Firehouse Run


Summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 3.8 miles one-way
Starting
Elevation
7200 feet
Cumulative
Elevation
Change
+1000, -1500 one-way
Navigation Road, map and compass
Time Half day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Norden, Soda Springs
Start The plowed loading zone on the north side of Interstate 80 at the Castle Peak Area and Boreal Ridge exit. Parking is at the Donner Pass Sno-Park located at the east end of the frontage road on the south side of the interstate at the same exit.
End At the locked gate on Sherrit Lane east of the Donner Summit Public Utilities District building. Sherrit Lane may or may not be plowed to the gate. Do not park near the PUD building.

Exit I-80 at the Soda Springs exit. On the north side of the highway turn northeast (right) onto Sherrit Lane.

Description

The Firehouse Run is named for the fact that after climbing to the summit of Andesite Peak it descends to its terminus near the Donner Summit Public Utilities District and Truckee Fire Protection District station. While the climb to the summit is relatively straight forward, the descent is more challenging and requires a compass at times to stay on course. On the positive side, this tour has a net loss of 500 feet.

But the most difficult task is finding parking at the end of the tour. The abundant parking near the PUD building is off limits to recreationists. If you are lucky you can find some space or dig out a space beyond the building on narrow Sherrit Lane if it is plowed.

The first 1.7 miles is identical to the Andesite Peak and Ridge tour. Most of the climb to the summit is along the ridge where the timber ranges from nonexistent to heavy. In open areas winds from the west can form cornices on the lee side of the ridge and peak; stay away from the steep edges in these areas.

Image of skier in open area before entering dense trees.
Easy traveling in an open area before entering dense trees

Although you have some glimpses at points along the way, the vistas from the summit are much better; frankly they are outstanding. Nearby is Castle Peak, but there is much more to see. Off in the distance to the southwest is unmistakable Devils Peak that can be used as a landmark during the descent.

Image of skiers on steep section along ridge with Castle Peak in backgound.
Steep section along ridge with Castle Peak in background

Image of skiers on top of Andesite Peak.
Beautiful day on Andesite Peak

The decent from Andesite Peak generally follows a ridge line but care in navigation is needed to avoid the tendency to veer to the west. You will find open areas as well as dense timber on the way down.

Image of skier crossing open area on descent from Andesite Peak.
Easy traveling in the open

Image of skiers trying to figure out which way to go in wooded area.
I think it's that way

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.3
Elevation change: +100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski east on the snow-covered road that parallels the interstate and then northwest for a total of 0.3 mile until you reach a road junction (2). The road continuing northwest (straight) leads to Castle Valley, which is closed to snowmobile use, while this tour follows the road to the west (left).

Miles: 0.3 - 0.5
Elevation change: +100 feet

Turn west (left) and follow the snow-covered road for 0.2 mile until you reach a location where you can leave the road to the north (3). There is no landmark here, but the route to the north heads up a drainage between two knobs.

Miles: 0.5 - 0.6
Elevation change: +150 feet

Leave the road and ascend northwest and then north for a total of 0.1 mile until you reach Andesite Ridge (4).

Image gully below that is ascended to reach Andesite Ridge.
This photo is taken from the ridge; the route up ascends the steep gully on the camera side of the rock nose in the right of the image

Image of of a miner's cabin that lies to the southeast on the ridge and just to the northwest of Peak 7605.
This miner's cabin lies at the southeast end of the ridge and just to the northwest of Peak 7605

Miles: 0.6 - 1.7
Elevation change: +650

Follow Andesite Ridge to the northwest for 0.6 mile until the terrain abruptly becomes more steep and then 0.5 mile more to the summit of Andesite Peak (5).

Miles: 1.7 - 2.2
Elevation change: -500 feet

Descend slightly west of south for 0.5 mile until you reach a location just to the west (right) of Peak 7826 (6). You may want to visit the top of the peak but the route passes to the west of it.

Miles: 2.2 - 2.7
Elevation change: -200 feet

Descend south for 0.5 mile until you reach a location just to the west (right) of Peak 7563 (7). Again, you may want to visit the top of the peak but the route passes to the west of it.

Image of skiers descending perfect corn-snow below Peak 7563.
Enjoying the corn just below Peak 7563

Miles: 2.7 - 3.7
Elevation change: -650 feet

Descend southwest for 1.0 mile until you reach buildings (8) to the north of a power line easement. You want to pass the buildings to their west (right).

Miles: 3.7 - 3.8
Elevation change: -150 feet

Descend southwest for 0.1 mile until you reach the end of Sherrit Lane (9). This point is just south of the power lines. The gate may be buried by snow, but you should be able to discern the road cut through the trees. Continue down Sherrit Lane if necessary to reach your vehicle.

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour