Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blue Crag Area

After a fine day skiing lifts at Mammoth I was ready for a peaceful tour in the Mammoth backcountry.

I headed up to the Blue Crag area in the Mammoth Lakes Basin primarily for the fine alpine scenery this area serves.

Travel was fast and easy on a frozen rain crust (mid elevations) and wind crust (higher elevations).

This is the view of the Ship's Prow area.
And shortly thereafter the views of the Blue Crag area emerged. The massive block on the left is Blue Crag proper.
One of my favorite runs from last year was here in the "Blue Pinnacles" area.
And the views northwest towards Mammoth Mountain.
I skinned up towards the crest, arriving at a steep rollover where I dug a quick hasty pit. I found a thin wind crust over a spongy, dense layer which sat over granular low density snow. It took a bit of an effort to pull a block out, but the "upside down" or hollow type structure gave me pause, so I turned around.

The turns down required focus and a bit of extra effort, but the snow was consistent and the skiing fun until I reached the mid elevation rain crust.

In the shade the snow was crusty and fast and in the sun the snow was quickly turning to gloppy mush - and this was well before noon! Conservative survival skiing was the order of the day.

Certainly not the best skiing, but the weather and scenery were terrific!

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