Great day skiing some stuff I've wanted to do for awhile, before yet another big late spring storm.
Greg and I left the Fallen Leaf Lake Trailhead for Glen Alpine and Aloha Lake around 7:45am. You have to take your skis off a few times, but the snow is healthy still back there. As if I'm not giving you ENOUGH pictures here, there are more route beta and nice scenery shots in my recent trip report for Jack's South Side.
It's not hard to find your way up the canyon to Heather Lake and Aloha, but travel times can really vary skiing in to Desolation this way depending on your route finding skills. That's what I like about it. Try to not go downhill, end up taking skis off on burned out parts, or do any sketchy creek crossings.
We spent about 2.5 hours getting to Lake Aloha. You're starting from the fire station, which is a mile or so from the buried Glen Alpine Trailhead. It took us 5 hours getting to the summit of Mt. Price at a comfortable pace. This is a lot of miles to gain 3400' or so. We made the trip worth it and skied some other fun lines in a 10 hour tour.
This shot is an hour in of Cracked Crag. We skied the line under my arrow on our way out.
Check out this waterfall on the south side of Jack's Peak. These pictures don't give you any feel for the raging water popping out of the snow back there all around. It's really worth a trek back there just to see the water below Heather Lake.
And the old trees are amazing.
This was a typical rager. This one was about 20' wide and just roaring. Rock hard snow all around it. Don't fall in, you're not coming out.
Heather Lake was nicely frozen at 10am with 4 feet of snow on it.
I can't believe I'm lucky enough to do this. Not to mention I live 40 minutes from this trailhead.
It's only 1800' from Aloha Lake to the summit of Mt. Price and Agassiz. It's a big area though. The Crystal Range East Slopes are kind of like Janine's. Steeper down low, mellow up higher, and very steep for the top few hundred feet.
black is up, blue is down. We went up Mt. Price first on the right. After the fun steep part up high we went over to Agassiz for the north face.
Meadow skipping below the summits.
failed attempt to skin around the north side
We booted up the highest couloir. Pretty short, but steep enough at the top where you need to knock some snow away for your knees. Then you mantle up on the summit plateau quite close to the summit.
Greg and I are psyched to be hanging out on top of Mt. Price. The wind died down just as we were up there too. Next we went over to ski the north face of neighboring Mt. Agassiz, which you can see directly above Greg's head.
Looking west from the summit of Price. These bowls face north and had a few snowmobile tracks in them probably from a Rubicon Trail area start. I assume you would be fined quite heavily to be caught back there.
Looking north from Price.
Looking east back across Lake Aloha.
After skiing the cool little 500' couloir we climbed up, we went over and skinned up another one at the saddle between Price and Agassiz. We went to the top of Agassiz, where there is an incredible granite summit. A short scramble and your on a huge flattish granite pad. Lie down and look over the edge! We spied out our line on the north face, but couldn't tell the angles yet.
Looking at the NW side of Pyramid from the summit of Agassiz.
Looking back at Mt. Price. We skinned up through the notch to get where we are now.
This short line was pretty steep, but the real crux was just looking at the rocks. It rolls over a bit too and the snow was a little wind sculpted. I let Greg go first, he made nice hop turns through it all. Rather than get all nervous, I just I side slipped to get to the zig zag and then started turning. I'm an excellent side slipper. I should teach a clinic.
snow was great
short meadow skip
steeper slope with an easy jump over a big crack
Zoomed picture of our last descent. Without this final run, there would be very few turns left in the day. And we are hours from the car. The west side of Cracked Crag's north summit looked hard to climb from far away. Kind of like the way the Crystals look fairly steep from far away.
Nice full view of Jack's Peak South Side. Last week Roger, Vince and I skied the terrain above Greg's head, including the chute just to the left. That's about 2500' in this pic of Jack's Peak; with a 2 hour approach. You probably won't see any skiers though!
Climbing the west side of Cracked Crag turned out to be only a 2nd class walk from snowline, and you easily find the couloir notch. The climb up the west side is about half the vertical compared to the descent.
We sawed away an overhanging cornice to get a look. The couloir starts narrower than skis and vertical for a few feet. We walked down backwards around the cornice after determining the snow wasn't moving anymore. I made a platform and carefully got my skis on, and side slipped through the crux at the top pretty easily thanks to soft snow and 174 skis.
I was very concerned about starting a wet slide. The snow was just starting to freeze tight again with the lack of sun, and it wasn't very steep below the narrow part up high. Feeling good about the snow up there, I figured we could go back up if we had to.
Finally we see blue (Fallen Leaf Lake). Time to real in the car.
I had a picture on my camera to look at, confirming that going right of those 2 trees was the only way through. The real wet slide danger was in rocks below. We saw what the snow was doing and turned lightly through there. It's not as steep as it looks, and we didn't get above one another. At first I tried making some snow move ahead of me, but the conditions where past that stage. Just going easy and quickly was a better idea.