Thursday, February 8, 2018

Carson Pass Ski Touring

My High School buddy Alan moved to the Lake Tahoe area last year. Although an avid alpine and cross country skier, he hadn't done much touring. This year he bought the gear, took an avi class and, of course, it hasn't snowed much at all!

He invited me up for some exploring around Carson Pass. Figured it couldn't be much worse than what we have down here, plus I knew it would be fun to hang out, so I headed up.

The first day we elected to check out the north side of Red Lake Peak. We started by hiking up the road to Crater Lake - which turned out to be driveable. Would have saved about 15 minutes of hiking, but not much more. 

Almost to Crater Lake we got our first good views of the skiing terrain off the peak.

The southeast facing slopes above the lake were likely corning up nicely but we elected to try for winter snow on the north slopes.

There had been lots of traffic on the skin track which made it quite firm, but one could usually find some purchase to the side.

Sweet tracks on a sub peak just south.

Distant views of the Sweetwater Range.

Looking down into the depressingly dry Hope Valley.

There were lots of tracks but the snow quality was good
 
and got better as we descended.

Found this delightful, relatively untracked glade just above the lake. Sweet!

The next day we chose to tour right from Carson Pass which was a bit of a scene with plenty of skiers and snowshoers.

After a bit of rolling skinning through the forest the views of Round Top Peak (left) and The Sisters (right) opened up. We wound our way round to the saddle in the center.

A view back to Winnemucca Lake and Elephants Back.

The Crescent Couloir on Round Top Peak.

Alan gains elevation with Caples Lake down below.

We skied this nice bowl among the Sisters. Wind packed but fun.

Up on the saddle we enjoyed a snack, the views

and a cool Ermine sighting.

Nice to get a glimpse of Lake Tahoe too.

Alan drops in!

We had a smorgasbord of snow including wind buff, settled powder, and corn lower down, but very little breakable crust and no mank. Good fun!

Really enjoyed the skiing, exploring a whole new area and hanging out with Alan and his wife Tree. I'll be back!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Mammoth Lakes Basin Ski

I toured out of the Mammoth Lakes Basin today. Headed up to Emerald Lake and then higher into a nice sheltered tree zone.

Emerald Lake with Mammoth Mountain behind.

The Ship's Prow area. Filling in.

Hammill Chute looks good to go coverage wise.

Looking back from near my high point.

Nice views.

Very tempting, but flying solo so I passed.

The skiing in the trees was good where neither the sun nor the wind had stricken it.

The snow was just inconsistent enough to keep me from opening it up, but was still better than I expected. Soft & fast for the most part.

Made it down to Lake Mary Road just in time to catch the start of this High School XC race. Cool!

Still real thin and icy/mornings slushy/afternoons below 9000'.

Monday, January 29, 2018

June Lake Ski Camp Out

I focused on cycling for a few weeks after Christmas with cyclocross nationals capping off the season and, after spending a week getting projects done around the house, turned my attention to skiing.

With a cold, moderate sized storm forecast to move in I headed up near June Lake and found a nice camp spot.

Fortunately, the storm rolled in as advertised.

Pretty morning view from camp with Carson Peak left and Ritter/Banner back right.

I enjoyed an exceptional powder day at June Mountain Thursday.  Friday Mary came up and we had great fun finding left over powder and carving corduroy.

Nice sunrise views from camp Saturday morning. Ritter/Banner again.

Mt Wood and Mt Lewis also from camp.

Took the lifts up to the top of June Mountain Saturday and then made my way over to White Wing. I lucked out as a solo splitboarder had been up the previous day. No trailbreaking for me and only one set of tracks, perfect!

The view back towards San Joaquin Mountain (white peak back left) and the Negatives (right).

The high point of White Wing.

Zoom shot to Mammoth.

The skiing was superb. Took two in here.

The not so superb bush whack back to June.

Real nice afternoon back at camp.

Ritter/Banner played peak a boo late in the day.

Sunday Ben & Ann and I headed up to Virginia Lakes for a tour. Opted to skip the popular roadside attractions and headed back towards the pass. Looking back.


We attained the ridge looking down into the upper reaches of Green Creek with Summit Lake below and Virginia Peak center.

Ann & Ben traverse around towards our first run of the day.

A bit brisk up there with a steady wind.

Olive jumps in!

Olive and Ann with first tracks. Skiing was ok. Found it to be a bit wind affected. Fun when you stayed on top. Not so much when it was breakable. A little powder here and there though.

Next we headed to a shady slope hoping for a little better skiing.


It was a little better.

Looking back to our first run.

On the way out Ann took us up on the northeast shoulder of Black Mountain.

To the top of this fine run.

Decent snow in there. Wind affected in spots but improving as we descended.

So nice to get up in the mountains.
Ski season has begun. Now we just need more snow!