eastern sierra - mt gibbs to kidney lake - south of lee vining
mt gibbs has a lot of terrain that looks interetsing to me. the challenge earlier in the snow season would no doubt
be approaching this terrain - possibly from the campgrounds north of here open in winter. i would like to dial in a
route to be able to get back here during some real good snow conditions.
for my 1st trip here, checking it out from the summer trail access is just fine with me. about 3.5 mi to gibbs lake on
the trial from upper horse meadows then snow from the lake on up to kidney lake. this is a huge open bowl area
with many possibilities for amazing descents, conculding with the run down to gibbs lake or hiking out over the
moraine to the north to get into gibbs canyon. i have a nice usgs 7.5 topo of this and you see a very appealing
bowl in the area behind mt gibbs above kidney lake, so that was what my goal was, explore that area barely
mentioned in the book by Moynier and see what would appeal to me.
the weather was sunny over the mtns, yet cool and very windy. i was skeptical about north facing terrain being in
good condition and i wanted to hike whatever i rode. after scoping out some north ascpects even the lower
elevation stuff was pretty hard with little soft on top for a safe ride. i ended up hiking up a south facing chute on
the opposite side of the drainage. i had passed this earlier and it looked like it had the best sun exposure. the
snow there was soft and would be good for boarding.
|gibbs lake, some nice chutes on the northeast side of gibbs
|kidney lake with a view of the south/east facing chute i ended up riding. i had checked out some other ascpects
for bigger or better lines but the snow conditions and weather were forcing me to this chute. at the lake it was
blue skies, strong winds and cold temps. on the topo it looks like this is on the south side of the dana plateu and
that ridge left of the chute connects with mt dana. i checked this out on the topo ... the run does connect to gibbs
canyon but not this time of year - too bad!
|the lake ice and water, showing very vibrant shades of blue. high mtn lakes surrounded by amazing lines
always interest me - hmmm nice place to setup shop (camp and board) for a couple of days!
|kidney lake with mono lake below. scouting the conditions and terrain up here...time to get down
|hiking the chute, more clouds now lingering overhead passing by slower and seeming to look like they
are there to do something.......
snow conditions were soft so that was good a bit bumpy from sun exposure and a couple of good
potholes from big fallen boulders lurked around.
|looking south to the bowl area above kidney lake with gibbs summit out of the pic to the left. this area has
many options but the snow was too patchy and the lines from the top of that ridge looked dirty and short.
if that rocky area was filled in better you would be able to ride a nice line from the upper left where that
bowl is, all the way back to the lake. for next year this bowl area above kidney and gibbs canyon drainage
is on my list of places to ride!
|looking down the chute, kidney lake below.
|this is 6/13 right - june - 13th right well the sky finally went nutso the clouds got thicker and heavier by
the second, and while hiking the chute it started snowing hard. i was very close to topping out but losing
visbility quickly and i didnt want the snow to change to hard and crusty. i strapped in and rode out to
below kidney lake - i stopped during a clear moment to snap this shot but it snowed all the way back to
my truck at 8000ft. surreal end to another great day in the eastern sierra!