Mount Langley North Couloir
On Tuesday my friend Ben Texted me and asked about skiing Mount Langley tomorrow. Lab work was going pretty slow because I am waiting on a Chlorine Gas order so I agreed. He then divulged that he didn't get off until 8/8:30pm in Burbank, also I had to be back around 6pm. None of that sounded too good, but we were both pretty stoked so we went for it anyway. We loaded into his van and swapped driving to lone Pine (hero Ben did the Lion's share). From there we headed up Whitney Portal Road, took a right on Granite View drive (we actually took a wrong turn and added 30 minutes to our driving, but let's pretend we didn't) and then took another right at the sign for Tuttle Creek. A very rough road (high clearance 4/AWD is key) took us to snowline at 6500 ft. That only left 7500 ft for tomorrow to the top of the Couloir!! By this time it was 1:15am, neither of us wanted to just start walking so we decided to "sleep" until 3am after packing our bags. By 1:30am we were all ready to go, we got into bed and about the time I closed my eyes, my 3am alarm went off.
I have rarely felt so tired in my life, but after all, mountaineering is mostly just walking, and lots of people sleep walk, so it didn't seem like such a bad deal. From snowline we were about 1.5 miles from the turnoff to the Tuttle Creek Ashram, which would be an awesome place to spend the night if you have more than 1.5hrs to sleep and could maybe walk there during the day.
Ben didn't have ski crampons or skeats so he was having a lot of trouble with the icy snow on his splitboard so he had to transition many times between walking in crampons and skinning. He definitely was putting in a lot more effort than me, which I was thankful of because I was still asleep. At a clearing at about 8000ft we crossed the river and sort of followed some old skin tracks to the bench around 9500 ft. By that time I was a good hour ahead of Ben because he had to do so many silly transitions, so I took a nap.
When Ben caught up we ate some sandwiches and gummies and kept slogging up the sastrugi toawrds the couloir. At this time I also remembered it was international women's day. There was not a clear way to celebrate, so I thought about some women who are inspiring in my life and took a selfie with my title 9 chapstick, enjoy:
By the time we had reached 11,000 feet we were on a full on wind board skating rink. We hoped that the heat of the day would corn up the snow little. I then dropped Ben's walkie talkie which ruined it (sorry Ben, if it doesn't dry out, a new one is on the way (again)!). At the base of the couloir at 12000ft we took another lunch break and I realized I should offer to take some of Ben's weight because he had been doing some many horrible transitions and putting in way more effort than me.
I did but he only let me have the stove. The snow in the 35 degree couloir was bulletproof but I tried my best to put in a bootpack. I made it to the top in pretty good time and started melting snow to do a little much needed re-hydration. By the time Ben got there we decided to not walk over to the summit as we had both been there before and there wasn't any vertical or good skiing between there and the top of the couloir.
I then ski cut the thing and it didn't go which was consistent with the bulletproof nature of the beast. We leap frogged the descent down onto the benches at 10K. In the couloir the snow was edgeable but pretty horrible. Ben made it look good.
By 2pm when we were in the benches the snow actually was perfect corn, but unfortunatey the terrain was flat. Below the benches, the snow was pretty soft. But we had a beautiful time on the mountain!
P.S. There are probably some good rarely climbed boulders up in tuttle creek!!