Tuesday, January 25, 2022

North Lake Corn Again

 Yesterday I had an early morning appointment, so I was looking for a quick tour close to home. North Lake fit the bill.

 Pretty similar to about a thousand pics I've take before. I changed it up by throwing a little grass in. Hard to tell but yes, that tan stuff in the foreground is grass.

Traveled through a peaceful Aspen grove on the way up.

Not so peaceful here. Shoulda brought a chainsaw! Fortunately I did not have to descend this.

The upper stretches of the drainage provided easy skinning up and good skiing down.

I easily topped out without needing boot or ski crampons. Looking up to the summit of Bishop Bowl.

Views to the NE with my hometown right center.

Looking south up the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek to the Sierra Crest

Looks funky. Skied well.

Repeat. Looks funky. Skied well.

 Corns is where it's at.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Wheeler Crest Again

 I very much enjoyed my tour last Monday at the northern end of Wheeler Crest, so I went to the well again yesterday.

I skinned up to a zone a little west of last week's tour. Wind affected.

I skinned up this broad drainage.

Made it to the top of the crest this time. Very sweet views up there. Rock Creek.

Long Valley


I found some nice faceted snow to ski here and there, but for the most part it was decidedly subpar skiing.

Awesome tour if not awesome turns!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

North Lake Corn

 With high winds forecast for the next couple of days I figured I'd squeeze in one more tour. For this outing I went looking for south facing corn snow above North Lake.

 Literally standing on North Lake, three options presented. I've been up the left one several times, the right line once, but have never skied the middle "S" shaped line, so I chose that one.

Wind sculpted snow and smooth ice on North Lake.

The Sierra Mountain Center runs classes out of this yurt, but I do not believe it's available for private rental. Might be worth a call if anyone is interested though. It's a cool location.

Lousy pic of the run, but it shows what conditions were like. I descended at 11:30 which seemed about right. Fun skiing top to bottom.

 I used boot crampons and a whippet for the ascent. It doesn't look steep, but angles tilted upward into the high 30 degrees.

Many of the neighboring south facing runs held smooth windboard which could be provide decent skiing too. Pretty firm though.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Hammil Bowl

 I hadn't been up in the Mammoth Lakes Basin since the big storm cycle over Christmas. I figured I'd head up and see what conditions are like.

 I always enjoy an easy early morning cruise over Lake Mary.

The sheltered trees along Lake Mary Ridge held nice faceted soft snow, but higher the wind had had it's ways. I continued along a high ridge with swell views of the Hammil area (left) and the TJ area (right).

I settled for a "walk with skis on" kind of outing. Entering the Hammil Bowl arena.

I donned ski crampons and switchbacked up the west edge of the bowl.

The sculpted snow on the left slope skied well and the firm windboard was ok too.

The best skiing was in the trees off Lake Mary Ridge. Fun facets for sure.

Not much to get excited about above treeline, but glad I ventured up there.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Wheeler Crest

 I almost didn't rally this morning since I felt pretty beat up from yesterday's tour. I figured I'd take the lightweight gear out and explore the open expanses southeast of Tom's Place.

High clouds provided nice diffuse morning light.

Travel through the open terrain went quickly and I soon found myself climbing one of several chutes at the north end of Wheeler Crest.

The very upper part of the chute was firm windboard so I continued up in the trees to the west, turning around at this gnarled old tree. Nice spot to have a bite and transition.

Skiing the sculpted facets here proved to be a lot of fun!

Looking back up at the end of the run.

 This is an area I've been meaning to check out for a very long time. Sure glad I rallied!

Tyee Cirque

 Earlier this week I headed up the South Fork of Bishop Creek to have a look.

The winds during the big storm redistributed the snow so that some areas are thin, or even bare, while others are remarkably filled in - like this chute. Likely quite firm but will be good to go if we ever get a refresh.

Ice and snow bridges on Bishop Creek are easy to find.

I headed up into the cirque just north of the Tyee drainage and found good snow in the open glades.

Yesterday I revisited the zone, hoping to push higher.

Ski crampons were most useful!

Down canyon views.

This southeast facing shot was warming in the sun, so I skinned over to check it out.

Most of the run consisted of softening windboard - which was still quite firm. I should have had boot crampons and an ice axe. I made it about 2/3s of the way up before turning around, finding good skiing.

Across canyon view to the Parchers slope (large open area in center) and the Brown Lake zone.

I hunted around in the upper cirque looking for good cold snow with mixed results. The wind had been just too fierce up there. I did manage to have a little fun nonetheless.

 Sweet zone!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Lamarck Area

 Yesterday I parked in Aspendell and poked around above North Lake. I wanted to see what the effect of all the wind had here.

Fool's Ridge left. Wound up skiing the open slopes half way up the ridge which actually provided pretty good skiing. Smooth windboard and faceted powder were found.

This chute on the eastern end of the Paiute Crags should "corn" up soon. Might be worth a try.

This snow bridge collapsed on the way out. Didn't get wet thankfully!

Today I elected to head up towards Lamarck Col. Early light on Fool's Ridge.

Cruised by Grass Lake. Always holds fine views of the Paiute Crags (red) and Mt Emerson (grey).

Turned around here. Just didn't feel like post holing through this rubble field.

Down canyon views.

Found a sunny spot (It was cold!) to have a snack and regroup.

Fun skiing on this smooth windboard.

Scoped the map, scouted around, and eventually found a good route to Upper Lamarck Lake.

A short run then brought me to Lower Lamarck Lake.

 A bit of fair to poor skiing in the woods got me back down to North Lake.

Not the best skiing, but a fantastic tour nonetheless.