Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, the CALENDAR says it's summer...

... however, the mountain says it's not. Quite.

I finally had a chance today to break away from my inhumane schedule and head for the hills. I've been wanting to throw some skis on my pack and see what's been going on for a while now.

What's going on is a lot of snow, a lot of water, and a lot of amazing beauty.

I checked the SnoTel site before I left this AM, and it said that it had gotten down to 42 degrees overnight at 7700'. That puts it at somewhat below freezing up higher, which made it a safe bet for reasonable skiing conditions. I left the trailhead at 6A, which was a pretty good choice timing-wise. The temperatures were enjoyable, the snow was still frozen and easy walking. I didn't even bother to put my skis on, just hiked up the frozen snow.

It was a snow hike just about from the trailhead. I left the trail about 200 yards in - water was running pretty much continuously down the trail and hiking up the snow was both easier and less damaging to the tread.

You could hear the roar of the creek, the singing birds, the silence of the snow. Breathtaking.

There is more than 100cm of snow at the Ruby Mountain Heli-ski snow stake, a few hundred yards above the trailhead.

About a half-mile in, in a flat snowy open space, I came upon an area where somebody had had a fire. Fine, as far as it went... until I looked more closely and realized that somebody had burned a snowmobile up there. They dragged the burnt carcass out but had left lots of little burned-up pieces in their wake. Seriously, it was funny as hell but come on, clean up after yourselves...

But I digress.

After a couple of hours hiking I got to the top of Liberty Peak, which I figured was an appropriate goal for the morning. It's clear that there is going to be decent summer skiing for a few weeks yet. It is just as clear that the Ruby Crest Trail and other high destinations are going to be snow trips for quite a while.

Here are Lake Peak, Wines Peak, Castle Lake, looking south-ish along the Crest Trail.

This is Fitzgerald and the cirque at the top of Box Canyon. Good destination for early risers.

It's not real obvious from below, but there's a huge crack in the ice in Lamoille Lake, the extent of which is very apparent from above. Probably a good idea to stay off the ice. Click on the photo to enlarge it and really see the crack.

The skiing was good for the end of June. The chute I picked to get into the Lake Shot was a little on the crunchy side - should have chosen one farther skier's left - but Sweet Thing really lived up to its name.

All in all, the canyon is going OFF right now. Waterfalls everywhere, a million flowers, new leaves slowly working their way uphill. If you're planning on hiking, though, plan on snow and start early if you're not into postholing.

No comments:

Post a Comment