Friday, May 7, 2010

Mt. Thomson

After our big day on Whitney and Russell, Oscar and I chose to head up to South Lake to enjoy some good snow conditions. The South Lake area has some of the easiest late spring access in the range, and generally speaking, peaks lower than 14,000 feet have better snow conditions... The lake was frozen solid so we cruised right accross it on our way to ski Mt. Thomson. A little while later and we're right below the awesome north/northeast facing chutes on Mt Gilbert on the left and Mt Thompson on the right. The summit of Mt. Thompson is about 13,400 feet, and the bench we are hiking across is about 12,000. I'd never skied on either of these peaks before, so we headed for the trident(three chutes) on Mt. Thompson. In the photo below I'm skining toward the base of Mt. Thompson, and I am glad to be there. After skinning as far as we could I set a nice bootpack up the mellowest of the three chutes. This bootpack would come in handy once we decided to ski all three chutes that day, the snow was so good we just had to...The first chute I chose to drop in on was the skiers left. The wind had created a funky rock/cornice crux that had to be negotiated to enter from the top. I suppose I could have downclimbed this with my skis off, but I felt the need to spice it up a little. Definitely the most difficult moves I had to make that day.After entering the chute safely, phew..., I enjoyed some of the best snow I've ever experienced in the High Sierra. Top to bottom, great snow, I'm pretty sure I hooted and hollered at least three times during my first run, and second run, and my third run too. After we successfully tracked out the chutes on Mt. Thompson we enjoyed the long run back down to South Lake. The snow was great the whole way.... It was an awesome day in the mountains, and after two 8 hour days in a row I felt the need to take a day of rest...

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