Eastern Sierra, CA Report: “Cornice Chute” off 12,000′ White Mountain

Miles Clark | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

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Report from May 13, 2021

We went for another long walk surrounded by gorgeous Sierra granite on Thursday.

It was my last day to backcountry ski for the week due to a Wilderness First Responder recertification class I have over the weekend.

We returned to the zone we’d first explored the previous day, Wednesday.

Miles dropping into the steep and bizarre entrance where you don’t wanna fall. image: Tall Carl

None of us had ever been in this zone before Wednesday and we were eager to return.

There was a steep chute we were calling “Cornice Chute” due to the cornice guarding the entrance.

We’d wanted to ski it on Wednesday but the firmer conditions and very steep, no-fall-zone terrain at the top of the chute kept us out.

Tall Carl ripping Cornice Chute. image: snowbrains

It was a bit hotter on Thursday with no wind and we started an hour later.

That combination worked and after throwing a few rocks into the chute to test the snow quality, we were convinced.

I went first and the side-slip above the rocks put my heart in my throat.

Steep at the top. image: snowbrains

The snow was very firm but edge-able.

There was no room for error.

Once I’d finally glided into the chute, I dropped in and made a quick test turn and found the snow soft and supple.

Carl showing off his crampons. image: snowbrains

I proceeded to rip turns and scream down most of the rest of the chute.

I stopped at the end of the chute but before the 2nd half of the run to keep eyes on Tall Carl and make sure he was safe.

He then passed me. I jumped in after him and we skied the best corn of the trip on that lower section and screamed our heads off.

Yogi Dwanis. image: snowbrains

We were stoked.

There was talk of a second run, but it was just so hot…

Carl and Rylan did pull the trigger and do a 2nd lap, which they said was great.

Found a huge moth. Hummingbird moth? image: snowbrains

They also said that their traversing exit out was extremely hot and sticky and that it was a pretty ugly slog.

We après skied at Mobil Mart. I tried the BBQ chicken sandwich and it was excellent.

After Mobile Mart if was off to June Lake for a swim and a killer camping spot.

This area is straight magic.

I don’t think anything beats Mammoth in May…

Photos in Chronological Order:

Rylan & Fox on the approach. image: snowbrains

Mt. Dana & Ellery Bowl. image: snowbrains
Gorgeous Sierra. image: snowbrains
Crew. image: snowbrains

Carl looking small in the big mountains. image: snowbrains

Duane up! image: snowbrains
Looking back to Dana. image: snowbrains
Cornice Chute from the top. image: snowbrains

Fox & Duane headed home. image: snowbrains
Foxtrot. image: snowbrains
Fox headed to Mobil Mart. image: snowbrains
Hummingbird moth? image: snowbrains
Fox feeling the flow of 2 full meals… again. image: snowbrains

Mobile Mart fish tacos. image: snowbrains
Mobile Mart BBQ chicken sando. image: snowbrains
June Lake dip! image: snowbrains
The good life. image: snowbrains
Duane & Miles stoked on apres ski. image: snowbrains
Michael. image: snowbrains

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2 thoughts on “Eastern Sierra, CA Report: “Cornice Chute” off 12,000′ White Mountain

  1. Go ski climbers route on North Couloir on Mt Abbott.
    It is a couple over from Hourglass couloir Mt Dade above Treasure Lakes.

    Can see it on way in at the old Rock Creek Lodge.

    Would be great to get a report on that.
    Did actual 1st descent in May 1995,
    on free heels tho, hah!
    Git sum

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