there is another post or two on this forum with great Crater Crest info and pics. I started a new one because well, um..my camera trigger finger is faster than your internet connection.
It seemed like they got 1-2 feet this weekend in the Sawtooths. Temps stayed cool today with the storm moving in, and clouds also blocked the sun from messing with the snow. We went out to Monument Ridge for the couloir under my arrow. The snow was pretty good, but not worth going back up for the neighboring couloirs. Instead we skinned about 1000' up to Crater Crest and found really nice powder all the way back to the car. This whole tour took us about 9 hours taking our time and might have been 6000' or so. It's a bunch of miles to get out to Tamarack Lake below Monument Peak, and then you have to come back along the shore of Twin Lakes to the car.
We skied the couloir above our heads by skinning up to the left. This terrain was steep with big slopes above us out of view in the pic. Going this way isn't usually possible I believe, but it we found just the right snow to trust. 1-2 feet of unconsolidated new snow on top of shale. Anytime I couldn't feel the rock with my pole I changed directions. There is usually either no snow or too much solar on the snow on a west facing slope like this. Winds kicked up and were getting to all the couloirs, so we didn't feel comfortable climbing up them. The one we came down was quite wide and had nooks and crannies to hide in as we figured out the snow. Mid way down I got a small windslab to go by hugging the side. Nothing that would bury you deep, but possible hurt you or your gear. Our dogs got rolled around a bit.
I skied the angled couloir last year. Tina works at Rhino's in town and says her non-skiing neighbor calls it the death couloir, looking at it from their house. So there you have it. I named our couloir Grady's, for Greg's dog who rode down a few hundred feet in a small slab avalanche. Both of our dogs got sucked into it and didn't seem phased. They have lots of practice wallowing in snow caked manzanita apparently.
The death couloir is very wide and about 35 degree, even though it looks more challenging. In this pic you can see a steeper way into it up on the right.
Amazing views as usual. Looking southeast here at Monument Peak proper.
Looking east at Dunderberg's 2 summits. Mono Lake on the far left. Great looking complex ski terrain above Green Lake.
Virginia Peak's steep north side. On the list for sure, either going over Horse creek pass or from Virginia Lakes like some past messageboard folks described.
Vince on track towards Crater Crest with our Monument Ridge couloir angling left in the background. The pinner mega death couloir in view looming above the standard death couloir. We'll call that one MDC for megadeath couloir. I've heard it goes but never got a view of how it connects to main DC. No, I'm not serious, I don't like names on parts of mountains really, and don't try to name anything myself; other than to talk to my friends about going back for something. Tina can share some of the blame here if anyone calls these couloirs by my names.
oh, there it is. MDC.
amazing views from the top of Crater Crest. You can see all around. It was about 3:30 or a little later, and the snow wasn't changing so we hung out for awhile. The wind had mostly died down and the sunlight was pretty sweet up there. Gotta go though, more snow on the way.
Mt. Whorl I believe is the big east face, just above Horse Creek Pass. Or the summit is probably that other peak next door with no snow. This would be a long mellow one dayer with a clear view of Virginia Peak across the valley.
Looking back at Mt. Walt and the great looking ski terrain above Blacksmith Creek Canyon.
I smell powder. Is it wind affected?
Nope. Shin Deep fluff all the way back to the lake for 4000'!
Vince agrees suck factor is quite low. I think about how tired we would all be if we had to ski down in crappy conditions. I also think about how long and flat of a tour it is to go out to Monument ridge, if you don't ski crater crest on the way back.
We came off the high point and crossed over both ridges on the way back.