Report from June 8, 2023
We’d gotten some good beta that 12,219 Hurd Peak, CA was skiing well (thanks Laura & others).
The only hiccup was that the South Lake Rd was closed 1.3 miles from the trailhead at Parchers Resort.
Even with that extra mileage, this ended up being a great ski objective with high bang for the buck.
The weirdest thing about this trip was that all the snow was absolutely bulletproof when we arrived and that freeze didn’t loosen its grip easily…
12,219′ Hurd Peak – “North Face” Details
- Summit (actually a ridge line): 12,100′
- Car: 9,400′
- Vertical From Car: 2,700′
- Vertical skied: 2,400′
- Max Pitch: 45º
- Avg Pitch: 40º
- Aspect: North
- Distance: 7-miles round trip
- Time From Car to Top: 5 hours (with a 1.5-hour break to let the snow soften)
- Car to Car Time: 6 hours & 52 minutes
- Recommended Equipment: Crampons, Ice Axe, Skins, Ski Crampons
SHORT VERSION VIDEO
We parked the car at the road closure near Parchers Resort on South Lake Rd.
It was 36ºF at 7:45am.
By far the coldest backcountry start of our spring here (we’ve been here since May 1).
We started up the road in sneakers.
The views of Hurd Peak from the parking area were striking.
The peak is dominant.
The snowbanks at the parking area were overhead.
This zone is cold and very snowy.
South Lake isn’t pretty right now as it’s 50+ feet below the dam with scraggly, rock & ice-strewn shores.
We skirted downhill around the lake to the lookers left until things got flat.
The route up to Hurd is obvious as you can see the damn thing jutting out almost the entire hike.
The snow was absolutely bulletproof.
Hiking around a raging waterfall that had cut holes in the rock solid snowpack was exhilirating.
The entire hike up we complained about how firm the snow was and we assumed that we weren’t going to ski Hurd that day.
There was just no way it was going to soften in time for us to ski.
Especially with the clouds that were constantly keeping the sun off the North Face.
We knew not to turn around until we get turned around, but the reality of the snow not softening this day loomed.
We arrived at a bench below the peak and decided to take a long break to let things soften and see what the weather would do.
I welcomed the hour break with open arms.
I was still tired from our 8.5 hour day on The Incredible Hulk 3 days prior.
Greggy & Lee stood and discussed.
Sun started to grace the North Face.
The snow around us softened a bit.
We decided to climb up one more bench – immediately below the North Face.
We rested another 30 minutes to let the snow loosen.
Greggy was over it.
The face looked fun…
I proposed we climb up to the lowest rocks and see how it felt.
We did and it was pretty soft.
There must have been an inversion.
The clouds were closing in on us now.
They didn’t seem to have electricity in them…
We pressed on.
I put in the lower booter then Lee took over.
He booted up while I kept an eye on the weather and shouted up to him whether the weather was cooperating or not.
We topped out fairly quickly below in-and-out clouds.
We just kept getting lucky that day.
When we were finally ready to drop in, the clouds parted and we skied in the sun.
The snow was absolutely freakin’ perfect!
We’d gotten so used to warm nighttime temps that we’d forgotten what magical corn a hard freeze can produce.
We dropped in at about 1:15 and hooted as 5-star corn sprayed off our skis and splashed off rock and snow.
We were all pretty damn surprised at the high snow quality after all the violently hard snow we’d trod upon that day.
The ski down to the lake was sun-cupped and soft.
We trudged up the empty lake bed to the parking lot then shoe strolled the 1.3 miles back to the car.
It ended up being a long day with the 1.5 hours of waiting around, but it felt clean and easy.
We dove straight into Bishop for cheap gas, a seamstress, and we randomly ended up at Las Palmas Mexican restaurant.
I got the Enchiladas Verdes and they were $$$$.
80ºF down there felt good.
We were so hungry we ended up eating out again as soon as we got back to Mammoth at Mammoth Brewery and it was solid.
SPRING 2023 REPORTS
- 6/4/23:Trip Report: The Incredible Hulk, CA – “Hulk Left Couloir”
- 6/2/23: Trip Report: 13,187′ Basin Mountain – “Basin Couloir Alternate”
- 5/31/23: Trip Report: 12,808′ Four Gables, CA – “Tungstar Bowls”
- 5/27/23: Trip Report: 11,160′ Mt. Scowden – Lundy Canyon – “North Face Chute”
- 5/24/23: Sierra Nevada, CA Report: Skiing Through A Lava Tube Cave
- 5/24/23: Sierra Nevada, CA Surf Report: Shredding The Lazy River At High Flow
- 5/23/23: Trip Report: 13,118′ Mt. Emerson – The 45º Steep “North Couloir”
- 5/20/23: Trip Report: 12,200′ Mt. Esha, CA – “2nd Chute”
- 5/18/23: Trip Report: McGee Creek Peak, CA – 2,800-Vertical-Foot “Wineglass Couloir”
- 5/16/23:Trip Report: 10,908′ Carson Peak, CA – 45º Steep “Pete’s Dream”
- 5/5/15/23: Trip Report: 11,812′ Mt. Laurel, CA – 3,500-Vertical-Foot “Pinner Couloir”
- 5/10/23: Trip Report: 13,005′ Mt. Morgan, CA – Nevahbe Ridge Gullies
PHOTOS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER