The options for what I could have done on my birthday were plentiful, but I only had one thing in mind. A big day of earning our turns on Castle’s north side was the plan for the day. Adam, Mike, Nathalie, Rob and I hit the skin track early. Before long we spotted our friend Max in the distance making fast moves to catch up with us as he had just gotten off work from grooming at Tahoe Donner all night.
We headed up the ridge and caught some beautiful views as the sun filled the valley.
Some icy traversing posed minor challenges, but our goal was not far as we hoped the snow on the north facing chutes would be dry and light!
From our first drop in point we noticed a slide from a day or two ago with about a one foot crown. Despite this we felt the snow was stable and ready to shred!
We rode a couple beautiful spines down to the valley floor and pondered where we would hike to next. Rob and I decided to take the long mellow way around to the top of the ridge, while Adam, Nathalie, and Max chose to head straight up one of the chutes. I was happy when we arrived at our agreed meet up point only a couple minutes after the others! After a quick transition to snowboard mode and a hasty ro-sham-bo between Adam and I, I dropped in first. I could not have been happier. These lines defined “big boy lines”, as Mike put it.
One disappointing thing about the north side of Castle is that snowmobiles are allowed access. Although this made the valley floor not as pretty as it could have been, our lines were not tainted. Most of these machine heads were too busy in the previous days high-marking and whipping around the valley instead of skiing the steep chutes from the top.
It was a great day to be in the Tahoe Backcountry!