Forums Trip Reports Roundtop, 3/10/07
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  • #568693
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    photos by jimw & SteveP

    After finally sacking up and doing The Stairs, I figured it was about time to actually get out in the backcountry for a day trip, before the little snow we have here in CA disappears. I’ve been dealing with some injuries this season and haven’t felt up for a bc trip, but I’ve been jonesing to get out, and reports from the previous weekend put me over the edge. So I called up Larry and SteveP, and we arranged to meet up at the Carson Pass lot at 10 AM Sat for a day trip out to Roundtop to work out the cobwebs. Yeah, I know, that’s way too late for these spring conditions, but 1) I really wasn’t thinking in spring mode yet after being spoiled from last year’s huge season, and 2) leaving Santa Cruz before 5:30 AM just wasn’t going to happen that day. So a 10 AM alpine start was just going to have to do.

    When we got to Carson Pass, I thought maybe we had pulled into the Kirkwood parking lot by mistake. Lots of people gearing up:

    We got our stuff together and hit the skin track, and soon the objective was in view on a beatiful day.

    Fashion mis-statement (nice backdrop though!):

    Someday…

    We skinned up into the bowl under Crescent couloir. Conditions weren’t looking great, so we decided to head up over the shoulder and take a look at the bowl out by the Sisters.

    Nice view of the lake:

    Checking things out. The snow looked… “possibly interesting”.

    We took a break here and enjoyed the views while having a snack. I was ready for a breather. It was the first time I’d had a pack on with significant weight since breaking my collarbone last year, and it seemed to be holding up well… along with my back, which has been giving me grief for the past 8 months or so. Getting old sucks! 🙂 But I was feeling pretty good at that point, and am pleased to also report that the new STS skins worked great.

    Here’s Lawrence of Tahoe, surveying his kingdom, while downing a sandwich and having a discussion with a Whippet.

    The it was finally time to get some turns. Larry dropped in first, and did about 3 turns on what turned out to be hardpack.

    I went next. Gotta love the little cornice drop to hardpack. ❗ It looked better from the top…

    Steve dropped in and wisely made a beeline out of the crappy snow.

    Lower down, there were a couple pockets of decent snow, good for at least one good turn!

    Even though the snow wasn’t great, it still felt good to be making turns in the backcountry. After that short run, we headed back up the bowl under Crescent couloir again, intending to see how things looked in the chutes. I was thinking about the looker’s far left diagonal chute, which is a little wider and mellower than the main Crescent and the one looker’s left of Crescent.

    Steve and I switched over to Verts. It was Steve’s first time using them, and he was stoked. One more Verts convert – my work here is done! 🙂

    Larry was hanging tight until a blister started to get the better of him.

    As we got closer to the chute, the snow started getting harder and harder. It didn’t look any better up higher in the chute, and it was getting kinda late, so we decided to drop in from the base of the chute. Here’s a pic of Steve at the base of the chute. See how he’s sitting on the edge of the well that forms around the rock? Moments earlier, he had slipped backwards into that well, and his legs were sticking out horizontally with his board sticking straight up. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I was too slow with the camera to catch it on film, so this story will have to suffice. I’m sure Steve is happy about that.

    I traversed over to the bottom of Crescent couloir to see if things looked any better over there. They didn’t.

    Since it wasn’t getting better, we dropped in. Here’s Larry; notice the suspicious lack of snow moving beneath his skis.

    At least things got a little better further down.

    Here’s Steve:

    From there down to the lake, the snow was a little better, and we got in a few decent turns. Then it was back across the flats to the car. It was at this point that I really wished I had a split with a locking heel option. Larry skiied w/o skins all the way from the lake to the car, using a combination of skiing and skating. Steve and I on the other hand, wallowed around between walking (too short a distance to transition), skinning, and slipping. When we finally got to the “traverse from hell” exit, we decided to put on crampons. Voile really needs to redesign these so they can be inserted on the fly. I had my Burton crampons in in about 10 seconds, while Steve had to spend several minutes dicking with the Voile crampons to get them in place.

    We finally got back to the car around 5 PM. We were pretty spent, but happy to have had a day out in the backcountry. It would have been nice to have found better conditions, but that was probably more due to timing and route selection than anything else. There were certainly other folks out there on the same day who found great conditions (see Exhibit A and Exhibit B). Clearly more of a spring corn harvesting mindset was called for. Although, joesnow and gimpy did find very good snow in the hanging snowfield above Crescent, and not great but still OK snow in the chute itself (which I wouldn’t have guessed from what we found at the bottom of the chute).

    Oh well. It was still good to get out, and I was just glad to verify that everything still worked (both body and equipment!).

    Steve and I were doing the marathon day trip, so we started heading back to Santa Cruz. We stopped for dinner at Mel’s diner in Jackson. We were sitting next to an older couple, and as we were checking out some pictures from the day’s adventure, the wife in the couple started talking to us. She was saying how they lived up in Pioneer, and how their kids come to visit sometimes but now live in the city. I think she was missing her kids, and Steve and I must have appeared harmless, because pretty soon she was telling us we could come over and stay anytime, and she gave us her street address and everything. During this whole exchange, her husband was conspicuously quiet. After they left, Steve and I were trying to imagine the conversation that took place in the car. Something along the lines of:

    “Goddammit Mary, how many times do I have to tell you not to invite strangers into the house?”

    🙂

    We finally made it back into town around midnight. I had some crazy idea that I was going to do a mountain bike race early the next morning. Not gonna happen! But doing a local Santa Cruz ride instead was a good substitute. If this weather keeps up, the bike is going to see a lot more action than the board!

    #595059
    ridefire
    78 Posts

    Nice tr Jim and nice pics as well

    #595060
    split.therapy
    455 Posts

    Nice photos. Not ready for bike armor and dirt just yet.Snow is rapidly disapearring though. 😥

    #595061
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    Hooray for another vert convert! I’m glad skiers are still too stubborn to use them. Now all of us splitters can pass ’em in the coolies and make them schralp our sloppy seconds 😆

    I take it you broke your collarbone Mtn. biking??? Awesome bank turn!!! I had a mtn bike, but was too much of a pussy to ride it. I sold it and got a road bike instead (I don’t wear spandex though!…………yet 😉 )

    #595062
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    I’ll right – Jimw is back with a trip report. I hope you’re healing well.

    Is the snow in the sisters ever any good?? It seems like that place gets nailed by the wind and there would be happier hunting in the little circ and chutes above the lake. At least it looks better up there, but I’ve never been. Any idea if it’s usually out of the wind?

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #595063
    IridePow
    288 Posts

    Nice TR, and welcome back in the backcountry!

    Any day out there is good, even if it is on boiler plate.

    #595064
    Romian
    28 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    When we finally got to the “traverse from hell” exit, we decided to put on crampons. Voile really needs to redesign these so they can be inserted on the fly. I had my Burton crampons in in about 10 seconds, while Steve had to spend several minutes dicking with the Voile crampons to get them in place.

    That´s right… but have you ever lost one of your Burton crampons while in hiking mode? It´s not funny at all. They come off too often, so I had to use a cable loop. Now I´ve switched to Voile interface on a Burton board.

    BTW, great report!

    #595065
    ride_pow
    116 Posts

    I was up there on the 16th. My buddy actually hiked up to the mouth of Cresent, got sketched out by the variable snow, and backed out. We did however found some great snow (i.e. he said is was as dry as he had ridden in since the last Sierra storm) far lookers left above the lake (sorry I have no idea what any of this is called). I’d love to post some photos if someone would be so kind as to instruct me on how it is done! 😉 [/img]

    #595066
    Romian
    28 Posts

    @ride_pow wrote:

    I’d love to post some photos if someone would be so kind as to instruct me on how it is done!

    Check this:

    http://talk.splitboard.com/talk/faq.php#24

    You can upload the pics to Imageshack

    Hope it helps!

    #595067
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    @BGnight wrote:

    Hooray for another vert convert! I’m glad skiers are still too stubborn to use them. Now all of us splitters can pass ’em in the coolies and make them schralp our sloppy seconds 😆

    Verts suck. Don’t use them. 🙂

    I take it you broke your collarbone Mtn. biking???

    Yeah, on the first day of a week-long mountain biking trip to Canada last summer. Doh!

    I had a mtn bike, but was too much of a pussy to ride it. I sold it and got a road bike instead (I don’t wear spandex though!…………yet 😉 )

    Dude, I think road biking is way more scary than mountain biking. You gotta deal with those crazy drivers, and road rash… I think I’d wear full body armor and a full-face helmet if I were road biking. Oh, and as far as spandex – it’s just a matter of time!

    @SanFrantastico wrote:

    Is the snow in the sisters ever any good?? It seems like that place gets nailed by the wind and there would be happier hunting in the little circ and chutes above the lake. At least it looks better up there, but I’ve never been. Any idea if it’s usually out of the wind?

    Yeah, that bowl above the lake can be good, and it’s a different aspect. Inside that cirque the lines are short but you can do laps. It’s also fun to hit those chutes that drop into the bowl and down to the east end of the lake.

    @Romian wrote:

    That´s right… but have you ever lost one of your Burton crampons while in hiking mode? It´s not funny at all. They come off too often, so I had to use a cable loop. Now I´ve switched to Voile interface on a Burton board.

    I have never, ever had a Burton crampon come out. That’s weird. I wonder if there was some design change in the touring bracket at some point? What vintage of the Burton interface were you using? I’m using the latest generation.

    @ride_pow wrote:

    I’d love to post some photos if someone would be so kind as to instruct me on how it is done! 😉

    Here’s a good step-by-step post:

    http://talk.splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=541#541

    #595068
    Romian
    28 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    I have never, ever had a Burton crampon come out. That’s weird. I wonder if there was some design change in the touring bracket at some point? What vintage of the Burton interface were you using? I’m using the latest generation.

    Maybe you´re right. This is a Face S circa 2003. The touring brackets were made of hard plastic and one of the flaps broke. And the same way you could release the crampon just pulling, it released by itself sometimes when it got caught up with some hard snow or something.

    #595069
    ride_pow
    116 Posts

    This was the best aspect we found.

    I look so small.

    Sadly I am now stuck back at school in Missouri praying to anyone who will listen that a little snow survives in Montana until May. Missouri… God.

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