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Posts Tagged ‘eastern sierra skiing’

Eastern Sierra Spring Adventure

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Eastern Sierra Road Trip Snowkiting

WHO: Dave and Pam – TMS owners

WHAT: Annual Corporate Retreat

WHERE: Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California

WHEN: Early April, 2011

GEAR: So much, impossible to list! Highlights: Nemo Espri Tent, Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern, Deuter Cruise Backpacks, Black Diamond Drift Skis and on and on and on

We headed out of Tahoe under a sunny sky but uncertain forecast. The plan was to ski, kite, camp, soak, discuss and strategize while testing some of our best gear in one of the most beautiful places on earth that just happens to be in our backyard!

Day 1: Got a late start from Tahoe, but the forecast was for wind so the goal was snowkiting. We ended up at Conway Summit, just south of Bridgeport, CA, and skinned out about 30 minutes to a clear ridge with a good breeze. I managed to get the Ozone Manta 12 launched and kited for a couple hours while Pam toured in the surrounding hills and got some great shots of me. See below:

Dave Snowkiting the Sierra

Dave Snowkiting the Sierra

Snowkiting with an Ozone Kite

Snowkiting with an Ozone Kite







Day 2: Really, this day started with the night before. The storm rolled in with 60-80 mph wind gusts in the desert and even though the hot springs were close by, they weren’t enough to cut the chill of the night coupled with the dust flying through the air. Then, the snow started around 3am. It was a long night with little sleep, but we woke to a whiteout. Drove into town, Mammoth ski area was practically closed down and visibility was basically nothing, even in town. So, we went for a tour to really get in touch with the elements. It turned out to be a great decision as we  skinned around Lake Mary in the middle of a blizzard.

Nemo Tent, Snow Peak Lantern, Pam ReadingWaking up to some big flakes in the Nemo Tent

Still snowingBuried street sign at Lake Mary

Day 3: Pow, Pow, Pow….. It had been snowing about 36 hours at this point, and the area around Mammoth was up to about 24 in. of snow. These conditions required sheltered trees where we could ride the powder and be safe in the backcountry, all at the same time, ripping it up on our Dynafit setups with Black Diamond skis and boots.

Pam skiing the backcountry powder

Day 4: We started north, and the Cocaine Chute up to the Dana Plateau was the goal for today. We had no idea if the weather would permit this, but it was shining brightly (though still windy) when we got our late start. We made it to the base of the Chute before the weather turned us around and told us to head back down the hill before it got worse. You can see in the pics below there are 2 folks who made an earlier start and got to the top even with all the wind blowing that snow around. By the time we got to the bottom, we couldn’t even see the ridge anymore. What a great trip!

Skinning up among the big treesSkinning up towards the Coke Chute2 people mid Coke ChuteDeuter Cruise Backpack in Action

Looking down on Mono LakeV-Bowls in Lee Vining

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb, bike or Eastern Sierra backcountry ski) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Report – 4/22-4/26/10

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Pam and I just got back from a 5 day trip down the Eastern Sierra Nevada. I will provide some condition details, but they have already changed so not sure what good that will do. Our trip started with powder tree skiing outside of Mammoth on the Punta Bardini ridge. We then headed north to June Lake for a day on the Hemlock Ridge, back south again to Little Morrison and Old Man’s Bowl and then north again to Dunderburg where we skied north and south facing aspects.

Pam coming down the "Tele Bowl" on Punta Bardini

Pam coming down the "Tele Bowl" on Punta Bardini

All in all, very little corn so far as we went from powder to 60 degree temps in about 2 days and now it is snowing and super stormy once again. During our time down there, we did see mostly powder on north facing slopes, though those were starting to get super wind affected by Sunday. The snow was also getting fairly soft on most south and east facing slopes, but it was not consistent and it was more like soft snow rather than the corn that we all love to hunt!

Started the hike up Dunderburg with South Peak in the background

Started the hike up Dunderburg with South Peak in the background

After 4 days of early rises and long skiing with lots of sun exposure, we decided it was time for our own private hot springs, so we called up the folks at Benton Hot Springs in far eastern California and they hooked us up with our own private tub and campground for the night. Wow, it was truly an awesome place with nothing else around and we loved our private hot spring. Here is a pic:

View from our hot tub to the White Mountains

View from our hot tub to the White Mountains

Now, time for a little gear talk as that is what we were really there for, gear testing. I won’t mention everything here, but there are some hightlights. First and foremost is the Nemo Losi 2 Person Tent. If you don’t know anything about Nemo, start looking them up now! This tent has so much head room and easily fits 2 people. It has very steep walls thanks to the engineer’s design sense who built this thing and overall it is light, super livable and stands up to whatever elements it has to. Check out the headroom on this thing:

Showing off the head room in the Nemo Losi 2 person tent

Showing off the head room in the Nemo Losi 2 person tent

Another highlight was my new Mammut Viento Jacket. I am a sucker for soft shell jackets, but they have to work, and with this Mammut jacket, I was not disappointed. It had amazing breathability and it kept the wind and light snow off me with no problem. When you are standing on a ridge and the wind is howling at 50 knots and you are sweaty but chilling down quickly, the Viento was able to keep me warm enough and active enough to stay on top of my game and not let the weather faze me at all. My final, and new favorite piece of gear is the Black Diamond Verdict skis mounted up with Dynafit TLT ST bindings. I chose the Verdict because I didn’t need a huge ski for all this touring and in the 170cm size, it was the perfect length for short turns as well as for skinning up with ease. I also can’t say enough about the Dynafit bindings as they offerred up effortless travel and easy climbing the whole way. I don’t know if I will ever Telemark in the backcountry again!

Verdict Skis with Dynafit Bindings

Verdict Skis with Dynafit Bindings

Mt. Walt – 4/4/09

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Got a sweet birthday present this year, the opportunity to go and stay down in the Twin Lakes subdivision and ski the killer terrain in the area. So, a bunch of us headed down to this brand new, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, huge loft and full furnished house in the Twin Lakes subdivision right outside of Bridgeport, CA. This house is 3/4 for sale and the owner is looking for some partners to help spread the costs. Check out the house and all the amenities here.

Heading out the end of the campground at the end of Twin Lakes road, we took the second drainage (Blacksmith) up to the south. Once we bushwacked and waded through the steep trees, the route opened up to some easy side hill skinning up to the pinch. This “pinch” and the peak ascent are probably the 2 most technical parts of this trip. With very steep slopes and about 1 inch of dry wintery snow on top of a hard crust, we all pretty much hiked for our lives to get through this section. Jeff had the easiest route as he decided to boot it early on and headed lookers left for the short boot pack and then back on his skins, while the rest of us struggled through a tough section. Once through there, it is pretty clear sailing up to the next high ridge and saddle just before the summit. As the conditions were super firm, we cramponed up a couple hundred feet shy of the summit and proceeded safely from there.

The ski down was pretty hard and wind packed with the corn slope goodness not really showing its face until the bottom sections. Stubai crampons, SMC ice axes, BD skins, bindings, and skis, and lots of Cloudveil and Mammut clothing made up the full wardrobe. Here are a few pics, Crater Crest post will be next.

Pinner Couloir, Mt. Laurel 2/2/09

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
Eric L. from Sierra Pacific Coffee and I went down for a winter Eastside backcountry Ski trip. Since the release of the new eastside skiing book, all of us have been drooling for a chance at some of the newly described lines. With my new Deuter Cruise 30 pack, Black Diamond Verdict skis, and a whole bunch of other gear on my back, we headed out to see what we would find. After starting on dirt and hiking for about an hour around the north side of Convict Lake, we then donned our Black Diamond skins and Eric, his Prior splitboard, and we got to skin for about 45 minutes until we hit the couloir. Once at the base, we put on our crampons and started booting up the thing. About 100 feet wide in all locations and with very little sunlight hitting the snow, the snow conditions were variable to say the least with some avy debris and other sluff. We hiked for about 3 hours until we made it about 7/8ths of the way to the top where a rock choked the rest of the path. In a heavier snow year, this probably would not have been an issue, but this year it was. Being at a real steep section, we decided to down climb about 100 yards and then put on our boards for the descent. A killer trip that will be repeated sooner rather than later!
Looking at Convict Canyon from the East Side Hot Springs

Looking at Convict Canyon from the East Side Hot Springs

Eric with MT. Laurel in the background

Eric with MT. Laurel in the backgroundTreacherous skinning through the brushLooking up into the Pinner for the first timeEric is about to start ripping itDave skiing down the Pinner in some major hard pack!


Dave down in the bottom left of the photo. Good shot to see the steepness of the couloir.
Dave down in the bottom left of the photo. Good shot to see the steepness of the couloir.Eric shows some sluff coming down with him.Close to the top
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