Is it still "backcountry" if you never lose sight of your car? The Tioga Pass area offers roadside skiing as well as short day-hikes to high altitude snowfields. Normally, one could ski until August, but this year the conditions in June were more like late-summer.
Looking southwest toward Yosemite. A Memorial Day
weekend view that includes the crowded Tuolumne, fisherman on the lake
(note the tiny boat to the lower right), and traffic backed up at the
runout includes a perfect spot for fly casting. I took three runs,
going solo for the first, having a large South Asian family as an
audience for the second, and getting a drunken cheer from fishermen on
the lake for the third.
Mt. Conness, Saddlebag Lake
north from Saddlebag campground and the Saddlebag Lake Resort. A
well-groomed trail leads along the lake to the left, with the first
skiable chutes appearing after a mile or so.
The Conness Glacier and numerous chutes can be found
above the first rise. Take the steep chutes to the left of the lower
waterfall to find some good summer skiing. North Peak, with a
selection of extra-sick skiing, lies to the right.
North shore of Saddlebag Lake
Couloir cuts across the east face of Dana.
GPS Chute, Mt. Conness
The GPS Chute
narrow shot with a nice crevasse for decoration. The boot tracks
belong to a group led by Mitch Weber and the TelemarkTips crew. Check out
his website for photos and movies of their accomplishments.
A rough scramble around some steep ledges leads to this
beautiful spot at the base of the North Peak cliffs. The true summit
is right of center.
Suncups on the lower chute
The hot Sierra sun and a dry spring has made the skiing
surface less than ideal. Going higher and steeper is the only way to
get the goods. This stuff made for an, uh, interesting
From just above the Conness Lakes basin. There was a
good bit of unexpected down-climbing to get to the use path, but that
just added to the adventure.
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