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| |-+  May 2005 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 7 & 8, 2005, The Canyon, Sierras
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Author Topic: May 7 & 8, 2005, The Canyon, Sierras  (Read 1828 times)
Zap
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May 7 & 8, 2005, The Canyon, Sierras
« on: 05/12/05, 06:25 PM »

May 7 - It was another bluebird day in the Sierras.  After a late alarm, a couple cups of coffee and some great photos of the surrounding peaks, we drove to the Canyon.  Our expectations were low and there was NO PLAN. The south slopes were bare and the north slopes had great coverage.  We pulled out the binoculars and spotted a ridge with rock formations along one side and open glades on the other side and with an untracked gully that doglegged as it funneled towards us.  That was the objective.  We parked in a nearby campground and walked 100 yards through an aspen grove and over a small stream where we stepped over a couple of boulders in the picturesque setting. The skinning began at 7600 feet about 20 yards after the stream crossing.  It was a beautiful late morning tour.  We started about 11:30 and it was too nice to rush around any earlier.  The skinning surface was perfect corn.  As we continued upward the snow quality remained consistentwith an inch of cream on a firm surface. After a couple of hours, we stopped for a late lunch and noticed a large ring around the sun.  The forecast was for another snow event.   After about 2400 vertical, we decided to pull the skins and carve some turns before the corn over ripened.  We had another 1000 feet available but we have learned to take the goods when available.

Our descent was spectacular.  The corn was perfect all the way down.  We skied the gully, wrapped skier right around the dogleg and skied a double fall line gully before skiing the last steep pitch back to the stream.  We barked and giggled our way down the slope.  After almost 2 months of skiing, this was our best and most consistent corn run.  The quality never varied from top to bottom.  It was time to return to camp and drain a couple of cold ones.  

May 8  As an old geezer once said Never leave good snow to find better snow.  We decided to spend the evening in the campground at the base of our ski tour.  We were surrounded by aspen and we had numerous small critters in the area  a hawk, ground squirrels, robins, blue jays and Jill even spotted a green tailed towhee. Just looked like another small bird to me.  It was another sunny day where we were but there were high clouds moving in from the west and big black clouds in the south. After a cinnamon French toast and sausage breakfast, we reapplied the sunscreen and traveled the 100 yards to the snow line.  The topo map indicated another gully climbers left from yesterdays descent which had a similar exposure and probably more great corn. The climbing seemed to move faster today probably because the temperature was a bit lower and the winds were gusty.  The snow felt as good as yesterday. We followed yesterdays track for about 700 vertical and then went climbers left and crossed a ridge to another drainage.  This area was steeper at the top but wider and again completely untracked.  As we climbed the clouds became thicker in the west and we could see precipitation falling in the distance.  Jill thought we should pull the skins but I used the old, just up to that next spot by the trees, line.  When the clouds were on the next ridge, I indicated that this was the spot and Jill seemed a bit quiet.  OK, I exclaimed, we should have stopped 15 minutes ago.  This is a good lesson for the testosterone readers , admit an error early and your life will be much happier with your significant other.  

We had a rather steep rollover below us so we traversed skier right to the high point on the next ridge.  What we saw made my jaw drop.  Before us was an enormous bowl sprinkled with trees and a large rock feature and it continued another 1500 feet above us.  WOW, maybe next time.  Again our descent was in perfect corn on a firm base.  Our initial 1500 vertical was in sunshine. Then I felt a few sprinkles on my face. Without the slightest hesitation, I stopped and exclaimed, you were right Jill; we should have stopped 15 minutes sooner.  Lesson 2; reaffirm your mistake to confirm it was genuine.  The final 800 vertical was great corn BUT we had a slight sprinkle falling. No, it was not raining because we never ski in the rain; it was just sprinkling.  By the time we reached the camper, the winds were blowing and the sky was cloudy and then it really began raining.  Boy, we were lucky we did not get caught in the rain.  The only really crazy thing I did was take a sun shower in the rain (to the disbelief of Jill). We love it here.  Zap



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