Monday, April 24, 2017

Springtime in the Snowy Sierra

With the record breaking snowfall that the Sierra Nevada has received this season, it is no wonder that the backcountry skiing has been amazing both in terms of quality and quantity. With such a deep base and low snowline, many Sierra ski lines and touring routes are in such great condition that people have been coming from all around the country to come and see what all the fuss is about.

Camp 2 on the Alpine Col Tour

While most of the ski trips so far this winter have been day trips or hut based ski tours, now that we are getting into the springtime when the days are longer and the snowpack and weather are more stable, I have been spending more time exploring the backcountry on longer tours, and expect that we will be guiding ski tours until the end of May.

Skiing towards Darwin Canyon with the Hermit looming in front of us

Silky corn snow on the East Couloir of Basin Mt.

Piute Crags SE Couloir

From sage to summit

With a calendar full of ski adventures yet to come this spring, including a Trans-Sierra tour and several peak descent trips planned, stay tuned for more! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Canadian Ski Getaway

It should come to no surprise that I have been neglecting to post regularly to the blog, for with this record-setting Sierra snowpack I have hardly spent a day out of ski boots in the recent months. Sure there have been some fun trips out of town, to clip bolts in the limestone Greek paradise of Kalymnos, or to work on the high volcanoes of Mexico, but it really has been all about the skiing.

And shoveling. We are all happy to see spring around the corner, with its warm temperatures and high sun start to melt some of the snow off our house!

 So despite a respite from the storms, and a couple weeks of nice weather forecasted for the Sierra, I made the pilgrimage to Pemberton, British Columbia for some ski touring in the glaciated peaks of the Inland Coast Range.

Known for a relatively stable snowpack and good spring weather, we found a much more engaging set of conditions, with lots of whiteout navigation and very tricky to manage persistent avalanche problems. We had to curtail some of our more aggressive trip plans, but were still able to get high into the alpine and get in some excellent skiing.

The Duffey Lakes zone is an incredibly featured area with easy access and huge objectives, and is surely a place to come back to, though for now I am back home in the Sierra, with at least another 40 days in my ski boots during the months of April and May for work and maybe even a couple more out there for fun!