Chutes on Peak 9,195' (left) and south side chutes
on Jakes Peak (right)
climb to a local powder stash, outstanding Lake
Tahoe views directly below you.
Jakes is good to hit after a nice storm (but beware
of avalanche danger), or anytime in the spring.
Jakes is the closest
thing Tahoe has to a "local's surf break". Just as
beach locals will scowl at you for invading their turf and
surfing their breaks, don't be surprised if you get some
disapproving looks on a Jakes powder day. In prior
years, Jakes has
also been the site of some unfortunate run-ins between the
snowboarding/vert types and the telemark/skin types.
But is the mountain worth the trouble? You bet.
Challenging steep glades, steep chutes and outrageous views make this a
gem of a skiing and boarding peak.
Jakes sits on a long
ridge and thus has small peaklets to the north and south of
the true summit. As a result, Jakes has a several
different options depending on your skill, the crowds and
the snow conditions. The main route heads straight up
the east face of the main peak and is the most popular
route. The northern route heads up the east face of
Peak 9,160'+ that sits just north of Jakes. The
southern route, popular in spring, explores the sunny corn
slopes that rise above scenic Emerald Bay. Unnamed
Peak 9,195' is both higher than Jakes and more challenging.
Two very steep chutes (known locally as the Emerald Bay
chutes) drop from near its summit. These are for
expert skiers and riders only.
Climbing the SE side of
Jakes. Mt. Tallac and Maggies Peaks
in the background
Main Route -- Follow Highway 89
south from Tahoe City (or head north from the South Shore)
until you reach a small plowed parking area on the east
(lake) side of the
highway, just south of the headquarters for D. L. Bliss
State Park. Cross the highway and start climbing.
Almost certainly you will see a skin track blazed by
somebody ahead of you. Follow this often steep and
winding path to the summit directly above you (see
map). Beware of some major league avy danger on
the east lake-facing slopes of Jakes Peak. Wear
beacons, carry shovels and probes, ski with friends, and
know what to do.
Depending on snow
conditions, the skiing back down to the highway is nothing
short of awesome, with jaw-dropping Tahoe views directly in
front of you, and world class glade skiing all around you.
Exercise care in getting back to your car, as it can be
confusing with all of the tracks and trees around you.
-- This route is similar, though usually less crowded than
the main route. Drive on highway 89 about 2/3rds of a
mile north of the Bliss Park HQ and look for a plowed
turnout. Park here, cross the road and start skinning
up through the forested glades. Near the top, wind
around to skiers right to gain the ridge north of the
peaklet, then continue up the ridge to bag the summit if you
so desire. Depending on snow conditions, good treed
powder runs can be found off either the east or west sides
of the ridge. If you've got more time to spare, ski
off the west side, then climb back up and ski eastward down
to your car.
South Side -- When the temps warm up in springtime, the
chutes and open face descending the south side of Jakes are the place to
be. Follow Highway 89 and park roadside high above the
north shore of Emerald Bay, right near the roadway avalanche
closure gate. You will see the southside
chutes of Jakes and Peak 9,195' looming above you (see
photo). The chutes on Jakes are less steep and
nasty than the Emerald Bay Chutes on Peak 9,195'. Whichever ones you
choose, exercise caution in skiing these chutes. The
path back to the car is painfully obvious.