After spending the morning with the LAMC Snow Class on the slopes of Taos Ski Valley, Sarah and I skinned up to Williams Lake to spend the night. By the time we arrived at the lake, the clear skies had been overpowered by ominous storm clouds. Before we set up camp and finished our dinner, the snow was really coming down.
It snowed steadily until 3:00 A.M. The stormy winds made for a cold night of sleep. We awoke to 4-in of fresh snow and clear skies. Sin Nombre, our objective for the day, was glowing in the morning sunlight while we shivered in the shade.
We were glad that we had brought the 4-season tent. The winds were relentless through the night.
Sarah trying to thaw her feet and get the blood flowing
We had a very slow morning. All of our water was frozen, and the cold temps made our ski boots stiff and difficult to put on. Once the sun peaked above Wheeler, though, we quickly warmed up and were on our way.
We didn't start skinning until 9:30 A.M. So much for an alpine start! Fearful that the sun would bake the fresh snow into wet slide pie, we tried to move quickly to make up for lost time.
After skirting around the west side of the basin, we quickly found ourselves perched on Sin Nombre's northwest face. Even Wheeler was sporting a fresh dusting of snow.
Sarah, mindful of snow etiquette, was careful to stay in the skin track and out of the dog track. Apparently dogs are quite fond of switchbacks.
Once the slope became too steep for skinning, we threw our skis on our packs and booted the rest of the way up to the summit.
We met a couple guys from Santa Fe on the summit, and they graciously snapped our photo in front of Wheeler. This was our first time on Sin Nombre's summit.
looking down on Williams Lake and the base of the Kachina Lift
The distance looks so short in this photo, but it feels much farther when you actually hike it.
Nina suveying the scene from the summit
Sarah getting ready to ski the summit headwall. After this pitch, we had to downclimb a 10-ft section of talus, and then we had continuous snow all the way back to the tent.
Once through a short, tight chute, we enjoyed big powder turns on the lower face. Because of our late start time, we didn't have time to do another lap. Bummer.
We got back to Williams Lake and packed up our camp. Descending through the trees back to the TH with 40-lb packs was challenging.
parting shot of Sin Nombre and our tracks (center) and the tracks of two other parties in the fresh snow
We saw a total of six other people, so it was a busy day on Sin Nombre.
Back at the truck, Sarah was happy to drop her skis and heavy pack. A stop at Sugar's for some beef brisket burritos was in order.