Forums Trip Reports 24 hours on the east side
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  • #574619
    1382 Posts

    Figure now is a good time to get some pre Kali Party stoke going!

    I have a POWDICTION!!! (blatant granjero copyright infringement) Everyone is talking about corn season. After one of Tahoe’s most epic weeks of pow ever it’s hard to switch gears and want anything else. However, after some logical interpretation of possible conditions I decided corn is what I was going for as I was thinking it would be a crap shoot to find the beloved powder snow down on the east side.
    Being the first solo east side trip of the year I waffled on my drive down and around 10pm I started driving to Birch mtn which I have never done. Having gotten there in the dark and not seeing snow or sure of the approach I got a hair up my arse to do the S face of Split again thinking that would be a no brainer as it’s a classic and sure to be producing corn snow after our latest freeze cycle. The trailhead was real close to Birch so I was quickly there to find 3 other cars at the trailhead! Lol, this is not where you expect to see crowds. Of course there were two parties from Tahoe/Truckee and one from SLC. Two were going for the NE couloir and the next morning I ran into Eric and Doug from Truckee who were also going for the south face. Naturally I fell in with them as I’ve been there and they haven’t. It would be nice to have partners and not be obligated. My favorite situation!

    The drive down:

    After a little obligatory bushwhacking in the dark we were on snow and moving quickly. There was less snow for the exit than last year but more once you got established in the canyon.

    Cardinal chutes. Hmmm, I was thinking that snow was not as good as it looked.

    Approaching our route:

    Around 12500ish things were softening but up high instead of your typical corn we found a saturated 4-6 inches of unconsolidated slop on top of a hard crust. I was already over half way up the thing but started feeling sketchy as I’ve never ran into conditions like this often and was not comfortable being exposed on a huge warming face with not where to go. So I let my new friends know I was bailing and tucked my tail and ran.
    When I got to the bottom I kept looking over at Cardinal and decided I should at least go over and have a look. I expected them to be a mixed bag of crust, windboard, and chalky as can be expected in the spring after the wind has had their way.

    When I arrived at the base of the chutes I was tired, it was getting sorta late in the day to start up a new route, I was solo, low on water, a long way from nowhere, and not in the shape I’m used to be in by this time of year. Fuck it, I’ll just climb up until I find crappy snow.

    I decided to head up the line bcd did last year that ends in a gnarly choke/steep sliver that goes to the top. I had no intention on doing the choke this year as I was already thrashed and it wasn’t as filled in as last year. The bottom of the apron was a mixed bag of sticky old snow and windboard with some crust thrown in. A couple heavy hitter types I had met at the trailhead had skied this earlier in the week and there was evidence of their tracks and skin track on the apron. After about a 100 feet up though something magical happened.

    I barely made it up this thing and was really wishing I had my verts. Luckily a 1/2 quart of water and a energy bar at the top gave me just enough energy to make turns as I was having doubts I could get down safely with my chicken legs starting to quiver. I stomped out a platform on 50+ degree slope to get my gear on (always exciting). Had one frightening moment where large snow chunks started raining down on my perch from the cliffs high above. Not that I needed any more reason to be gripped! One forgets how intense it is to be solo, high up in a couloir when you haven’t done it in awhile.

    The choke. Snow turned firm and wind hammered where I stopped. It actually wasn’t much steeper than where I was and I’d like to come back and get this in fatter conditions some day.

    Duh, WINNING!

    Split. The guys made it down ok but were careful cuz of the manky conditions. They were stoked. (I turned around a little above the middle cliff band):

    This couloir reminds me of a slighty shorter, more stout version of the Zebra couloir. I really wish I had a camp at the base as I’d love to hit the other two right next to it.

    The drive home:


    709 Posts

    Nice Line Brooks!!

    I love the song selection :thumpsup:

    All TR’s should be ISIS

    1421 Posts

    Dude, I don’t want to hear about how awesome thing are on the eastside right now and how rad the splitfest is gonna be, since I can’t go. 😥

    That is such a cool line. Nice! Imagine if you hadn’t spent half the day in the mank! 🙂

    947 Posts


    I was there (on the east side) over the weekend..and it looks like an extra night of cooling really helped things out. I also turned around because of the sloppy snow conditions on Carson last Friday. Then on Saturday PM I got turned around by high winds but very warm was wierd.

    Sunday was 47 degrees at 9k’ down south (independence) so I didn’t ride at all.

    So naturally Brooks finds POW on monday!

    :banghead: for me


    :headbang: for Brooks

    Gonna be a great weekend. You’ll be missed Jim. Hope it’s a helluva wedding 😛

    312 Posts

    rad B, looks like its the start of an epic spring in The Range of Light. I’ll be reading all your TRs!

    I am heading south for the weekend, seems like its gotten better, we’ll see….think I am gonna climb Diamond, just to set things straight…or hitch a lift with Doug, if he’ll promise me its gonna happen….

    wasatch surf
    979 Posts

    “in her he saw beauty overflowing through the tattered clothes…”

    my favorite isis song in one of my favorite mountain ranges. god damn that sure was a nice video.

    great TR and pics. kind of bummed i can’t make it out to the kalisplitfest but i’ll be on an adventure of my own.
    keep ’em coming and more isis please.

    31 Posts

    Sweet! I’m not familiar with the song, but it was very fitting for your video. Thanks for sharing!

    474 Posts

    nice line, nice photos! What kind of glass are you using these days?

    1113 Posts

    thumbs up. :thumpsup:

    1382 Posts

    Damn, I didn’t know so many people liked ISIS! Impressive WS. I don’t even know their lyrics. I just love their emmereffing music! Makes the best couloir POV soundtracks.

    Schralp. All the photos I took from the highway were my same Canon 40D and 4.0L 70-200mm w/ polarizer I’ve had. And obv some lightroom tweeking :thumpsup:

    Need more powwwww!!!!!!!!! IM FREAKING OUT IM A JUNKIE :rock:

    411 Posts

    nice work Dude. Eastern sierras are cool mountains.

    474 Posts

    @bgnight wrote:

    Schralp. All the photos I took from the highway were my same Canon 40D and 4.0L 70-200mm w/ polarizer I’ve had. And obv some lightroom tweeking :thumpsup:

    Nice man, I have the same glass. Super sharp, fantastic colors, and standout for the $. Pair that sucker with the 17-55 f2.8 IS and you’ve got all bases covered! (That’s my fantasy but for now I’ve got a cheap Tammy 17-50 or the ultrawide Canon 10-22 I take out to pair with the 70-200 when I want to lug glass into the bc)

    525 Posts

    yeah brooks nice stoke! i thought you forgot about those little hills down south 😀 anyway that is such a nice line and very asthetiic, plus the top section that makes this more of a ski mountianeering route than your normal classic ski line, although i understand you didnt go up that last part, which was probably a good idea.

    funny to hear about the “crowd” at the split TH it is so remote but i guess it is that time of year, time to get the big lines done that is!

    also regarding birch i too have kept myself away for similar reasons, need to go there and work out the access and TH so we can get that pre-dawn start needed to bag this one in a day.

    speaking of doing things in a day you had quite a big day out there, climbing halfway up the south split line – AND – the cardinal line. damn. so stoked for you that you found pow up there too. i suspected there might be some pow hiding out in the more protected higher ele zones. also glad you are listening to your gut and you turned around on split. im sure those other guys made it out fine, but you gotta listen to your gut. anyway see ya this wekeend!

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