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Victoria Peak 11,732′

Location: Bridgeport, CA – Twin Lakes Campground
Summit Elevation: 11,732′
Elevation Change: 4,700′
Recommended Map: Hoover Wilderness by Tom Harrison

These pictures are from an old website post when I skied Victoria Peak first around 2004 with John Crus. We had seen it from a nearby peak and decided to aim for corn snow sometime. From that perspective, we couldn’t make out where the summit was on this long ridge. This was one of the longest SE facing ski descents we had seen in the Sierra.  The “corn run” we found turned out to be 3000′ of 30-40 degrees and not far from the car. Perfect for early season, where South to Southeast facing snow sticks around in the cold temps but maybe softens like spring corn.  Well, corn isn’t the right word for anything you find in January of course, because the snow has certainly not consolidated that much. You are really just skiing on a crust that has gone melt-freeze a few times and feels like corn. These spring-like January conditions can also heat up and wet slide, which is why this peak towers above a valley called BIG SLIDE CANYON. I bet this slope slides in most storms, so it won’t be that deep, and it will melt out early.

I’ve gone back many times in high pressure firm conditions on a warm windless day to this big run. You want to go early and watch the warming. Watch for rock fall on climbers left where the snow melts off those east facing cliffs. You’ll shop around on the descent and find the right snow. If this slope isn’t in condition, just re-direct across the valley to ski more North and Northeast Terrain . Bring ski crampons or boot crampons. I would compare the this slope to Dunderberg in angle and size, or Trinity Chutes on Shasta, or Mendenhall above Convict Lake. 

When you get to the top of the ridge you’ll be tired, because you don’t rest on the climb like this due to exposure to warming.  There will definitely be patchy snow leading from the ridge to the summit. Expect an hour walk on rocks to get to the true summit. In early season you might bring trail shoes in case the summit plateau journey has been blow dry to rock.  Your strategy is to arrive at the top of the ridge an hour before the snow surface softens up there. Alternatively, maybe it’s windy and there is little concern for a wet slide, so you go for the summit. I have only gone to the summit one time. For the other 5 times or so I skied this run we chose to just turn and ski before the slope got too warm.  That’s all I know about Victoria Peak! One of 20 killer ski touring objectives above the Twin Lakes Campground. I might try to get a job there.

 

 

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