Monday, January 25, 2016

Pear Lake Ski Hut and "Skiers Alta"

This year I am keen (that's Canadian for "stoked") to do some more winter climbing. I had come across the Pear Lake backcountry ski hut in Sequoia on the internet and applied in the lottery for a reservation in January. 

The hut is really a backcountry ski destination, but we decided to try our hands at bagging a peak in the winter, and snowshoeing in.  Three people were interested, Jared, Micheal and Garrett, so the four us planned to go the weekend of Jan 23-24th 2016. Seemed like a good way to start the New Year!

Micheal at the Pear Lake Hut
The week before, the Sierras were pommeled with a series of winter storms, bringing huge amounts of fresh snow. This made me a bit nervous, mostly owing to my lack of avalanche training. Thee week before called for yet another storm, but we decided to go anyway. Garrett backed out at the last minute, so a friend of Micheal, also named Micheal signed up for the trip.

Friday night we drove to Sequoia and camped at low elevation. We started at 4 am Saturday morning in the pouring rain, which turned into a snow storm above 6000'.  The approach was fairly exhausting, 6 miles of unbroken trail, in a snow storm, with around 2000' of elevation gain

Jared enjoying the snow

rest time on the way up
We made it to the hut in about 5 hours. The snow hammered us the whole way. With near whiteout conditions, we decided to put off going for the summit of skiers Alta. The others decided to relax a little bit in the hut, I headed out for a solo outing on the ridge to scope out where we would be going on Sunday for the summit.

After a terrific nights rest, and a non-alpine start, myself and the two Michaels left around 8am to head for the summit of skiers Alta. Its just a class 2 snowshoe approach, not very difficult, but with stunning scenery. Although the approach was mellow, it was fairly cold as we gained elevation

Micheal and Micheal

Once we gained the summit ridge, the wind picked up (maybe 50 mph?) and was sending spindrift all over the place.

It was not long before we were on the summit

Summit selfie
It took us about three hours up form the hut, and only about 30 min down. We ate a quick lunch, and headed back to the cars. Overall a fun outing with a great group of guys!

Micheal contemplates the meaning of life an so on. 

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