After a massive windstorm and multiple feet of snow slamming the mountains all week, the extreme conditions lifted and left us with a weekend of sunshine and fresh powder. Damien and I decided it was time to do another ski tour from Paradise. Only this time we hoped that all the rocks would be covered and we planned to camp the night at Muir.

We headed out from Paradise at about 10:20am after getting our permits. We were certainly not the only ones that had plans for spending some time on the mountain that weekend. Ahead of us were hundreds of little black dots skinning and snowshoeing up the trail. We could see them from a great distance all in a line heading up the snow chute to the top of Panorama Point.

The skinning was descent up to the base of the chute to Panorama (winter route). We saw a few people skiing up the steep slope, but most folks were stowing their boots on their packs and walking up. Some wore crampons, but we opted not too. In retrospected it would have made things much easier. After the pain large slope the steep rolling bumps afterwards also proved to be on the icy side. We boot packed our skis to about 7,000ft before putting them back on after what appeared to be the final rock pile (rocks seemed to attract the worse ice)/ However, we encountered another rock pile and thick sheet of the ice at about 7,400 ft. At this point we gave in and put the skis in our packs once again. This time we put on our crampons too. The situation looked bad. All this boot packing the skis was slowing us way down.

But as luck would have it, the ice disappeared and turned to powder at about 7666 ft. We put our skis back on and made a steady and relatively fast climb to the Muir just as the sun was beginning to set. We made camp quickly under a sky of pink, orange and yellow. The temperature dropped quickly, but with our massive puffy coats (and my cozy puffy pants) we felt rather comfortable in the winter frigid air as we setting down to melt snow and have  dinner.

The morning sunrise was as lovely as the sunset. The cold of the night vanished as soon as the sun rose and warmed the mountain (a but too warm in my opinion). With our new arcteryx alpha sv gear we made some turns down the Muir Snowfield. Great powder and the views were spectacular!

At 7666 ft overheated from the gore-tex gear and beginning to hit ice. We removed some layers and packed up the skis again. We carried the skis down wearing crampons to the bottom of the steep slope to Panorama Point. From here to the parking lot the conditions were icy, but not scary icy. We made it too the bottom in 3.5 hours. Just in time too sinc ethe sun was really beginning to cook the slopes.

 

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