Friday, March 27, 2009

27March09 - Nordic Skiing with Ross, Morgan, Maya, Mike and Diane

Devil's Peak from the devil's outlook. This compelling peak is actually on private property - leased to Royal Gorge for the ski season.

Lunch break on the trail. Warm day - in the 50's with a strong radiant sun and almost no wind. Snow was corning up and we had a great tour.

Ross doing some snow sampling by the side of the trail near a bend. The trail went right, and he went straight, over the snowbank and this is the result.

Stage coach trail - small skiers and big trees.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009March24 Jakes Peak - We've been Jaked! 2,400' descent

Jakes Peak is 9,600 feet - a 2,400 foot climb from Rt. 89 - just north of Emerald Bay. It took us 2.5 hours to climb, 1/2 hour on the summit, and we dragged out the incredible decent for an hour. Stopping often to wonder at the views. Navigation was not difficult on the bluebird day. Next time, I think we'll lap the top 1,000 feet at least twice, as the skiing is amazing. The bottom of the run got heavy and temps were in the high 40's when we reached the car. At the bottom of this post is a link to a great tour guide for this day trip.

(Click on any picture to enlarge it)

Jakes Peak above Emerald Bay. The ski route we took climbed the right hand (NE) ridge. See the tour boat in the bay below?

The trail climbs immediately from the highway, and does not relent until the summit is reached.

We go up, and up and up. One kick turn after another. Luckily, for most of the way, someone else had broken trail and set a skin track. Unfortunately for us, the skin track was steep and unrelenting.

Beautiful trees dot the mountainside as we climb up. They are widely spaced, and their size is a testament to the snow security of the up-track.

Rubicon Peak above the meadow. We skied left and up to Jakes (out of photo). One can ski the ridge between Rubicon and Jakes, or either one as a separate tour.

View of Heavenly ski resort from the summit of Jakes.

View from the summit looking across Lake Tahoe towards Mt. Rose in the NE corner of the Lake.

Jeff and David on the summit of Jakes.

Mt. Tallac from the summit - look for the great ski lines in the summit snow field. Someone beat us to it. Next week, look for updates here as this is our next planned destination.

Dick's Peak from the summit - another destination planned for another day.

View from just below the summit before we jump off for the decent.

Jeff carving light powder - with any choice for a line - this mountain has a 1,000 ways down.

Let's see - what do you suppose happened here?

Can you find the skier in this picture ? Every pitch we stopped, and admired the incredible view.

Jeff squirts by, not wanting to stop for a portrait. How often does Sierra snow do that?

The forest on the way down

Emerald Bay with tour boat departing. Mt. Rose in the distance beyond Lake Tahoe.

Click here for a great tour guide page for this tour.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

09March 17 Ski Tour with Jeff to Unnamed ridge above Palisade Lake

(Click on any picture to enlarge it...)

Here is a Google Earth overlay of the summer terrain and our approximate si route for the day. The orange line is our approximate route.

One day after a depressing freezing rain storm, the sky cleared, temperatures rose, and Jeff and I headed out to explore a ridge we had both spied above Palisade Lake and south of Serene Lakes near Donner Summit. Access is a bit tricky, requiring the crossing of some private property, but with this snow coverage, and most houses empty, we felt secure that our impingement on other's property rights were acceptable. I have never seen any ski tracks on the ridge or it's impressive and accommodating skiable side slopes, so I consider this a "first" exploration for me. This ridge is flanked by Royal Gorge property, and offers some of the best touring and turning in the immediate area.

Jeff leaps to the business at hand, spying a great line down the ridge side between "tufa" like outcroppings and ice encrusted trees.

From the ridge, looking west, here is Mt. Lincoln, the top of Sugarbowl ski resort - displaying the formidable, and rarely skied PR run on the west face.

The ridge rolls up and down gently once the high point is attained. There are great views, and fun skiing along the undulating folds of the topography.

Ice blasted tree shows the remains of yesterday's storm.

Here is a close-up of another tree -top. This tree is amazing - first it has to withstand the sandblasting experience getting coated with ice by high wind, then, it has to support the ice and rime until the sun's hot rays, warm and melt the ice, or it sublimates and leaves the needles free to perform their normal photsynthesis function.

Hmm - what goes down, must come back up. So, we put the skins back on and hump back up to the ridge top looking for some more fun.

Once again on the ridge, this time looking south to Snow Mountain and the gorge of the American River.

These "tufa" like outcroppings are all over the ridge and surrounding mountaintops. They break the wind and help capture snow which has deposited into the gullies between the tufa ribs. Between the ribs the skiing is great on this springtime corm snow - as long as you remember to turn (quickly) before coming up against the adjacent outcrop.

Can you find Waldo in this picture. What a place. We'll be back (as soon as we explore the other jewels nearby).

Monday, March 16, 2009

09 March 13 - Ski to Point Moriah

Ed, Eva. and Don ski the last little bit to Point Moriah, with Snow Mountain looming in the background. This was the last sunny day before the storm door opened again. Window wells are refilling with spindrift and the snow continues to accumulate!

Maya is very pleased to be out and tromping about in the high Sierra forest. Mt. Lincoln (the top of Sugarbowl Ski Resort) is in the background, with the back side showing (PR run from the summit). We had lunch outside on the snow and enjoyed the view. The warming hut was FULL! and too warm anyways.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

09March 11 Ridge Ski with Ed and Eva

When we leave the house at 10:30, the temperature has risen, but the snowbank besides the driveway is still amazing. It will take weeks and weeks to melt all this snow.

We leave the house, cross the street, climb the snow bank and begin following the ridge up towards Crow's Nest. The north facing snow is light powder, the southern aspects are crusty and hard. In the sun it';s soggy, but the views are stupendous. We wind our way up the ridge savoring the clear sky and wonderful views of Van Norden Meadow, and Serene Lakes.

The southwest wind has deposited a sizable cornice on the north side of the ridge. The snow is very consolidated now and there is no sign of fracture or instability so we proceed.

We drop off the ridge on the south side before "Anna's Pass" and find this protected lunch spot.

at Anna's Pass, we pick up the alignment of the Bogus Basin trail (ungroomed), and followed that to Claim Jumper. This trail had a nice downhill glide, refreshing after our morning of bushwhacking up the ridge. Had fiun with making short videos on the way home.

Decided that since we were getting more house guests, I would dig out the 3rd bedroom's windows which had become buried in the last two storm cycles. Still, not much sunlight will get in here, but at least if there is a fire, the window opens and one can crawl out into the snow well to escape. I dug the snow out a few feet and down to the window sill height.

This is a view from Lyle's Lookout on a previous tour. I'm all duded out in ski patrol garb, as we were at Royal Gorge and I could patrol and have family fun at the same time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

09March 09 - snow storm and skiing

(You can click on any picture to enlarge it)
Here is a picture from our last storm. The snow blower has made one pass on the right side of the driveway, but the large lump on the left side is the buried car. I had placed a stick and flag out in front of the bumper the night before, and I'm really glad I did, because, without that flag, I suspect we'd have a subaru with a front end that looks like it was run through a cheese grater. You can imagine how long it took to dig out from this one...

The sky finally cleared, and we were out skiing again. Here is a shot looking north over Deer Lake, with the Royal Gorge Wilderness warming hut in the distance across the frozen lake,

This is a view from Lyle's Lookout, looking south and west towards Snow Peak.

Ed, Eva, and Diane enjoying the brisk morning air on our ski.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The latest storm brings over 36" of fresh snow. As usual, around the house it has drifted much deeper. I suit up, carefully open the kitchen door, and dig my way out and up to allow some light in through the french doors. The bank is now well over my head, so I need to heave the snow up and away over 8 feet. Now,, I have a well dug by the door, I needed to dig stairs into the snow so I could climb out to deall with some of the other windows, and to make a real exit for this doorway.

Diane peers out from the newly excavated door. I only had the energy for one of the doors, and the door sill area beneath the snow pile to keep the slowly melting snow from leaking under the bottom of the door and into the house. I'm standing at the 2nd floor level - now the base snow level around the house outside. I trudge over to the 2nd floor deck off the bedroom, and walk right over the railing to remove snow from in front of that door too.

Here is the 2nd floor deck - the french door obscured by drifting snow. I dig this out along with the front window, then come in to warm up.