|Ascending out of Fish Creek Canyon
|Crossing Fish Creek via the snow "egg"
A nice telemark run took us down to some meadows, where we did some sedate diagonal striding for a couple of miles further south. Then, the forest began to clear and we saw the terrain fall away dramatically beneath us. We turned on beacons, put on shell jackets, shortened ski poles, and I dropped down the moderate start of the slope to check it out. Corn snow so perfect that it pained me to stop. I called up to Cathy that this and the next part of the slope were fine as can be, so come on down! We put in almost 1000' of linked tele turns until...
|One of the pools at Iva Bell
|Cathy Bianco on the Mammoth Crest
From there, we ski-traversed up to the small pass just north of the springs, where we once again had to take off skis. We mostly followed the summer trail down to the lower springs, and then climbed up to the better springs high on the hillside to the east. We flattened out some snow near the pools and pitched the tent.
Unfortunately, those springs were only body temp, if that. I got in up to my thighs and decided that it would not be a good idea to lose body temp in the cold evening. So we didn't soak. I guess all the snowmelt was getting into the water table, cooling off the springs. Oh well, it was great to be out there anyway!
|Descending Mammoth Crest at the end of a long day
The return trip was straightforward, and pretty tiring, being mostly uphill. Our snow "egg" still had its snow-bridges intact, and the first 1000' of our big slope was brutal as we expected. But after that we had snow, and it was slow but steady going, doing zig-zag traverses across the previous day's tele tracks, feeling certain that no one else would ever see them. The descent back off Mammoth Crest was on the funky & crunchy side, since sunlight was fading, so we took it slow and cautious. At Lake George we hit the XC resort trails, and cruised the last mile down to the car.
-Bob Akka, 4/3/00
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