Most people think of winter as a time to stay in thier homes with their families, drinking hot chocolate and wallowing in holiday spirit. These people, of course, know not the meaning of glory. Such people consider walking barefoot on a slightly chilly hardwood floor, “punishment.” You can often find these people cozying together in Starbucks with snowflake pattern sweaters on their laptops, paroozing sissy websites such as Pullharder.COM. They will never know the meaning of true winter glory (WG), nor will they feel the icy satisfaction of putting on frozen boots in the morning before setting off for the summit of monstrous, whitewashed peak. They might get a thrill from lolly-gagging at “the lodge” with a $9 bowl of chili sprinkled with broken saltines before they slide down the groomed blue run. But they will never know the euphoria of slogging up an avalanche prone class 4 chute and shredding the fresh virgin gnar-gnar.
I now propose 2 winter trips. One can be DIAD and the other could be the epitome of winter punishment.
1. Basin Mountain
Basin Mountain is the mountain right above the buttermilks. This picture shows the obvious Northeast gully. I have dreamed of snowboarding down this gully ever since my first time in the Eastern Sierra. The plan would be to drive as far as possible through the buttermilks and set up camp at snowline. An Alpine start should make it possible to reach the top of the gully, ditch the board/skis, summit, back to the boards/skis, and then ride down.
2.White Mountain Peak
Those who dislike punishment need not apply. While White mountain peak can be summited via 4wd road in dry conditions, winter is a completely different story. Depending on road closures, the approach to the summit may be up to 25 miles…each way! I have driven to the gate at 12000ft which is 7 miles from the summit. When I had my Jeep, I drove up 9 mile long Silver Canyon Rd. which starts in an old mining canyon about 5 miles north of Bishop. My plan would be to take this road to snowline (its not the type of road you want to be on with snow) and then let the punishment begin. The hike to the top is not very steep, and can be done with snowshoes, skis, or a split snowboard…but its loooong. I would estimate that a minimum of 3 days would be needed. 2 to approach and one looong day of riding/skiing back to the car. The lack of any vegetation (save for ancient bristlecone pines) and smooth, boulder free terrain could make this an epic downhill ride.