Ski Mountaineering

Visualizing World Snow at Sonora Pass
(Private Trip)
June 2, 1996

For the third year in a row, we went back to Sonora Pass. Again we skied into Blue Canyon from the ridge from the pass, and decided this is a dumb way to go. It is two miles farther than going up Blue Canyon itself, and there is a lot of gain and loss, without any real downhill to make up for it. It took us several hours to get in and only about 45 minutes to get out, even though we had to sideslip a steep narrow chute and ski a bunch of suncups to reach a safe stream crossing. If you ski up directly from the pass, ski the bowl to the east. You can also ski the McKay Creek bowl next farther east, but you may have to work to get around Sardine Falls.

There are several wonderful bowls in Blue Canyon we haven't explored yet. The snow was heavier than it was last year in July, being earlier, but there wasn't quite as much of it. The participants were Bruce Colbert, Kathy Crandall, Owen Maloy, Joe McCoy, and Pete Yamagata. See the photos showing the tigers ready for the climb and Kathy and Joe making their exit from Leavitt Bowl, which we left well tracked up. Another skier was pursued down from the highest point by a wet snow sluff. He said: "Darn thing kept following me." So much for worrying about avalanches.

Owen Maloy

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