Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skiing 12/18 & 12/20

It is time for backcountry ski touring at last! The last big storm has given us enough coverage to warrant exploring the wild snow.

Friday, 12/18, I headed out to White Wing, between Mammoth and June Lake. I started at Deadman's summit on Highway 395 and headed in on the groomed XC trails.

Here's a pic of White Wing from the northeast. I traveled around the left, across the sunny slope, up to the summit and down the shady north slope on the right.
From a distance these slopes looked to hold nice powder.
This creek crossing over a shallow snow bridge was definitely the scariest part of the tour.
The "powder" slopes actually held wind affected snow, with plenty of unpleasant breakable crust.
Nevertheless, the views were fine. Here's Chicken Wing (peak left of center), the Mono Craters (low hills right of center) and Mono Lake (distant just below skyline).
This is a view south towards Bloody Peak (left skyline) with animal tracks in the snow.
Yep, twas very wind affected!
A distant view of the Negatives near June Mtn ski area.
The Long Valley Caldera with the White Mountains in the distance.
I enjoyed the lunar landscape up near the summit too.
The skiing down the north face was better than expected on supportable wind board, although I did run into some breakable crust near the bottom. The truly good snow was in the trees near Chicken Wing - velvety powder.

It was wonderful to get out on skis.

Sunday I hooked up with my partner Steve at Convict Lake and headed up a small peak called Mini Morrison owing to its proximity to the larger, impressive Mt. Morrison.

The lower slopes were brushy, with just enough snow to allow ski travel.
We wound our way up towards Old Man's Bowl.
The views from the summit were fine. This pic is looking northwest towards Mt. Wood (large snow slope right of center).
Across the canyon is Mt. Laurel with the astounding Pinner Couloir spilling from its summit.
Steve was kind enough to take a picture of me at the summit with Mt. Morrison behind.
I returned the favor.
The powder in Old Man's Bowl was real nice. I didn't get too many action shots, I was too busy smiling. Here's Steve on the low angle exit from the bowl.
Steve completes the last few feet of the tour with Mini Morrison rising behind him.
We had a super satisfying tour. It was great to get into the mountains, make some turns in good snow, and spend some QT with Steve.

1 comment:

Melissa Place said...

Awesome pictures, Scott. I love getting to see where you guys go on your ski days---fun to see pictures of Stephen in action and show the girls. It looked beautiful.