|The Mt. Whitney summit area, from Russell-Carillon Col
No regrets, of course. I was astounded at what unskiable crud we needed to try to stay balanced on, that is when we were lucky enough to have snow coverage at all (much of the crest zone was windblown down to the rocks). But those moments when we'd look at the great peaks surrounding us made it more than worthwhile, somehow it seemed appropriate for us to be stumbling and flailing in their presence.
We went in at Whitney Portal on Friday morning, well, noon actually. We left the trail and proceeded up the North Fork to Lower Boy Scout Lake, where we camped. Another fellow camped there reported that there were about 20 people up-canyon at Iceberg Lake, probably mostly to do the Mountaineers Route. We're not used to that kind of traffic in the winter backcountry, but I guess that's Whitney for you.
|Menno and Ted at our Wallace Lake campsite
Harshly textured windblown crust, punctuated by areas where the crust was more or less sublimated clear off the top, exposing unconsolidated sugar snow. Yee-uck. Then there was the section when we had to ski down a few hundred feet of steep stuff to Wallace Lake. My usual survival technique on crap snow is to do big wide parallel traverses, but I was so afraid of getting tripped up by crud-traps that I actually side-stepped down a majority of it (stomping hard with each step to make a dent in the crust).
Then, after a camp at the southern foot of Barnard, we did some mercifully gentle touring through Wright Lakes basin, then around north of Tyndall. We thought about climbing Tyndall; nah. We thought about ascending to the top of the "superbowl" which then descends eastward just south of Shepherd Pass; nah. We just dropped down the Shepherd Pass headwall, below which we found some more remarkably awful snow. We camped just below snow line, and were relieved to just hike on Monday down to the trailhead.
-Bob Akka, 4/9/02
The previous year's Barnard Fun trip