Ski Mountaineering

Herding Cats and Experiencing Geology on Mammoth Mountain
Mar 9-10, 2002

Owen Maloy, Andy Fried

Eleven SMS members showed up this weekend to ski the lifts and tour one day if conditions were favorable. People stayed at Andy's and Owen's, no need to snow camp.

All eleven met at Canyon Lodge and managed to stay together to the top of chair 5 -- that is, for one run all the way from Chair 16 to 5, 200 vertical feet or so. One half wanted to ski the top and the other half wanted to stay out of the high wind. And so we split, meeting for lunch at the Mill Cafe at the bottom of Stump Alley. After lunch there was more fragmentation. We met for dinner at Andy's for pizza and oriental take-out.

Sunday it was snowing and blowing. Only a few people skied the mountain, and some went to the Tamarack. Owen, Jonathan, and Reiner toured up above Owen's house to Chair 21 and skied back through the woods. It was a short tour because everybody wanted to get home early in view of the weather.

As we skied up, we discovered a vent (see photo) from which some steam was rising. A month later (April 10), Walt Hill of the USGS examined this vent. It had become inactive and was partly full of snow. Dr. Hill thought that the actual source of gas might have been farther up the slope, and that the gas moved under the snow through the fragmented rock as long as there was a deep snow layer.

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