Friday, April 15, 2011

East Side

The past week I headed down to the big mountains of the eastern Sierra to ski some powder with my buddies Oscar and Andrew. We went down Sunday night and got up really early to ski Red Slate Mountain on Monday. We pulled up to the Convict Lake parking lot around 5:30 am and quickly got on our way. The summit of Red Slate is 8 miles and 6,000 vertical feet from the parking area, so we hustled around the lake and started skinning once we hit the snow. There is an incredible amount of snow for this time of year and I can't believe the coverage on pretty much everything. About 6 hours after leaving the car we reached the summit. We skied the north couloir in incredible powder conditions, check out the video below:

That evening we met up with Andrew and headed a little further south to check out a line on the north side of Mt. Tom. I'd eyed this line before from a chute on the opposing side of the valley but I could never tell if it actually went through. Someone posted a photo on the web from the week before opening my eyes to the fact that it was actually a go. We got up earlyish and started hiking around 8 am. We were able to get on snow about 2 feet from the road. The snow down low was firm and the chute we were skiing was relatively steep, so we put our crampons on at the very bottom and kept them on the whole way.
Oscar and I were wiped out after our huge effort the day before so Andrew spent a lot of time up front kicking steps. I shared in the bootpacking duties for a bit and we made it to the ridge, 5,000 vertical feet from the car, in about three and a half hours. The view was incredible and I was stoked to be skiing on Mt. Tom for the first time.
Like the day before the snow conditions were great. The upper 2,000 vertical feet of the chute were good quality powder. In the middle of the chute we had a few hundred feet of challenging snow conditions, and the bottom half of the run was smooth fun corn snow. We skied straight to the cars exchanged numerous high fives and dried out our gear in the sun while we enjoyed some cold beers.
We had plans to ski the following day, but we woke to strong winds and stormy conditions on the ridges. After a couple of great days we decided to head home instead of suffering in the elements. Its gonna be a great spring, and there are so many things down south for me to ski...

1 comment:

  1. This is pure dedication! The climb you had to make on the first day was incredible! No wonder you were tired!

    Always best to play it safe with weather that managed to make its way into the last days of your trip.