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.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

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!
Posted by Picasa

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