Forums Trip Reports Dog Daze of Saddlebag
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  • #577029
    1421 Posts

    Sometime in early summer, two wonderful things happen for lazy eastside splitters like me:

    1) Hwy 120 opens up to Tioga Pass.
    2) The road to Saddlebag Lake opens, and the resort starts doing a boat taxi across the lake.

    Even in this lean snow year, event #1 proved to be a glorious occasion. Then last week, I heard that #2 was happening, so I started making plans. TEX, swanny, and a few others were on board. I wanted to do an overnighter, but my plans changed and I was only able to make it out for a quick day trip on Sun, but it was totally worth it. The coverage isn’t huge, but better than I expected given this snow year. But more importantly, what’s there is good! No suncups yet! Pretty much all the zones looked like they were in great shape. I didn’t get up to the Conness glacier but based on everything else I saw, I bet that would be in great shape.

    Car camping, nice views, lazy mornings… gotta love the eastside!

    Mal’s first boat ride. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of it…

    Dana couloir still looking fat.

    Some lines by Greenstone. A couple folks rode the diagonal line at lookers left later in the day.

    Where’s Waldo? TEX, swanny, and 2 friends are all visible in this shot. We saw them from the trail as we were hiking in; they were on their way out.

    When Mal got to the first little patch of snow, he totally spazzed out, running back and forth across it, digging at it, and burying his face in it. It’s in the genes!

    Another view of the Greenstone area

    North Peak. Didn’t see any tracks up there at this point, and the snow looked really good. Really wanted to go check out the chutes but didn’t have time. Heard secondhand later that evening that some skiiers had hit the chute, said it was really good.

    First view of Conness area

    At this point, I got the green light from Nicole to “go climb your chute”. I had a two hour window, and we had gotten started at the crack of noon :), so that didn’t leave too many options.

    … but S couloir was looking good (center left in pic)! bcrider, ya with me?? 🙂

    Right as I was starting to climb, a skiier came down the snow finger nextdoor, making huge high-speed turns. So the snow over there was obviously pretty damn nice. Here’s the snow finger:

    The snow in the chute was pretty decent. Not too textured. Pretty firm given how late in the day it was… though that chute doesn’t typically soften up till later in the day, and it had stayed relatively cool over the weekend. The lookers right actually barely goes through to the top, but had an icy coating from snow melting off the rocks. Gonna have to get that one done someday. The lookers left almost went to the top, but there were a couple exposed rocks. So I just started from the usual spot below the big rock. Looking down:

    I tossed a few ashes for my friend Dan, who recently passed away. My very first trip to this area was with him several years ago. He wanted his ashes to be spread somewhere beautiful. I think this counts.

    The ride down was great, though way too short!

    I headed back over the ridge and met up with Nicole and Mal in just under my alloted 2 hours. Bonus points!

    I found another spot for Dan:

    Then we hightailed it back out to the boat.

    Of course that was followed by a Mo-mart dinner (duh), and then a long-ass drive back to Santa Cruz. At least the views were nice.

    Another great day on the eastside!

    202 Posts

    Nice! When was this trip? I was planning on hitting the Dana Couloir last weekend but couldn’t find any info on the conditions. This helps. Way to shred it, and be a good friend. Can dogs go out there too?

    312 Posts

    :thumbsup: yeah. Saddlebag brings back happy memories; thanks

    1421 Posts

    @hoglord wrote:

    Nice! When was this trip? I was planning on hitting the Dana Couloir last weekend but couldn’t find any info on the conditions. This helps. Way to shred it, and be a good friend. Can dogs go out there too?

    This was this past Sunday. I bet Dana was probably good, though didn’t hear any first hand reports. Lotta dry hiking to get there though.

    Technically dogs aren’t allowed in the park. Wilderness is OK AFAIK. The park boundary I believe goes right up the ridge of Dana. So Glacier Canyon is OK, but the normal summer trail up the backside of Dana to the summit would be in the park.

    It’s also confusing out by Conness because there’s the Hall Natural Research Area, which dogs aren’t allowed in. I believe that includes the area between the Carnegie station by Sawmill campground, up to the Greenstone/Conness ridge. So on the other side of that (where we were) I think is OK, and the park is on the east side of the crest there.

    2486 Posts

    Nice Pics Jim. Didnt realize Mal was a red. For some reason I remember grey and tan?????

    Was really nice up there. Good snow, good times. even went fishin

    my pics soon to come

    34 Posts

    Jim, sorry to hear about Dan. What happened?
    I met him and you on the asi trip to emerson.
    Did the skiers say anything about the bergschrund at the base of the north peak couloir?

    202 Posts

    Awesome. Thanks for the info. Now I just need to decide whether or not I want to head down there or head back up to Shasta in the morning. That’s killer that dog’s are allowed into certain areas, it makes sense about the boundaries and perimeters. I just never thought of it in that way before. I always thought Yosemite/ dogs, no dice. My pups would certainly like to head out there though.

    88 Posts

    Your friend Dan has certainly come to rest in a spectacular spot. Well done!

    Glad you found softer snow than we did six weeks ago when I managed to dump hard enough to crack my humerus…. What a great spot – but I heard the mosquitoes were hellish in the campgrounds!

    1421 Posts

    @digdug wrote:

    Your friend Dan has certainly come to rest in a spectacular spot. Well done!

    Glad you found softer snow than we did six weeks ago when I managed to dump hard enough to crack my humerus…. What a great spot – but I heard the mosquitoes were hellish in the campgrounds!

    Doh! Bummer about the injury, hope you heal up quick.

    When I was there a couple weeks ago, the mosquitos weren’t bad, but they’re out in force as of last weekend! 😯

    1421 Posts

    Here are some more pics from the area from last weekend and Monday.

    Dana and Solstice are actually still looking pretty good, assuming you don’t mind a long dry hike in and out. But the views on the hike are great! Some of the random chutes in the cirque at the end of Glacier canyon just past Dana couloir looked good too.

    Solstice might be tricky to get into, actually looks like the lookers left might be the way to get in now.

    Mosquitos are out in force now!

    Lower Greenstone area. Stuff is still holding and rideable.

    Conness zone:

    I headed out toward the Conness summit chutes. On the way I saw these random metal poles. Years back, someone posted here that they were using poles to measure the thickness of the glacier, maybe these are them.

    Main summit chute on right, “Fruitcake” chute on left. Got schrund?? 😯

    I climbed up the main summit chute on the right. Getting over the schrund was, um, interesting.

    This trip was a solo one to honor my friend Dan. One of the first trips I did with him was out here. I thought of him on the summit.

    Views into Yosemite:

    Looking down Fruitcake. Short, steep, and sweet. The problem is that right at the steepest part, you go over the schrund.

    Looking back up. I had to climb back up and do it again, because I had a slight “shrund trajectory miscalculation” the first time. 🙂

    Then rode the Conness glacier all the way down. Smooth and sweet!

    Did I mention I rode on the glacier?? When riding on glacier ice, I recommend not turning. 🙂

    Looking back at the chutes.

    Then it was a massive toeside traverse from hell back over to the snow finger, which was also great.

    Then I had to basically run from there back to Saddlebag to catch the last boat… thankfully they waited for me! Mo-mart and hot springs rounded out the evening.

    On Monday, the wind was close to nuking at times in Lee Vining canyon. I decided to head out to North Peak anyway. Turns out it was pretty well protected from the SW wind. Basically totally calm once up by the chutes.

    Kook chutes still look decent too:

    Awesome views of 20 Lakes Basin:

    I got to the base of the chutes, and ran into 2 guys who had been planning on ice climbing. Problem is, there’s no ice. Well actually, that’s not a problem for me, I’m glad there’s no ice! They bailed… and were jealous of my snowboard. 🙂

    Looking up #1:

    Great views from the top

    Ready to drop

    The snow was probably as good as I’ve ever seen in there for spring conditions. No runnel, no suncups, no schrund, edgeable corn that you could actually turn on w/o constantly worrying about taking a slide for life… stoked!

    Then on to #2. This one is a little more intimidating. Narrower, a bit steeper, and some cruxy sections that looked like they didn’t quite go. Plus it doesn’t get as much sun.

    More great views from the top. Looking over at yesterday’s line on Conness:

    Looking down:

    Crux #1

    Crux #2

    From here it’s “easy”! Just don’t fall…

    Extra stoked!

    My work here is done. 🙂

    Well not quite. First I gotta downclimb some steep slippery rocks…

    … so I can get in a few more turns!

    Then it was back to hiking. I love the scenery in this area. Alluvial streams everywhere…

    … which feed into lakes! I had to take a dip:

    Made it back to the last boat just in time again. Ran into Vets and gone2alpine from TGR at the dock, they had gotten in some good turns at Greenstone. That nice diagonal chute is still worth hitting too.

    This zone is still gonna be good this weekend, go Git Sum!!

    282 Posts

    :rock: Those are some awesome lines- intimidating for sure! Nicely done! :drool:

    4150 Posts

    Awesome JIm!

    I’m bummed I haven’t been to sbag in a couple years. Call me next time if you need a partner! 🙂

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