Spring is normally the most exciting time in the Eastern Sierra. By now, we would typically have a deep snowpack, and optimal conditions for climbing peaks and skiing powder. But this season has been anything but typical. A dry start, followed by a record December, followed by............... Nothing. A month of colder than average temperatures have left us with an avalanche danger that is rarely seen around here, which was then intensified by an immediate string of warmer than average days (and nights). Then it snowed again, and things got even weirder. Conditions are all over the map. But we weren't going to let any of that stop us.
In summary: We set out on Saturday with very low expectations. After a bit of discussion, we decided on the Baldwin Cirque. So we made quick work of the mile or so approach, and on to the snow. The lower section was just barely frozen on the surface, making for a unique challenge as we struggled to climb to a higher elevation. But as we got higher, the snow became more consistent and spring-like. Looking good. A bit more climbing, and we were at the base of a number of chutes, which appeared to be holding decent snow.
So up we went:
A short break at the top led to fantastic skiing on lap #1:
And then back up for lap #2:
From there we scrambled across the rocks to get to another chute. This on appeared to be a little rougher at the top. Jon drops in first:
A short distance below, and we found the good snow again:
Then a quick traverse to the lower slopes, above Crowley Lake:
And on through the mush to the car.