West of Lake Tahoe in the Desolation Wilderness lies the Crystal Range, high peaks dominating the view, forests and wildlife climbing the slopes. It's an incredible trip, to visit this region lying between Highway 50 and Interstate 80 in the Sierra region of California.
The dominating mountain is the highest at 9987 feet - Pyramid Peak. Others include Tells Peak, Mount Price and Mount Agassiz. All four can be climbed, all of them requiring Class 3 skills. The descent from Pyramid Peak is 4,000 feet of rugged terrain and may prove to be the most difficult part of the excursion.
You can get to the start of the climb by taking the road to Wrights Lake from Horsetail Falls trailhead, then following the trails to Smith Lake. Most of the hike from there is off-trail, with rock rubble abundant.
If driving the roads in the area of the Crystal Range, you will get the best views if you make your trip directly after a storm when the skies clear and the range of view extends far and wide. The beauty of the range will fill you with wonder at the feats of nature it must have taken to form this majestic mountain vista.