This SMS trip was originally billed as Elderberry Canyon and Onion Valley car camp. That plan was aborted due to recent heavy snows and high avalanche activity in Elderberry and road closure low down on the Onion Valley road. With snow predicted for the weekend we had no other choice but to reschedule for something with a lower angle for safer conditions. We decided to base camp out of one of the fisherman motels in June Lk. The participants were: Scott Koepke, Lance Pherson, Mike Rector, Randy Lamm and Tom Marsh. Saturday morning we rendevouzed at about 9500' at Glass Creek Meadows (west end of Glass Creek): http://www.topozone.com/map.asp? lat=37.7299&lon=-119.0526&datum=nad83
Saturday was a perfect day for a ski tour with no wind and temps in the 30's. We set our sites on a peaklet at the west end of the White Wing ridge and skinned across the meadow into the forest. Following our compass heading due south we climbed out above the tree line and arrived at the base of a saddle between the white wing peaks. Seeing a good glade we climbed higher thru 3' of light powder. Gaining the ridge line we toured up to the top of the peak. With views of Mammoth Mountain to the south and San Joaquin Peak's east face with the negatives in view, we ripped our skins and picked our lines thru the sparsely treed glades. Snaking thru the light powder we found our rhythm and carved our initials on the virgin powder canvas. Too quickly we were back at treeline. We used our previously built skin track to quickly hike back up and make our marks on the untracked slopes in the vicinity.
After a quick lunch stop we climbed to east up to the higher main white wing ridge. Here we found deeper powder on wider open slopes. We had some good vertical and then descended into the trees. Eventually we encountered crust and wound up back in the middle. After a 700' climb we skied back to June village.
In our base camp motel room we sampled fine beers with Mike's wife's home-made pasta and then crashed out ready for the next day's attempt of San Joaquin peak's east faces.
On Sunday we descended into the south end of Yost Creek Meadow. Our goal was a ridge heading up from the south towards the top of the ridge above the negatives. We started a long slog thru the forest and heavy powder snow. After a long struggle with clawing branches and thick roots we made it above the treeline. By the time we got there, a storm was starting to blow in. This was the precursor of the big 6' in 3 days storm.
We continued on, contouring around the ridge lines and finally picking a broad gulley to ascend. The wind howled, but we persevered. At around 10.5 k the gusts were strong enough to blow us over. We had enough and decided to pull skin and head back. We surfed the wind waves of sastrugi snow back to the yost meadow. An envigorating climb above yost meadows and we pulled our skins and skied back to June village.
Scott headed back home to go to a birthday party for his kids. We had another beer tasting and crashed out early. It rained all night. Then in the morning it started snowing big fat wet flakes. We headed over to the ski lifts to see if it would be a powder day on the lifts. With one vote in favor of skiing the wet powder and two against, we decided to head home.
This was the beginning of the storm that dropped 6' in 3 days. We headed for the taqueria in Bishop where we ran into Lorene and Mike. After a fine meal of tacos, chips and salsa we headed down 395 back to our regular routines, until our next scheduled SMS adventure.
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