Ski Mountaineering

San Gorgonio Wilderness Snowcamp

Mar 11-12, 2006

Alvin Walter

My San Gorgonio Wilderness Snowcamp was excellent with about 2.5 feet of new powder. Craig Denson was the only skier willing to head to the mountains in the face of Southern California's first major cold snowstorm for 2006 bearing down.

We started at 7,000 feet at Jenks Lake Road and headed toward Dollar Lake. The distance and trailbreaking was taking a toll on our time. We stopped short of Dollar Lake and set up camp leaving time to climb and get some turns. We went straight up via many switchbacks towards peaklet 9,810.The dry and cold powdery snow was boiling up around the sides of my fat K2 skies as they compressed air when sinking deep into the new powder -- an experience unique to these conditions. By 5:00 PM, we had peeled our skins and started down. It was Awesome! We were hopping and floating from turn to turn as waves of frictionless powder would excellerate past us from our previous turns. These are the conditions that skimountianeer's dream about and we were living it!

Stopping for photos was hard, but we did manage a few that I will be sending along. They include the top and bottom of a major avy chute that crosses the main trail in, a different perspective of Christmas Tree Hill, our campsite, nice scenery, and of course some deep tracks with action plums and waves of powder.

Night time brought more snow and cool temperatures of nine degrees fahrenheit. By Sunday morning the storm clouds had cleared and the sun shown bright. We headed back up the beautiful old growth forrest to a more northerly aspect of peaklet 9,810. Clouds came back in with some light winds within the first hour keeping temperatures cool. It wasn't cool enough to dampen our sprits or enthusium for another powder charged descent on those tiny little white crystals that bring us such joy. Back at camp we enjoyed a leisurely lunch while packing up to head out to rejoin the more civilized world that we would now handle much better after being recharged by the good tidings that the mountains and the heavens gave us.

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