TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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bobby49
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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by bobby49 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:50 pm

My dog, Lucy the Border Collie, doesn't want to walk on snow. She prefers to eat it.








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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by Silky Smooth » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:24 am

Another great mini trip! thanks for sharing Harlen! you'll always be the winter wizard to me, stay safe

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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by DAVELA » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:05 pm

Amazing...living vicariously through these reports and images.
http://www.suwa.org/protect-greater-canyonlands" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Harlen
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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by Harlen » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:09 pm

torpified wrote:
I'm afraid I have yet another question about Bear: How does he manage not to posthole? Is he some sort of elf? Or does weighing less and distributing his weight across 4 paws make a huge difference to his threshold?
Good question, and one that now concerns me too. There are places--usually northerly slopes, gullies, and forest flats where snow accumulates and stays soft-- where Bearzy really has some trouble with post-holing. Other times, on wind, or sun-crusted surfaces, he dances above, and I post-hole. I wish I could predict exactly what the majority of the surfaces will be on each trip, but not yet, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to. Maybe bobby49 will come up with some "snow-dog shoes,: or at least a more clever name for them, to go with "doggles," ?

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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:28 pm

There are standard dog boots on the market. I would suggest to get four of those and glue on an oversized tread to the bottom. I would guess that the oversized treads do not need to be huge and clumsy, maybe something like 3"x4".

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Harlen
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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by Harlen » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:40 pm

I like the questions formerly asked by Silky Smooth:
Any post trip takeaways, anything you'd do different guys [gals]?
Under my usual first category-- Petty Stupidities, I have at least 2:

1. Always use the technique of tossing in your water bottle, tied with string, to fetch water from sketchy open water sources. I very nearly broke through the snow-covered ice, and would've soaked everything up to at least my knees! As it was, I just soaked one ski- with skin on, and thanks to Gazelle's proffered ski, was able to pull myself out.

2. Never fill your pot with snow, and leave it over the running stove, while you ski 1/4 mile off for more water. I returned to find over-boiling water, and wasted a lot of fuel-- Idiot!

Second category-- Gear and Technique:

1. Always check out your gear! The day before the trip, as I was greasing up, I found that my ancient leather boots had yet another problem- the first inch of the duckbill, 3-pin extension had broken in half, and the piece was missing! I had to MacGyver a fix, shaping a piece of tire tread to fill the gap, drilling and threading it with Dad's old, marlin-strength fishing line. Also glued and screwed it, and it held for the trip. Had I checked the boots while at home, instead of at the folks' (miles from my workshop), I could have just taken my second set of boots.

a. I also found that Bearzy's pack-straps had failed, right at the TH, with Gazelle all set, and waiting for me to go.... Sorry Kristine. Luckily, I had straps to fix broken bindings, and they worked for new straps for Bear's pack.

2. Swix maxi-glide ski wax did seem to help keep snow from balling up under the skis.

3. "Glop-stopper" skin wax, or whatever brand Gazelle had, worked wonders keeping snow from sticking to the skins- even after I'd soaked one in the water.

4. Whatever Gazelle's stove system is, it looks like a great improvement over my olde MSR stove-- which required a fix of the pump cup again. It seems safe to even use it inside the tent, hanging in the air from a cord. It's a canister stove, with wind-proofing, and a built-in pot... I've forgotten it's name?

5. My choice of "kicker-skins" was a mistake for this trip. I should have anticipated the overall icy conditions, and gone with the full-skins. I suffered from a lack of grip on the steeps.

6. As for Technique, it would be very nice to be able to turn, to slow down, and to stop without crashing. I am blissfully ignorant of my problems-- Kristine can list all of my skiing technique errors if she has time enough. It really may be a great idea to finally switch to AT gear-- as someone said: "fix the heels, fix the problem." I'm afraid that in my case, there is more to it than that, but it might be a good start.

7. Finally, if anyone is interested in the use of "ski crampons," Gazelle is the one to ask. She seemed to know when and how to use them, and they seemed like an elegant piece of equipment to avoid the "slide for life" awful experience.

Thanks a lot for the nice comments, Harlen.
Last edited by Harlen on Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:01 am

One day I'll do something more than ski mountains close to the road... one day...
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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by Gazelle » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:07 pm

I had a great trip with Harlen! Although I was sick even before we started a really nice cough, lung capacity was severely diminished! I have not skiied with a backpack ever definitely a new adventure if the conditions were better it would have been no big deal but with ice, crust, and any variety of snow within 5 feet of each other it was quite difficult.

As for my stove I picked up the MSR windburner with the hang kit, personally I think it worked out wonderfully! I am going to use up the little canister to see how many uses I can get out of it in winter melting and boiling water for drinks and food.

My western mountaineering apache with overfill was also good.

Need to bring something to put my boots in so can stick in sleeping bag, they were way to cold in the morning. Ordered a thermos to keep water and hot drink my water containers were all wrong but worked.

As I said great trip, was out mostly to try some new gear and to meet Harlen, or more so Bearzy!

Still sick but getting better!
Kristine
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein

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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:12 pm

Gazelle wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:07 pm
Need to bring something to put my boots in so can stick in sleeping bag, they were way to cold in the morning.
The standard method that I've used is this. You have your sleeping bag stored in a stuff sack. Use a big stuff sack. When you get to camp and you are ready to store your wet boots, you empty the stuff sack, then turn it inside out. Put the boots in there and put that into the bottom of your sleeping bag overnight. In the morning, your boots will be moderately warm. Put them on, and then turn the stuff sack outside in for sleeping bag storage. This way, it keeps the moisture on one side of the stuff sack and keeps the other side dry.

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Re: TR: Ski Tour from Virginia Lakes to Return Creek, and Return.

Post by overheadx2 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:35 pm

Harlen, you sure make it look tempting. I may have to try a trip as the days get longer. I’m headed up to trailer camp in lone pine where the wife, dog and I will do some day ski trips and afternoon fly fishing. I’m assuming most of the skiing will be on closed roads just getting to any trail heads in that area. Having only skied Wolverton, mammoth and June areas, I’m not sure of where the road closures are on Kearsarge Rd or Glacier Lodge Rd. Your Tr for south lake / north lake has me thinking a trip from Parchers to long lake / Bishop Pass area could be fun. Any suggestions for a relatively easy 6 to 10 mile R/T day trips in the lone pine to bishop area. Any old TRs of that area?

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