Made a quick trip up to the east side over the weekend. Skied the ever-popular Dana Couloir (also a popular alpine ice climb in the late summer months). Slept Friday night at the turn-out just east of the Yosemite pay-gate at Tioga Pass. Got moving Saturday morning about 8:30am.
If you're a lollygagger like me, the climb takes about 4 hours. The snow is getting patchy on the west slope of the mountain, so I spent a lot of the climb boot-packing. Stopped along the way to peer into the Solstice Couloir with a group I met on the way up.
The top of Solstice was guarded by a sizeable cornice, part of which broke free and tumbled down the couloir as we watched. So... we opted against it. We headed up to the summit, had some lunch, then stepped into the skis.
You can still ski directly off the summit. It was an overcast day and still pretty cool out, so I was worried that the snow would be too firm. But somehow it was just about perfect. Below the couloir it was pretty gloppy. And since the snow below the glacier had melted out quite a bit, the way out of the canyon was a real pain. Had to pop the skis on and off a dozen times to cross talus heaps.
Tons of fun, but if you're gonna go, go now!! Oh, and note to future self: don't ever again, under any circumstances, drive through Yosemite Valley on Memorial Day weekend. Like Manhattan rush hour down there.
Here's the crew checking out the Solstice Couloir:
You can just barely pick out two skiers making their way down the couloir in this photo:
The final snow survey of the season has come and gone and the Department of Water Resources has found that the 08/09 snowpack measures up at 66% of average. That marks the third straight year of below average snow depths.
Hi Mom. Guess what? I've got cerebral edema and I'm freezing to death. How's Dad?
That's right. The summit of Mt. Everest is about to be enveloped in a comforting shroud of cell coverage. So you can take the sat phone off your shopping list. That should knock a thousand bucks off the 50k price tag.
Funny thing is I've gotten so used to cell coverage that I kind of expect it these days even when climbing and skiing. It's ubiquitous in Tahoe. And when I was on Mt. Shasta last weekend I got a call at high camp from a buddy in LA. Then called my gal to say good-night.
I'm not sure if this takes away from the experience or not. Frankly, I think I kinda like it. Is that weird?
A Nepali telecom firm plans to expand its mobile phone services to
the top of Mount Everest, benefitting climbers on the world's highest
mountain, a company official said on Thursday.
Hundreds of climbers, who go to the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) Mount
Everest every year, depend on expensive satellite phones to speak with
their families as the remote Himalayan region does not have
"We are going to set up mobile towers in Thakdin, Manjo, Pheriche
and Gorak Shep, which will bring the summit of Mount Everest within the
network coverage," Anoop Ranjan Bhattarai, director of the satellite
service wing of Nepal Telecom, said.
Just back from an awesome couple of days on Mt. Shasta. This was my third time on the mountain. The weather set up nicely for us (particularly for this time of year), but it was brutal hot mid-day at high camp.
We climbed the trade route, Avalanche Gulch, then skied the broad gully to skiers-left of the Trinity Chutes. It has an exciting mildly-corniced entrance and wide-open terrain where you can lay down turn after turn for a few thousand feet on your way back to high camp.
Most climbers and skiers do what we did, which is to climb to a high camp at Helen Lake (not really a lake, just a flat spot below Avalanche Gulch) then head for the summit with an alpine start the next day. But some choose to do the climb car-to-car.
As we were climbing I noticed a dude gaining on us fast. He had left the parking lot around the same time we left high camp. He then proceeded to cruise right past us and beat us to the summit. So he covered 7000 vertical feet in less time than we could cover 4000. Wow. And he was a really nice dude to boot - a telemarketer from Tahoe named Shane.
We lingered on the summit for a while with Shane. No wind, mild temps. Felt like a picnic. Then we headed down on the skis. Conditions up top were bulletproof, mid-mountain were PERFECT, and down low were sloppy. Love that mountain!!
I may chime in with another video report, but I don't think I got very much good footage this time around. For now, check out a couple of photos below.
My climbing buddy (known in some circles as Peerzat) is flying in from Minneapolis tomorrow morning. We're gonna head up to Shasta for a climb/ski descent. This is one of my favorite ski descents anywhere - 7000 vertical feet of awesomeness from summit to car.
And it looks like some perfect spring conditions may be setting up for us. Hopefully we'll hit the timing right so that every inch of that 7000 feet is corn. Temps are supposed to be in the 70-80s in the town of Mt. Shasta. But you never know on the upper mountain.
The Sierra ski season is coming to an end over the next few weeks. Unless, that is, you're among those who earn their turns and look beyond the lifts and ropes of resorts and into the untracked backcountry. Skiable terrain can always be found straight through June in the Eastern Sierra.
Sierra Nevada ski resorts are beginning to shut down lifts for the
season after what some operators are calling a "very challenging year"
because of the economy's downhill run.
The Boreal, Soda Springs
and Homewood resorts around Lake Tahoe closed on Sunday, a week before
the nearby Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Diamond
Peak ski areas plan to halt operations.
In a message on the
resort's Web site, Alpine Meadows executives acknowledged the economy
is prompting an earlier-than-usual shutdown of their slopes. Last year,
the resort closed May 4.