Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Headed up the Buttermilk Road to see what I could see. Could drive a fair bit past the Horton Creek turnoff. A 15 minute skin got me to the big creek crossing and 45+ minutes got me to the regular parking area.

Mt Tom early.

Just past the creek crossing looking at the peaks. Mt Locke left with Wahoo Gully splitting the cliffs, Mt Humphreys back center right, and Peaklet just right of Humphreys.

 Ended up heading into Wahoo.

Amazing place!

The views from the top of the chute were not real encouraging. Still bony.

Plenty of snow in the chute though.

Mixture of breakable crust, supportable crust, and wind eroded soft snow. Skiing was pretty good. Had to have a keen eye for the soft snow and where it changed to not soft snow. Gorilla skied a lot of it!

The view back.

It's a classic for a reason!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mammoth Crest Again

Steve, Anne S. and I ventured up into the Mammoth Lakes Basin heading back to where Steve and I skied two weeks ago (click here).

After yesterday's deep snow I was a little reluctant to head back too far, but the skinning proved to be surprisingly easy.

Anne and I admire the views.

Anne skins up towards our turnaround point.

Steve makes the first turns of the day. A bit chunky with wind affect, but skied pretty well.

Powdery down lower.

Headed back up for another and skied a more wind protected aspect.

Real nice skiing on the way out.

Topped the day off with a barleywine at The Rambler.

Good times!

Saw several shallow, but in some cases wide, crowns below rock bands near the crest and touched off a small soft slab in the throat of a short steep chute near treeline. The upper 6" to 8" of storm snow had just enough cohesion and had not yet bonded well to the layer below.

Here's a pic.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Earthquake Dome

After a fun storm day at Mammoth Mountain yesterday Anne P invited Mary and I to join her and her friends Christy and Meredith on a tour up Earthquake Dome. The storm was still in progress but winding down as we took Scenic Loop Road from 395.

Adventure driving! The Suzuki did great. Could of used a little more clearance, but the traction was awesome. 6" to 8" of fresh on the road.

Got the vehicles parked. Took a little doing.

We left the road and were instantly in a wonderful winter scene.

Mary, cruising skin track.

Skies cleared for a bit as we scoped out our first run.

Mary dropping in!

Christy like it!

Anne too!

At the top for the second run. Blue skies, sun, a little wind, and flakes in the air.

Run 2 was even better. Christy slays it.

Mary really got the knack in the deep fluff!

Great zone. Great fun!

Monday, January 18, 2016

June Mountain Backcountry

For several weeks we've enjoyed great skiing but in a fairly limited area. I was feeling the need to explore, find a new zone, while still looking for good skiing.

Last weekend on Whitewing I spied these drainages. The initial intention was to cruise up the treed headwaters of Deadman Creek on the left, but as we approached, the bowl up to the right beckoned.

We were pleasantly surprised to find good snow on the southeast facing slopes approaching the bowl, so we headed up.

We dubbed this rock formation "The Tuning Fork", could also be "Pinchers."

The sun shone intermittently with strong gusty winds on the ridges. Steve near the top with Mono Lake behind.

Looking up to the crest and the white triangle of San Joaquin Mountain.

The first run.

So nice!

Steve drops in for the second run.

The Tuning Fork in full winter glory.

Me dropping in for the third run of the day.

Letting 'em run below The Tuning Fork.

Just an incredible day.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Rock Creek

Steve and I planned on a "training" outing on our rando race gear in preparation for The Grand Traverse. We didn't plan on fresh snow as little if any was forecast. We figured Rock Creek would have less new snow than Mammoth, but we still were breaking trail in 4" to 6" of medium density snow.

The early morning was especially pretty with clouds, color, and snowflakes

Wintery scenes.

The sun broke out as we climbed above Rock Creek Lake.

The runs just south of Half Moon Pass are still mighty thin.

The Hourglass and Mt Dade. Pretty. Pretty bare too.

Ditto for Pointless Peak.

After trudging down the ungroomed road we delighted in the corduroy below the lodge.

Pretty day. Felt a little goofy tromping around on a powder day though.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

McCloud Lake

Met up with my friend Janet for a mid week ski tour today.

A small storm was rolling through. We started out across Twin Lakes with  moderately strong winds and light snow.

Up at McCloud Lake conditions were a bit more intense.

This is the zone we skied. Doesn't look like much, but it provides 500+' runs in sheltered, fun terrain.

Skinning up we could hear the wind roaring in the distance, but largely enjoyed the calm.

The first run was a little funky with a melt/freeze crust, but for the second run we moved over into a different area and found good snow.

The Mammoth Crest was visible off and on.

The third run was pretty sweet too.

Not exactly sweet back at McCloud Lake though! Strong winds and stinging ice pellets prompted a quick exit.

Nice to get out in some weather!
Thanks Janet.