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Jeremy Jones and Nick Russell on the summit ridge of Mt. Tom. Photo - Ming Poon

The High Sierra is finally firing on all cylinders again!

Weather phenomena called ’Atmospheric Rivers’ have repeatedly bombed the Sierra like a snow cannon this winter dumping upwards of 600 inches (15 meters) of snow in some zones. The sun finally came out again in March which stabilized the deep High Sierra snowpack and unlocked lines that haven’t been this fat in many, many years. Looking back on this epic, early spring touring window, here’s a gallery of recent shots from five Southern Sierra monster lines.

Mt. Tom - 13.652 ft

Rolling down Hwy 395 into the town of Bishop the massive Mt. Tom is a serious sight to behold. The flanks of this gargantuan peak hold 7000+ ft descents. Photo - Seth Lightcap


Jimmy Goodman, Frank Knab and Nick Russell lock into a rhythm climbing the West Face of Mt. Tom.
Photo - Ming Poon

Nick and Jimmy tag team the summit headwall dropping into Mt. Tom’s Elderberry Canyon. Photo - Ming Poon

Split Mountain - 14,058 ft

The infamous Split Mountain is one of the Sierra’s prized 14’ers and arguably one of the finest for shred descents. The South Face of Split hides a huge line between granite rock towers painted in psychedelic streaks of color. Photos - Seth Lightcap

Three hours in, still can’t see the line. Allison Lightcap motors ahead, eager to see what’s around the corner.

[L] The South Face of Split is a 2500 ft 30-40 degree face that tops out on the south summit. [R] Allison punches up the lower stretch of the face.

Oh how sweet the reward of a nearly 8000 foot climb. Seth Lightcap rails into the South Face. Photo - Allison Lightcap

Mt. Whitney - 14,505 ft

In early spring, the route to the highest peak in the lower 48 starts down in the desert at 6500 ft. With a birthday smile and a hop in his step, Nick Russell gains the first alpine bench at 10,000 ft. Photo - Ming Poon

The bootpack begins for Nick, Michelle Parker and Ming Poon. The classic Mountaineer’s Route climbs the snow fields to the right of Mt Whitney’s stunning East Face. Photo - Seth Lightcap

New album No171


Nick, Ming, Jeremy Jones and Jim Zellers climb the final steep crux topping out on the summit plateau.
Photo - Seth Lightcap

The North Face of Whitney’s summit plateau holds a couple steep, traversing lines. Nick makes it look casual charging into the firm but chalky face. Photo - Ming Poon

Mt. Tinemaha - 12,520 ft

The East Face of Mt.Tinemaha holds a radical 6000 foot fall line. Getting to Tinemaha’s trailhead is the first crux, climbing through the steep lower cliff bands is the second. Photos - Seth Lightcap

The chutes falling off Tinemaha’s summit ridge hold panels of almost every aspect. Allison Lightcap enjoys two week old winter powder on a northeast facing flank.

Norman Clyde Peak - 13,862 ft

Steep on all sides, Norman Clyde Peak is a proud bastion along the Palisade Crest. The North Couloir of Norman Clyde Peak peels off from a notch in the crest and drops 1500 feet to the apron below. Photos - Seth Lightcap


Always auspicious to climb amongst the rocky buttresses of the Palisade crest. Destrey Serna and crew soak in the surreal Palisade vibes.

High above the Owens Valley, Seth Lightcap rips into hero chalk on the first turn of a five mile, 6000 ft descent to the trailhead. Photo - Allison Lightcap

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Published on
13 April 2017
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