The Tahoe Rim Trail forms a complete loop 165 miles around the Lake Tahoe Basin on the border of California and Nevada.
The main hiking season is from July through September, though lingering snow patches can often be found into August of high snow years.
A thru-hike of the trail typically takes 10-15 days. My friend Adam and I had planned on fast packing the trail over a 5 day period in late June of 2019. The only problem is that this happened to be a particular high snow year, with snowpack in the Sierra Nevada range at over 200% of average, and 33 times the levels of the previous year.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, we kept a close eye on the conditions, obsessively checking the snow reports from various snowtel sites along the trail. We debated a few alternatives objectives around California and Colorado, but the snow levels were equally high throughout the Sierra Nevada and San Juan mountain ranges. So we re-committed to our original plan.
While we expected the snowpack to significantly slow us down, we were optimistic that we could complete the trail. But we never could have anticipated just how much of a challenge that would prove to be.