The Roof – Squaw Valley, June 20, 2011
Tracking and Poaching at Squaw
by I. M. Dapoacha
So, I woke up early yesterday morning from a strange dream. Well, most of my dreams are strange I guess. But anyway, in this dream I had been chasing after a deer. It was a beautiful creature, a doe in the mist. You know like the ones in fairytales and sh%t. (Yeah, it’s corny I know, but bear with me for a second) So this deer was cruising along and darting through the trees and stuff but it kept pausing to look back, like it was waiting for me or something. Finally the deer broke out of the forest and began climbing up onto a mountainside that was blanketed in snow. It felt like this doe was leading me up out of the weeds and into a promised land of pow and plenty. I was stoked! But as I started up the snowfield I noticed that where the deer was moving up the hillside the snow began slowly melting away behind it. I shit my pants! This deer that I had been so mystified by was running away with the goods! I started chasing after it with a bit more gusto but the harder I tried to catch up, the faster the deer ran. In a wisp of cold smoke the deer was out of sight over the ridge and like leaves tailing a gust of wind so went the snow and the song and the magic of the dream.
My tracks in The Roof between Emigrant and Granite. June 20th, 2011. (sorry about the color, I had to put my sunglasses over the camera lens to keep the tracks from getting totally blown out in the shot.)
It was a bit of a downer. I wasn’t able to catch the deer and the winter with no spring seemed to vanish with the fleeting doe. I was left high and dry, standing in decomposed granite with my skis on my shoulder and sand in my boots.
I don’t want to work too hard to interpret this one but I think it probably has something to do with a whole list of deep seeded psychological issues related to skiing, and women, and relationships, but mostly skiing.
My tracks on Granite Chief Peak. June 20th, 2011.
Long story short, when I woke up I had an uneasy feeling that I was just sitting on the couch while the dream of an endless winter was slipping away. I decided to go looking for some snow. I hiked on dirt trail past streams of snowmelt for a ways up a canyon and before I knew it I was hiking on the retreating edge of our dwindling snowpack.
I wasn’t hiking long before I came across something that made me laugh pretty damn hard. I saw some deer tracks in the snow. I felt like I got some of the magic of the dream back and I started hiking faster. When I came up out of Solitude from Shirley Lake I saw that winter had not really abandoned us yet. Not by a long shot!
I’d been wanting to ski The Roof for a while and it looked good so I went there first. The Roof was on fire! Some really good spring turns in the hanging snowfield there. I know what you’re thinking “why didn’t he ski the GNAR on lookers right?” Fact is there are some good size glide cracks that you can’t see well from the bottom and it has slid on that side making the snow… well, less fun.
Looking into the main chute off Granite Chief Peak.
I’m pretty sure we’re just about experiencing the highest sun angle of the year for these parts right now but the snow was good and I wanted more so I headed up to Granite Chief Peak. Guess what I saw on the way. More tracks! And deer sign!
Some of the chutes up there can get pretty fun when they’re melting out. Here’s a view of one on Granite Peak from the top. It was a little tight for turning by that first tree so it turned into a late season straight line. I’m glad the snow wasn’t too warm below.
There’s still a ton of snow at the upper elevations.
Desolation Wilderness from the top of Squaw.
Lots of snow to the south. Lots of snow in National. Lots of snow on West Face, but not so much on the east shore. Lots of snow in Tram Bowl. There was good skiing everywhere. I even made some turns to the looker’s right of corkscrew on Granite Chief and get this, there weren’t any moguls!
The Palisades, Squaw Valley. June 20th, 2011.
I finished up the day with a fun squirrely run off the northern shoulder of Silverado.
All in all it was a pretty good day. I never saw the deer, but I poached some lines and left some tracks of my own. Not bad for late June in Northern California. I did see some marmots though. Marmots are cool.