Tamarack Peak P500
Slide Mountain P750

Sun, May 10, 2015
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2


Warning: This trip report contains graphic descriptions that may not be suitable for all family members, including but not limited to, small children, the elderly and expectant mothers. Those with weak constitutions, and generally anyone with normal expectations of propiety should probably stop reading now.

Tamarack Peak

I had such an enjoyable outing the previous day that I decided to come back again to the Mt. Rose area to climb a few minor peaks on either side of Mt. Rose summit. I had been by Tamarack Peak on numerous trips to Mt. Rose and other high summits in the area, always thinking I'd tag Tamarack on the way back, but never actually doing so for one reason or another. Though I didn't get to bed the previous night until nearly 1am (who would have guessed that a girls' volleyball tournament would go on past midnight?), I was up shortly after 6a and heading up SR431 to Mt. Rose summit. Much of the snow that had fallen a few days earlier had already melted, but today's outing would still find a mix of old and new snow to play around on, an extra treat in May under drought conditions. Bob, where's the graphic descriptions that were promised? The weather was exceptionally fine, blue skies, crisp air, around 35F at the start. Mine was the only vehicle when I pulled into the spacious lot at the top of the highway. Relax, we'll get to it.

The Mt. Rose TH is located immediately behind (south of) the restrooms, part of a nice trail system improved relatively recently as part of the ambitious Rim to Rim Trail. Nevadans may not have their fair share of Sierra terrain (and if not for a surveyor's error when the territory lines were drawn more than 160 years ago, they'd probably have none), but they take care of that fraction they call their own. C'mon Bob, really? Are you going to drag this out? Getting to the summit of Tamarack does not require much route-finding skills. One simply follows the Mt. Rose trail for about half a mile until it goes over a saddle to the north side of Tamarack's SE Ridge, then follow the ridge to the summit for another mile. I'm guessing you haven't really been paying attention to anything else I've written here. Probably not a fan of foreplay, either. There are various use trails located on the south side of the ridge, maybe even a good one right on the ridge though that was covered in snow today. I followed a mix of these trails and snow, wandering through trees and along the ridge (with a fine view of Mt. Rose, btw), taking just under an hour to reach the summit. No register or even a cairn, but a nice place to relax and take in the views. Trees block a 360 degree view, but a short walk will fetch views of Lake Tahoe to the south and the higher summits of Relay and Houghton to the west. Both Mt. Rose to the north and Slide Mtn to the east are best seen from the highpoint itself at the edge of the steep Northeast Face.

I got up after an extended break, reshouldered my pack and started back down. I got perhaps a couple hundred yards down the trail before I started to feel dampness in my pants. Had I sat on some snow or wet rocks? A sudden concern came over me. See? I told you we'd get to it... When I was a younger lad I had a piss stream like a firehose and a sphincter like a steel trap. Probably most everyone does when they're young. The process of childbirth in women and simple aging in all of us have a way of changing that. In men, the prostate enlarges with age, pinching the urethra, and the firehose gradually reduces in force, now like a low-flow showerhead and probably on its way to even less. The steel trap loosens as well, allowing the bladder and anus to leak more. For years I've used tissue in my butt crack while hiking to ward off the dreaded Ass-On-Fire, less crudely referred to as chaffing of the buttocks. It also has the extra benefit of absorbing small amounts of fluids that might leak unexpectedly. This technique was given the name 'man-pon' by Big Black Boykin, from an episode of Rob and Big, one of my kids' favorite shows some years ago. My kids laughed their asses off, as did I but with a knowing restraint. What a large, overweight man of 30 could suffer was not not unknown to me at 50. Now, I had been sitting at the summit for about 20min and while I was there I was getting the urge to go, but holding back. Or so I thought. It was not the first time the old man had shit himself without even knowing it. "WTF, sphincter?! Can't you hold that shit back, literally?!" I paused to take off my pack and then drop my pants. There was some poop in the underwear and more smeared down my right leg. I had intermixed feelings of helplessness and disgust. Unusually, I had no tissue with me, having left that in a different daypack I wasn't using today. My urge to go had increased and I had call for an immediate evacuation. I left a small pile of steaming brown oatmeal in the snow. Eating all those jalpenos the previous afternoon was looking like a mistake. Bob, that's f'ing gross. I had only snow with which to wipe up with, but unfortunately it was too early in the morning, still mostly frozen, and could not be scooped up with my hands. You can't say you weren't warned. So, with my pants puddled around my ankles I resorted to scraping the top of snow with my boots, picking up a handful of the frosty ice crystals in my hand and wiping my ass. Brown snow and blobs of poo were left in my hand. I wiped my hand in the snow and repeated the process a dozen times on my ass, then my leg, then my underwear. Periodically I looked up half-expecting to see someone hiking up. "Hi there! Don't mind me..." Thankfully, no one approached in my moment of exposure.

Looking around at the carnage I had left in the snow, Where are the photos, Bob?it resembled the bottom of the monkey cage after a heated poo fight. It was an environmental disaster worse than the Exxon Valdez. Global warming seemed a quaint concern by comparison. My ass was cold, reddened and probably bleeding from the repeated scraping with ice crystals. My hands were completely numb and I couldn't even pull up the zipper on my pants. Not only would that be highly inappropriate, but I didn't want to get poo on my camera. I imagined the SAR byline in the Washoe County paper: Calfornia man rescued near Mt. Rose After Losing Battle with His Own Bowel Movement. Eventually my hands warmed up and I got my pants back on. Whether my ass was suffering death by a thousand cuts was not of immediate concern, and besides it was still pretty numb. The bigger problem seemed to be what should I do about the mess I'd created. I could have just left it and hightailed it out of there but the thought of someone actually having their day ruined (and possibly their lunch lost) by coming across it was more than I could bear. On most summits I visit these days there's little chance of anyone coming by before the stuff had decomposed to fertilizer, but Tamarack appears to be a high traffic summit second only to Mt. Rose in this area. I dug a hole with the heel of my boot in a nearby patch of bare earth and with the help of a couple of sticks proceeded to transport as much of the poop to the hole as I could manage. The rest of the snow I stomped, bludgeoned and mixed as best I could until it was difficult to recognize the recent scene of horror, save for blurred shades of brown mixed in with the white snow. It would have to do. It sucks getting old...

I followed the SE Ridge down to the Mt. Rose Trail, and a few minutes later came across another gentleman of about 60 on his way in from the TH. He asked about the trail conditions ahead to which I gave a glowing review without recommending the side visit to Tamarack Peak. I wanted to ask if he had any hand sanitizer on him, but that might have been awkward. We parted company.

Slide Mtn

Having returned to Mt. Rose Summit and the highway by 9:15a, I availed myself of the nice restroom to do a better job with tissue and water than could be done with hard snow alone. Anything more, Bob? On the opposite side of the highway rises Slide Mtn, the highpoint of the Mt. Rose Ski Area. No, that's it. It isn't all that impressive, but does have almost 800ft of prominence and is only a few hundred feet lower than Tamarack. It's the peak most often mistaken for Mt. Rose, if that means anything. One can make a real climb of it by coming up from Washoe Valley on the east side, a 4,500-foot hike up a trail along Ophir Creek or various cross-country routes. The easy way up is from the west at Mt. Rose Summit, shaving off many miles and leaving less than 1,000ft of gain, a walk up a gravel/dirt road that services the ski area and the many communications towers found about the summit.

I hiked up the road to the campground (if the campground road isn't closed, one can drive even closer), surprised to find a series of USFS campsites with really nice views of Mt. Rose. At the end of the campground road is a restroom and then a concrete barrier blocking vehicles (but not hikers) from accessing the road going up the west side of the mountain. There was some old snow still heaped in the shadier spots of the road, but most of it was easy traveling. One simply takes the right fork at the only junction below the summit and in about half an hour can find their way to the top. Amidst all the towers scattered about above the highest chairlift are a collection of rocky outcrops. I climbed the northernmost of these with the largest building only to find the two further south were slightly higher. But a minute further away, I found the views southwest and west from the highpoint to be the nicest, with the various towers marring views in other directions.

I returned back to the highway via the same route, taking just over an hour for the roundtrip effort. By now it was 10:30a and time for me to get back to Reno for more volleyball action. Needless to say, I wouldn't be sharing today's mountain story with my daughter or the other parents...

Anonymous comments on 05/12/15:
Better invest in some DEPENDS before embarking on your next hike!
boyblue comments on 05/12/15:
There are many qualities that make me a regular on your site and a fan of your trip reports. I think your candor and honesty is reason #1, but... thanks for not publishing any graphic photos. :-)

I'll be 6 decades old next month. Growing old does indeed suck, but as long as my legs are still working, I'll never stop hiking. If livestock can leave their disgusting mark along the trails, then so can I...
Anonymous comments on 05/13/15:
An anti-diarrheal pill, 2 in fact, is part of my pre-hike routine butt will keep the man-pon idea in mind for the future.
Carson City comments on 05/13/15:
I have honestly never thought about the "man-pon" concept, and at age 50 too, I sure can't bring myself to wear Depends....but the first thing I check to make sure I have is some TP and a small roll of paper towels/doused in water in a zip lock bag to use in an "emergency"...it has saved me on a bunch of occasions and eliminated a sore hiking butt!
Kirk D. from Sparks comments on 05/14/15:
Peggy would like to invite you to a nice home cooked (jalapeno free) meal next time you are up this way. It rained and snowed up there today, so any evidence of your visit pretty much gone. Mother nature looks after those who look after her . . .
Anonymous comments on 05/15/15:
Hiker #1-Hey Hiker #2, do you want to climb Tamarack Peak?

Hiker #2-Sure, just let me get my stuff together. Can't forget my pee bottle!

Hiker #1-Don't bother. The whole area has already been contaminated with mountaineer's feces. A little pee won't hurt anything.

Hiker #2-Oh No, many in the old hiking club would do that and pollute with their big SUV's and weak sphincters, by me.

seano comments on 05/15/15:
I was just looking for some beta, and decided I might as well catch up with what you've been up to this winter. It's good to know what I have to look forward to if I make it past 50.
Mark Mc comments on 05/17/15:
Thanks Bob, I will think of you everytime I wipe my ass in the wilderness from now on.
toxo comments on 05/18/15:
"Hiker #2-Oh No, many in the old hiking club would do that and pollute with their big SUV's and weak sphincters, by me."

^^^Best comment EVAR.

I took a really messy shit at work today due to drinking ayahuasca yesterday. I used the single occupancy bathroom so I could wipe my ass with wet towels.

Wow, it's, like, we have so much in common, Bob.

Nathan comments on 05/20/15:
Bob, I have always appreciated your impeccably detailed trip reports.

Until today.
Gumby comments on 06/02/15:
As an avid Mtn Biker, we call TP, Mountain Money. Cuz that's exactly what it is at the appropriate time & place.
Anonymous comments on 06/08/15:
I frequent the site both so I can experience your adventures vicariously and for an occasional taste of your dry humor. Definitely got more than a taste of the latter in this TR...
Kirk D. from Sparks comments on 06/19/15:
If it makes you feel any better ? see the(beautifully photographed)Mt.Olympus TR (June 5, 2015) by Mike Lewis on summitpost. Apparently you are not the only one with 'those' issues on mountain tops . . .
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