Monday, March 27, 2017

 Randy & Jim White-breakfast at Meadow Lake

Randy in trench shelter at Faucherie Lake

Wilderness Ski Tour

Donner Pass to Bear Valley-Nevada County

After 50 year of high Sierra ski touring there was one tour I wanted to do but just had not got around to doing. It was what I thought was an easy 4 day tour from Donner Pass to Bear Valley, in Nevada County, California. So in early May in the early 1980's, My son Randy, friend Gary and I took off from Donner Pass, skiing on very deep snow from a very good winter.
The plan was to ski from Donner Pass to our first camp at North Creek,downstream from Paradise Lk.,second night at Meadow Lake elevation 7200 ft.,camp and then to the Grouse Ridge lookout, spend the night there and then downhill ski to the Bear Valley home of a friend of mine where my wife would pick us up. I thought four to five days at the most. It was an early spring fun trip with plans to take lots of photographs for a planned slide show I could use in my Snow Training classes. One hour after this early morning breakfast picture taken at Meadow Lake, it was snowing so hard that we had to leave the high ridge we were following to the Grouse Ridge Lookout, and by navigating by compass seek refuge from this raging storm at Faucherie Lake, where we thought we could find some shelter from the 40 mph winds and heavy snowfall. We found out later that I80 had to be closed to all traffic for 24 hrs. because of this un-expected storm. Weather predictions were not like they are today and of course, cell phones had not been invented then. We had over 3 feet of new snow the next morning, but nice sunshine, at Faucherie Lake. 
Skiing in snow that deep is very slow and tiring. We changed the trail breaking chore every 10 min. or so. By noon we had made less than one mi. from our camp. It was going to be another 3 days to break trail to Bear Valley for sure. Surprised for sure, one of my snow school students at Sierra College who owned a large company in Grass Valley that used a Helicopter came looking for us, just to see how we were doing! They landed nearby and my student jumped out of the copter and asked if everything was O.K and I suggested we could use a ride. We all were in Bear Valley withing an hour. It was a nice ski tour, and I am glad I had such nice friends   .P.S. My friend who owned the company and the helicopter got an A in the Wilderness Skiing class.