May 3, 2006, Dunderberg Peak, Sierra

US elsewhere
Posted by Zap on 5/5/06 10:38pm
Dunderberg Peak at 12,374 feet is one of numerous peaks easily accessible along the Virginia Lakes Road which is west of Conway Summit.  The road is now open just past the Pack Station and this year there is another enormous snow pack.  The paved road provides access to 9600 feet and it enables us to open the door of the camper, put on the skins and go vertical. Virginia Lakes has become one of our favorite tour sites because of the easy access and the variety of peaks and exposures. Back in 2004, we skied a shoulder of Dunderberg but decided this year that the conditions were ideal to ski from the summit.  We started skinning around 8:30am from the camper at 9500 feet.  In Paul Richins book on tours in CA, he highlights the Southeast Gully #1 as an enjoyable steep line.  We decided to climb the descent route and it was a bottom to top ski crampon route. The day was sunny, no wind, low 40€™s and the climbing went rather fast for a couple of senior citizens.  As we neared the final 500 feet, we headed for the summit saddle which enabled us to meet the summit ridge and skin to the top.  Not sure if it€™s the beer, Celebrex or hanging around the 6-9000 foot terrain, but reaching 12,374 did not feel bad today.  It was a photo day.  Sawtooth Ridge and the Matterhorn were to the northwest, Mono Lake to the southeast, the nearby peaks of Olsen and Black were across the valley, and further west was Yosemite. 

The top 1500 feet is 35 to 40 degrees but the sun had softened the slope nicely.  The first 1000 feet was soft with 3€ ski penetration.  The remaining 1800 feet was glorious corn with 1€ of cream on a firm base. Hero corn snow and we were the only ones on the mountain. We skied within 10 feet of the camper and felt great.  Sierra corn seems to be arriving.  We headed back to Bridgeport and went for a soak at Travertine Hot Springs just above our campsite.  We had the hot springs to ourselves with clear views of Sawtooth Ridge from our soaking spot.  Life is good in the Sierra.

Zap & Jill

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2006-05-06 05:38:35