Scott Peak P500
Mildred Ridge P1K

Thu, Aug 30, 2018
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

Mildred Ridge is a P1K in Tahoe National Forest that has been on my todo list for more than a decade. I had done a snowshoe outing years ago to Mildred Peak from the Alpine Meadows Ski Area, but had failed to note the higher summit a short distance to the north. Since then, I've been tackling P1Ks in the state as my sort of default "what should I do this week", and Mildred has slowly been working its way back to the forefront. I had tried to reach it two days earlier from the southwest off Wentworth Springs Rd, but the connecting road was currently closed to the public for reasons unknown. I decided to take an alternate approach from the north off Interstate 80 at Soda Springs, and was driving through the Tahoe Lake Basin to reach it. While I was online in South Lake Tahoe the previous evening, I was looking for another peak I could do in conjunction since it wasn't going to take more than a few hours. I came upon Scott Peak with just shy of 750ft of prominence. It would do nicely.

Scott Peak

I spent the night camped in the back of the Jeep at the end of Courchevel Rd on the backside of Alpine Meadows. Back in the day (1980s) the Sherwood Chair was built to offer skiing on the sunny southeast side of Ward Peak. Later, an access road from SR89 to the east was paved, homes were built and an additional access point was provided to the ski area. The 10-car lot I parked in is signed as reserved for residents, but I guessed that was primarily during the ski season and didn't think anyone would care to find a lone car parked there overnight. Scott Peak is located about a mile ENE of Ward Peak and is serviced by two chairlifts, the Scott and Lakeview chairs. When I used to ski here, neither chair went to the top which was off-limits. The Lakeview chair has since been relocated to a higher point on the south side of the peak and it would be easy to reach the summit during ski season. Alas, I've given up that expensive habit and haven't been back in years. A summertime visit is relatively easy, however. The ski area is signed for no motor vehicles, but the public is welcome to hike or ride bikes there. I initially started up the cat-track that services the chairlifts, but gave that up when I figured a more direct line would work even better and found the brush not so bad. It took about 50min to reach the summit, climbing 1,300ft in the course of a mile and a half. There are no views from the forested summit rocks, but one can walk to various sides to get views of Lake Tahoe to the southeast and the ski area to the west. To the south is the top of the Lakeview Chair with more open views to Ward Peak and other peaks outside the ski area to the south. I chose a more direct descent down the south side of the peak, finding a ducked use trail in places that made for a pretty quick descent, mostly through steep forest with little brush. At the base of the mountain, as I was approaching the development area of homes, I came upon a maintained trail that I started following. I soon realized it was climbing back up into the ski area and not where I wanted to go, so I abandoned that for another use trail that led down to one of the homes where I quietly slipped through their yard, out onto the pavement and then a short walk back to the Jeep, about an hour and a half all told.

Mildred Ridge

Mildred Ridge forms part of the western boundary of the Granite Chief Wilderness, sandwiched between the Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows ski areas to the east and French Meadow/Hell Hole Reservoirs to the west. The easiest access to Mildred Ridge is from French Meadows. Paved Foresthill Rd comes in from the west off Interstate 80 at Auburn, running for 50 windy miles up the steeply carved canyons of the American River. It's terribly inconvenient if coming from the east. The route coming from the north at Soda Springs is half the distance but most of it on not-so-great dirt roads. It took me three hours to get from one trailhead to the other, more time than I would spend on the hike itself. I drove some older forest roads above French Meadows towards the summit until I reached a locked gate 3.5mi from the summit. The roads continue beyond the gate, but there were downed logs and trees that suggest the higher portions of the road are no longer maintained.

Starting off around 10:30a, I spent the first 40min hiking various spur roads that took me higher up onto the summit's West Ridge. The roads continue a bit further still, but they meander less directly than the ridge itself and with debris coverage and modest brush, didn't seem to offer any real advantage. I found the ridge a little brushy to start, but it improved as I got higher, a mix of dwarf manzanita, talus, light forest and grass/rock slopes. There was no sign of a use trail but the cross-country was fairly enjoyable. It was after noon before I reached the highpoint, found at the north end of Mildred Ridge (with Mildred Peak anchoring the southern end). There was a Pete Yamagata / NAS (Northern Alpine Section) register from 1991, housed in a rusty and deteriorating can. The contents had been subject to repeated bouts of moisture and mold, rendering portions of the contents difficult to read. I thumbed through the many pages, noting a number of familar names, but didn't bother to photograph each page as usual - just too many entries on this one. The views are nice, overlooking a large swath of the Tahoe National Forest and most of the Granite Chief Wilderness, but no views of Lake Tahoe due to the intervening higher ridgeline of the Sierra Crest. My return route was much the same back down the West Ridge, getting me back to the Jeep by 1:30p. Neither peak was particularly special and it certainly wasn't a banner day, but I was happy to get Mildred Ridge taken off the todo list after so many years. I still had a long drive back to San Jose, but thankfully most of the route was paved, giving me a chance to shed some of the several pounds of dust I'd collected on (and in) the Jeep over the past three days...


Submit online comments or corrections about the story.

More of Bob's Trip Reports

This page last updated: Tue Sep 11 13:42:18 2018
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: snwbord@hotmail.com