December 25, 2010

San Jacinto: Fortress of Solitude

Here’s a slide show of my trip up San Jacinto Peak on Thursday. Speedster Brent and I went up the tram and then up the east face. Snowfall totals and icing were eye-popping higher up the mountain. Around Mountain Station and the ranger house, there was still probably a solid 2-3 feet of snow. The day was incredibly warm and windless. Snow turned gloppy as soon as the sun hit it, so skiing was on the challenging side. Amazing summit views, though, thanks to the clear air.

Standing on top of San J and looking down the north face reminded me that Snow Creek is simply one of the most magnificent big mountain routes in North America. Just don’t get caught trying to climb or ski it! We went with the much easier (and legal) East Face descent. Note that rime on the summit boulders made it possible to ski directly off the true apex of San Jacinto—a rarity. Enjoy!

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments

November 17, 2010

The South Fork Slide, Revisited

The South Fork Slide, Revisited

Sometime during the ’09-10 winter, a large avalanche took place along the NE side of Alto-Diablo Peak, wiping out a portion of the South Fork Trail somewhere slightly southeast of Poopout Hill. When my partner and I saw the remains of the slide that April, toward the end of the season, it was obvious it had happened months earlier. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t spooked by what we saw (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 3 Comments

November 6, 2010

Bon Voyage, Dan!

My friend Dan is going skiing on Monday…for a year. After a brief tour of several U.S. ranges, he and his wife will leave for the Himalaya, with plans to summer in the Andes after that. Aside from the overwhelming jealousy I feel watching them go, I’m also so stoked that they’ve managed to turn a long-time dream into reality. I did a little bit of traveling when I got out of school, but the truth is I really didn’t appreciate the freedom I had at the time. And I certainly didn’t take advantage of it. So to those of you whose ties are currently loose and whose eyes tend to look to the horizon, I say go for it (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 0 Comments

August 19, 2010

$99 Baldy Passes Return

In the unlikely event that Mt Baldy Ski Area hasn’t already flooded your inbox with announcements, I feel obligated to post notice that the Chamber of Commerce Virtual Passes are on sale again for the upcoming 2010-2011 ski season, now priced at $99. These work just like a regular season pass, except they’re subject to a daily quota of between 500-1000 passes. You must make a reservation by midnight prior to the day you want to ski. If a quota slot is available, you’re good to go. If not, show up anyway and get 50% off the price of a full adult ticket (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 1 Comment

June 5, 2010

TPR Opens

Hooray—sort of. It’s probably not news to you by now, but Tioga Pass Road has opened for the 2010 season as of 8 a.m. Saturday. Bummer of course is that this year’s opening coincides with psycho high temperatures in the mountains. The forecast I watch was calling for a high of 61 today at the 12K level in Palisades. Obviously, Dana Plateau and lower is probably cooking today. If you do get up there this weekend, get it early. And let me know how it goes. :)

Posted in Current Conditions, Skiing | 7 Comments

May 8, 2010

Last Days at Baldy

Last Days at Baldy

Looks like this weekend is it for skiing at Mt. Baldy resort. I was there yesterday to enjoy one last day on my pass, closing out what has been a surprisingly strong year at the always-quirky Mt. Baldy ski area. Rumor is Mt. Baldy got a double cash infusion this past season, first from a new investor, and then from the sale of those variously priced Chamber of Commerce passes (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments

April 24, 2010

Snow Creek

Snow Creek

If there is one singularly conspicuous omission in the SierraDescents repertoire, it is unquestionably a ski descent of San Jacinto Peak via Snow Creek. There are many fine peaks and routes to covet in California, but among ski mountaineers in the know, Snow Creek stands alone. To those unfamiliar with the San Jacinto Mountains, their scale may well sound like a misprint. From the low point in Coachella Valley (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments

March 31, 2010

West Baldy

West Baldy

This past weekend some friends and I took a professional videographer up West Baldy to try to nab some footage of Southern California backcountry skiing for a Ski Channel project. After staring at West Baldy’s impressive west face from Iron Mountain two weeks ago, we really had no choice but to ski it. The skiing was sublime: silky smooth spring corn, baked to perfection by SoCal sunshine (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 5 Comments

March 22, 2010

The Couloir to Nowhere

The Couloir to Nowhere

I first saw it in January 2008. My friend Bill Henry and I were climbing Mount Baden-Powell for a modest day tour in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. As we stood atop Baden-Powell and looked across the deep chasm to our south, we noticed a pencil-thin couloir shooting down an unknown peak several miles away. The line looked steep, remote, and desperate—maybe skiable, maybe not…(more)

Posted in Skiing | 19 Comments

February 7, 2010

The San Jacinto Report

The San Jacinto Report

Maybe one of the things to remember about an El Nino year is that the storms love to ambush the Southland. I don’t think anyone was expecting the rain intensity we saw Friday through Saturday morning. I certainly wasn’t. Saturday I drove to Palm Springs, figuring the tram would get me to snow with the least amount of winter driving. That was true in only the most technical sense: the drive itself (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 12 Comments

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