Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spring Skiing in the High Sierra

 Wow. I am always surprised when I realize how long it has been since the last post, this time no exception. Time has just been flying here on the Eastside. The climbing and skiing have been fantastic, and the guiding season has really not slowed down at all, so it has been quite a busy time for me.

The only trips I have been able to take out of the area this winter, since returning from Europe, were professional development courses or exams. Happy to say I am now an AIARE Level 1 Instructor, and a certified AIARE Level 3 Avalanche professional.

Recently, with the amazing spring-like conditions we have been experiencing, Sierra Mountain Center has run some very fun winter mountaineering programs, and the first of several Sierra ski tours. We have been patiently waiting for a good winter to run these tours again, and have found that conditions are great once you arrive at the higher elevations.

A couple weeks ago, Richard and Tony joined me for a great ski from Mammoth Mountain to June Lakes, via the PCT High Trail. Great views of the Ritter Range were had throughout, we had a couple of incredible campsites, one underneath an ancient looking juniper looking south to the Silver Divide, and fine snow conditions. Ending in June also meant that we got to end the trip with a fun run down the Hourglass Couloir in the Negatives.

 After a fun climb up Mini Morrison Peak with a bunch of enthusiastic scouts from La Jolla, SP Parker and I took 4 guests out on another ski tour. Both of us took our guests out of June Lake, up and over San Joaquin Ridge to Thousand Island Lake, where the snowpack is fat and the coverage is good. SP left early on day 3 as his trip was a shorter introductory tour, while I continued on with Andrew and Madeleine to complete the Yosemite High Country Tour.
 This great tour takes you into seldom visted terrain along the Eastern Border of Yosemite National Park. We went over the high passes of Lost Lakes and the Kuna Connection, and had some really good ski runs along the way.
 We ended at Tioga Pass, and skied and walked down the road to our waiting shuttle.

 Now it looks like winter is returning to the Sierra Nevada, with a week or more of forecasted snow in the high country. This means that the skiing up high will continue to be good, so we are looking forward for both personal and guided ski tours to begin again once the weather clears.

All the best! Ryan

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