked from this perspective. But the lack of snow in other areas was just sad to see. We found the benchmark on the summit, along with the summit register which was placed by Pete Yamagata many years ago. We signed in, and then took summit shots of each other.

It was time to go, so we started down, but rather than going back up and over the lower Twin Peaks summit we went cross country down the mountain, aiming to cut off some of the distance that we had covered on the ascent. This worked out well, and we were able to locate the old 4x4 road and follow that most of the way down. Of interest on descent was some sort of contraption hooked up to an old propane tank. We couldn't even guess as to what this might have been used for. By keeping up a good pace we were able to get back to the car by 8 PM, and set in for the long drive back home, another OGUL peak under our belts.

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