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Advice appreciated April, May Tahoe to Whitney?
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Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
Advice appreciated April, May Tahoe to Whitney? on 04/01/2011 19:09:35 MDT Print View

I am thinking about it... I will be doing some extended ski touring after work ends for the season. I would like some opinions.

This is not a gear list so I thought I would post here rather than the gear list forum. But it is gear heavy.

Skis: Karhu Catamount with Voile Cable Bindings, skins, Garmont Excursion boots.
Think I need my boot crampons? Camp XRC 470 or something... light aluminum ones. Ice axe?

How about food... I am pretty happy with no cook, even in cold climates. But emergency water boiling would be a good idea. I think it would be warm enough that there would be runoff everywhere. Mornings could be a bit cold and water free... But I really wouldn't need to be melting ice, I don't think. I hate to add weight, could I get away without using a stove? Is there such thing as a sealable metal container to hydrate stuff in? Something I could use to hydrate stuff without bean juice filling my pack, and something that could in a pinch be used over a wood fire to melt snow? I love my 16 oz plastic pb jars, but they aren't exactly heat resistant.

Would I have to worry about rangers checking me for bear cans? I am so lawful... It is hard to go into the high Sierra without a bear can, even in April.

Boots/Shoes. I have Garmont Ventures, a soft three pin boot, and Excursions, a hard shell lightish tele boot with a removable liner. What would the lightest gram weenie take? what would a smart person take? ... WWSD? (What would Skurka do?) I am looking over his Alaska gear list, but I appreciate other peoples' opinions. Naturally I need some trail runners too I guess...

Sleeping and shelter"
Tarp. Probably gatewood cape. Mos head net if it comes down to that or I camp low...
Golite Ultra 20, old one, with silk liner and down inner jacket, fleece pants, or my MH Phantom 0?

Think I can pack it in a Jam2? It is pretty much a SUL three season list with a set of skis. Might be a good idea to have ski fixit stuff too... tape, screw driver...

Any must have items? Totally indispensable?

Now to see if I can at least get a cheap food quasi-sponsorship...
Thanks!
-Gabe

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Advice appreciated April, May Tahoe to Whitney? on 04/01/2011 19:39:40 MDT Print View

Tahoe to Whitney in May? Hmmm.

First of all, let me state that I have never skied all that route. I've skied for a week along the middle of that, around April-May.

Unless you are a Skurka type, it sounds to me like you are going too light. Yes, I have skied with Yosemite park rangers who skied Yosemite to Tahoe without a stove. However, somehow that doesn't sound like a good idea for mere mortals. Similarly, for the cape/shelter.

Before he started off last spring in Alaska, there was a bit of discussion about ski repair kits and things. I thought all that was well-understood, but he is from Minnesota or some darn place. Maybe the snow is different from California.

"hard shell lightish tele boot with a removable liner"
That sounds like the right idea.

There is a sealable metal container like you seek. It is called a Thermos. But that won't work over a wood fire. A titanium water bottle might do it, but they are pricey.

If you do go, more power to you. Take out a good life insurance policy, and make me the sole beneficiary.

--B.G.--

Dave Triano
(Dtriano) - MLife

Locale: Desolation Wilderness
Closer date estimate, Tahoe to Whitney--- on 04/01/2011 19:47:03 MDT Print View

Gabe, do you have a closer estimate of your departure time from Tahoe? Conditions van vary a LOT in the next two months, With a better idea of your days here I might be able to paint you a clearer picture of what you might need, Tahoe is my home since 1974, and I am very active in the winter. This week is Springtime, but it's just a tease.....
DT

Edited by Dtriano on 04/01/2011 19:53:59 MDT.

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
schedule on 04/01/2011 22:18:23 MDT Print View

Work ends April 17th
ski instructor shindig in Mammoth April 29 to May 3
Leave for bike trip June 5 or so.

I am wondering how to best use that time. Ultimately I would like to ski from Donner Pass to Mammoth, do the clinics and whatnot, then ski south from there. Whether that is from Carson Pass or Donner Pass, or What, I don't know.

As far as resume, PCT08 starting at KM in late May... lowish snow year. CDT09 San Juan route starting May 28, baseweight 7.5 pounds. I am pretty secure in cold climates, snow, long days. Not exactly Skurka, but gotta start somewhere. I am adventurous but know when to stop. I know the bailouts along he eastern Sierra. I know how to hole up if I have to.

I kinda see this as a backpacking trip with skis. Not much different than my first three days in the San Juans... I just get to ski downhills instead of glissade. I realize storms can hit into May easily. I have tarped in snow. Vaguely mid design of G-cape seems better suited than a flat tarp. As far as stuff that I have, It is TT rainbow 32 oz, gatewood cape 12 oz, or cuben flat tarp 4.5 oz.

Could pack the Rainbow and a stove and lots of extra clothes in my barely used 80 liter pack... I'd rather not. That is why I am asking you guys and not Teton Gravity or something. I'm a SULer. Hard to change back.

-Gabe

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: schedule on 04/01/2011 23:04:52 MDT Print View

May 4 to June 4, huh?

I don't claim to be the world's best skier, but I would be leery of the snow conditions at that season. You may be too late for good corn snow, but too early for bare trails. I can foresee lots of nasty sun cups. It might be a lot of "connect the dots," and that could make for some interesting navigation challenges and difficult stream crossings.

You said, "not exactly Skurka, but gotta start somewhere." I should frame that quotation and hang it on my wall.

--B.G.--

Dave Triano
(Dtriano) - MLife

Locale: Desolation Wilderness
Huh? on 04/02/2011 13:42:28 MDT Print View

Gabe, you wrote:

'Ultimately I would like to ski from Donner Pass to Mammoth, do the clinics and whatnot, then ski south from there. Whether that is from Carson Pass or Donner Pass, or What, I don't know.'

Don't quite understand you there........

Regardless, it is true that we have had a steady snow season this year, and the base is large, but by May-June much of the snow will be gone if it keeps up like it has the past week. Yes, it will snow again, but from here on out it's most likely a 'snow-melt, snow-melt cycle'. I would predict you would be carrying your skis over 60% of the time if you are going from Donner south at that time of season, and the snow is heavy, day-melted ice at night and heavier and wetter (slush) during the days.
Ambitious idea, That would be better to attempt earlier rather than later, as in 'leave this week' ....;)
Heck, the Truckee River (south end) is already up about 2 feet and growing fast, melt-off is huge this year.

DT

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: schedule on 04/02/2011 13:47:48 MDT Print View

A better time to ski that route would be April 1 to May 1, or April 15 to May 15 at the very latest. That probably does not coincide with your schedule.

Generally, the long ski tours are best done around April. But even that is late for powder. If you are a powder pig, you need to go in March.

--B.G.--

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
revision on 04/02/2011 18:35:26 MDT Print View

OK sorry. I can be vague sometimes...

Ultimately I would like to go from Donner Pass to Mammoth, April 17th to April 28th
Then Mammoth to Whitney, May 3 to May 20th +-

The confusing part was... My starting point is debatable. I could start April 17th from Echo Summit, Carson Pass... Though I would rather ski Anderson Ridge and Desolation...

So my time frame is April 17th to hopefully mid May. The upper end of doable, I know. But I don't get out of work til April 17th. This isn't a powder trip. Its a distance tour. Skinny skis. SUL...

-Gabe

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Advice appreciated April, May Tahoe to Whitney? on 04/02/2011 22:26:58 MDT Print View

Ice axe and crampons - yes.

I would doubt the "runoff everywhere". In 2005 (a big snow year but a little less snow than this year) I was in the Emigrant Wilderness for 6 days of skiing at the beginning of May. Saw no open water except one spot that we could not reach. In 2006 (slightly less than 2005) I was in Humphreys Basin for a week in early May and found water once.

I think you will have to melt snow sometimes.

I doubt you would ever see a ranger.

The ventures will get wet and will stay wet. The Excursions will stay dry.

The Gatewood may be pushing it - there are stretches of your likely route (yes I saw your post on Ttips also) that stay above timberline for extended periods so you are pretty exposed to the weather. If you have had good experiences with the cape in heavy weather, then maybe it's OK.

Nighttime lows will hit the teens and mostly be in the twenties, whatever sleep system works for you in those temps will be good.

Totally indispensable? Plenty of really good sunscreen, backup sunglasses in case of loss/breakage, and serious lip balm. That high altitude spring sun is INTENSE.

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
Maps on 04/05/2011 00:02:14 MDT Print View

I have it on GPS... but I need maps. Can't rely on electronics.

I have the desolation map, Yosemite and Kings Canyon covered... but what would be a good one to have for Echo Summit to Yosemite?

-Gabe

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Maps on 04/05/2011 00:29:46 MDT Print View

Echo Summit to the Yosemite park border is about 50 miles as the crow flies. On skis, figure 70 miles. That is a lot of quad maps. You should be able to find them all online, or if you know anybody with TOPO! by National Geographic. Getting a lot printed out in color will take some time, or a lot of paper and ink.

Southbound from Echo Summit, there might be snowmobile tracks as far as Highway 88. If you jog over east to Red Lake and head southbound on the Blue Lakes Jeep Road, there are typically tracks leading you to unplowed Highway 4. From there, you are on your own.

--B.G.--

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
more maps on 04/05/2011 01:23:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tip. I do remember a lot of jeep roads and open terrain there. It shouldn't be bad.

I could probably get by there with GPS and say... Trails Illustrated #807 I think. Carson/Emigrant. Anyone have it?

Turns out I have Tahoe, Yosemite, Mammoth, and King's Canyon. In Trails Illustrated. And The Tom Harrison JMT map pack.

Could fill in with more Tom Harrison maps, or if I need 24k:1 print some out... I did have TOPO! Can't find it anywhere...

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: more maps on 04/05/2011 17:37:42 MDT Print View

Tom Harrison has an Emigrant Wilderness map - that will cover from about Sonora pass to Yosemite. Should be just a few quads to get from Echo to Sonora - especially if you can find some old 15's.