Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mammoth Backcountry Weekend

I spent the weekend up in Mammoth where on Friday night we received about 2" of new snow in town. The ski area reported 4" which seemed about right.

The small storm was slow to clear, so we enjoyed intermittent sun, clouds, and light snow.

The light was was nice. This is Lake Mary.
We once again skied in the Mammoth Lakes basin out of Tamarack Lodge. We wound our way above TJ Lake to the glades we skied two weeks ago. The new snow was not quite enough to prevent us from feeling the crust beneath, but the skiing wasn't bad. Further down, in the deeper forest, the skiing was fine. This is Anne skiing the upper glades.
We hopped back on the skin track and headed higher onto the broad slopes above TJ bowl. This is Anne and Stewart breaking trail while I hung back and took pics (someone had to do it!).
We enjoyed fine views, including this one over the Sherwins to the Long Valley Caldera and the Glass Mountains.
The snow was a little deeper up high providing smiles all around.

Here Stewart enters the top of TJ Bowl.
And Anne puts the finishing touches on our work.
We were all pleasantly surprised the small amount of new snow provided such enjoyable skiing. It was great to catch up with my old friend Stewart too.

Sunday Anne and I figured we may as well use the skin track we worked so hard to put in the day before.

The clear, calm night made for cold cold temps this morning especially on the lakes where I bet it was down close to zero degrees F.

The hoar frost on these willows captivated us for a few minutes.
This time we headed up and lookers left on the broad slopes above TJ Bowl. We found great snow on this narrow little band.
We then jumped over a short ridge into the Hammil Bowl area taking the long upward traverse to Hammil Cirque.
Anne in the Cirque aiming for the short, steep chute in the center.
Skinning was tedious at times when the new snow wasn't deep enough to prevent the skis from sliding out beneath you. The grand scenery helped keep the frustration level low however.
Anne has been nursing an achy lower back, so she wasn't too keen on skiing the steep chute. She WAS keen on making it to the top though and kindly booted up ahead of me.

Anne climbing into the sky!
A whole new view opens up at the windswept crest.
Big kudos to Anne for taking these pics of me entering and skiing the chute. Thanks Anne!
The first couple turns were steep, deep, and fun fun fun!
Looking back at the cirque and the chute.
The skiing was quite enjoyable up high in the cirque, but lower down we again encountered the crust beneath the new snow until we got into the deeper forest.

Another richly satisfying day on the planks!
Thanks for joining me Anne.

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