High Sierra Traverse, May 7-13, 2006

This photo album is from Jim and Louise Wholey's May 2006 High Sierra Traverse ski trip. This trip was undertaken at the last minute when Louise's North Pole trip was aborted. We are fortunate that the Sierra Mountain Center guide SP Parker was willing to have us join their trip on short short notice - 2 days before departure!

We look back on Independence and the Onion Valley road as we make our way toward Kearsarge Pass. The final slope traversing toward Kearsarge Pass.
View From Pass
View to the west from Kearsarge Pass. Jim crossing Bubb Creek just above Vidette Meadow.
Approaching Deerhorn Pass
Lunch is quite yummy! Approaching Deerhorn Pass in the early morning.

Sometimes we have to carry skis and kick steps up steep snow. The guide wants to be sure nothing bad happens, so he put everyone on a short rope.

Our guide SP Parker below the impressive Mt. Ericsson and its crags. There are great possibilities for climbing, but it is very remote. Ericsson Col is our last difficulty for a while. We expect to find a route safe from the large cornices looming overhead!

The camera catches Jim behind a rock below the col. On top the view is outstanding!

Milestone is a distant target as we ski across miles of snow bordered by beautiful mountains. We approach Milestone by climbing up snow-covered Milestone Creek.

The upper part is an interesting climb, again with skis on our backs. Milestone Bowl offers miles of downhill skiing. Louise cruises.

Views of the Kaweahs from Milestone are great! Yet another pass awaits us. The story is that when Dave Beck first did the trip, he announced that they would climb this pass. His buddies said "You gotta be kidding!". The name stuck, but Dave says the pass is not as steep as it looks. Our guide makes sure the steps are solid before we follow.

From our delightful camp atop YouGottaBeKidding Pass, we are treated with a great view toward Glacier Pass. We traverse toward Glacier Pass. The temptation to drop down these incredible bowls is very strong, but that will have to be left for another trip, as we do have a plane to catch on the west side.

The remaining passes are good ski traverses, never steeper than 45 degrees. Here skiers ascend Coppermine Pass. We have seen wonderful color in the sky numerous times on this trip. The sun and ice crystals have created streams of irridescent clouds.

Lenticulars indicate that it may be windy elsewhere, but we are enjoying very balmy calm weather. The scale of these mountains is beyond imagination. They are big! The skiers are dwarfed as they traverse the head of Deadman Canyon. These are definitely the wide open spaces!

Louise crosses the crest of Fin Pass as she ascends out of Deadman Canyon. The use of the floppy neck gaiter and PCT hiker scarf as face and neck protection was very helpful. The sun is very strong at these low latitudes and high altidudes. Camp on the rocks above Lonely Lake was treated to the rising moon and setting sun. The guide told us that our rock has three streams, one of water, one of gin and the other tonic, but unfortunately the gin and tonic had dried up.

The mountain views are always spectacular. The Kaweahs are still dominent to the south of us. Jim poses on the Tableland below irridescent clouds.

The Marble Fork of the Kaweah River forms the drainage down which we have skied. This is our last view back to the Tableland before we pass over the "Hump" above the Pear Lake area. Our group pauses before skiing down the last tree-covered slopes to Woverton. The air is now easy to see. Do we really want to finish?

At trail's end at Woverton we are greeted by a very nice van driver who provided us with cold beer and will take us to Visalia Airport for our flight back to Independence. He also took our picture!

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