Lake Tahoe

slowmoslowmo Member
edited June 2012 in General Discussion
So I have made up my mind to swim across lake Tahoe. I'm thinking next Aug/Sept so any and all information reguarding this swim would really be appreciated. I just did an 8hr swim this past Fri and really enjoyed myself which leads me to the next question, pace. I know everyone has there own pace but for swims of this length I would think you would like to keep a certain pace due to water temps and such not. I happen to fall in and around 2-2.2mph, I'm just not sure what my stroke count is but during my swim I was told that I looked smooth right up until the end. Thanks!

Comments

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Earlier this year @Jamie and a few others founded a new organization to support Tahoe swims - the Lake Tahoe Swimming Society. Not sure if you've seen their website, @slowmo?
  • slowmoslowmo Member
    I will have to check them out...slow motion...thanks!
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    When you complete your swim you get a belt buckle. Tahoe is on my list for 2014.
  • slowmoslowmo Member
    I see that and I will let you know how the process goes Mike should be a great swim. The water looks great. I just did an 8hr session a week ago and felt great when I was done but talk about poor water quality, I could hardly see my feet in the water...so I look foward to a clear water swim.
  • @slowmo, not sure if you have swum in Tahoe before but I attempted a width (11 miles) crossing last summer with about 10 others and pulled out at about 6.5 with nausea/stomach issues but going again this August and going to finish come hell or high water, so two things I learned may be of interest. One, the elevation had no effect, it was the only thing I didn't/couldn't really train for in the SF Bay but it felt no different than breathing at sea level. Two, the beautiful, crystal clear, ultra pure, drinkable water you are swimming in is not very dense so the feeds become a bit of work. Unlike the lovely, dense salt water, I found myself really working to be able to keep my head at a level I could use my hands to feed. Temp was perfect 64-67, water mostly like glass, and boat traffic became an issue (not a big issue) as it got closer to noon. Targeting a length crossing myself for next summer.
    Pinky
  • slowmoslowmo Member
    Thanks for the info, I really look foward to some clean clear water and that temp range is perfect. I was curious about the elevation and what if any effects would be felt.
    I had some issues last year with my stomach getting upset but some solid food really helped me out. I'm going to start maing my plans in Sept for next summer, will have talk it could be fun doing a joint take off if we could pick a date that worked.
  • @slowmo - Definitely let's connect on the crossing. I am talking with one of my buddies that I swim with that did the width crossing with me as well last year and may do it again this year. We can really save a few bucks with a couple of swimmers. One of our swim group is Patti Bauernfeind who did length 2 or 3 years ago and holds fastest time record (I think?) and several other people in our swim group were her crew so we can recruit the support team from people I swim with several times a week. Will also seriously look at the schedule in the fall.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    So, @slowmo, did you do the swim? I'd still like to do Tahoe in 2014, but have to do it "early" 2014 for work reasons. I'm saying like May. Wonder how cold the Lake'll be then!?!
  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    @ironmike- not totally sure, but I think Tahoe in May is still pretty cold. I think most crossings are late July- early August. I know my lakes in CO are usually in the low 50s in May and don't hit 60s until June. Tahoe's at a similar elevation, so I'd guess it warms up similarly. Jamie's the expert tho!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CAMember
    FWIW, Tahoe was 62 degrees in August of last year.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited April 2013
    In both 2010 and 2011, over the 2 months from May 1st to July 1st, the water temperature rose from 6C to 13C (43F to 56F) as recorded by buoys in the middle of the lake.

    http://remote.ucdavis.edu/tahoe_lake_advice.htm

    image

    Lake Tahoe Surface currents:
    http://terc.ucdavis.edu/news/LakeSurfaceCurrents.pdf
    image
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    oxo said:

    In both 2010 and 2011, over the 2 months from May 1st to July 1st, the water temperature rose from 6C to 13C (43F to 56F) as recorded by buoys in the middle of the lake.

    You rock, oxo, thanks! bookmarking that site now.
  • trouttrout Member
    My advice is to practice occasionally in cold water, if available. You may me able to swim 10 miles in a pool or warm water lake, but it's another thing to spend that much time in a lake under 60 degrees.
  • My buddy and I just did the width two weeks ago and it went really well. We went from the dam in Tahoe City to Sand Harbor (11.65 miles). One day he kayaked while I swam and two days later we switched. We had a radio with the coast guard band and some good lighting (we started at 4:30am) and that felt like enough safety-wise. We both got cold during the swim (water was about 65 degrees) but never got even close to hypothermia levels. If you want more detailed info you can look at our (slightly) entertaining youtube video that sort of combines the two crossings into one little story...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqXKME4KvWs

    P.S. the celebratory Coors at the stateline (7.5 miles in) ended up just being a sip!
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    Cindy Hertzer begins a Tahoe crossing tomorrow morning at 1am local, hoping for an 11hr trip. SPOT at http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0xgYttSa61BJIdfvq6subWrakJI56rMzS.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • Thanks @malinaka! I channeled the energy of others I knew or thought might be watching from time zone East of PDT (including positive mindset coach @jenschumacher- highest praise for her work which was essential for getting me past prior mental limits) and that helped me get through more dark, cold hours than I've ever done in my life.

    We didn't finish the length crossing but I am safe and sound after this : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/569165398 (terse detail about team observation of MSF rules in Garmin comments).

    My deepest gratitude for coach and crew - exceptionally experienced personally as cold/Marathon swims and crew. Also my new to OW piloting exceptional local pilot was a great asset as well, helping read the weather, stepping up to manage multiple aspects of the boat rental, and causing exceptionally minimal frustration for me on the attempt.

    Too early to consider if I will make another attempt later this season or just later. Gory details later. Resting comfortably now feeling deep gratitude for all the support I've received (including the Lake granting me permission for a relatively easy crossing after prior assisted widths were met with Force 4/5 winds) and dolphins who came in to within 50 of me while I gazed in awe -- a first for me to see them while swimming in Monterey Bay.

    Observer data to follow, may cross post into the lessons learned thread.
  • Tahoe is the warmest it's been in ages. Also pretty low, so some shore rocks may cause some shore hugging kayaks knocks. There are several routes- The traditional Olympic Club route- Sand Harbor NV to Chambers Landing (~14 miles) across the deepest part of the lake. Dave Kenyon did that is 1986 or so as a solo. He did the length N-S in 1987(?) There is a database done by Dean Moser, who was the pilot for Dave on his length swim. Fred Rogers did another route, also about 14 miles in something like the 60's ( although I may be off by 10 yrs or so. The Sand Harbor to Skylandia Beach route ( about 10miles) has been adopted in the past 10-15 yrs or so by the OC and numerous SERC'ers have done it solo. It's doable with out a motor boat as it pretty much hugs the shore. Gorgeous lake. A tough challenge for us salt water folks!

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • jenschumacherjenschumacher Charter Member
    @cynswims Thank you for the kind words. You did great work mentally preparing for this swim and it was a pleasure to work with you. Rest and recover well. Always better to live to swim another day :)
  • This is a little late to be inquiring, but my own channels are running thin at this point and time is counting down...:

    I'm prepping to attempt a Lake Tahoe swim in just over a week (September 15th), and while just about everything has come together in terms of organization, finding a full crew has been difficult. As has been said before, there's nothing "solo" about a solo-swim.

    I currently have three crew members. One member (and the owner of my boat) has completed the swim twice himself. The other two are experienced ultra-distance athletes, although neither are swimmers. What I'm really in need of right now, is someone (or two) that can handle a kayak.

    All the equipment is already on the boat, so I'm really just in need of another body or two.

    My crew and I are planning on driving up from the SF Bay Area on the morning of Sunday, September 14th. We're anticipating a midnight launch (weather forecast permitting), and I'm expecting about a 12-13 hour swim (finishing between 12:00 and 1:00 pm Monday afternoon).

    The plan right now is to carpool up on Sunday, and come back on Tuesday after everybody has had some recovery time. Our vehicle is a Chevy Tahoe (how appropriate), which can seat seven - so we can take extra crew with us.

    If anybody is available to help out, or if you know somebody who can, please, please send me a message.

    I've learned a ton about organizing personal swims doing this... but I think the biggest thing I'll take away is: It's never too early to start planning.

    Thank you in advance to anybody/everybody who might be able to help or advise!

    -Michael
  • Have you considered going without a kayak? When I did the length of Tahoe last year I had a pontoon boat as escort with driver/expert/coach Jamie and my husband as spotter/feeder on board. Seems like if your boat is accessible, i.e your feeder can get down to water level to hand you things and get a look at your face to monitor your emotional state, you can do with only a motorized escort. Just my opinion, though, as I certainly do not profess to be an expert! It is really nice to have a kayaker alongside you, though, so I can see why that could be considered optimal.
  • I finished my 21.25 mile crossing in 13 hours, 46 minutes and 5 seconds. I'll write up a full report in the swim reports thread a little later, but I wanted to post a huge, huge thank you to my crew:

    Pilot: Tom Linthicum
    Nutritionist: Clyde Butt
    Kayaker: Ryan Thompson
    Pilot/Nutritionist/Kayaker: Phil MacFarlane

    With out each and every one of these fine gentlemen my swim would not have happened. The fact that it went so smooth and that I didn't have to think about anything but swimming is a credit to the fine job they did. Thank you guys so very much!
  • MikeHMikeH Member
    edited October 2014
    Anyone have experience planning & executing swims across Lake Tahoe? I'm planning future swims and looking for thoughts, experience, etc on this possibility...

    Thanks!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2014
    Merged @MikeH's question with the previous thread....
  • Thanks!
  • Hi all-- I am planning on doing Tahoe this summer 2015 in mid July. I have all my puzzle pieces except the local captain. Can anyone recommend a captain and boat for hire? Thanks!!!!
  • TomHeckerTomHecker San Diego, California. USAMember
    edited November 2014
    Hi,

    The boat captain I used is Geoff Hanlon. I don't think he is escorting swimmers any more, but when I asked he said to have you contact him and he would check to see if he could get someone for you. He is located in South Lake Tahoe.

    Geoff Hanlon
    tahoefishhound AT gmail DOT com
    530-559-7243

    If you go and are in need of lodging, eating and swimming hole recommendations let me know and I will direct you.

    Have a great swim. Swimming the length of Lake Tahoe is one of my favorites.

    Tom Hecker
    mobile: +1 858-395-9853
    janettaplace AT yahoo DOT com

  • Is it important for this particular swim to have a local captain? I've been tentatively planning to bring an experienced boater / pilot...but simply rent a boat locally.
  • TomHeckerTomHecker San Diego, California. USAMember
    Hi Mike,

    Not necessarily a need for experienced captain. After all you are going from point A to point B what could happen? (I've heard that before!) It is helpful having someone on the boat that knows the lake. The person with the most experience of the swims on the lake is Ken Harmon. You may want to talk to him. Or any recent swimmer on their experience.
  • I swam Tahoe in 2013 and utilized SWA Watersports, http://www.swawatersports.com/. Since I only live a couple of hours away (in Davis), my schedule was pretty flexible, so I engaged quite a bit with the owner of SWA (Gerald) in terms of picking the very best day to go, weather, etc. He was outstanding with the advice and willing to do whatever. On "game day," he had his guy drive the boat down to the dock at Camp Richardson, so we loaded everything up there, and away we went. (We had parked a van at the Hyatt Incline the day before so we had a car at the other end). The cost was $1,100, which I thought was pretty good. It was essentially a ski boat, but big enough to hold my crew of 4.

    There were a few downers, the primary one being lack of GPS. The boat captain, who was new to Tahoe, and my crew were eyeballing it, and the SPOT Tracker later showed we did a little extra swimming. I mentioned this to Gerald afterward, and he said he did have another boat with GPS, and may be adding GPS to his other boats in the future. The second, unforeseen downer was that that boat had to go in before dark as they didn’t want to moor it overnight due to the wind. We were about an hour out from shore when the boat had to go in, and we had a kayak, so I did have someone to kayak me in the rest of the way. Gerald was apologetic about that too.

    That said, I would recommend SWA without reservations, just making sure the GPS is covered somehow, and that the boat will remain the entire way.

    If looking for a place to say, I rented this cabin, which was about 10 minutes away. It was perfect for me and my crew, http://www.vrbo.com/350559.

    Good luck.
  • edited September 2

    Hi folks - first time posting here. Reading through everyone's comments on what worked and didn't work in their swims was very helpful. Here's my contribution following an unsuccessful crossing of the lake at the end of July, 2015.

    Prep
    Training was based on a set of recommendations from @SuzieDods (thanks again Suzie!)
    March: Two, 4 hour swims, one on Saturday, the second on Sunday x 2
    April: 6 hour in the ocean at Aquatic Park
    May: 6 hour in fresh water at Lake Del Valle
    June: 10 hour in fresh water at Lake Del Valle

    Along with 2-3 days each week with the fine folks on the Temescal Masters team.

    The Swim
    We started from Camp Richardson at 4:45am. The water was in the mid 60's with winds predicted to be in the 8mph range. Things started out perfectly smooth until the sun started coming up - and with it came the winds. Lots of winds. They started out of the east, but quickly spun around from the north, with sustained speeds in the mid-20's and gusts over 30mph.

    At that speed there's not only waves but waves with whitecaps, which made things both exciting and frustrating. The winds died down for a bit around mid-day and there was even a delightful hour or so with a tailwind. They picked back up in the afternoon and stayed up for several hours. For a while there, I was only able to make forward progress by swimming two feet off of the pontoon boat which was positioned to block the wind coming from the NNW.

    Around 5ish they died down when we were about a mile from the opening to Crystal Bay, giving me the hope that the fabled southerly evening winds would come and blow me the last few miles into Incline Village.

    Instead, a new round of 20+ mph winds arrived out of the northeast. Putting the boat in front of me wasn't an option since the wind was coming straight down the line. I fought it for the next hour, but given my proximity to the eastern shore, I could not only tell I wasn't making any headway, I could watch myself being blown backwards when I stopped for feedings.

    After sharing some very enthusiastic words with the winds, I decided to call it at the 17 mile mark after 15 hours of swimming. Once on the boat it still took us the better part of an hour to make it the last few miles to the dock at Incline.

    All things considered it was a good swim, my longest to date, and while I could have kept swimming I don't mind losing to Mother Nature (she's got a size advantage). In addition, I've now got four more trained crew members for whatever the next big swim happens to be.

    Tips for Future Swimmers
    If you have an opportunity to team up with folks who have led this swim before - Jamie Patrick or the guys Suzie mentioned from South End - then by all means go for it! It's certainly possible to do it yourself, but having experienced pro's would take a lot of the logistical strain off of you and your crew.

    If you're the DIY sort, then here's some things that might help you on your way.

    Pontoon Boat Rental
    http://tahoeboatrentals.com/
    We used Lake Tahoe Boat Rentals and they were fantastic. They've worked with Jamie before so they know the drill and were nice enough to give us an off-day, swimmer discount. They dropped the boat off for us in the evening at the Incline Village boat launch and had one of their guys come down in the evening to pick up the boat when we were done. Loading and unloading was super easy - the boat can be pulled straight up onto the beach.

    The pontoon boat ran great and the crew was quite happy to discover a privacy shade for taking bathroom breaks (bring your own toilet). There wasn't a GPS or marine radio on ours and we weren't able to get our cigarette lighter attachments to work, so be sure and plan to bring your own guidance, coms, and power.

    Incline Village
    If you're staging a car on the north shore be sure and ask the parking attendants near the boat launch where to leave them so they don't get towed. On their recommendation we left ours one block north of the launch across from the parking lot.

    Camp Richardson Marina
    http://www.camprichardson.com/the-resort/marina
    We docked the boat for the night at the Camp Richardson Marina because a) it's where the start of the swim was and b) they were the first marina we could find that allow people access to their boats in the early hours of the morning. You should make reservations ahead of time on the off chance that there's some big boating event taking place that weekend.

    Once we arrived with the boat we were able to re-fuel (get there before 6pm), picked up a buoy near the dock, and grabbed a parking pass to leave in our car. There seems to be a paucity of cabs in South Lake, so be sure and figure out how you're going to get from Richardson back to wherever you're staying.

    If you dock at Camp Richardson during business hours they'll have a boat to ferry you out and back to your buoy. If you get there at 3:45am, you'll need to make your own way out to your boat. We used our kayak to get there, but given how low the water is we could have just walked over.

    There's a pair of bathrooms on the east side of the main building that were unlocked and heated, which make for an excellent place to get into swim gear, get covered in desitin / sun screen, do a gut check, etc.

    Kayak Rental
    http://daygoadventures.com/
    You'd think renting a kayak in Tahoe would be a piece of cake. Turns out that most of the places we went to had some restriction or another that didn't work for us - don't allow overnight rentals, don't allow the kayaks to go more than 200 yards from shore, etc.

    We eventually came across Anthony at Day Go Adventures who was awesome in several ways. First, they gave us a great rate and were happy to let us take them out overnight. Next, they specialize in Hobie peddle-powered kayaks, which turned out to be fantastic. My kayaker was initially appalled at the idea, but after spending 15 hours on one in rough water she was sold (literally, she bought one last week). Finally, Anthony picked up the kayaks from our place in South Lake the day after the swim. One less thing to do after a very long day!

    As an added bonus: from under the water, the peddle drives make it look like you're being followed by a happy little dolphin - a surprisingly soothing experience when you're swimming as fast as you can to not go backwards.

    House Rental
    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6121364
    We stayed on the South Shore in a 4 bedroom place we found on AirBNB. It worked out great and the folks who own it were very helpful.

    Emergency Map
    I put together a map of various emergency rooms and exit points. You'll want to double check that the locations and numbers are accurate before you use it.

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=z5MCEz8pJu8I.kZsPTFOrwUG8

    Tahoe Buoy Data
    http://laketahoe.jpl.nasa.gov/field-data/tahoerawdatagrph
    As mentioned above (thanks @oxo), NASA maintains a set of buoys in the lake that continually monitor a bunch of different weather conditions. They've made the data searchable online, which can be super useful to see exactly what the weather was doing before, during and after your swim.

    A few notes:
    * Select the TB2 buoy only, selecting the other buoys causes an error. TB2's NNE of the middle of the lake
    * Select English units if you'd like your results in American-friendly format
    * The wind-direction graph is great
    * The results are in UTC, so subtract 7 to get local Tahoe time

    You know you're doing it right when you can see why July 28th was a bad day to be swimming south to north.

    Finally: Drink Water!
    Between the altitude and the drought, Tahoe is DRY! I came in a few days early to acclimate and the morning after I got into town I woke up completely parched. The day before the swim I was downing Gatorade by the gallon just to keep from feeling dried out. It worked, and by the morning of the swim I was feeling fine.

    Hope this helps, stay safe out there, enjoy the ultra-blue water, and have fun!

    evmossthomasIronMikeJenA
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