Mt Lola
(With One Ski Tied Behind My Back)

26 Apr 1997 - by Steve Eckert

We went, we saw, we summited. Then we had pizza and beer.

Mt Lola would be a pretty boring hike in the summer, I think, but in the spring it's a very nice day ski trip. From Hwy 89 we took Henness Pass Rd to Independence Lake Rd, up to the creek crossing at about 6400'. 2WD cars were fine to that point, but Schafer plowed his Toyota 4WD through a couple of streams and got us maybe half a mile further, up to the snow line where the road was blocked by a fallen tree.

We walked quite a ways on the hard morning snow (with bare patches every 100 yards) and put on skis somewhere around 7000'. It's a great ridge run from there to the peak. Not too steep, plenty of snow, reasonably spaced trees, and no brush showing! The route was up the ridge north of Independence Lake, which provided nice views in several directions.

Now, about that report title: "Why, this peak's so dang easy I could do it with one ski tied behind my back!" was never spoken, but... let's just say that a major part on my randonnee binding cracked in half somewhere around 7700', leaving me with a choice of turning around or hoping the snow did not soften too much. We pressed on, with the dead ski leaning against a tree and the good ski lashed onto my pack. The snow held!

The 9148' summit mass was a bit steep, but I found I could do a half standing glissade / half ski technique which allowed normal turns in one direction on the downhill ski, and a step-turn in the other direction after stopping. A 180 step turn is a lot easier with only one ski on! Once it levelled out a bit, I managed to ski the rest of the way down balanced on one leg. Tiring, but better than walking. As I said, the slopes were pretty easy!

Thanks to Richard Contreras, Tim Hult, Suzanne Remien, and Charles Schafer for helping to make my first STS lead a success (and for putting up with my meandering path of lowest slope on the way down).

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