TWIN PEAKS (8,878') CLASS 2
Location: 4 miles S of Alpine Meadows, CA
Drive: Take Highway 89 to Barker Pass Road, which is 4.4 miles south from Tahoe City (junction of Highway 89 and Highway 28), or 2.1 miles north from Homewood ski area. A big USFS sign proclaims "Blackwood Creek Rec Area." Drive west on this road, also signed "03," 7.1 miles on paved road (watch for in-line skaters and mountain bikers) to Barker Pass. Continue 0.5 mile further, dropping to the west, to signed "Barker Pass Trailhead" and park.
Climb: A sign reads, "Twin Peak 5 mi." Take this trail, which is the PCT north, climbing, then dropping 500 feet, and then climbing again eventually up to the vicinity of Twin Peaks, which will be to the east. A duck may mark a use trail right (east) that contours around the south side of the peaks. It continues to join Route B, which is a good trail coming up from the northeast. Follow the trail back west and up class 2 talus to the highpoint, which is the eastern summit. The traverse to the western summit is a good class 2 scramble.
One may also leave the use trail shortly after leaving the PCT, and climb cross-country up a steep scree and talus field that leads to the saddle between the two summits.
Drive: Take Highway 89 to "Pineland Drive," which is marked by two big posts signed "Pineland." A sign also indicates, "Ward Valley." This point is 2.1 miles south of Tahoe City (junction of Highway 89 and Highway 28) or 4.3 miles north of Homewood, CA. Go west up the paved road and, in 0.35 mile, turn left on paved "Twin Peaks Road." In 0.1 mile more, curve right (west) on paved "Twin Peaks Blvd" or "Ward Creek Blvd." After 0.4 mile more, come to a sign warning, "Avalanche Hazard Zone next 1.2 mile." Also, a big sign, "Alpine Peaks Phase B Erosion Control Project" marks some road work. After 1.7 miles from Highway 89, an unsigned, hard-to-see, rough gravel road goes left (south). Park here along the shoulder well off the pavement. There is parking here for only a few cars.
Climb: Take the main, rough, gravel road mainly west past a post "15N62" and shortly come to a sign "Ward Creek Fisheries Habitat Improvement..." In a few hundred yards, come to a log fenced meadow with another sign. Go right, following the main road, past a post "trail," and around some fallen trees. After 0.5 mile from the start, come to a small creek with a collapsed bridge and big sign "Road Closed" and "Twin Peaks." Cross the creek (a rock hop leads around to the left). Continue on the road/trail 0.2 mile and turn left (south) on a trail with a post "No Motor Vehicles." Go a small distance and cross Ward Creek. This can be a problem during high water. The trail continues on the other side, and climbs up the hill. The peak will be seen to the right. After a couple of miles, top the ridge and turn right at a junction with a trail that comes in from Stanford Rock. The trail becomes faint, climbing through the open fell fields, then leads directly to the summit mass. Route A comes in along this section. Class 2 talus is climbed to the highpoint.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: If the approach roads are plowed and drivable, Routes A and B are possible. One may also start up Blackwood Creek Canyon and ascend south-facing slopes to the ridge and the summit.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 1,800 feet gain with an additional 500 feet gain on the return, 5 miles one way; Route B, 2,400 feet gain, 5 miles one way; winter ski ascent from Blackwood Canyon, 2,400 feet gain, 3 miles one way.
Notes: This peak goes well with Ellis Peak for a longer day, when one begins both hikes from Barker Pass. One following the PCT will find the 1 mile round trip diversion to climb Twin Peak pleasant. Both routes up this peak are used by mountain bikers. I have seen people carrying their bikes across the summit talus fields!