Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:45 pm Posts: 852 Location: hopefully not at work
Decided to tote the split on an overnight trip with the California Mountaineering Club. Knew there was snow pack all the way up the couloir...just didn't know what to expect given the high wind winter storms and recent warming trend.
View of Langley from Tuttle Creek Campground
Approached on Friday the 25th to ~10,500'. Tried to skin over sun-cupped avy debris above 9.000', boy was that a bunch of fun being passed by the bootpackers!
Summit attempt on the 26th of April, 2008.
Northeast couloir shortly after sunrise (~7:30AM)
Looking up the couloir (~8AM), snow conditions were quite nice...perfect for crampons/self belay
Hit the top of the couloir around 9:45AM, snow was perfect. Patches of sugar (on the climber's left for about 3-400 feet) with lots of 'cornflakes' below. Thought about 'punting' on the summit to descend the prime conditions, but didn't want to take Langley from the 'Hit List' to the 'Shit List' so I pressed on to summit with the rest of the group.
The views were slightly impeded by smoke blowing in from a Southern California wildfire (see the Owens Valley on the right below), but views to the North and West were still nice
Time for descent...what was once sugar and cornflakes was now extremely wet, only ~1.5 hours later. Many were ditching their crampons as the snow was 'balling' extensively. First 300 feet of the couloir was way too soggy, no glide at all. Things improved below, and was able to link up about 3,000' of good spring turns before having to carry a couple hundred yards over a rock band before sliding back into camp at 10,500.
A quick 2.5 hour hike out made for a great overnighter on a Sierra 14er. Note: 1) the use trail from the stone religious shelter has an upper and lower fork. We ascended the high road (with associated interesting class 3 chute with loose footing), but found the "well-ducked" lower trail preferable on descent, 2) we had melt water at the 10.5K camp so save some weight and leave the melting fuel behind. Passed one person, above me in pic 5, that was dayhiking the couloir.
Finished with some proper grub at Whoa Nellie Deli, lots of good menu options but place your order before 9PM or you miss out!