Having driven to Mammoth way too much lately, I decided to try something closer to home. The southeast chute on Basin often fills in nicely and gets a bit of sun. I was hoping for some sun softened windboard or semicorn or...?
This was the view of Basin Mountain from the road end. Not encouraging. A smart person would have decided to do something else. The southeast chute is on the far left.
I skinned up a small gully and found these interesting snow sculptures. They were formed by a coyote (I think) walking on soft snow shortly after it fell. The weight of the animal compressed the snow and made it denser than the surrounding snow. Then the wind blew (from top to bottom), eroding the softer snow around the paw print and forming the tear drop shape behind the print. Amazing!
A frontal view of the chute. I was actually able to skin continuously around to the left and into the chute where I put the skis on the pack and booted up.
I got a pretty good workout booting up the chute encountering a wide variety of snow including supportable windboard, breakable crust, sugary faceted snow, mashed potatoes, and corn. The windboard provided a few turns of nice skiing, but generally the skiing was, uh... interesting!
I was glad I got out, although I did some serious damage to my skis down below the chute. I did confirm what I already suspected: There isn't enough snow here yet!!!