The terrain came into view after 45 minutes or so of hiking on dirt, and we finally got to put our split boards on and skin the rest of the way. Above, Ondo and Eric Leyton discussing our camp site as well as possible objectives.
Ondo stops to fill his water bottle in some fresh water. There was a near perfect camp site in the trees behind him, however it lacked clear and easy views of some of the surrounding peaks, like the one in the background. With views like those below, we knew we must be getting close to camp…
We ended up camping a little beyond the rocks on the left of the above pic.
After 3.5-4 hours of skinning and hiking, we found an acceptable camp site; good wind protection as well as 360 degree views. It was also an acceptable home for the marmot pictured below.
We dropped off our overnight packs and overnight gear and skinned up to get some quick easy turns in before dinner.
Above, Ondo points it back to camp after a few turns. The snow on the steeper faces was excellent, with slow, wet sluffs, but the flatter snow tended to be extremely sticky.
After a solid night's sleep and a relaxing morning, we began skinning, with the objective being the snow field at the very top left of the pic above. Manny, Ondo, and Eric at camp.
After skinning for an hour or so, we put our boards on our packs, got out our ice axes and crampons, and began booting up the couloir. Here I am mid way up, with our camp far off in the background. Below, Ondo and Eric above me. Take note of the snow conditions; calf deep, cornish snow, that was really fun to rip!
And below me was Manny. Manny was the biggest trooper on this trip. He hadn't been in his snowboard boots in a couple months, and had tremendous foot pain early on in the skin. Upon taking off his boot he noticed a massive bone spur and a big blister. He carried on without a single complaint.
Below are our tracks, up on the right, down on the left. Ondo let a decent sized wet slide go just next to the top of the rocky buttress that separates our boot pack from our snowboard tracks. It wasn't something that would bury you, but it definitely packed some bone crushing power!
I'm hoping to make it back down to the Eastern Sierra in the next few days, or whenever it stops snowing. The snow is absolutely wonderful, and it's probably even wintery right now. I recommend getting your Sierra guide book out (and maybe unpack all your ski/snowboard gear if you're one of those people hoping it stops snowing!), heading down the 395 and checking out some of the sweet zones in our back yard!