May 4, 2019, Black Mt Virginia Lakes

Posted by Zap on 5/11/19 1:41am
The road from hwy 395 at 8138' at Conway Summit is only 4.5 miles to the pack station. From there we proceeded to the BIG parking lot beside Virginia Lake. This parking area was plowed through the snow pack for the ice fishermen. Yes, it was truly for the ice fishing folks. The Eastern Sierra trout fishing opened the last weekend of April, but that's another story.

Dunderburg Peak is a favorite for backcounty skiers, as is Black Mountain. Black is part of a huge ridge with steep and not-so-steep gullies. There are a "bunch" of lakes for the fishing crew. It was like a party on a sunny day with the ice augers cutting holes in the thick ice layer and everyone getting ready to start fishing. The ski folks can go around or across the lake. Jill and I took the faster route and skied across the lake, past the fishermen, and then up through a funnel shaped area onto the-tree lined ridge and on to the slope. The earlier skiers were fast climbers and went up in a straight line. We put the ski crampons on at the lake where we started at 9500', and were definitely testing our breathing systems , i.e. sucking air! I just cannot climb straight up so I began cutting a new skinning track, an "old guide's skin track". Yes, I know it's a bit longer, but our mid-70's lungs needed it. Most of the groups were going "looker" left in the bowl. We stayed in the treed area and headed for the rock outcroppings. I was looking at a steep untracked area on the right and Jill was looking left.

We got to a steep section above the trees and were getting ready to ski down an untracked line when three guys came out of nowhere and skied "our line". Not even a "Hi" or a wave.

So instead we checked out the area to our left, and Jill was correct.. We skied into the wide part of the gully next to the ridge and had perfect corn snow down to the lake. It was a nice way to finish the day, and with a slight breeze we skied back over the lake to the van. We have skied numerous places in the Virginia Lakes area, but this one was new to us. We do love this area.

Nice to see you in the right spots as always!
2019-05-15 06:41:20
Zap, thanks for the report, we were in the area the day before fishing season, and they had just finished opening the road, twenty foot drifts along the road! We were just checking out the country on our way to Twin Lakes. It looked like no end of any kind of skiing you wanted.
2019-05-15 13:17:21

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2019-05-11 08:41:41