1,700’ – 3,000’
8,600’ – 9,200’ – 8,400’ – 10,800’
Standing only 103’ shorter than the highest peak in the Tahoe area (Freel), Mount Rose possesses incredible stature, both physically and culturally. With a highway, a ski area, and a wilderness area named after it, Mount Rose is a pervasive figure in the area, and dominates the Reno skyline. With all this attention and glory, one would expect to see proportional skier traffic. However, Mt. Rose’s wind scoured summit remains somewhat forgotten behind a myriad of closer backcountry destinations. Due to its prominence and aspect, Rose sees a lot of sun, and the brunt of wind passing through the area. Because of this, the top 500’ is usually scoured free of skiable snow. This means that summiting will require scree hiking above snowline, but the adventure and solitude will make you forget about this little detail. From the summit, unique and incredible views span from the Nevada high desert, the Carson Valley, Lassen, Truckee and almost all of Lake Tahoe.
And let’s not forget about the skiing! Although stepping into your skis on the summit is a rare occurrence, there are plenty of good descents encompassing this giant. A number of fun, halfpipe chutes grace Rose’s southern aspects. These chutes, or better labeled “strips of snow,” usually stop about 500’ from the summit, so skinning / boot packing these from the bottom will yield a more enjoyable access experience than scree sliding into them from the top. Assuming proper coverage on a good snow year, the East Bowl down to the North Fork of Galena Creek is fun, but keep in mind that it will put you a long way from the car. The approach gully is a good, low angle option too.
To reach Mt. Rose, skin due west from the parking area, aiming for the saddle between Tamarack and Galena Peaks. The most direct access will be skiing down from this saddle to Galena Creek. Although direct, this descent is more approach-style than an objective in itself. So, if you’re looking for some quality skiing on the way to Rose, drop off of either Tamarack or Galena peaks down to Galena Creek instead. Next, find the low angle gully between Rose and Houghton, and take it to Rose’s west ridge. Climb this ridge to the top, strapping skis to your pack when the snow gets thin. When leaving your car in the morning, try to plan how you will return on the way back. A small ridge in front of the parking area keeps the lot out of view from the Tamarack direction, making it easy to get confused.
Mount Rose, Mount Houghton, Tamarack Peak, and Galena Peaks all use the same parking area. This lot, with room for over 20 cars, is located on Highway 431, 1 mile east of the highway’s summit. This parking area is 15.5 miles west of the 395-431 junction near Reno, and 9 miles east of the 28-431 junction near Incline Village. Keep in mind that on busy weekends this lot will be bustling, but the number and diversity of skiing options spreads everybody out.