Trip Report: 2,300-Vertical-Foot of Good Corn Snow in the Gilcrest Peak North Chutes in Corn Snow

Report from May 13, 2024

Yesterday we were in search of corn.

We were 1-4 in finding corn up high so far this month…

The Lamarck Basin had corn before the big May 4th storm, the Kindergarten Chute zone didn’t have corn, the North Couloir of Mt. Gibbs was powder and ice, and Mt. Humphreys didn’t was all kinds of messed up.

  • Summit (actually a ridgeline):  10,300 feet
  • Car:  7,800 feet
  • Vertical From Car:  2,500 feet 
  • Vertical skied:  2,300 feet
  • Max Pitch:  40+º in East Couloir
  • Average Pitch:  35º
  • Aspect:  North
  • Distance:  3-miles round trip
  • Time From Car to Summit:  2 hours
  • Car to Car Time: 3 hours 
  • Recommended Equipment:  crampons, ice axe x2
Dobbs grinding. image: snowbrains

Our strategy was to ski something in the lower elevations and further east away from the Pacific Crest where it would have snowed less.

Our choice was Gilcrest Peak directly above Lundy Lake.

We rolled in late letting the corn set up.

The Northeast Gilcrest Chutes. image: snowbrains

At 10am, we started hiking.

After only 15-minutes of strolling up a dirt road, we were at the base of the chute.

The chute’s snow came directly down onto the road.

Mono Lake in the morning. image: snowbrains

This was the most gentle approach yet…

We started booting up.

I didn’t realize it was a 2,300-vertical-foot chute!

Dobbs spray. image: snowbrains

We all put our heads down, took no breaks, and moved well.

We were on top of the chute 1 hour and 40 minutes later.

We took a quick break and semi-soaked in the views.

Thunderstorms on the way home. image: snowbrains

Thunderclouds had us moving quickly.

Fox first then Greggy then Dobbs and me last.

My strategy was to let them go first and groom the chute a bit – he he.

Dobbs and Lundy Lake. image: snowbrains

The chute was mostly good corn with a few drifts of hot mank from the May 4th storm.

They were deep and sticky and to be feared…

The top section skied well with a lightly textured firm corn.

Crew heaeded up. image: snowbrains

Once in the chute proper, the angle steepened, the corn spiced up, and the skiing got wildly fun.

I let ’em rip and found a fierce rhythm.

I was blasting along until I hit the first hot mank section.

In the narrows. image: snowbrains

Damn near ripped my skis off.

I stopped, caught my breath, and got ready for the next zone.

The chute tightened and steepened and delivered a few option for skinny squeak-throughs on the right.

Pretty skies. image: snowbrains

The light was tenuous as thunderclouds annoyingly formed above me and danced with the sun.

I hit one more hot mank spot in a critical section and grunted like a wild boar as I fought through the stickiness.

I barely missed a rock, got back into the good snow, and pointed it down the skinniest part of the chute.

After that final choke the angle lessened and I glided right onto the road and gave Dobbs a quick fist bump.

Grinding up. image: snowbrains

I was relieved to have survived the chute and that I only had 15 minutes of hiking to get to the car.

Kinda funny that our easiest ski mountaineering jaunt this month also held the best snow and skiing!

Hopefully the corn starts climbing up our favorite big peaks so we can get some work done this week.

Thanks so much, California!

Aspen tunnel. image: snowbrains
The Northeast Gilcrest Chutes. image: snowbrains
Near the top. image: snowbrains
Dobbs slash. image: snowbrains
Dobbs and the desert. image: snowbrains
The Foot is coming for the big weekend this week! image: snowbrains

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