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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
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| |-+  April 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 29, Punta Bardini; Mammoth Lakes, California
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Author Topic: April 29, Punta Bardini; Mammoth Lakes, California  (Read 1510 times)

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April 29, Punta Bardini; Mammoth Lakes, California
« on: 04/29/10, 08:44 PM »

After finding silky (and wind affected) snow above 9000 feet in Lundy Canyon, we determined it wise to ski a little higher, but maybe more protected.  We stopped in Mammoth mainly to visit the mountaineering shop, and ended up in the midst of a raging afternoon snowstorm.  That pretty much cinched it—we'd ski in Mammoth the next day.

We decided on poking around some alluring-sounding north-facing slopes in the Sherwins, coming off of Punta Bardini.  We skinned from the end of Sherwin Canyon road across a windblasted sageflat, unsure what we'd find up higher.

Some subpar route finding later, we found a jeep road with a skin track on it and after some shenanigans sliding around on the graupel-covered melt-freeze crust, we found the east side of the ridge, where the sun was for once helping sinter the new snow to the crust and the going was much easier.

The snow was looking pretty tasty by the time we made it to top, 10200 feet.  We dropped back east along the ridge on soft, but slightly sun-affected snow before moving north into steeper old growth.  The snow was light and dry and skied much deeper than the 4 to 6 inches that had evidently fallen.  The icing on the cake was ripping the open face of the “tele bowl” to giant-slalom shreds.

We were all grins at the bottom--there was no discussion as to whether we'd take another lap.  After another couple hours of grunting, we found ourselves at the top, eying some chutes we'd read about.  Initially dropping too far left, we ended above a wind-loaded 45 degree headwall, which looked decidedly sketchy.  Skinning up 100 feet to find the more moderate entrance solved that problem, and Jim disappeared over the lip.  I waited until I heard him whoop and followed, and rapidly realized I was about to ski 1500 feet of 35-degree, knee-deep blower, faceshots included.

Once again, there was no discussion about whether or not another lap was in order and again we found ourselves at the top of the “right” chute.  A couple guys from Mammoth had skied it an hour earlier and it had sloughed fairly substantially.  But there was still plenty of powder on the margins.  This time at the bottom, it was clear that while the spirit was willing, the body was far too weak to contemplate adding onto our 6000 foot day.

Fantastic April day, and some of the best pow I've skied this season.  In Cali we trust.

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