MT. ROSE (10,776') CLASS 1
Location: 8.3 miles N of Incline Village, NV, or 13 miles SSW of Reno, NV
Drive: Take Nevada State Highway 431 to the signed "Mt. Rose Summit 8900 feet Highest Year-round Sierra Pass." A fairly new, prominently signed, Mt. Rose Summit Welcome Center has been opened right at this NV 431 Highway Summit. There is paved parking for perhaps 50 cars, and restrooms are available, those open apparently only during the summer hiking season. Some possible overflow parking is 0.4 mile southwest at the paved parking lot signed "Tahoe Meadow Trailhead," You might also park along the dirt shoulder on the north side of the highway, by an old fire station and the gated dirt road (old summit route) leading west.
Climb: Take the signed trail westward, from behind the welcome center building, and, in about 100 feet, at a junction, with signs and mapboard, turn up the hill to the right. Rock stairs lead the way, at first, here. Mountain bikers and equestrians will follow the signs left, or straight ahead, to the old dirt road. From this fork, hikers will follow the new summit trail, passing over two small rises, past a waterfall, and come, in 2.6 miles, to the signed junction with the old trail. The posts indicate the trail to Mt. Rose Summit (right). Signs state "Hikers Only--Dogs Okay." Then, one shortly begins the real climb. Cross a few small creeks, and on a well-constructed trail which climbs nicely, come to a trail junction at a high saddle at elevation 9,731 feet. A "Mt. Rose Wilderness" boundary sign, then a post about 200 feet further at a trail junction marks this area. Go right and up, following the trail, which switchbacks to the summit.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: Follow roughly Route A.
Or, take the wide dirt road, on the old trail route. This dirt road starts at the old summit hike start, at the fire station. This is some 0.2 mile southwest on NV 431, from the new, paved, parking lot. About 2.5 miles from the highway, turn right at the low gap to the right (the old trail route). Drop 200 feet to connect with the junction with the Route A trail. Continue straight (east, then north) on Route A to the top. Avalanches occur in this area. The dirt road route may be safer than using the new trail route.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,000' gain, with an additional 100' gain on the return, 5 miles one way. Winter Ascent, following the dirt road to Route A, 6.4 miles with 2,400' gain, round trip.
Notes: The Tahoe Rim Trail now apparently coincides with the first 2.6 miles of this initial, new, peak trail route. One can continue left, at the junction with the summit trail, to continue on or to the well-signed, Tahoe Rim Trail, dirt road route, turning right (north) toward the main ridge, here. This dirt road switchbacks up the hill to crest out in a couple miles. Continue on the signed Rim Trail left (south) to climb to Relay Peak (10,338'), in another 0.5 mile. This easier peak has a nice view.
It appears that a use trail heads northeast from the major communications facility at 10,160+' to follow the main ridge, and then perhaps connect cross-country with the Mt. Rose Trail at the 9,731 foot saddle. The distance seems to be some 1.5 miles one way. Some minor, but perhaps steep, drops and hills have to be negotiated.
In 1994, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness successfully blocked the proposed "Galena Creek" ski development on the south and east slopes of Mt. Rose.
There is now signed a "Rim to Reno" trail system. One lower trailhead is located at Thomas Creek. For some real endurance hiking, it may be possible to start low, ascend to the summit, and either back to the lower trailhead, or by a shuttle to Sierra Summit, the Mt. Rose trailhead.
During one winter, extremely cold temperatures had led to the loss of life for one "well-equipped" person. I was touring in this area in December, 1978, when my "bota" water bottle froze.