Looks like this is going to be it for me this year: a double descent of Mount Dana via Solstice and then Dana Couloirs. Tioga Pass opened on Saturday, so we hit the road and skinned up Glacier Canyon to access the couloirs. Accompanying Trevor and me this time for some backcountry fun was very special guest...Howie Schwartz of Sierra Mountain Guides, who was kind enough to join us on his day off.
Howie taught the Level I avalanche course I took last winter, and we also ran into each other (not literally) on Split's South Face later that year. As you'd expect Howie was a force to be reckoned with on the uphill, so we put him right to work punching out the boot pack up Solstice, which didn't seem to slow him down one bit. When we got to the top of Mount Dana, Howie and I schemed about some possible future trips together, and promised to do a better job keeping in touch.
As for the skiing, it was pretty good for June 18! Not quite as much snow in the Tioga region as I was expecting, given all the hoopla, and sun cups are definitely beginning to form below 11K or so, but both couloirs should be in shape for at least another few weeks. Delightful!