Bloody Couloir Eastern Sierra – 05/23/04
We left Carson Pass and headed to Mammoth Lakes to sleep on the dirt. We wanted to hike and ski the Bloody Couloir the next morning
Music: Makoto and MC Conrad – Golden Girl
Sunday, Bloody Sunday – the quest for more perfect Sierra spring corn . . .
Now, don’t get me wrong, the view was nice, the hike was cool (as far as 3000 ft. bootpacks in all kinds of snow go), the access road was burly and definitely worthy of the 4WD recommendation it receives and good for a laugh after actually making it up (and down) unharmed, and the eastern Sierras is always a worthy place to visit . . . but I digress.
Gimpy and I met up with Skier666, Greydon Clark, and Sam (I have no idea what your board name is!) in Markleeville after their epic day on Carson Pass (I am sure details are on the way) and were joined by Gimpy’s friend Tim (who happens to be a speed skier in Europe and has once competed in ski ballet!) and headed to the east side. A brief stop at the Mobil Mart for the famed lobster taquitos and we reconnected at the Die Hard church (aka the green church) south of Mammoth, with good intentions of hot springing . . . but said intentions were discarded in favor of camping with coyotes in preparation for the next day.
Sunday was beautiful and awesome to wake up to amazing views of rad lines to ski in all directions (almost). We eventually headed up the Laurel Lakes Rd. (the burliest 4.5 miles I think I’ve taken a vehicle up) and started the hike from snowline, with our goal, the bloody couloir, looming above.
We brought skins, but the snow was “beautifully” solid, rendering said ascension aids unnecessary. Why people do videos called “Buns of Steel” when they could bootpack up couloirs with skis on their backs is beyond me. Skier666 lead the charge up the lookers right side while the rest of us headed up the lookers left . . . and were greeted with a wide array of conditions, which can be lumped into the term “shitty snow” . . . decent for climbing though 🙂
We topped out and were greeted with pretty damn incredible views of Mammoth and Tioga to the north and Red Slate Couloir and Convict Canyon the to the South.
Red Slate (the line on the looker’s left that’s probably screaming your name as well) was definitely beckoning . . .
The view down to the valley and Laurel Lakes was pretty cool too!
After some basking in the wonderfully protected leeward side of the summit(s) (Greydon/Sam were on the skier’s right and the rest of us on the skier’s left . . . we agreed that we all get summit stars), Sam and Greydon dropped in where we had ascended, and Skier666 lead the charge down the left couloir, followed by Gimpy, Tim, and I. I’d characterize the run as steep. The snow was, in a word, challenging. Survival skiing at it’s best and Skier666’s idea of powder, I’m sure 🙂
The choke opened up to a somewhat sunny convergence and happy reunion for the remaining lots of feet of descent through somewhat better snow. The conditions were certainly good for a laugh, head shake, and eye roll . . . but the day was worthy for the views, reconaissance ability, and quality time on the east side . . . not to mention quality Maggot time, which may become slim pickings until that happy day when the snow starts flying again 🙂
Back at the car, the three man comedy show of Greydon, Sam, and Skier666 took about a half hour to pack the car until they realized that they had packed the key as well . . . and started over.
Despite the non-ideal snow, the day was cool, and it’s great to ski a classic that stares straight at you from the road . . .
Bloody Sunday, yet another Sierra adventure. Thanks for a great, and interesting day, guys!
Skier666’s writeup – – – – –
When you travel, you buy gas. When you buy gas, you pay with some sort of tender. In Bridgeport, California, you sell your soul for fuel.
Bloody, lookers left in the distance, about a 30 min 4X4 trek up to the base of the snow.
With crampons and ice axes in hand, Gimpy, Kellie, Tim, Greydon, and some dude named Sam tried their hardest to keep up with the Skier666. Stairmaster, stairmaster, stairmaster I told them. The hiking conditions? Well, scroll down and you'll see the GNAR.
The last 10 feet was awesome! Post-holing every step into an artic wind was just plain mindblowing.
Looking towards Mono Lake:
The descent, doesn't look that bad from here. As the first person to go, I take one turn and realize the whole meat of the Couloir is now in the shade. Not only was the not even near being considered "good", it was starting to firm up! AWESOME!!!!!
The snow…you've heard about the epic conditions…well check this shit out! We skied down this shit for 2/3 of the descent. It was some to the sketchiest snow I have ever encountered.
Greydon getting stoked on the snow:
Greydon rippin' the pow:
Tim getting the goods:
The bottom was really fun, I decided to let them rip and pretend it was groomed. It got fairly bumpy at the very bottom but was manageable.
Long day and a long drive yet to come, got the usual Farmer Brother's coffee with 8 packets of crushed NoDoz and headed through Tioga….with dreams of staying to ski off the pass. However, reality was beckoning and 5 hours later we arrived deep in the Mission to drop off Greydon back to his pimp.