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).

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