Sunday, April 19, 2009

California Dreaming In The Sierra Buttes

Yesterday, my buddy Charlie Berg and myself successfully hiked and skied the prominent Couloir lookers left of the central spire in the above picture.  We started our ascent at 5000ft off highway 49 in tennis shoes. We proceeded up a well maintained hiking trail that was built to access some really interesting bouldering rocks.  After about 800ft of dirt trail we reached snow and began our skin to the base of the Couloir we had set out to ski.  It took us about 2 hours to reach the base of the Couloir from the road.  

Once we arrived at the base of the Couloir we chilled out for a bit, and took in all the beauty that the gut of the Sierra Buttes has to offer. After our brief break we continued straight up the 1000ft Couloir.  The boot pack was steep, but surprisingly easy and fast.  It took us about 45 minutes to charge up the Couloir and summit out at about 8200ft.  We kicked it under the towering rock faces for a good 1/2 hour enjoying the warm California sunshine and beautiful scenery surrounding us.

Eventually, we decided it was time to ski the Couloir.  So we gathered our gear and began our 1000ft descent down the Couloir.  The pitch of the Couloir varies between 30 degrees and 40 degrees.  The conditions were a bit variable, but for the most part the snow in the Couloir was picture perfect corn snow.  We both cruised through the Couloir and continued down some more low angle corn snow back to the trail that would lead us back to the truck.  It was a good long fun descent.  

We arrived back at the truck psyched and proud of our accomplishment.  It was 1:00pm and 65 degrees at 5000ft.  Since we had a little time to kill before we both had to be at work, we grabbed a quick beer at Bassetts.  It was a rewarding beer and one that will not be forgotten along with the spectacular spring day spent in the Sierra Buttes.

The Buttes Couloir from the bench

Charlie cruising up the Buttes Couloir

Me dropping in!

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