Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1620 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I finally got out for a decent bc trip this weekend. It's about time. I have been missing out this season, and I was ready to make up for it. On Saturday, I hooked up with bcrider, mmcpheet, mtnrider, and gimpy (and buddy) on Saturday in SLT to hit some of the chutes off of the north side of Angora Peak/Indian Rock. I had read about this area a bit in this book (highly recommended BTW!), as well as in breadbox's TR, and was pretty stoked to be going there.
In true "urban backcountry" fashion, I left the house in Santa Cruz at about 3 AM and drove straight to SLT, all the while assuming I would miss the appointed meeting time of 7 AM, but somehow I made it. Thank god for books on... iPod.
We set off around 7:30. Gimpy and Buddy led the way and broke trail. I never really caught up in order to thank them .
The tour started off mellow enough, but we quickly started climbing to Angora lakes.
mtnrider in the first part of the climb
mtnrider crossing Angora lakes
After crossing the lake, we started traversing up the backside of Angora Peak. This section I referred to as the "splitboard traverse from hell". Even though it was still before 9 AM, the snow on this side was already getting baked into mashed potatoes, and there was plenty of loose snow sluff from the previous day. Nobody was having fun on this part.
The only consolation was that we had some great views of Echo Peak from this vantage point. Notice the huge cornice, and some crown lines/debris from earlier slides.
We finally got past the heinous traverse, and started heading up toward the saddle between Angora Peak and Indian Rock.
mtnrider exiting the traverse from hell
When we finally gained the ridge between Angora Peak and Indian Rock, we had some great views of Tallac, Fallen Leaf Lake, and big blue itself. This turned out to be an ideal spot for some skin de-glopification. The snow was really starting to stick to the skins at this point.
For me, this was the first real test run with my homemade split Burton Fish.
I had ridden it at the resort, but never on a real bc trip. The Voile kit worked great in split mode. Since I also have a regular Burton split, I put notches in the Fish "skis" tail and tip so I could use the same Burton skins with either board (only requiring adjusting the length when switching). This worked fine, but I must say, the Burton skin glue SUCKS!! By the end of the day the skins were not sticking to the base AT ALL, and this was only the second weekend bc trip with them! I had the skin glue die on an earlier pair of Burton skins last season as well, but that was after many more trips (still a much smaller number than I expected though). I hope Burton does something about this issue.
Soon after the de-glop stop, we made it to the top of Indian Rock. The NW side of Indian Rock is a sheer cliff, so we had some incredible views.
Indian Rock from below
We took a brief break to take in the views and grab some food. When bcrider wasn't looking, Buddy took a couple licks of his sandwich slices. "Hey, it was only a lick, I didn't actually *eat* them!" We discussed descent options. The rest of the guys wanted to hit Fallen Angel and/or the chute to skiiers right of it. I was wondering about Halls of the Gods, so I scrambled over to get a better look at it. It looked sweeeet - untouched powder!
I told the other guys I was going to hit Halls, so we checked our radios, and they took off. From the snippets I caught on the radio, it sounded like gimpy and mmcpheet took the chute to skiiers right of Fallen Angel, while bcrider and mtnrider hit Fallen Angel proper. By all accounts it was a great run. There is some short discussion and pics here; looking forward to seeing more pics/viddy!
I had an interesting time getting into the entrance of Halls. Traversing over from the top of Indian Rock involves a couple of spots where you either have to downclimb the backside of the ridge quite a ways, or do a bit of rock scrambling on the ridge. I chose the latter, which was interesting with the Verts on. I finally made it into the top of the chute. Halls has 3 entrances at the top, as you can see in the pic in breadbox's TR. I chose the central entry. Here's a pic looking down from the rib separating the central and skiiers right entry.
And this is looking over at the skiiers right entry. This is the one that EJ did in breadbox's report. From what I could see, this one looked mighty narrow, but doable. I think it gets narrowest right where it joins up with the other two top entrance chutes, and you can't see down that far from the top.
Since bcrider and crew had dropped their respective chutes while I was traversing into Halls, by this time they were at the bottom of the bowl and set up for pics etc. I dropped in. The snow at the top was great. Nice powder, unlike the snow we had skinned up on. There was a bit of sluff to avoid after every few turns near the top. From what I remember, the entrance was easy enough, then about 1/4 of the way down it funnels into a narrower and steeper section. Then this joins up with with other two top entrance chutes, and from there out it is just plain clean fun. For the most part the snow in the chute was excellent. Further down there were a couple sections of windpack, and then the final bowl was perfect. In all it was an incredible run! I found that the Fish was a little squirrely in some of the tight, steep parts, and it was easy to over-turn. It could be because I'm not quite used to it yet, but my sense is that this board is more at home in bottomless light powder. I think I would have felt a little more comfortable with the Burton 165 in this setting. But it still worked quite well overall. Anyway, here's a pic from below looking back up. You can't see the skiiers left upper entrance in this photo (the one breadbox did in his TR).
We celebrated at the bottom of the bowl for a bit and grabbed a snack, then started skinning up out of the bowl in the track that gimpy had set (thanks again!).
On the way out, we had some good views of Mini Hall, which bcrider and friends had hit the previous day.
Midway through the skin out, bcrider decided he hadn't had enough and got in a few more turns on this nice line.
Soon after, we were passed up by a couple of shirtless locals and their dog, who had also done Fallen Angel (*after* our group).
We eventually made it around to Echo Peak, where we ran into Roman and Karl, who were finishing up their Ralston-Echo run. Here's a pic from the top of Echo... did I mention the massive cornices?
We got ready to descend the east ridge from Echo back to the cars. As you can see, at this point bcrider has pretty much lost it. Splitboards rule! mmcpheet is an honorary splitboarder, since his skis are wider than most splitboards in split mode...
The ride from that point back to the car was nothing to write home about. The snow had already turned into Sierra cement. When the terrain flattened out, we switched back to split mode for the final section. At this point my skins were not sticking to the board at all (did I mention the Burton skin glue sucks?), and I lost a skin completely after about 100 yards. Eventually I had to stop and put the board on the pack. Fortunately I had the Verts, but what a pain. Time for a reglue. I'm sure that Roman and Karl (who had snowshoed their trip) were quite impressed with the splitboard concept after seeing that little fiasco.
Oh yeah, here's my gratuitous pano for the trip. This is on the skin out of the bowl under Indian Rock. I didn't quite get the pano mode right so there are a few weird artifacts. Not to mention the corner of the ziplock back that was in my hand in one of the shots, and the half-ghost pics of mtnrider, who was walking down the slope as I took the shots. Anyway, you can see the back side of Tallac on the left, Fallen Leaf lake in the middle, and Indian Rock on the right.
Overall, it was a great trip! Thanks to bcrider, mmcpheet, mtnrider, and gimpy for letting me tag along.
On Sunday, I was set on trying to hit Crescent couloir on Roundtop. I probably should have hooked up with mmcpheet and mtnrider, who were going to try Waterhouse, but I was a stubborn old fart. I drove from Truckee, so on the way I got a good view of Tallac. It probably would have been a good destination that day as well.
When I got to Carson pass, the winds in the parking lot were already howling. I figured what the hell, I'll try it anyway. I got out the flats around Winnemucca lake, and the winds were so strong they were knocking me over. At that point I decided to turn around. This is as close as I got to Roundtop:
I'll be back there another day. At least it was some good exercise.
nice pics and report and damn good to meet ya jim. sorry i had to bail before checking out your run but i had a family deadline to meet. looks like a couple of my speed skinning buds and buddy's skiing bud caught up w/ you guys.
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 4952 Location: California
gimpy checks his line
jimw skins out of the bowl
On the top of Echo Peak we ran into dibiase and his buddy. They were on the second half of the Ralston to Echo tour. Considering the conditions, we were surprised to see they did the tour on snowshoesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦and shared one set of poles. Nice dedication.
Mmcpheet and karl dibiase's friend
dibiase (sorry the pic was taken late)
They didn't have a shuttle car and their car was on my way home so it worked out well.