Monday, December 12, 2011

Early season High Porphyry

H. Wayne Phillips takes break at Mizpah Bowls warming hut

Skiing the Mizpah Ridge

Wayne enjoys a break at the High Prophyry high point 
Down the ridge above Nugget Creek
The snow was deep enough to make the High Porphyry backcountry run Sunday, but it was probably a day late.
It was pretty darn good on the Porphyry-Mizpah ridgeline, but the snow had been hit pretty hard by wind and sun and was iced up in many spots.
Saturday, or even Friday, would have been better days for the backcountry.
A layer of hoarfrost covered much of the backcountry route
I had reports that gorgeous bowls in the Weatherwax/Deadman country had some of the best powder ever and the sun shone brightly and warmly on Saturday.
The High Porphyry trip starts at Kings Hill and comes out on Highway 89 at Mile Marker 23, about six miles south of King's Hill Pass.  The trip's length is about 12 miles with enough rugged ups and downs that skinning is a must at least three times.
The route follows the Porphyry ridgeline south of the ski hill and swings east toward Highway 89 passing great open bowls of snow at Mizpah Peak and crawling up and down over several small hills.
Many small trees emerged as we broke fresh snow on this route, and the snow wasn't deep enough to cover windfall, making climbing difficult.
There was also a troubling, yet gorgeous layer of hoarfrost that had been deposited, portending trouble for snow stability later in the season.
The elk are loving this country and their hoof prints were everywhere.
We decided against telemarking the final clearcuts and headed out on an old logging road instead.
We'll need substantially more snow before it will be worth our while to backcountry again.

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