Buzzard Roost P500
Sand Ridge P500
Mt. Marliave
Peak 7,880ft P300
Peak 6,840ft P300

Wed, Sep 30, 2020
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX


This was the second day of a short trip to Tahoe National Forest. With smoke and warm temperatures, it was far from ideal, but I was going a little stir crazy with so much of the public lands in the higher elevations of the state closed. I'd spent the night camped just outside the closed forest on Carpenter Valley Rd, intending to do some peaks in that area in the morning. I spent some time in the morning driving the accessible roads, but got stopped by locked gates (unsigned, but private property, most likely) far from where I hoped to get. I needed another plan. I drove back out to Interstate 80 and drove west to Cisco Grove where I found Forest Road 85 open. This gave me access to peaks southeast of Fordyce Lake, another portion of the national forest I'd yet to visit. I was able to drive within half a mile of all five of the summits, so none of the hikes were difficult. I was happy to find there was no real bushwhacking either, though there was plenty of brush at these elevations if one wanted some extra fun.

Buzzard Roost

A short, quarter mile hike from the west climbs through heavy forest, leads to more open slopes in the upper portion with a rounded, uninteresting summit. I expected some craggy pinnacles that could serve as roosts for the turkey vultures, but saw nothing but sand, dirt and small rocks.

Sand Ridge

This one at least matched its name. I had an enjoyable half mile hike up the SW Ridge, staying on the left side where needed to avoid manzanita. This was the highest and most prominent of the day's mundane peaks, so I left a register here. Views can be had off the south side of the summit ridge, trees blocking those to the north. And the sand wasn't bad at all.

Mt. Maliave

This summit has little prominence, but has some interest. It's a small, granite outcrop with a bit of fun, albeit trivial scrambling. By all appearances, it looks to have been the site of a decades-long drinking binge. Glass bottles of all colors have been cemented or glued in several locations as though someone had plans for a glass house. It's a nice view spot overlooking the Soda Springs area along I80 that might be more easily reached from that direction. Because of where I was, I approached from the north at the end of spur road about 200ft higher than Mt. Marliave, one of those rare and odd hikes where you hike down to a summit.

Peak 7,880ft

I saw tire tracks at the summit, leading me to conclude that one can drive to the summit from the southwest where a series of roads are shown reaching close to the summit. It looked like a lot of driving to save a little hiking, so I simply hiked from FR85 on the north side, about 300ft of elevation in less than half a mile. An open summit would make for good fews if it wasn't so smoky.

Peak 6,840ft

This was the most interesting summit of the day. Away from the others, it rises above Fordyce Lake on the southwest side. A very rough 4WD road leads down from Fordyce Summit to the lake in about two miles. A sign posted half a dozen times along the road made me wonder if it was legal to be there, but I suspect it was just related to the dam access, not the lake. I parked at the base of a sandy slope used for off-road sand climbing practice. I hiked up this and then along the SW Ridge to reach the rocky summit with a fine view of the lake. Made for a nice finish to a short day.

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