Whitney Ski Trip 2005
|Date: April 30th, 2005|
|Distance from Caltech: 212 mi|
|Type: Back Country Ski|
|Rating: On the steep side|
|Approach Distance: ~4 miles|
|Route Length: ~5000' vertical|
The Whitney area is a treat in the winter. It has an incredibly dramatic mountain setting, aboundant on steep granite faces that are accessible comfortably by skiing. Once you are at the top, the car could be a short distance away, down incredibly nice ski terrain. If you think you are satisfied with Whitney because you have climbed four times, consider a fifth trip there, with skiis.
The Whitney area map:
On April the 30th, 2005 Dave, Alan and I started climbing up the Whitney trail towards the Mountaineers route in Whitney at 6:30am. We reached the Upper Boy Scout lake and ditched our packs and joined John and Scoot there. After lunch, we continued toward the summit at 10:30am. The Mountaineers route was in great snow conditions, something like a foot of powder was filling up the couloir and a great boot track was already there. Dave and I made it to the notch fast, around 1pm. The last part of the couloir looked dicey, so I tried traversing the North Face, while Dave made the gully in no time. The north face proved tricky to skin so I turned around just in time to let myself be persuaded by Alan to go up the gully. At 2pm we started up the Gully and made it to the Whitney summit by 2:30pm.
We enjoyed the views from the summit and then went back to the upper section of the mountaineers route. It was something like in the upper forty degrees and after watching Dave dropping into the gully, I decided to ski the North face instead. Alan also went down the gully, shit that looked scary. John, who was around there also, decided to down climb that gully to the notch. By the time I was at the Notch, the guys were finishing with the upper section so that we all started the proper mountaineers route together. To start with a good note, Scott took a slide and lost both skis, which luckily stopped 10 m below by somehow getting pierced through the snow. His bindings were not properly set and therefore he was very apprehensive for the rest of the descent. The couloir contained some of the worst snow we had seen so far. It is incredible how fast the conditions deteriorated in 3h. It was very variable between powder, hard pack, breakable crust, ice and hidden rocks with icy ski tracks everywhere. Dave and I waited at the bottom of the gully for a while. Back in the Upper Boy Scout Lake, we set camp. Had dinner and hang out under a very cool but somehow warm light snow storm.