Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Backcountry Skiing’ Category

Date: Sunday, April 3, 2011

Skiers & Rider: Andrew, Alex & Nick

Location: Carson Pass

Photos: Andrew, Alex & Nick (as noted)

Weather & Snowpack: This winter in Tahoe has been unreal in the volume of snow, and in some cases, record setting. According to Tahoe Weather Discussion, for the month of March up to and including March 28th, “8-16 feet on the resorts in the last 10 days of non-stop snow, 11-21 feet in the past 2 weeks, and 13-23 feet in the month of March.”

Once the snow stopped on March 28th, that week brought a rapid warming trend. Unfortunately, nights were not refreezing so the snowpack was not transitioning to corn snow. After several days of heavy glop due to the warm days and nights, on Saturday night, April 2nd, we finally received what we had been waiting for – a very strong refreeze of the snowpack due to well-below freezing nighttime temps and a clear night for some radiational cooling of the snowpack.

As a result, Sunday we awoke to a strong refreeze, warming temperatures (capped around 40F) and blue-bird skies – the perfect combination for rapid corn snow growth.

Synopsis: Andrew, Alex and I headed out to Carson Pass in search of corn. Ultimately, our tour ran approximately 9.8 miles on skis, with approximately 4500′ of vertical ascended and 5200′ of vertical descended. Most importantly, this was Alex’s first day back in the backcountry following a full recovery from some spontaneous lung collapses last year. A proud welcome back indeed!

Pictures to follow. Note that this TR is several pages long.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skiers: Jonathan, Rachel, Warren, Alexi & Nick

Weather & Snowpack: Sunday was the perfect combination of bluebird and a relatively cold day for Tahoe. In addition, it was several days after a great Alaska-formed storm delivered 3-4 feet of fresh, light powder along the Sierra Crest in Tahoe. Fortunately, the snowpack stablized very quickly despite the cold temps.

VIDEO TR: A nice video of the tour along the West Shore on Sunday.

Some additional photos from Saturday at Alpine follow.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Skiers: Colin & Nick

Location: Silver Peak (Tahoe Backcountry)

Summary: Colin and I headed out to the low-angle trees near Silver Peak for some storm day skiing. We skinned up an access road and through low-angle meadows with the intention to ski low angle trees and avoid any avy terrain (due to avy conditions). Upon reaching the intended zone, a weather system moved in and visibility went to around 5 feet, so we simply turned around and headed back to the car.

Still a fun day in the mountains, breaking trail through beautiful surroundings.

Here is a short video entitled “Breaking Trail” (my attempt at being artsy) – music is included.

Read Full Post »

““““

Location: Nevados de Chillan, Chile (f/k/a Termas de Chillan)

Dates: August 29 – September 4, 2010

Skiers & Boarders: Ken, Jon and Nick (as well as some special appearances by Claire and Travis)

Photogs: Nick (unless otherwise indicated as Ken, Jon or Claire). I was pissed though as I dropped by good camera off of a climb in Yosemite several weeks ago, so had to roll with my old backup. Oh well.

Weather: August 29th and 30th dropped about 1.5 feet of fresh Andean pow. Skies went bluebird for the next 2 days, with cold temps at night to keep the snow soft. Avy conditions were stable in the surrounding side-country and backcountry. More snow fell on September 2 (about 5-6 inches).

Synposis: Jon, Ken and I were scheduled to head down with CASA Tours to ski and board the main areas North of Santiago (Arpa, Portillo and Tres Valles). Ken and I had done this same trip 2 years prior with CASA with great success (with an abundance of fresh snow, a fun group, good guides and untracked BC-zones).

Last year, Jon, Ken and I were scheduled to head down to Bariloche only to get skunked by horrible conditions at the last minute. Dave, the owner of CASA, was cool to call us several days prior to our flights and give us a heads up on the turn of conditions (a warming spell brought a lot of rain, followed by a deep freeze creating boiler pack all over Patagonia). After discussing alternatives, Dave was supremely cool and refunded our money.

Looking to go back down again this year, we turned to CASA again due to the logistical advantage they offer with transportation, lodging and familiarity with good BC terrain. We were all really impressed with Dave’s flexibility with our cancelled Bariloche trip the year prior.

Once again, the flexibility of the CASA team proved invaluable. We were scheduled to head to the Northern areas again – but based on obvious weather conditions and thin coverage, we shifted down to the South to follow the snow. Large storms were scheduled for Chillan during our visit so the decision to switch it up proved a no-brainer.

Note: This Trip Report is several pages long – just click at the end of each page to continue.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Nota Especial: This Guest TR is written by Alex, one of the Lunaticos Dementes listed below – his words with the pics provided by the Fotografos listed below.

Fechas: Mayuary 29 & 30, 2010

Localidads: Las Pasadas de Sonora y Tioga, California

Note: This Guest TR is several pages long – just click at the end of each page to continue.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““““

Location: Mt. Williamson (14,375 ft / 4,382 m), Eastern Sierra

Dates: Friday, May 7 – Saturday, May 8, 2010

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos & Video: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Jon)

Weather: Both days were bluebird, with warm temperatures and no wind on Friday, but a 20-30 mph wind up high on Saturday.

Avalanche Conditions: We did not encounter any instabilities in the snow pack on the ascent or descent. The snow is undergoing a strong freeze/thaw cycle (although cold winds on Saturday kept much of the snow from significantly thawing).

Synopsis: After finishing the Sierra High Route, my plan was to meet Jon and ski both Mt. Tyndall and Mt. Williamson. However, after skiing along the Tyndall Plateau on Day 5 of the SHR, I did not think the North Couloir on Tyndall was worth the massive approach to get back there. While it is an aesthetic line, Jon and I would rather save Tyndall for summer climbing on the East face.

Therefore, our plans were changed to only ski Mt. Williamson, the 2nd tallest peak in the Sierra.

Note: There are several pages to this TR.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““

Locations: Sierra High Route

Dates: Saturday, May 1 – Thursday, May 6, 2010

Skiers: Geoff, Barry, Mike & Nick

Photographers: All photos in this TR were taken with my camera. Most were taken my me, but the pictures of me were taken by other members of the team.

Synopsis: We were embarking on the Alpine Skills International (“ASI”) 2009 6-day Sierra High Route, from West to East. The trip would be lead by Geoff Clarke, an ASI Guide and former Chief Telemark Examiner for the PSIA.

The planned route crosses the Sierra Nevada over 9 high cols and passes, beginning at old Wolverton Ski Resort on the edge of Sequoia National Park and ending at the valley floor outside Independence (off 395). The planned route starts at approximately 7,200ft., climbs to around 10,000ft. and holds the line between 10,500ft. and 13,000ft., until dropping down on the Eastern side of the Sierra.

I attempted the same route last year with Geoff, but we turned around near Copper Mine Pass due to High avalanche conditions.

Based on Geoff’s running GPS, we traveled approximately 47 miles and climbed over 17,000 of vert over the course of the 6 days.

Note: Each Day is on a separate page, and the bottom of each page has a link to the next day.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Location: Crescent Moon Couloir & The Sisters, Carson Pass

Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos & Video: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Jon)

Weather: Bluebird and warming – really a perfect day. By 1 PM on the skin back to the car, it was nearing the 60s around 8,000 ft.

Avalanche Conditions: From the Sierra Avalanche Center:

Early this morning, avalanche danger is Low for all elevations and aspects. Pockets of Moderate danger will form at all elevations on E-SE-S-SW-W aspects in response to daytime warming. Very isolated areas of instability may exist on northerly aspects. Normal caution is advised.

During our tour, Jon and I did not encounter any instabilities.

Synopsis: With the call for good weather, stable avalanche conditions and the promise of wintry snow at higher elevations that do not get any sun, Jon and I decided to head to Carson Pass and ski Crescent Moon Couloir as the primary objective. With an abundance of other options and easy access, we intended on skiing other lines in the area as well, but giving ourselves an easy bail if the snow got too warm too quick.

Other than a vital gear mishap in a somewhat exposed spot, the day was awesome.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““““

Location: Halls of the Gods Couloir, Indian Cliff Chutes (Angora Peak)

Date: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Skiers: Bob & Nick

Photographers: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Bob)

Weather: On Saturday a small Low system was moving through the Tahoe region. Skies were grey-bird, with light winds out of the E/SE. Around mid-afternoon, light snow showers quickly move in and out of the area (with little to no accumulation).

Synopsis:

After hitting Halls of the Gods Couloir last year with Frank and Coling in very good snow conditions TR Here, I knew I had to get back during good snow conditions. Only this time, definitely better to take the appropriate route up the ridge between Angora and Echo Peaks. Shaved off a good amount of time (at least an hour and ½) off the approach time.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Locations: Dick’s Peak, Janine’s Ridge, Maggie’s Peaks (Desolation Wilderness)

Dates: Saturday, January 30 – Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skiers/Riders: Alex & Nick

Photographers: Nick, unless noted as Alex (although Alex’s shots pretty much blow mine away! Time for me to get a new camera and learn how to use it…)

Weather: Saturday was the tail end of a small Low system that was moving through Tahoe. Skies were grey-bird with intermittent, light snow. Winds started the day slow, but were howling up at Dick’s Peak. Temps at night got to around 10-15 degrees at 9,000 ft. Sunday was blue-bird and generally warm, although once again the ridge top winds at Dick’s Peak were consistent 30 mph. Janine’s and Maggie’s had no wind, fortunately.

Avalanche Conditions:
From the Sierra Avalanche Center:

On Saturday, near and above treeline, pockets of moderate avalanche danger will form in wind loaded areas on NW-N-NE-E aspects, 37 degrees and steeper. Below treeline, avalanche danger is low in wind protected areas.

On Sunday, near and above treeline, pockets of moderate avalanche danger remain on wind-loaded, NW-N-NE-E aspects, 37 degrees and steeper. Below treeline, avalanche danger is low in wind protected areas.

We found the snow to generally be very stable at both Maggie’s and Janine’s. As discussed further below, Dick’s was very wind-effected and in most areas had 6-inch wind-slabs sitting on lower density snow. We were able to ski cut and otherwise trigger some small, very slow moving wind-slabs on Dick’s N face.

Synopsis: With Alex and I both about to turn the dredded 30 (me, well, today actually, and Alex on Friday), we figured a good early present would be to get back into Desolation Wilderness and get in some powder skiing. Nothing better than avoiding the fact you are turning 30 by essentially continuing to “live the dream” so to speak. Was a great trip and a good early present.

Warning: There are a lot of scenic pics in the TR, but some great skiing ones near the end as well.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Locations & Dates:

Kirkwood – Thursday, December 31, 2009

Carson Pass Backcountry – Thursday, December 31, 2009 – Friday, January 1, 2010

Mt. Rose Backcountry – Friday, January 1, 2010

Alpine Meadows – Saturday, January 2, 2010

Skiers: Nick & Jonathan

Photographers: Nick (except as otherwise noted as Jonathan)

Synopsis:

With the holiday weekend approaching, our original intention was to go on a 2-day tour on Thursday and Friday with some resort skiing over the weekend. As Thursday approached, however, it became clear that a weather system would be moving in on Friday that may make backcountry conditions suspect.

Therefore, our *first* set of modified plans was to ski Kirkwood on Thursday, skin into Carson Pass on Thursday night and camp and then ski various shots off of Roundtop, Elephants Back and possibly Red Lake Peak around Carson Pass on Friday. As noted below, the weather did not cooperate and we modified our plans accordingly.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Locations: Sierra High Route

Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009– Thursday, May 7, 2009

Skiers: Geoff Clarke, Craig Dostie, Nori & Nick

Photographers: Nick (except where otherwise noted as Craig or Nori)

Synopsis: We were embarking on the Alpine Skills International (“ASI”) 2009 6-day Sierra High Route, from West to East. The trip would be lead by Geoff Clarke, an ASI Guide and former Chief Telemark Examiner for the PSIA.

The planned route crosses the Sierra Nevada over 9 high cols and passes, beginning at old Wolverton Ski Resort on the edge of Sequoia National Park and ending at the valley floor outside Independence (off 395). The planned route starts at approximately 7,200ft., climbs to around 10,000ft. and holds the line between 10,500ft. and 13,000ft., until dropping down on the Eastern side of the Range.

As discussed more in detail below, the night before the trip approximately 8-12” of new snow fell above 8,000ft. On the tail end of our second day, near Copper Mine Pass we encountered High avalanche conditions, forcing us to spend the night. When the conditions had not improved the next morning, we turned around to Table Meadows and set up a base camp – skiing some great lines for the remainder of the trip.

The ASI East to West group lead by Peter Leh was able to make the crossing as conditions had improved by the time they hit Copper Mine Pass.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Locations: Matterhorn Peak – Skiers Dream Chute and East Couloir

Dates: Saturday, Sunday, March 28 – Sunday, March 29, 2009

Skiers: Frank & Nick

Photographers: Nick (except where otherwise noted as Frank)

Weather: Saturday was fairly warm, with highs in the 40s. Late Saturday night, the winds picked up (with gusts in the 40-60 mph range were we camped at approximately 10,000 ft.). Temps dropped to about 15 at night, and then Sunday the high was in the mid-30s.

Avalanche Conditions: We found the snow to be very stable. During the skin in through Horse Creek drainage, there were signs of past wet snow point release slides from earlier in the week. However, temps were not high enough to cause any concerns for wet instabilities.

The snow in the actual couloirs (both North facing) was a combination of some wintry pow, but mostly wind affected. On the ski out on Sunday, we found good corn below 10,000 ft..

(more…)

Read Full Post »

““

Locations: (1) Hall of the Gods, Indian Cliff Chutes and (2) Angora Peak to Angora Lake

Date: Sunday, March 8, 2009

Skiers: Frank, Colin D. & Nick

Photographers: Nick (except where otherwise noted as Frank or Colin D.)

Weather: Started out warm and partly-cloudy in the morning. As the day progressed, the skies became overcast, temps dropped and the wind picked up. Around 3:30 on the top of Angora Peak, wind was gusting strong out of the SW, W.

Avalanche Conditions: From the Sierra Avalanche Center: Near and above tree line on open, wind-loaded slopes 37 degrees and steeper, isolated pockets of MODERATE avalanche danger could develop on NW-N-NE-E-SE aspects. Below tree line, avalanche danger is LOW.

We found a stable snow pack. Some loose-snow sluffs on steeper aspects, but that was the only visible instability. On shaded northerly aspects, from boot to knee-deep soft powder. Lower elevations and southern aspects had a breakable crust.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Location: Silver Peak, CA

Date:  Saturday, January 3, 2009

Skiers:  Colin & Nick

Photographer: Nick

Weather:  Clear skies, intermittent clouds, temps from 15-30

Avalanche Conditions:  LOW, with pockets of MODERATE on N-NE aspects over 37 degrees (from the Sierra Avalanche Center).  Our observations while skiing indicated a strong snow pack.  No serious sluffing or visible signs of slabbing.  N-NE aspects did have a slight rain crust about 6 inches down (from overnight rain on Jan 1st) with powder on top (from Jan 2nd storm).  S aspects had pockets of sun crust on the top by mid day.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts