April 30, 2007

Bloody Bike-n-Ski

Bloody Bike-n-Ski

Despite lean times, I am happy to report I skied a descent this past weekend that’s been near the top of my most-wanted list: Bloody Couloir, in the Mammoth Lakes region of the Sierra. Blood Couloir has something of a reputation as a test piece for the locals—at least according to the guidebooks. In any case, it’s a popular backcountry skiing destination, accessible via 4WD (more…)

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April 20, 2007

Epic Tents and Rain

If you’re familiar with Black Diamond’s ultralight single-wall tents (such as the Firstlight, Hilight, or Oneshot), you’re probably aware of at least some discussion involving the reliability of their Epic™ fabric. Nobody seems to know exactly how waterproof (or not) Epic actually is—which would seem to be a question of some importance if you’re venturing into the backcountry with an Epic-based tent (more…)

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April 17, 2007

Ski Touring the Sierra’s South Lake Region

This past weekend, I joined a group of SMS Angeles members for a day tour in the South Lake region, off highway 168 west of Bishop. The forecast called for snow, but given a sunny morning and the no-show performance of this year’s storms, we weren’t expecting much in the way of weather.

I was therefore most surprised—and delighted!—when a full-fledged blizzard blew in around noon.

Winds shrieked, visibility plummeted, and snow fell at a rate around an inch an hour. This are normally the sort of conditions that keep me at home, because of the obvious slide hazard.

However, touring at the very start of the storm gave us the opportunity to safely travel the lower South Lake drainage, as well as contemplate the speed of the day’s changing conditions.

We obviously chose to alter our plans and stay relatively low, though it was tempting to keep climbing higher.

Aside from the obvious beauty and remoteness of the area, South Lake offers great Nordic skiing, a bevy of technical possibilities, and preposterously good access—paved road to nearly 9900′ !

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April 12, 2007

Mount LeConte – High & Dry

Amazingly enough, I’ve put together an actual backcountry skiing trip report from my latest visit to the Southern Sierra.

At 13,930′, Mount LeConte just barely missed being a fourteener. Given the way the year has gone, I didn’t expect to ski anything south of Mammoth, but as I was driving through Lone Pine, I thought I saw snow.

I was wrong. The resulting misadventure is a little embarrasing, but in these lean times, we have to make the best of what we have: Skiing Mount LeConte.

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