“Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.”
After finding little snow up Horse Creek Drainage the day before, Zack and I headed further south to Laurel Lakes area and began the rough drive up the high clearance 4wd road. Roads like this one are always more intimidating in the dark and before long we pulled over and made camp overlooking a huge expanse of stars with the lights of Mammoth Lakes sparkling in the distance. It was a beautiful and clear early winter night; Orion poked up over the horizon as we made plans to meet over a pot of coffee at 5am.
In the morning we drove the truck up to the trailhead and began our hike as the sun warmed the distant peaks. Compared to boot hiking over snowy rocks the day before, we made quick progress to the snow line, skinned a few switchbacks up the lower apron, and before long were settling into the rhythm of kicking boot pack steps up the couloir.
The snow was fairly firm through the upper portion of the couloir and softer as we descended. We even enjoyed some smooth low angle powder on the lower bench. It was a beautiful day and felt like a great success having put tracks in such an iconic East Sierra couloir.