After hearing that the Eastside was going off and that Saddlebag Lake Rd. was plowed we decided to get after it. After work Thursday, Buddy and I rallied from the Bay down Hwy 108 and car camped at Travertine Hot Springs. There is no better way to start or end an Eastside trip than soaking in a Hot Spring.
After the soaking it up we made our way down the 395 and made the mandatory stop at the MoMart. After the breakfast burritos and beer essentials we made our way up to Saddlebag Lake Rd. Arriving at the Rd. we found a plow and grader blocking the rd. The operators who were working on the equipment informed us that the road was plowed almost to the dam and that the road should be plowed all the way to the resort by Tuesday May 6, 2014. They stated that the road gate would remain closed until the forestry service deems it okay.
Knowing that the road was plowed that far up our plan to bike the road was a GO. With the rest of our SoCal crew being a couple hours out, Bud and I got a jump on our treck out to Greenstone Lake. As easy as I thought it was going to be to bike the road, it was a real PITA. Man my ass still hurts from riding with a full overnight pack, beer, splitboard etc.
After stashing the bikes we made our way up to the dam and along the lake. The lakes and most of the river were all still frozen and the coverage was actually better than expected. We decided to setup camp in between Saddlebag and Greenstone lakes.
Greenstone Ridge? (That's what i've been calling it)
Not a bad view..eh?
After setting up camp Geny, Sticko, Bo and Chunk all showed up.
We decided it was time to draw some lines above Greenstone Lake. While skinning up we found great corn snow and even some powish snow. Gener makes it look so easy, he dusts all of us. He's still wondering how long he had a rock in his backpack though...
Bud making his way up with Saddlebag in the background.
Geny making his way back down towards camp.
Here is a look South from the top of Greenstone Ridge
Bud and I traversed along the top of the ridge and picked our chutes. I rode my line and stopped to take some pics of Bud making his turns.
The guys in basecamp hit us up on the radio and told us to skim the stream when coming back to camp. Bud and I bombed the hill and tandomly skimmed the stream. Bud stuck it like a pro on his first skim. My last trip with BCRIDER may have influenced this behavior.
After our sucessful stream crossings Geny, Sticko and Bo all decided to skim the stream as well.
The winds started picking up so we made dinner, drank some beers and talked about what we were going to hit the next day. All this while we were treated to an awesome sunset over North Peak and our camp.
The next morning the clouds and winds stuck around for quite sometime. The snow was in no hurry to soften so we took our time getting ready. Once up, we made our way towards Mt Conness. The waterfall was just starting to trickle in a few areas but was mainly still snow covered. With everything still frozen the water crossings were easy to non existent.
While skinning towards Conness we couldn't help but think about riding the South side of North Peak. The coverage looked really good and we heard rave reviews from a Tahoe Local the week prior.
Bud, Geny and I made our way towards the Y-Couloir while Sticko and Bo made their way up a gully lookers left of Conness lake. On the way to the Y you couldnt help but look at the S Couloir. BCRIDER had instructed me to hit it but it appeared like there were some areas that were rocked out in the chokes. I was thinking that due to the low snow year the entrance and chokes would be a no go.
We started working out way up to towards the Y Couloir.
Once on the ridge we decided to take a break before heading towards the Notch.
I had never climbed through the notch before but figured it may be a better approach to climb the ridge and drop from the top.
Here is Bud scrambling up the top of the notch.
While headed to the Y we decided to not do the final climb to the Y and hit a line just before the Y. Looking back at my line.
Gener doing his thing.
After riding our upper line we were not planning on riding the S couloir. However after seeing the entrance of the S I continued on and decided I would either climb up or down if need be. What appeared to be crux's from a distance were not nearly as bad. Other than some rocks blocking the line 1/3 of the way down it was all good.
Here is a frame grab just before entering the S.
Looking back at my line and watching Gener have his fun.
Such an awesome trip!! Now I only wish I could have stayed a few more days...
Get out there and get it before Winter is just a dream.
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1622 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Nice! You guys totally scored, getting in there right when the road got plowed. Looks like you dropped the lookers right entrance to S chute? I've never seen that filled in enough to do, and have never heard of anyone dropping that side. Nice work. Post up that video!
Amazing how filled in stuff is back there even in this low snow year.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1502 Location: 395
Definitely a huge difference between the plateau and Conness area in snow coverage. It looks like anything up higher and a little farther back toward the west got a lot more snow this year. Thanks for the stoke!
Glad everyone's pumped about it! I figured I should post this TR since things were so good and there was not too much beta out there. Hopefully it's a motivator.
The trip was a blast and everyone was stoked. Even Bud, who dealt with a broken tent pole (how did that happen? hehe) in 30-40 mph winds (his tent was music to our ears at night) and coming back to find his tent and all his belongings had rolled 50+ yards away. Still cant believe Geny slept on an tarp in his sleeping bag with those winds. He wont admit it but he might not pack quite so light next time..
We rode the lookers left entrance (riders right.) From a distance the other entrance looked really narrow with a steep drop. However, distance has a way of distorting things.
Here is a quick video. It was a bit of a trip not knowing the line. I was always waiting for that surprise to appear just below or around the corner. After riding it I wish I would have rode it a second time and charged harder. Well, just a reason to make time for a next time..