We climbed and skied the east face of McGee today and found a mixed bag of conditions.
Lower elevations are quite thin and dwindling fast. Supportable refrozen snow made for quick touring through the sage from the frontage road and into the gully on the east face along our ascent. we didn’t use our ski crampons this morning but they would have added some security for some slick areas below the choke at about 9000′. From here boot crampon proved necessary to climb to the summit.
There is ample evidence of recent rock fall in the area including several rocks about 4 ft square. we observed one rock roughly the size of a volley ball roll by as we were climbing today. It was a good reminder to always pay attention to whats happening above you!
No new snow was observed on our tour today, The rain line reached at least to the McGee summit during yesterdays brief storm.
We stuck to the more southerly tilted slope on our decent from the ridge and found some soft corn turns in the upper headwall. about2 cm of moist surface grains over a well established supportable base. The middle of the decent through the choke was hard and slick and did not soften at all today. Below 9000′ or so the main gully had softened up quite a bit and was a mixed bag of supportable corn and more transitional snow that felt a bit un-predictable.
Below about 8500′ or so the snow pack was mostly a punchy, unsupportable, isothermal mess with ski penetration to the ground in places and a plethora of bushes and rocks to get hung up on. No signs of instability were noted on our tour today but this part of our adventure was consequential enough to keep us on our toes.
Warm temperatures and sunny skies prevailed today making for a beautiful day in the mountains! Moderate North winds kept things feeling a bit brisk for much of the morning and aided in keeping the slope from warming to concerning levels.Close