Damn, Big Pine has some amazing spring ski touring options right above town. Howie Schwartz recommended this one, and I'll be preaching it to people too. Goodale Mountain is like Esha Peak on steriods, only better: no people, much bigger, and earlier auto access. You'll need a 4x4 for the last mile. You'll also need an hour to navigate the dirt roads to the start.
Goodale is in the center. You want to find the dirt road on the map that climbs the highest, due east of the summit. It's a short rough 4x4 road south of Taboose Creek and just a little north of Goodale Creek. The road end at 6800', where a user created trail continues another mile or so before you hit snow. You could possibly ski this peak quite early in the season. We walked to the snow at about 7400' on Thursday.
from right to left is Birch, Tinemaha, Split Mountain, Cardinal Mountain, Goodale Mountain, and Striped Mountain. There are another few huge peaks to ski right in this spot as well. You could spend the whole spring camped above Big Pine and not even touch the Palisades Area.
Don't bother driving the last few hundred yards of the dirt road unless you have a small high clearance 4x4. John's monster truck was too big for the last stretch.
Lots of options up high obviously. Unbelievable open low angle 3 grand of highway smoothness below. The peak is 12,772'. Over 6000' of skiing if you hit it in March.
I don't see the snowline receeding that much in the next 30 days, maybe another 500' with the fact that you get on a northeast aspect fairly early in the canyon.
Still 4k to go.
We skinned up the bananna shaped gully on the left of the peak. This was fairly steep and would be a great ski descent. We found boot deep powder on the true north facing aspect. The summit is quite a ways back there though, so we came down through one of the couloirs instead of backtracking so much.
This is 2k of mountain just right in view above us. The summit is just past the highpoint on the right, not the peaklet in the center.
Mt. Pinchot on the right has some great looking couloirs on it's north side. Mt. Whynne is just left of that.
Cardinal's south face behind us.
Cardinal Mountain has some great looking skiing on both north and south sides.
John skiing down off the summit.
We followed Howie's tracks from a few days prior, down the most north facing couloir. Howie is an IFMGA guide (full cert Alpine, Rock, Ski) and co-owns Sierra Mt. Guides with Neil. Definately hire him. Don't think twice about it, especially if you want to ski down there. He lives in Big Pine.
Starting to drizzle. Sweet!
Old Lava Flow