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Routes in z. Ski mountaineering

Mt Whitney ski NNW face Mod. Snow
Mt Whitney ski Trail Crest Mod. Snow
Mt Whitney ski the Mountaineers Gully Mod. Snow
Schneider Crest ski Mod. Snow
Type: Snow, Alpine, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 98 total · 12/month
Shared By: kenr on Aug 27, 2017
Admins: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Access limited from May to October every year Details

Description

The most interesting ski tour in South Fork Lone Pine Creek. 30-40 degrees NE-facing for about 1100 vertical -- or alternate lower section a 40-degree couloir for 300 vertical feet. In a big snow year, lots of 35 degree NNW slopes below Lone Pine Lake down almost to the parking.

Bring at least ski crampons / harscheisen / couteaux even just for some of the lower approach sections. Perhaps also boot crampons because the summit view is great even if not feeling like the final slopes are in condition for skiing - (though this is a great tour even without getting to the top).

Avalanche hazard: Need to start assessing it before getting out there. Avalanche hazard could remain substantial for a long time after the most recent snowfall. Some of the slopes are sustained at the steepness of maximum danger. Especially consider possibility of dangerous slab forming on the final slope up to Whitney Pass, due to frequent wind from the west.

Avalanche equipment: Bringing beacons + shovels + probes and/or airbags is a smart idea. But getting caught in a large slide could be fatal anyway, and managing an injured survivor so far away from road very difficult (especially if the weather turns bad). Even a non-large sluff on the lower approach slopes could be fatal or severe injury due to hitting a tree or rock, no matter what equipment is used. Therefore the more important strategy is not to be there at all on a day when a significant avalanche might occur.

overnight? While strong parties can surely ski Schneider Crest car-to-car in a single day, camping on the snow in springtime can be a great experience. Offers the possibility of adding another ski descent on another day, say Trail Crest (along with Mt Whitney summit?) or Arc Pass or Mt Irvine. Obvious places to camp are Trail Camp (higher than necessary) and Outpost Camp (lower than most useful). Check at the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitors Center just south of Lone Pine for permit requirements, and details of where in South Fork basin it is permitted to camp in springtime.

approach: For the lower part
- - See this approach description - -
- - . . See route on Map . . - -
Key for getting the longest ski descent is to consider not following the summer trail in lower part of South Fork Lone Pine Creek. Following the trail will likely require time-consuming transitions between sections covered by soft snow and sections with dirt and rocks and mud.

Then for getting up to Consolation Lake ...
- - See the description for skiing Trail Crest - -
- - . . See Trail Crest route on Map . . - -

Next go around the right (NW) side of Consolation Lake, and see the obvious slope up to Whitney Pass rising SW from there.
- - . . See the Whitney Pass + Schneider Crest route on Map . . - -
Likely want to work along the Right side of the slope up to reach Whitney Pass around (N36.5555 W118.2807). Then SE along the ridge, with some parts taken below on its NE (left) side, some short steep exposed sections. Some parts might be obstructed by rocks in a non-big snow year.

Above the snow summit (N36.5548 W118.2787), a short ways farther SE there is a rock summit (N36.5546 W118.2784) -- likely worth depositing skis and making the 3rd - 4th class rock scramble up to the nicer view.

descent: Mainly return the same way, except ...
it's likely worth taking the Schneider Couloir variation half-way down the main slope below Whitney Pass ...
Around (N36.5573 W118.2790), instead of trending left on the main slope, aim off right into an ENE slope which narrows and steepens below, about 300 vertical feet not steeper than 40 degrees, down toward the right (SW) side of Consolation Lake.

Join the Trail Crest ski route around Consolation Lake - [ see Alternate descent on Map ]. In a good snow year the steep-ish NNW-facing slopes below Lone Pine Lake can be very fun.

Variation ski descents to consider might be ... the narrow SE-facing chutes on the E side (N36.5671 W118.2764) of Wotan's Throne (NW up from Consolation Lake) - (? perhaps up the Northerly right couloir to the summit -[Map]- then descend the narrow Central couloir -[Map]- ?) ... or just a little climbing up left (NE) to reach the top (N36.5684 W118.2676) of the sheltered gully ENE (37-40 degrees) down -[see on Map]- to Mirror Lake. Also could consider circling around the NW side of Wotan's Throne.

Location

The snow summit - GPS latitude longitude approx (N36.5548 W118.2787) which is about 0.4 mile SW from Consolation Lake, or 500 feet SE from Whitney Pass, or 0.25 mile NNW from Mt McAdie. And a few feet NW below an unskiable rock summit.

Protection

No fixed hardware.

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