Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some photos from backcountry adventures while Erica was up visiting from Mexico.

Jeb, Chris Gray, Erica and I headed down the West shore of Lake Tahoe to ski a line on Jakes Peak.  

The sunrise over the lake was so pretty we had to pull the car over for a picture!  This is near Homewood, looking south towards Freel peak.

Our target line was the Emerald Chute on Jakes peak.  Named for Emerald Bay below it, this is a beautiful ski line to be in because you can look straight down into the water in the bay the whole time.

I'm lucky to have such photogenic backcountry partners!  Erica and Jeb pose down on the last rock scramble before the entrance to the chute.

The entrance to the chute is nice and steep, and we found soft snow even several days after it snowed.  The sun had affected the snow a bit, but still awesome skiing.  Here's Erica dropping in.

The walls of the chute are made of really interesting fractured granite.  Jeb wasn't distracted by the scenery and ripped up the skiing.

The snow conditions changed as we lost altitude, and for a few hundred feet in the middle we found beautiful corn snow.

Skiing in this area is incredibly convenient, because the steep terrain lasts all the way down to the road, and it's a quick hitchike back to where we left the car at the trailhead.

Chris Gray making the last few turns down to the Eagle Creek area and Highway 89.

The next day, Erica and I headed to Maggie's Peaks, on the other side of Emerald Bay.  Because of the change in aspect, we were looking for wintery powder snow after the sun-exposed day on Jakes the day before.

The inversion fog on the lake was awesome!  Great views from the north summit of Maggie's.

We came looking for pow, and found it!

Great snow, beautiful day, awesome time.

Lake Tahoe is so cool!  Skiing is so cool!  Powder is so cool!  Erica milking great snow, with Emerald Bay and Fanette Island as a backdrop.

Our next objective was to ski a mountain in the Convict Canyon area just south of Mammoth Lakes, in the eastern Sierra.

One of the hallmarks of a good trip to the Mammoth area is watching the sun set from one of the hotsprings just outside of town.  The views of the peaks of the eastern Sierra are fantastic!

We slept at the trailhead at Convict Lake, and were hiking before sunrise.

The routefinding in the dark was a bit of a thrash, there were lots of trees and stream crossings between us and upper Convict Canyon.

Unfortunately, I had been lazy when mounting my bindings, and they failed on the hike in, so we had to turn around after just a few miles of approaching.  Red Slate couloir will have to wait for another day, but we managed to get some cool photos at the bottom of the Pinner Couloir of Laurel Mountain on our way back to the car.

The rock walls of the Pinner Couloir are tall, vertical, and striped with several colors of rock.  Such a neat setting to ski in!  Erica making the marginal snow conditions look good.

That's Convict Lake (and behind it, the hot springs area) in the background.

More photos at