Ski Mountaineering

Gaylor Peak Avalanche Tour
June 13, 1997

Owen Maloy (Private Trip)

Once again we toured from the parking area above Tioga Pass Resort into the Gaylor Peak area. It had snowed about a foot the day before.

Joe, Walter, Susan, and Owen decided to ski directly up around the peak from the parking lot. Because of the fresh snow on the steep south-facing slope, this proved to be hot, hard work. As we climbed over the east shoulder of Gaylor Peak, the snow sluffs were hissing in the chutes, which was a bit scary. Just getting up the 800 feet or so took us a long time.

The snow was marginally skiable on the north side of the peak. We avoided steep places and skied down from the ridge to the upper of the two Gaylor Lakes, then up to the stone cabin at the Great Sierra Mine visited last year.

We then continued over Tioga Hill, looking for a safe way down through what was obviously a bad avalanche situation. We traversed across and came down carefully above the south end of Fantail Lake, sticking to a ridge where we felt there was less risk than in the chutes and bowls. The snow was heavy and difficult, and nobody made many turns.

From there we skied to the cabins at Bennettville and then out by the Tioga Tarns, with a great afternoon view of Mt Dana. Because of the avalanche hazard and deep wet snow, this short tour took us nine hours, including lunch and nap time at the stone cabin. It's easy to see why opening Tioga Pass in the spring is not necessarily a trivial task.

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