It’s so fitting that the final formal State of the Backcountry for the 2010-2011 season comes on a powder day. Clearly a season to remember, and there’s no doubt it’s long from over as the Basin just received yet another foot of fresh snow.

Just as we thought spring might actually be here, and the passes were all popping,

it snowed again. Before my crew and I got skunked on some Tioga Pass access recently we made it down to the Bishop area and gave the Checkered Demon Couloir a check. Conditions up high in the Bishop area are pretty fat as seen in the Eastside Candy report I posted last week. The Demon was no different-fully skiable from the top of the infamous tight and narrow entry. Our snow quality wasn’t very consistent, but we did ski some pow and smooth corn during our descent, and enjoyed a great climb up a truly aesthetic line. Here’s our start on snow with Mt. Locke and its Wahoo Gullies looking prime.

Skinning up toward the base of the Demon with Peak 13,192′ overhead,

and Jeff and Jeremy booting up.

Here’s Jeff before dropping in,

and in the tight top corridor.

We found some great pow in the higher mid-section of the couloir,

and were able to open it up a bit near the end before a long smooth corn run back to the car.

Here’s a great shot of the two lines coming off Peak 13,192’. The Kindergarten Cute is lookers left, and the Checkered Demon is lookers right.

On our way out we saw these guys climbing up one of the Wahoo Gullies

before heading back to Tahoe once the passes closed back down for, you guessed it, more powder. Touring at Alpine was fun for a few days there (WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO DO THE SAME AT OUR OWN HILL?!?),

and then we woke up today to yet another powder day, although with a much more distinct and higher snowline than we’ve been getting as of late.

As Miles and Eric’s post from today already showed, the snow was good and creamy, about a foot deep up high, making it a pretty rad way to greet June 6th.

Here’s today’s skin track,

with Ramin enjoying some of the goods.

It seems almost ridiculous to say this with such sincerity in June, but be careful out there the next few days! I broke my pole today after a steep section of the skin track ripped out from underneath me and I couldn’t self arrest the slide with my pole.

Yeah, it may be June, but we just got more new snow and it was warm and ripping in a lot of places at the end of the day today. Hopefully with the forecasted sun for the next few days we’ll get some much needed consolidation, but just be extra cautious the next little bit because the potential for huge wet slides to rip as this snow bakes in the sun and settles is huge.

We still have a bit of unsettled weather out there looking ahead, but the weekend could be nice and sunny. We’ll see, no promises here or with the forecast we’ve had as of late, but we’re two weeks from the summer solstice and there’s still so many good skiing options out there: Ebbett’s Pass, Carson Pass, Mt. Rose, Sonora Pass, Tioga Pass, North Peak and Mt. Conness, Rock Creek, The Palisades, not to mention Lassen, Shasta, and the rest of the Cascade Rage.

It’s been a pleasure to keep the turns and reports going this monumental 2010-2011 season. I hope these reports have been informative and have fired you up to get out in the Sierra this year. I look forward to getting on it again next season, and until then I’m even more stoked to keep you updated on individual trip reports as the season “winds down” (so funny to say that on June 6th), and provide some off-season stoke as Unofficial Squaw slowly moves to summer coverage since spring never really happened. Be safe out there, keep shredding, and take advantage of the fact that biking, climbing, and Lake chilling are just not in season yet. They will be soon, but until then, enjoy what’s out there, and dust off those rusty skis and boards just one more time. You’ll be happy you did.

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