I headed up Independence Pass in search of snow yesterday with trusty snowshoeing snowboarders Tom and Jeff. After mediocre recent trips on Monarch and Freemont Passes, we weren't holding out much hope. However, the choice to head up Graham Gulch was a good one, snow coverage was actually decent.
Heading up the glades on Mountain Boy Peak's east ridge:
The conditions were fantastic! It was a mix of sun and clouds, with a few flurries, but virtually no wind and mild temperatures! There were a few false summits on the ridge we had to negotiate:
Looking back down the ridge:
There was some nice looking terrain on the other side of the basin as well:
Tom nearing the point where we dropped in. Mountain Boy Peak, 13,198' behind him:
The snow had a relatively solid base (the mild weather has been helping), but there was a 4-6" soft slab on the surface which we could get to shear cleanly in spots. The mild weather was quickly helping settle this layer as well...and allowed us to get some of our best turns of the season so far!
Have fun and stay safe out there this winter!