Friday, April 22, 2011

Catchin' Up

Last weekend a big group of us headed over to the west side of the Sierra for some incredible road riding.

Slept in these things at Indian Grinding Rock State Park.
Big Oaks!
Did another before work jaunt up Onion Valley way.

Mt. Gould
University Peak
Nice Bowl
Hooked up with Nemo to try out the sharp objects (crampons & ice axe) in the South Fork of Bishop Creek.
Found some very fine skiing too.
Been hustling to get work done, accounting square and arrangements make 'cause....


Check back in a couple of weeks for the report.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mammoth Crest

Last Thursday into Friday we were blessed with a very cold spring storm which left between one and two feet of excellent snow at the upper elevations of the Mammoth Crest.

Feeling ambitious, we decided to ski Hammil Chute - one of the more aesthetic lines in the area.
Anne breaks trail up Hammil bowl where we attained the crest.
Steve performed the booting duties the last 200' or so.
A short hike/wallow along the crest brought us to the entrance to the chute.
The snow in the upper half of the chute was wind sculpted, firm, but edgeable. The uppermost section required a little steep side slipping.
Better skiing was found lower down.
And incredible skiing was found out on the lower slopes above Hammil Lake.
The skiing there was so good, we headed back up and took another run - just as the weather turned.
Phenomenal stuff!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Onion Valley

Today I had little left in the tank after two solid days of touring, but I rallied to meet my coworker Brian for a dawn ski up in Onion Valley.
We headed back towards Kearsarge Pass and then veered right up some nice south facing slopes.
The snow got a bit steep and firm for skinning so we booted the last 500' or so.
Brian took this group photo at our high point.
Amazing, sheer granite terrain with University Peak on the right.
We found good corn snow most of the way down with an occasional patch of heavy, new snow that had not yet cooked down.
Nice way to start the work day!

Hilton Lakes Area 2

I had such a fantastic day Saturday I decided to head back to the same area Sunday. This time I was joined by Nemo and Steve.

A quick moving storm came through overnight leaving brisk air which was good for the snowpack after the last several days of very warm temps.

We headed to the next valley west of yesterday's route, up around the North face of Mt Huntington.
That north face holds this beautiful, steep chute.Looking over the maps the night before I noticed a peak with a broad south east facing bowl tucked back on the Sierra Crest. When it finally came into view we made it our destination.
After skinning up the majority of the slope Nemo was pooped, but Steve set about booting to the summit at an impressive pace.

Celebration was definitely in order.
This is the view to the northwest with Red Slate Mountain back left and Mt Stanford mid field right.
Steve admires the peaks to our south including the Bear Creek Spire area (dark right), Mt Gabb (far right).
Basically the same shot with Steve on skis about to drop into the huge bowl.
Zooming out of the canyon with our descent slope far right.
This was the best view of the peak from our approach.
I joked around with the guys on the way in, telling them this was the best Sierra ski peak that no one knows about, which of course was a bit of a stretch.

One of many incredible Sierra ski peaks that very few know about would be a more appropriate.

Whatever you want to call it, we sure enjoyed spending the day on its slopes and reaching its summit.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hilton Lakes Ski

This Saturday I skied with my friends Anne and Brian in the upper Hilton Lakes area near Rock Creek. We were greeted with great High Sierra scenery, balmy temperatures and strong winds.

We were astounded by the size of this avalanche crown near the head of the drainage.
Anne and Brian cruise up towards our eventual destination which is up and right at the shallow saddle.
Brian enjoying the incredible views from the top.
And enjoying some fine skiing.
Anne got in the groove too
The snow was just a touch softer than ideal, but we were not complaining,
Looking back up the drainage on the way out.
We had to contend with some fairly overcooked mush on the way out, but it wasn't miserable enough to dampen our spirits one bit.

That was a super day!