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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
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| |-+  April 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 27,2009 Gaylor Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
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Author Topic: April 27,2009 Gaylor Peak,Tioga Pass Opener  (Read 3857 times)

Posts: 2428

April 27,2009 Gaylor Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
« on: 04/28/09, 10:57 AM »

There were rumors that Tioga Pass would open on Monday, April 27, but the Caltran recording was still indicating it was closed.  Bryan and Carol arrived at the gate before us and learned that it would open sometime later that day.  So they headed for another tour that required extensive Dirt Distances (DD).  They are highly accomplished DD ski tourers; while Jill and I are more accustomed to beginning a tour at snow level and skinning from the campervan.  So after we scouted their tour trailhead of dirt and scrub brush, we immediately headed for Tioga Pass while they proceeded up the dirt trail. 

We arrived at the locked gate for Tioga Pass and there were no skiers around.  We walked over to the Caltran guys who were loading a front loader on a trailer and inquired about an opening time.  I guess we looked rather humorous - a couple of old skiers in our long underwear and Jill wearing her large unloader knee brace.  The supervisor just smiled and said “just hang around another 20 minutes and we’ll open the gate as soon as we get all of the heavy equipment down”.  This is the second year that we’ve been the first vehicle up Tioga Pass when the road opened for the season.  It’s like being first on a chair on a powder day and you keep looking over your shoulder to see if there’s anyone coming up behind you to “steal your line”.   My plan was to lay down first tracks in Ellery Bowl for all followers to admire.  But noooooo way.  When we arrived at the dam below Ellery Bowl the wind was ripping and the bowl was wind scoured.  Plan B – we needed a slope protected from the wind.  We passed the Tioga Pass Resort and the crew was digging out the cabins.  Still no other skiers.  We drove to the end of the plowed road at the entrance to Yosemite, and then returned to the base of Gaylor Peak at about 9,600’.  The east facing gully seemed wind protected as it snaked down from the summit.  Ridge top winds on the Sierra Crest were forecasted for 75 mph and the spindrift at Mt. Dana confirmed that possibility.  We skinned up Gaylord and stopped on a lower bench seeing the upper peak had lots of spindrift blowing around.  From our turn point, we looked around and realized we were the only skiers in the Tioga Lake area. There was glistening sun with wind plumes of snow and clouds racing easterly at a fast clip.

The area received 3-6” of new snow a couple of days earlier and the northeasterly aspect we skied had unconsolidated snow.  OK but not worth doing a second run on that aspect. On our next run we moved over to a southwesterly aspect and that’s where the barking started.  Perfect Sierra corn!  Spring skiing in The Sierra on corn is  Cool Cool Cool…  As we returned to the camper we noticed a few vehicles arriving and they were either tourists taking pictures of the snow or trout fisher folks.  It’s unusual to be the only skiers in such a special place!  The weather forecast is for more winds and afternoon sun. 

* Gaylord_Zap.jpg (194.83 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 1124 times.)

* Gaylord_Twin_Tracks.jpg (191.43 KB, 983x1310 - viewed 1067 times.)

* Gaylord_Corn.jpg (192.49 KB, 686x1555 - viewed 1072 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/29/09, 06:37 PM by Zap » Logged

Posts: 191

Re: April 27,2009 Gaylord Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
« Reply #1 on: 04/28/09, 12:12 PM »

OMG zap ... you guys are having just way too much fun ... thx for the pix -- awesome  Smiley

Posts: 2434

Re: April 27,2009 Gaylord Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
« Reply #2 on: 04/28/09, 03:50 PM »

BEAUTIFUL!  Man... I've got to get down there.  I love the craggy granite and paths of snow.
Pete A

Posts: 851

Re: April 27,2009 Gaylord Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
« Reply #3 on: 04/28/09, 04:23 PM »

zap....all your posts of the Sierras are killing me! ...i'm working San Fran right now and its painful enough not having my surfboard down here...and when I look at your TR's it makes me wish I had my skis down here too   Grin

i gotta go skiing on the east side of the sierras one of these days, it looks amazing!

Posts: 101

Re: April 27,2009 Gaylord Peak,Tioga Pass Opener
« Reply #4 on: 04/29/09, 04:06 PM »

      that's actually called Gaylor Pk. ,  and there are the Gaylor Lakes, with its summer trail.  it's a good and easy ski around that side of the road.
      do you know about the run down to the ice climbing area - the Pumphouse. you need to do a car shuttle, and head up Ellery to the next run to the East on the Plateau.
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