Post subject: 5.24-5.26.2008 westside sierra - mineral king
Posted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:58 pm
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:31 pm Posts: 590 Location: ca. - sierra
mineral king. im having trouble coming up with words to describe this place. its one of those special places in the sierra, to me its a sacred place. there are not too many places to get easy access to the high country on the west side of the sierra. on the eastside there is such a huge valley and lots of nice roads going right up the range. on the westside its a much more gradual climb from out of the central valley leading up through some amazing redwood forests. the mineral king area is normally closed until memorial weekend due to heavy snow and the fact that they dont plow the road. the road to get to this place is by far the craziest road in america i have been on. it curves and winds up the drainage of the kaweah river and goes thru some wild country. driving up the road fri eve we saw two black bears, and on the way back down on monday a mtn lion ( my 1st sighting - stoked! )
anyway after suffering the weekend before on the north chutes of lamark i was ready for some serious fun touring around the westside. a quick check of the forecast said 30% chance of snow showers. well it snowed fairly consistently the whole time we were there, with the heaviest period on sunday afternoon/eve and monday morn.
i had been going back and forth with mtnrider all year about going out for some turns, but due to busy scedules we never got out together. this weekend we finally got the chance to meet up and ride. we got going late and after a short drive to visalia we turned off, up into the mtns. a couple hours later we were in the campgrounds and it was snowing.
Day 1 - Vandever Mtn, White Chief Bowl, Western Sierra, CA. 5.24.2008
we got up early, left camp by 6:30 or so and gearing up to leave the TH a little after 7. its a couple miles slogging up the farewell canyon to get back below vandever mtn.
looking up the canyon back to farewell gap, vandever is the peak on the right.
i think this one is florence pk
it was an amazing morning, hiking up the canyon the views were not bad
looking back to empire mtn
white chief peak
the skintrack is leading up to the little entrance gully, then you hang a left and climb up the nw facing white chief bowl.
skintrack stoke. looking back finally breaking away from the big trees.
vandever with the white chief bowl on the right shoulder there
weather, snow fairly heavy at times. visbility, getting worse.
looking down the bowl.....
and up. dont ask me why but this is my favorite shot
and now for some riding shots - all shots are of mtnrider
exiting the upper bowl
it was a full 12 hour day in the backcountry. we got back and went down the mtn about two miles to a little "resort" called silver town. they had a resteraunt there and we got some good grub, veggie lasagna. we just made it in time, as they shut down around 8. then we headed back to camp to get ready for sunday.
Day 2 - Mineral Peak, Western Sierra, CA. 5.25.2008
it was snowing good on sunday. at the TH visbility wasnt the greatest. luckily i had been up there before and knew where we were going.
the route for this one follows the sawtooth pass summer trail, but we were skinning pretty quickly. unlike the previous day this one was straight up and back.
riding shots from day 2:
this day ended much earlier, and again it was off to silver city for some hot food and a warm shower. it was really coming down good on sunday eve.
the view of the hill behind camp. hard to believe it was memorial weekend!
the little bridge leading into camp.
route 198's eastern most reaches...
camp had this really cool giant boulder.
Day 3 - Mineral Peak, Western Sierra, CA. 5.26.2008 part 2
there was considerably more snow monday morn. we were skinning almost right from the truck.
this place has a crazy marmot problem, supposedly they get up under your vehicle and eat the wires and hoses. this day they were busy scoring some fresh tracks.
avy danger was a bit higher after all the new snow
the sawtooth peak. would be nice to ride that in winter.
looking down into the drainage we came up from.
looking across the canyon, this tree line is on the west face of empire peak.
finally on monday the sun made an appearance between the patches of fog.
overall this was an amazing trip, a real treat considering we have not really had any significant snowfall in months in the sierra. im definitely going back to mineral king next weekend.
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:12 am Posts: 829 Location: PNW Hood Canal
Holy cow, check those conditions on Memorial Day weekend. Fantastic! Great pics Fullers2Oh and great riding mtnrider (was mtnrider jibbing every tree in the forest?). Looks like Memorial Day weekend made for some great TR's from the sb.com peeps.
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Wow - all those big trees with snow in them! It looks like winter!! I'm dying to ride Mineral King one of these days.
Man, not a bad START to my season! Super thanks to Fullers2oh for getting my priorities in order. It took me 3 seasons before I got to venture up into MK and it is well worth it, the boarding was just the icing on the cake.
The weekend was so sweet, I had a blast. hmm, now to just get in a couple more days
bears, deer, fox, and mtn lion...oh my!
WE will be busting trail up there next winter with the sleds.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1479 Location: 395
What the?......fresh snow?.....huh?.....what?....................in the sierra's???
Wow, thnx for the stoke. Now i'm gonna have to get my lazy ass off the couch and away from the computer this weekend I think.
Are you sure those pictures weren't doctored?
Very jealous about your mountain lion sighting as I have yet to see my first. Congrats. I've been in the vicinity of many but no sightings. I kinda hope my first sighting is on foot while solo just to make it intense.
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:06 pm Posts: 246 Location: Orange County, California
wow that looks really, really fun! I should've been there, instead me and wifey were bummed camping in the rain a little north in Kings Canyon! Still it is also a pretty cool place and I'm glad I finally went!
Very cool pictures! See you did get some freshies, was it as fun as it looks?
And I can confirm that the road to Mineral King is indeed a very, very crazy road. I was there last summer for summer hiking and it has about 700 curves and goes on foooorever!
Well done Dave!
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