Telegraph’s South Face
Looking at Telegraph Peak's south face from Ontario Peak in 2006, I remember thinking, if that ever has snow on it, I should ski it. Well snow finally arrived, and I was lucky enough to get to it on Thursday.
Following my crew's ski descent of the treacherous Mount Lukens, I did go into a bit of a funk.
I obviously wanted to ski as many lines as possible before things melted out, given our rare low-elevation snowpack, but I also didn't want to add to the stress of the rescue and emergency workers (and residents) trying to contend with the calamity in the local mountains.
Eventually I gave up trying to juggle access and closure issues and decided to go ski Mount Baldy inbounds. As I was packing up, I suddenly remembered that long-ago glimpse of Telegraph Peak—which can be easily accessed from Mount Baldy.
Things don't always go this well. The snow quality was superb, and even with my slightly pokey timing (I skied a few runs inbounds with Matt), the skiing was incredible.
What a big, aesthetic, spectacular line that quirky Telegraph has hidden on its south aspect! From Telegraph's summit to the Icehouse Canyon parking lot is a very respectable four thousand vertical foot drop, and the south couloir itself drops a massive 2500'.
Since this was an impromptu adventure, I wasn't able to arrange to leave a car at Icehouse Canyon, but I was fully prepared to walk the three miles back up the road to the Mount Baldy parking lot.
Thankfully, the very kind Glen from Walnut stopped to offer me a ride as I was heading up the switchbacks. I definitely was not going to say no to that. :)
You may notice that I appear to have aged a bit since 2006. I have noticed also, and am not fully onboard with it. However, I do find myself shifting toward wanting to share some of what I've learned, climbing and skiing our local mountains over the years, hence my being a little more talky in the video than usual.
Think of me as shifting toward an elder statesman role, albeit a statesman with an off-kilter sense of humor and poor impulse control.
Alas the rains have come, which means the glorious snow I enjoyed two days ago has transitioned yet again. Be careful if you head out there—and I will hope to see you on the hill.
— March 11, 2023
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents
Brad Brown March 11, 2023 at 10:11 am
Dude, nailed it!! Watching I just assumed you would reclimb and hit Timber-then the treachery began. I figured you probably have been thinking of a south facing something for safety and softy conditions-didn’t even realize this route was a possibility. A few years back Bob and I did the obligatory 3 T’s route (from your exit point to Telegraph). From the TP summit the westerly face had a pucker factor to it in the summer and I never even considered the south bowl- it seemed beyond category to borrow a Tour de France term. Brilliant analysis I must say. And I appreciate your running commentary. The internal dialog is
part of the BC experience. The fatigue, weather, safety, gear, water, the challenge and the reward for same that intrigues me the most. You’re saying this out loud humanizes and educates. And I sincerely appreciate the safety discussion-lost hikers haven’t been found yet in that area and prob won’t be until the thaw-so fun but serious too. Glad you had a killer lap, and yeah we’re all jealous.
Alex Reed March 13, 2023 at 10:33 pm
My friend Colin and I skied N face of San Antonio the same day (the 9th). Your snow looked better :)
Thank you for the years of keeping the flame burning. Cheers to many more.
randy March 20, 2023 at 2:36 pm
Love this so much! Everything about it. Your thoughtfulness, education and risk assessment in action to your stoke and pure joy at skiing this amazing line!!! You are inspiring to those of us who need to get out more. Thank you so much!
RJ March 24, 2023 at 11:09 pm
I have for a long time thought about a tour from San Antonio along the ridge (Dawson Pk, Pine MT, Wright Mt) to Blue Ridge coming out at the 2 around Inspiration Pt just east of vincent gap. spend the first night at the hut then summit and tour along the ridge at the top of Mt. High then ski down the summer road to the 2 or down the ski area.