Beware of avalanches, which (unlike on the NE Ridge Ascent) may be triggered by skiers above you. Would not recommend this ascent in Avalanche Danger above Moderate.
Mount Tallac is a moderately-trafficked day tour objective in the Lake Tahoe Basin that has incredible views of Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake, and Fallen Leaf Lake.
The ski descent through the bowl offers a variety of open bowl action, tree skiing, and even some cliffs and mini-couloirs - by ascending the mountain through the bowl (instead of the faster, standard route on the NE Ridge Ascent) you get a first-hand encounter with the conditions in the bowl, giving you boots-on-the-ground information to plan your descent. Beware of avalanches, which (unlike on the ridge ascent) may be triggered by skiers above you. This route is best in the late winter/early spring.
Getting to start: In order to get to the start of the tour, first park at the intersection of Spring Creek Road and Emerald Bay Road (obey current parking signs). From there, proceed up Spring Creek Road on foot until it ends (about a mile, gentle uphill grade). Depending on the amount of snow at low elevations, you may be able to skin up the banks of the road.
Start to base of NE Bowl
: Start skinning from the end of Spring Creek Road through the forest toward Tallac's NE Bowl
. Depending on time of year, coverage may be sparse and you'll need to navigate through some brush and wood piles. As you approach 7,400 feet, the grade will continue to get steeper until you reach the flat at the base of the bowl.
to Ridge: This is where this ascent deviates from the typical NE Ridge Ascent - instead of heading right to climb the ridge, proceed directly into the bowl and begin to follow the natural lay of the features in the bowl upwards toward the break in the ridge to the right of the summit, where you'll eventually reconnect with the ridge route. After this, you'll loop around the back of the peak to reach a direct path to the true summit.
Descent: Same as you came up.