Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mt Alice

The broad upper reaches of the valley.

Summit views south to The Thumb.

Summit views to Mts Winchell and Aggasiz

Corn's ready!
Softened wind board too.
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Basin Apron

Yesterday, Friday 3/7, my friend Annie and an aquaintance of her's, Mike, headed up to the Apron of Basin. Since we were looking for spring corn snow, we headed around to more south facing slopes. In the picture below the slope we skied is to the left of a grove of large trees at lower midslope. There was an incredible amount of snow on these huge sage expanses. We had to start skiing at the Buttermilk Boulders, but we had fun skiing all the way back to the car.

We had full spring skiing conditions. Blue skies, tee shirts, and good snow were in abundance!

Here's Annie and Mike enjoying the huge expanses.

This is me hamming it up for the camera.

It was a lot of fun hanging out with Annie and Mike.
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Back to Tuttle Creek

Thursday, 3/6 I headed back up Tuttle Creek intending to explore a small chute I had seen the day before. The chute doglegged. The bottom section held mostly sun affected snow varying from a very firm, almost icey surface to a thin, punchy sun crust Here's the bottom section:

Here's the upper section. I made it up to the highest tree in the chute. The snow here was more winter like. I found an inch or two of soft snow on top of a firm base of wind board or avi debris. In real sheltered spots I found six or eight inches of nice soft snow.

The South Face of Lone Pine Peak at first light:

The early morning views of Owens Valley:

All in all the skiing wasn't too great, but the scenery was fine and I enjoyed checking out this shot. With a bit more coverage it would probably go all the way to the top pretty easily and with a few inches of powder would be grand fun!
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Recon in Tuttle Creek

After a somewhat lazy weekend, I'm back into my routine: A dawn ski outing then off to work.
This week I decided to check out the Tuttle Creek area. Snow drifts cross the road about a half mile below the trailhead, although they are discontinuous. I followed the road to the trailhead and continued on the summer trail. The going was rough due to firm snow and lots of "postholes" from previous hikers.
Eventually I noticed tracks heading away from the trail to the south. Since there were both up and down tracks I figured "these guys know where they're going" although the route seemed improbable. It WAS improbable and nearly impossible! They somehow busted through Mahoganey and steep terrain down to the South Fork, but I decided to call it good. Here are the views from my turn around point up the South Fork towards Mt. Langley.

I also had good views of the grand wall that is the South Face of Lone Pine Peak.

I spied an interesting chute (sorry no pics) that I'll try tomorrow. It is just beyond the trailhead a bit. I'll let you know how it went.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lone Pine Skiing!

Enough about my job, lets talk skiing!

Last week I got in a little routine of getting up at 4:30 and heading out for short ski tours above Lone Pine. I loved these dawn patrols. The morning light is always beautiful and starting in the dark with a headlamp added to the sense of adventure.

I was camped at Lone Pine Campground and made the short drive to snow on the Whitney Portal Road. After twenty minutes or so of skiing on the road I reached the hairpin turn and entered a broad gully to the north I call Hairpin Canyon although it probably has another local name.

The main canyon is wide and moderate:

Once you enter the canyon, several small, north facing drainages feed down from the ridge south of the canyon. This is the first run you get to when you enter the canyon. The first color was lighting the high clouds nicely. I skied this Wednesday 2/27.

The morning light on the fan provides a nice texture. You can see this run has a nice pitch to it.

I topped out on the ridge and enjoyed the views to Lone Pike Peak.

On Friday I found this little gem. It's the second major drainage in the canyon.

The snow in these sheltered gullies was soft, faceted snow with perhaps a little graupel and provided some real fun skiing! The snow in the main canyon was smooth frozen corn which was pleasant skiing in its own right. I had a great time skiing these shots!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I took a few pictures of my sites and instruments as I did my daily site visits.

This is a picture of the Shell Cut air monitoring station with my district vehicle in front. On top of the tower are the meteorological instruments while the shelter houses the PM-10 (Particulate Matter less than ten microns, i.e. dust) monitoring instrument along with the datalogger.

The meteorological instrument known as an anemometer measures wind speed and direction. It's the propeller and vain deal on top of the tower. There is a temperature probe up there too.

PM-10 is measured with an instrument called the TEOM (Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance). Air is pulled through the inlet which sorts out the particles larger than ten microns and then down through a small filter which oscillates with a specific amount of energy. The frequency of the oscillation diminishes as the filter loads with PM-10 and the change in frequency is used to determine the mass accumulated on the filter. Here's a picture of the inlet.

The site is named Shell Cut becaue there is a small wash nearby which cuts through a soil layer thick with shells. Here's a couple of pics.

That's all for today. Talk to you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Job

I thought I would take some time to let you know what my job is all about.

I work at Owens Lake. This large, saline lake dried up in the early 1900s as a result of water diversions to the City of Los Angeles. The exposed lake surface has been the source of huge dust storms ever since. I work for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (a real mouthful!) which monitors the air quality at Owens Lake and directs the City of L.A.'s dust mitigation efforts. Here's a link to Great Basin's website

My job is to maintain air monitoring and meteorological equipment at four sites near the historic shoreline of Owens Lake. My sites are Dirty Socks, Shell Cut, Flat Rock, and Lizard Tail (not yet on the website). Most of the time the instruments run trouble free, but require frequent maintenance and calibration.

Tomorrow I will post some pics and talk a little more about the instruments.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Don't know where this will go or how well I'll keep up, but I thought it would be a nice way for my family, friends, and detractors to keep up with my doings.