A four year drought in the Sierra Nevada mountains have been pure torture for California's splitboard community. This year's El Nino cycle has brought welcome rest-bite with a good snowpack and excellent touring conditions. Amplid homies Buell Steelman and Henning Schwalbe have been making most of the conditions and logging plenty of tours on their Amplid splits. Both converts to Amplid's lightweight carbon boards the touring partners have been accessing some terrain deep in the backcountry with relative ease. The "Three Drops" tour, a short day tour in the backcountry near Mammoth Lakes resort, named because of the three stage nature of the terrain, was the location of their last adventure. Here's a quick recount of teh tour and some photos from Buell:
"Henning came to town and had a pretty specific tour in mind that I call the “three drops tour”. It started with this line through the cliff and we proceeded to ride through the trees below the chute and down through the forest below. The snow was super fun, which was nice because just a few days before this tour we had 100 mph winds on the ridges and a lot of our chutes had very firm wind board and no powder.
We then skinned up and over Red Cone, the slope on the left side of the first photo below, and dropped the east face down to Crystal Lake. Once at the top of Red Cone, we dropped the backside (east side) down to Crystal Lake, riding sun softened winter snow.
When we got down to Crystal Lake, we skinned up to the bottom of Crystal Crag and dropped the snow slope below it down to Lake George. It was wind-pack at the top, then great powder down the main pitch.We were grinning ear to ear riding powder on the main 40 degree slope, it turned back to firm wind-pack. I was third and they were laughing their asses off when I hit the wind-pack at high speed because they had done the same thing. It took a bit of work to get things under control. We had been planning to ride the prominent snow field, cliff band line in the center of this photo, but it was not quite filled in enough to get through the cliffs."