Being a beginner with the local chapter of the Sierra Club, I had gone on a summer 1970 hike with an old kindergarten teacher as leader. An announcement in the newspaper alerted me to this free hiking op, although I had to come up with the gas money for the carpool. Soon, I joined the Club, and received their outings schedule, with a number of trips to sign up for.

In 1971, I had set out solo for a snow overnight adventure in Desolation Wilderness, and with deficient gear and no skis or snowshoes, survived a Memorial Day weekend traverse from Echo Lakes to Fallen Leaf Lake. This same weekend, four climbers were killed by bad weather while trying to climb Mt. Ritter. Though I had no such bad luck, I now had some experience and confidence in trying another snow trip.

Phoning the trip leader of a short week snow tour, he was inviting enough, and had more skill in dealing with people, being an optometrist, than the peak section. Assuring me and my parents that I would be in safe hands, we arranged for this trip, and he drove us up Interstate 80 with some family, to be dropped off at McKinney Creek subdivision.

Another snowshoer was to meet us, but he wasn’t there at the time and spot, so we started out with our backpacks, and me with plastic snowshoes, had for about $25. I had tested these on another day snowshoe trip, enabled for cold weather now with a REI down jacket, paid for by family. We snowshoed up toward Ludlow Hut, to enter the premises, and then to be joined by the other snowshoer, who caught up with us. Myself disappointed that we were not staying here, we snowshoed on, heading to the Rockbound Valley, then, and plodding on south. With nice weather, we threw out our bags and tarps, sleeping in the open. The leader apprised me of this philosophy, not doing what was not necessary, and passing on tips in winter travel and camping. Getting my cotton socks wet, I had the foresight to have extra, dry pairs. Too poor for good wool socks, I would make do with what I had, and survived the night well enough, with the snowstorm on the other overnight backpack, solo at Lake Aloha.

We headed on in the morning, thinking to climb Jacks Peak. Stepping up on snow, it became icy, and I took a slide without crampons or any climbing gear aside from ski poles. Enough for a personal lesson, I took a couple photos, in black and white, all that I thought to bring, as that was more economy than more expensive color film, then. We returned to our backpacks, and I recall taking some criticism because we failed on a peak climb.

Snowshoeing then over Mosquito Pass, we came to the Lake Aloha Basin. We’d climb Pyramid Peak the next day. The leader took us on a low traverse about the peak, to its south side. He had a stash of fuel and we enjoyed a campfire in the scrubby trees, the wetter wood being doused with white gas to get it to burn faster. We stood about in the night, me envious of the people rich enough to afford the lodging in South Lake Tahoe, visible in the distance.

The next day, we climbed to the top of Pyramid Peak, and I had to go. So did the others, so well below the summit, we dug out a pit in the talus rocks, and did as backpackers may do. Numerous bugs apparently live off the food scraps or garbage thrown away by summiteers, or maybe even the waste. As so few people did this, then, the water board engineer told me that they didn’t regard any of this as a major problem. I’d have bagged it as we did later, but then we’d have to pack it around to then burn it all, and the thought of that is way too much for most beginners.

Back to our high camp, we packed up and headed for Ralston Peak. It began to snow, and then blow, but we made the summit of that, too, but with no visibility. The other snowshoer had left us to head down Horsetail Falls Canyon, I guess now otherwise known as Pyramid Creek, with some other commitment. We hiked down the south slope of Ralston Peak, never using the trail, to then arrive precisely at about Camp Sacramento. The sun had come out, and then, it was a snow play area. Amazingly enough, my city college gym coach was there, to happily give us a ride back into town. He was the football team coach, well knowledgable and diplomatic, complimenting us on our accomplishment.

As we got to bare ground, my snowshoes broke, and I had to carry them out. So, five nights out, over some 35 miles, and two peaks. My B/W photos I may have somewhere, but they need to be scanned, as the negatives are probably long lost or faded.

The doctor and I were to enjoy a long term relationship in peak hiking and climbing, but at last check, he had grown feeble and I no longer keep in contact. He was written up in the newspaper as climbing Pyramid Peak 25 times, though he claimed “100.” We skied together in the 2000’s, though he is a poor telemarker and as the skill level of the local chapter, generally refrains from turns and more proficient downhill. His tales of multi-night spartan van camps in the parking lots of ski resorts with free senior skiing told me that he enjoys the outdoors and slight adventures, but he does have family, and apparently, most such climbers will tend to be responsible-minded.

In 2013, my notes and things were disorganized by apartment management, forcing a move of items better in storage, by them. Having to do this quickly, I declined to label and track everything, with numerous items that would take years for say a museum! I planned then to move, and reorganize and track everything, but to the date of the original writing of this page, no one would sell me a home at any price that I can afford for what I want. Now, that has been beautifully rectified! So, until I can get to it, the exact dates and details of this trip, are somewhere, unknown to me right now, with notes and papers scattered in various places.