Monday, August 5, 2013

ELEV. 7777 ft. ±

Elevation post (777 feet, plus minus) at the TRT/Van Sickle Trail junction in the Carson Range
People expect their lucky number to show up with the reels of their favorite slot machine—not along a hiking trail. Along the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) it does anyway. It's the elevation at the junction of the Van Sickle Trail with the TRT southwest of the mountain resort Kingsbury, Douglas County, Nevada. A wooden sign-post states the elevation of 7,777 feet. To be on the safe side, a plus-minus sign has been carved in as well. Does it stand for ± 7.7 feet? This uncertainty hopefully is conservative enough to give a reliable estimate for the altitude of this rim location.

For most of us, elevation exactitude is less interesting than the relative height of peaks, points and passes we climb atop and hike around. The highest point along the entire TRT circuit is 10,338 feet [1], on top of Relay Peak southwest of Mount Rose. Mt. Rose is somewhat higher, but off and outside the TRT circle. The lowest point of the TRT circuit must be the elevation of the Lake Tahoe lake-level above sea level, since the TRT crosses the Truckee River in “Tahoe City at the Lake.” The USGS  “Lake Tahoe Basin” data page gives an average lake-surface elevation (above sea level) of 6,225 feet (1,897 meter) [2]. That website also provides some further Sierra Nevada/Carson Range landmarks for reference: Freel Peak (10,891 ft), Monument Peak (10,067 ft), Pyramid Peak (9,983 ft) and everybody's favorite Mt. Tallac (9,735 ft).  

Note that the TRT bypasses the peak of Freel Peak on its northwest side, leaving Relay Peak the “tallest guy of the circuit.” Whenever you are wondering how high you are at a certain point along the TRT, “7,777 ft” may always be a rough guess to start with. Then fine-tune by taking or adding an approximate difference in feet while browsing the scenery around you—or revert to your beloved GPS-controlled mobile gadget in your pocket to get pinpointed. Good luck!

Keywords: guesstimating (guestimating), topography, geography, Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe surroundings.

References and more to explore
[1] REI > Nevada > Relay Peak Trail [].
[2] USGS: Facts About Lake Tahoe [].

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