Morrison Col

Returning to the Eastern Sierra

After driving from home to just shy of Reno the day before, Logan, Rio, and I met up with our housemate John at his temporary home in the Reno Planet Fitness. Together, we drove south, excited for the beginning of our Sierra Ski Trip. The snowpack was so much deeper than the year before and the entire drive south featured skiable lines right next to the road!

Since we wanted just a short tour to get settled, we chose Morrison Col from Convict Lake. So we parked amongst the fishermen, packed our bags, and set off!

Setting out with Laurel Mountain behind.

Morrison Col is a classic shorter tour in the Eastern Sierra with year round access, great views, and a long quality north facing descent.

The Great White Fang looming large.

The forecast was for passing clouds and snow showers, but we found mostly dazzling sunshine and a few flakes. One advantage of this tour is that it travels on all aspects, so it would give us a sense of the snowpack. Should we hunt for corn or powder in the coming days?

Blowing fresh snow at Morrison Col.

We reached Morrison Col and peered down on the north side. There was a substantial amount of undisturbed fresh snow.

Rio took the first turns and with loud scrapes we realized the hard truth: 6-8 inches of low density snow sat atop an icy base. The skiing was scratchy and a bit challenging.

Rio drops into Morrison Col.

But as we got lower, the snow settled and became more uniform, providing for some nice turns beneath the incredible east face of Mt. Morrison, the “Eiger of the Sierra”.

“The Eiger of the Sierra”.
The classic Pinner Couloir on Laurel.

Below 9k, the snow suddenly transitioned to ripper corn. As I screamed Super-G turns down the huge slope, it felt like I was rediscovering how delicious corn skiing could be. Over the past few years, I had become less and less thrilled about corn skiing. But in this moment, I realized that I simply had not skied any good corn in… a few years! Make corn great again!

Tasting that Sierra Corn with Laurel behind.
John rips that perfect corn.

The traverse back to our cars was a little funky with the lake melted out, so we just booted it. But it was a small price to pay for a great 3000 foot descent!

Morrison Col was a great way to dip our toes in the water of the Eastern Sierra. For John, Rio, and Logan, it was their first time skiing in the Sierra. For me, it might as well have been my first time, considering none of these lines were in when I was here last April! It was a familiar place with a fresh face. We were excited for the new two weeks!

5 thoughts on “Morrison Col”

  1. Amazing stuff! Looks almost untouched…😍But I’ve been out of the loop for a while-was that downhill or cross country? Or cornhole? What’s corn skiing thingy? 🤓

    1. This is backcountry skiing! Corn snow is when the top layer of the snow freezes overnight, then melts during the day and makes small circular grains like corn.

      1. Thanks ClimberKyle! Sounds like amazing adventures. Just got into Utah last night and eager to start having (running) adventures of my own on similarly snow-capped corn kernels. Until they pop in the heat and satisfy my hunger. This is weird. Sorry.

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