Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last week in the High Sierra

Last week the weather finally broke for long enough to get out an a long tour in the eastern Sierra. The weather window was only a couple of days and with work I only managed to head down south for a day and a night. That being said, our one day tour was big enough to tide me over for several days...
We headed down to Bridgeport, CA on the night of the 11th and crashed at our friend Tina's house. We got up and had a casual morning while we juggled our options for local ski tours. We decided on skiing the north couloir of Twin Peaks out of Twin Lakes. It seemed like a reasonable objective with options for extra shredding if we wanted. We blasted up to the bottom of Twin Peaks and completely changed our minds and headed much deeper into the range on a mega-tour. The photo above is of the east face of Virginia Peak, one of our objectives for the day, that's 2,000 vert...
Glen, Oscar, Andrew, Tina, Mark, and myself walked up the Horse Creek drainage and up to Burro Pass, between the Matterhorn and Twin Peaks. We crossed over onto the western slope of the Sierra briefly as we traversed to the west side of Virginia Peak, an obscure and rarely skied peak. We scrambled up some rock and wrapped around to the east slope of the peak and bootpacked up the slope to the summit. We reveled in the view and beauty of the day on this narrow fin of rock in the middle of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
After a brief rest we dropped in on one of the steepest skiable slopes in the Sierra, for a couple turns at least... Other than a bit of loose wet snow sloughing down the slope the skiing was better than expected. Fun steep turns on a mountain that none of had skied before, not even Glen!
After skiing the east slope of Virginia Peak we weighed our options and decided to head back to Twin Lakes via the Cattle Creek Col, only a couple miles and few thousand vertical feet away. What's a couple miles and thousand vert when you're already on the biggest ski tour of the season anyway?
A little while later we found ourselves atop the Cattle Creek headwall between Twin Peaks and Monument Peak. Luckily there was great north facing chute for us to ski that was full of, you guessed it, powder!!! And only 5,000 vertical feet back to the car. We all enjoyed the heck out of the run and despite our tired legs everyone ripped the shit out of it.
After a couple miles of downhill skiing we found ourselves back to the cars at the shore of Twin Lakes with ice cold beers and really big smiles. 17 miles and 8,000 vertical feet, not too bad for a bunch of out of shape tahoe skiers. It was great to check a couple cool new lines off our lists and another great day to spend in the mountains with friends...

1 comment:

  1. Amazing 17 miles of hiking! Amazing two 4,000 foot vertical climb! Amazing day in the high country doing what you love doing!