Eastern Sierra Antics: Mt. Wood

After such an epic winter in the Sierra, I figured that the spring corn skiing season would be equally as fab.  What little we have had has been fun, but it keeps being interrupted by a return to winter.

We had heard about the possibility of weather moving in yesterday, but decided to go ahead with Operation Eastern Sierra anyway.  Mango margaritas were taunting me loudly, and after a long week I needed to get outta Dodge.    We met our friend Fred at the Whoa Nellie Deli on Friday night to discuss Saturday plans over fish tacos and jambalaya.  Fred really wanted to hit the Cocaine Chute, a steeper line near the Dana Plateau.   I wasn’t into boot-packing up a chute (ski boot issues make that the equivalent of stabbing needles in my eye), and decided to take the dog and head to the less extreme terrain of the lower apron of Mt. Wood.

As luck would have it, a friend of mine pulled in right behind me not moments after I’d parked, so Soleil & I joined him and his friends.  This made route-finding on the initial climb dead easy, since all I had to do was follow.  The climb up is pretty direct (read: up), and once we reached the lower apron of Mt. Wood it was literally a straight line up.  As my friend & his pals continued up the steep, icy bootpack to the summit (whose steep angle my camera couldn’t capture), the dog & I lapped the lower slopes, which were corning up nicely.

Turns out the descent from the near top of Mt. Wood wasn’t as soft as hoped, due primarily to the cold east winds that had been gusting all morning.  That said, it only about 1,000 feet out of their 4,000+ foot descent though, and the winds did ensure that the lower elevation snow didn’t get too sticky, even at 2.30 pm on our final descent.

All of us milked the remaining few thousand feet of silky corn, including the dog, who had a few spectacular wipeouts as she tried to keep us with us.

It was definitely one of her bigger days of the season, and she was pretty happy to get back to the truck.  Truth be told, so was I.  My ‘easy’ day ended up being about 8 hours with over 4,000 feet of vertical.   And a lot more fun than I imagined.


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