At 9,380 feet, Powderhouse Peak is the steeper little brother to neighboring Waterhouse Peak that lies directly to the south. Named for the long-lasting powder stashes found here throughout winter, Powderhouse offers a greater diversity of terrain, including an enticing rock-lined east-facing bowl that can be observed from the pullouts along the highway.
The best ski descents on Powderhouse are found on the north and east aspects. The steep, continuous glades of the north aspect are a safe bet when avalanche hazard exists, as are the east-facing glades that run into Waterhouse's lower slopes. With a stable snowpack, the open east bowl is the gem on Powderhouse. Terrain features include a plethora of small to larger cliff drops, pillows, and some chutes. Note: The east bowl is exposed to avalanche hazard. Ensure good snow stability if you are considering skiing this area.
Common ascent routes for Powderhouse are the north and east aspects, the east being slightly longer but less steep. Typically a skin track is quickly pounded out on powder days on the north aspect, and this area often is the first to be tracked out by Powderhouse skiers. Parking is found at a series of pullouts adjacent to Grass Lake on Highway 89. Park at the first pullout when traveling south on 89 if the north aspect is your intended ascent; park at the second pullout if venturing up the east aspect.
Make sure to check Sierra Avalanche Center's daily winter avalanche bulletin to help inform safe backcountry decision making before venturing out: www.sierraavalanchecenter.org .
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.