Mount Warren (#17)
Day 14, Mount Warren
I trudged up dry asphalt in Lundy canyon. The wind was howling and clouds filled the sky, but there wasn’t a hint of new snow, at least not here, in the bottom of the canyon. I was disappointed and cold -- it seemed like the snow that had been forecasted had fizzled to merely a dusting. On the bright side, no new snow meant firm, easy uphill travel… when there was snow to travel on.
Multiple long stretches of my ascent route were wind-scoured talus, making for tedious walking in ski boots. From partway up, I got a grand view of Mono Lake, a deep turquoise oval under the moody, grey skies.
As I climbed higher, visibility shrank and I was only able to focus on the small, black and white world of the snow and rock in front of me. Warren’s north east face loomed above me- I had hoped to ski the center of the face directly, but it was littered with exposed rock, and the top was lined with freshly formed, unstable wind slabs. Fortunately, a more moderate route was available, skirting around the side of the steepest part of the face.
I didn’t linger long on the summit, as the views were nonexistent and the winter wind biting.
The skiing was challenging, with patches of deep, punchy, wind-affected new snow scattered among uneven, wind-sculpted sheets of ice. The horribly flat light didn’t help the situation. I gingerly picked my way downhill, reminding myself that this was still much easier and more efficient than descending this slope on foot. Further down, I found some more favorable turns in areas sheltered from the wind. Still, it was only an inch or two of “dust on crust”, a far cry from the foot or more that had been forecasted.
At the end of the day, there’s still enough snow to slide on, as poor as the conditions may be, so I can’t complain. Onward through the fog!
View the activity here.