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Carson Pass June 10 Tour Solo

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Edit: Available as a video http://www.fileupyours.com/files/470...%2016%20MB.wmv

What a day. Two mountains, 3 laps about 9 miles. Being in better shape would help. :

June 10 and snow is great. I have been itching to get out and earn some turns. The snow has been cooking for a while and is very stable. This morning at the pass elevation 8000 feet, there was still about 5 feet of snow. It was recrystalized corn, and very firm. So, I decided to do some boot packing rather than skinning for the uphill. The problem with going alone, is, there is no skier to photograph. So you end up with shadowy characters that clearly have ulterior motive for their hidden agenda.



The first destination was Elephant's Back Mountain. Its only about 1-3/4 miles in, and is a pretty easy hike. This is a scenic area, and a designated wilderness. Mokolumne wilderness is south of California Hwy 88. The hike started off from the visitors center at Carson Pass and proceeded uphill. Cover was variable, so I just bootpacked.


Mokulomne Wilderness includes some very impressive mountains capped off by Round Top and the infamous Cresent Moon couloir.
Round Top. We're eventually heading to the far left side of this photo.





First stop today was Elephant's Back. Not a very impressive looking mountain, it is an extinct volcano and has a rounded shape like an elephant's back and is basically a heap of talus. Just an awful thing to climb, because its hot, exposed and doesn't have any significant vegetation on it. In summer, talus climbing can seem like one step forward, three steps back and nothing is consolidated. Elephants Back is literally sliced in half. On the back (Northeast) side, are cliffs and steep talus aprons that hold snow late into the summer. That's our first stop.

Kinda steep huh?


The cliffs shed rock in the spring, and that is what leads to Talus


An easy climb brings us to the top of a collapsing cornice with a 42 degree start (inclinometer), but tapering to a flat apron that has a roll over to a 35 degree slope that is runneled. A nice 800 foot+ continuous drop.



View on the way back up. Plenty of runnels and sun cups, but the Mantras did great and were not deflected.


The route out and back covered a lot of ground. Click for full size.

continued.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
Turns, and slough from the top. I tried to take a fairly straight line and let the speed build. Earned turns pass quickly this way, but it is fun.


I did this twice. Easy laps on a nice day, and a fairly easy climb. Next up was the cirques of Round Top. Now, I have met bears (who shall remain nameless) that didn't know what a cirque is. As a cirquerider, I'm of course well acquainted with cirques. A glacial formation caused by the cutting action of glaciers. Usually a bowl shape, and often having a lake or hanging valley at the base. Not the best picture, but you get the idea of cliffs near the top opening up to talus aprons, and at the bottom is Lake Winnemucca, still frozen over.



I'm not ambitious enough to tackel Round top today, so my target turns out to be the Eastern sholder of roung top, just off to the left of the previous picture.





Now, I didn't choose the smartest route. I decended to the cirque lake, and started my climb from the base. This put me on the steepest parts for the climb. It turns out there was an easier way, I'll show you later.

Runnels on the steep ascent:




continued
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider


I
My legs involuntarily twitched just looking at this pic

Keep it coming on, keep it coming on....
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Coming down the East sholder



In the runnels and taking the slow line fast, while I can.


How about a little straightline through a 5-foot gap in 35 degee terrain? Split the gap, gained some speed!


More to go. lets do another one; about 5 feet wide:


Looking back. Now all we gotta do is hike out of the cirque, and we can practically glide to the parking lot. 500 feet of vertical to the top.


Did I mention there was an easier way up? This is looking back up where we were on top of the ridge. This would have been the path. Just an easy skin line until the final climb.


Homeward bound


An easier way to travel. Damn if my car didn't sprout a no parking sigh while I was gone. . (Telephoto shot, its on the other side of the road.)


Thanks for looking.
post #5 of 21
This is why I need to move to the mountains.

I could still be skiing instead of mowing the lawn, cleaning the pool and going to baseball games.

No death cookies in that stuff Cirqe?

I've skied corn in the between when it's still stiff in spots. You'll be skiing along nicely and hit a nice size chunk of ice..

Anyhow, you have a nack for taking pictures. I'm glad you like to share them with us.
post #6 of 21
Your photos are inspiring!

Alas....I am fully emersed in mountain biking for the season.
post #7 of 21
Nice pics, Cirque.

Thanks for posting these.Great therapy .
Wish i was closer you wouldn't need to go it alone
Looks like great adventure
post #8 of 21


Well done, Cirque! And thanks for the lessons, too...
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
Nice pics, Cirque.

Thanks for posting these.Great therapy .
Wish i was closer you wouldn't need to go it alone
Looks like great adventure
Going alone in the backcountry is both peaceful, and gives you pause to be careful. I didn't see a soul all day. Had anything happened, help wold be a long time coming. I chose fairly conservative, but steep lines without exposure to rocks if I went down. I set soft goals with a firm turn-around time of 3:00. There were some intersting lines farther out, but I wanted to be back by 4:30.

It would be great to have you along. I'm not a very fast hiker with the heavy boots and skis, The hiking out felt twice as far as when I use lightweight shoes and a minimal pack. Of course the downhill sections are money. There aren't many people my age out getting into the mountains on snow, so I went with the only partner I could find .
post #10 of 21
Cique:

Looks like a fantastic way to spend a beautiful spring day, but you are making me feel like a slouch. Maybe I should get off my fat ass and do another climb for some turns. I have some friends here who always do a 4th of July ski, but I could use a little practice before then. Thanks for the inspiration!
post #11 of 21

Cirque Going Touring

See what you made me do!
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
See what you made me do!
You both went out and had a great hike and some turns on snow. Good for ya both.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
See what you made me do!
We really ought to do this together some time. But, if I did indeed give you a kick in the shorts, I enjoyed it.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
We really ought to do this together some time. But, if I did indeed give you a kick in the shorts, I enjoyed it.
Yes we should. But you like to tour 21/2 hours from my place. I like to hit the North Shore.

Mt.
Talac / Desolation wilderness? Probably too much skinin for me.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Going alone in the backcountry is both peaceful, and gives you pause to be careful. I didn't see a soul all day. Had anything happened, help wold be a long time coming. I chose fairly conservative, but steep lines without exposure to rocks if I went down. I set soft goals with a firm turn-around time of 3:00.
Great report, Cirque. I'm jealous because I'm sitting on my ass doing nothing after my toe surgery.

Aren't those little rock gaps fun when you're skiing good, consolidated corn? Part of what I like about summer skiing is that you're pretty confident that anything that's white will support you and not clobber your skis.

Not to get too philosophical or anything, but isn't it fun to go up and do something like that alone this time of year? It sort of feels like you're opening the doors to an entirely new form of recreation. It's kind of like hiking in the mountains but with a MUCH greater reward in the form of SKI TURNS.

I just love the solitude of the whole thing. You're right about the necessity to be a little more careful, but that somehow adds to the overall experience. There's this very real sense of doing something that hardly anyone else has figured out yet.

I loved the report - you and MTT both. Do a few more for me.
post #16 of 21
Sorry to hear about the toe Bob, hope you heal quickly.

I love to do adventures like this alone. It's kind of like a "vision quest"

There's nothing like the solitude of the woods on a crisp October morning, or the mountain top in Spring.

I also like the fact that you are your own guide. You decide which path to follow, at what speed and how long to linger. Not being prodded or held back or worry about anything.

It's being one with nature in all it's glory. There is no better feeling. Not even sex.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments Bob. I've been getting out this year about once a month backcountry. With the lifts finally being closed, the chance to go came, and I really didn't regret going alone. Snow conditions are just as safe as they can be with nothing more than surface sloughs, runnels and glide cracks. I took video while I was out there and looking at it, I notice not a sound can be heard (other than my heavy breathing). Saw some wildlife scampering around, but nothing like your moose and bison. This critter crossed the frame in the 4th picture of post #2 above. (click for full size image)



Lars, I think you hit on the essence of being in backcountry. But I'm a bit undecided on the sex part:
post #18 of 21
Very nice cirque....

...next time can I tag along??
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
As I asked in your Mammoth TR, just how close are you? I'd love to have some company; just as long as you know, I'm old, and slow.

Father's day Sunday is next for me. And I'm seriously considering the easy lines at Kirkwood

June 10


I changed the first post to show the route from a panoramic from the South side of Hwy 88 This image can be clicked to view full size.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
There aren't many people my age out getting into the mountains on snow, so I went with the only partner I could find .
O.K. please tell me how young you are?

Thanks so very much for the pictures too!!!
post #21 of 21
Thanks for posting those cirque rider. Carson Pass is a magical place.
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