Eastern Sierra Spring Adventure

Eastern Sierra Road Trip Snowkiting

WHO: Dave and Pam – TMS owners

WHAT: Annual Corporate Retreat

WHERE: Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California

WHEN: Early April, 2011

GEAR: So much, impossible to list! Highlights: Nemo Espri Tent, Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern, Deuter Cruise Backpacks, Black Diamond Drift Skis and on and on and on

We headed out of Tahoe under a sunny sky but uncertain forecast. The plan was to ski, kite, camp, soak, discuss and strategize while testing some of our best gear in one of the most beautiful places on earth that just happens to be in our backyard!

Day 1: Got a late start from Tahoe, but the forecast was for wind so the goal was snowkiting. We ended up at Conway Summit, just south of Bridgeport, CA, and skinned out about 30 minutes to a clear ridge with a good breeze. I managed to get the Ozone Manta 12 launched and kited for a couple hours while Pam toured in the surrounding hills and got some great shots of me. See below:

Dave Snowkiting the Sierra
Snowkiting with an Ozone Kite

Day 2: Really, this day started with the night before. The storm rolled in with 60-80 mph wind gusts in the desert and even though the hot springs were close by, they weren’t enough to cut the chill of the night coupled with the dust flying through the air. Then, the snow started around 3am. It was a long night with little sleep, but we woke to a whiteout. Drove into town, Mammoth ski area was practically closed down and visibility was basically nothing, even in town. So, we went for a tour to really get in touch with the elements. It turned out to be a great decision as we  skinned around Lake Mary in the middle of a blizzard.

Nemo Tent, Snow Peak Lantern, Pam Reading
Waking up to some big flakes in the Nemo Tent
Still snowing
Buried street sign at Lake Mary

Day 3: Pow, Pow, Pow….. It had been snowing about 36 hours at this point, and the area around Mammoth was up to about 24 in. of snow. These conditions required sheltered trees where we could ride the powder and be safe in the backcountry, all at the same time, ripping it up on our Dynafit setups with Black Diamond skis and boots.

Pam skiing the backcountry powder

Day 4: We started north, and the Cocaine Chute up to the Dana Plateau was the goal for today. We had no idea if the weather would permit this, but it was shining brightly (though still windy) when we got our late start. We made it to the base of the Chute before the weather turned us around and told us to head back down the hill before it got worse. You can see in the pics below there are 2 folks who made an earlier start and got to the top even with all the wind blowing that snow around. By the time we got to the bottom, we couldn’t even see the ridge anymore. What a great trip!

Skinning up among the big trees
Skinning up towards the Coke Chute
2 people mid Coke Chute
Deuter Cruise Backpack in Action
Looking down on Mono Lake
V-Bowls in Lee Vining

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb, bike or Eastern Sierra backcountry ski) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

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