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Trip Report    

Intermediate Snowshoe - Bullion Basin (winter)

Bluebird skies and wildly varying snow conditions

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Route was well-tramped and marked at the start where you cross a road several times.  Route to the basin is easy to follow and saw no signs of avvy slopes. When you reach the basin there are several ways to explore. To your left, up the hillside toward the ridge is one option but it's quite steep in places. To your right and across the meadow are several options for exploring upwards. Use your judgment and energy level to determine how high you want to explore.

Snowshoed from the parking lot at Crystal to the basin, then explored. Our first effort at exploring was up the hillside to the left, towards East Peak, which got icy and steep and was starting to become a winter scramble, so we descended back to the flat spot in the basin and had a lunch break. Afterwards we explored towards our right, the southwest-ish side of the basin and found several trails heading uphill through trees in the direction of Bullion peak. Turned around at ~6000 at the base of a NE-facing open slope which probably has some of the last decent ski-able snow left. Wildly varying snow conditions: on solar SW facing aspects there was very little snow and much of it hard a hard icy crust. On NE-facing slopes there was more snow and it varied from a crusty shelf to some soft powder-like substance.

Wind picked up about noon at about 5500'. In the sun the temps were balmy, in the shade it was chilly.

Ran into a couple of NWAC staff out making observations and trying to find something to ski.

Burned areas from the Norse Peak fire are visible on the east side of the Crystal Valley. We could see south along the ridge towards the Norse Peak trail and it looks like the upper part of the trail and the ridge up there got toasted by a high-severity crown fire. Just a few small patches of burned trees on the Bullion Basin route.