andres' life

Living the Dream

Trans-Sierra Ski Adventure!

Well my ticket to Alaska is bought, my gear is on its way and I’m getting more and more psyched as the date comes closer. I fly out of San Diego on the 13th of June, head north to Prudhoe Bay via planes and shuttles then start biking south and arrive in Vancouver B.C., Canada 70 days later. damn.

However, it would be wrong to let you all assume that my life revolves around biking. Truth be told, biking is only a small part of who I am. It just happens to be occupying a lot of me right now.

Case in point, I just returned from a mega-classic and truly jaw dropping ski tour this last Saturday. A bunch of us decided to ski from Lee Vining, Ca to Yosemite, Ca, a distance of about 65 miles once all was said and done over the past week.

It was an amazing ski tour and the largest one I had done yet. Along the way we got to stay in nice warms huts, meet great new people, ski to the top of some amazing peaks and generally just enjoy ourselves in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

As per the usual, my words do my adventures very little justice. So sit back, pop open a beer, and drool away….

Any adventure begins with the usual junk show of gear spread out across one’s living room while you toss stuff aside only to realize you need it all and balk at how much your body is going to hurt from carrying all this crap.

All the crap that you have to carry on a ski tour.

Eventually however you end up throwing it all in the car, driving hours and hours (while everyone else in the car parties it up) then getting to your destination at dark. This is my favorite since once morning arrives, you finally get a chance to see what you have been dreaming about all night.

Somewhere up there awaits a grand adventure…

At a certain point, the adventure officially begins. In our case, it meant a long hike up Lee Vining Canyon on pavement to the start of the snow where we could finally don our skis. We each had between 45-60 lbs. on our back and were relived to finally hit snow and put our skis on our feet where they belong!

Ski Touring requires a bit more hiking than you might expect!

A tad bit sketchy, eh?

After a full day and a half of hiking and skiing, we finally got to Tuolumne Meadows and got a chance to hang out for a bit. This meant drinking lots of wine, sunbathing and other general nonesense.


However as always, there were objectives to be met. This tour was part cross-country skiing across the Sierra and part peak-bagging. Our main objectives for peak-bagging were Unicorn Peak and Mt. Hoffman. While we never summited Unicorn Peak, we enjoyed skiing off its various sides for three days.

Laying down tracks on the west flank of Unicorn Peak

The beauty is mind-numbing…

Unicorn Peak

As usual, I needed a little solo time. So I decided to take a little solo trip up Lembert Dome to see what I could find. I found that I could not summit by myself but the view from just below the summit worth it anyways.

View from Lembert Dome looking Westward

After a few days in Tuolumne Meadows,  we were off. We still had plenty of skiing ahead of us, most of which was in the warm slushy snow. While it was decent enough skiing for the most part, snow clumps and bad sunburns plagued us for quite a bit.

Its not always fun and games!

deep snow, huh?

Along the way, there were many mini-adventures and fun to be had. In between skiing and eating, we rested quite a bit but also found time for other fun stuff.

Occasionally we rest.

ya. thats right.

Winter Camping

After a night camped in the snow, we decided that we would attempt to climb then ski down Mt. Hoffman. All went well and what originally started as my solo trip up Mt. Hoffman turned into a team push to the top. The views were outstanding and the ski down was exciting. I had been up this peak numerous times in the Fall and Summer and a winter ascent had been a dream of mine for a while. This was hands-down the highlight of my trip!

Looking North from the summit of Mt. Hoffman

Looking South from the summit of Mt. Hoffman

Bradley scoping the descent off Mt. Hoffman

Sadly, as always, the good times had to come to an end. After a final night at the Snow Creek Cabin, we headed down. The skiing was difficult due to our heavy packs, fatigued bodies, crappy conditions and the fact that two of our members were sick. Yet we pushed on, skied to the rim of Yosemite Valley then hiked down and finished our adventure!

The crew getting ready for the final ski/hike down and out! Bradley, Toby, myself and Sarah.

Obligatory goofy success picture.

Once we were down safe and sound, it was off to the pizza deck. Nothing feels better than copious amounts of beer and pizza after a grand adventure……..nothing.

Beer and pizza cures all aches and pains.

paper face.

messy face.

All in all, it was a grand adventure with equally grand people. I had been wanting to do this for a long time and am blessed to be surrounded by inspiring people to share my adventures with. Thank you Bradley, Toby, Sarah, Ingrid and Haley for everything.

As usual, in my moment of temporary reflection, here are my lessons learned….

1. Skiing touring allows you to marvel at nature’s beauty in a way that chairlifts, snowmobiles and other mechanized means of transportation can never allow.

2. I am and always will be a crappy tele-skier but I love it none-the-less!

3. I can be a stubborn ass when it comes to working with other people. I like this about myself. shhhh…..

4. As always, things are more meaningful if shared with others. This is important to always remember.

5. I am eternally gratefully for parents that allowed me to explore and be myself. Without their support, I would not be the person I am today. I love you.

Well that’s all for now. I now return to work.

For those interested in seeing the entire collection, check out my Flikr page of this trip.

much love to all,



One comment on “Trans-Sierra Ski Adventure!

  1. Juanis
    May 11, 2011

    Nice butt Andy!!!

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2011 by in Skiing and tagged , , , .

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