Location: Bridgeport, CA Twin Lakes Campground
Elevation Change: 4250′ but it will feel like a lot more
Recommended Map: Hoover Wilderness – Tom Harrison
These pics are from January 17, 2008. I had to ski out to this peak after seeing it from the summit of Hunewill Peak in Big Slide Canyon in 2005. The next summer I camped out there with my kids, which I highly recommend even for just a day hike. Barney Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in the mountains I have ever been to, and is quite an easy low angle trail. You just leave the car at Twin Lakes Campground and walk north through Big Slide Canyon and follow it’s bend west towards Crown Point. The east shore of the lake is perfect beach sand, with the peak staring at you looking just like a humongous medieval crown. Eric O and I skied out to that unnamed summit on the left in my pics at Rock Island Pass, and enjoyed skiing short fun lines down to Snow Lake.
Crown Point is really far away from the car for a day tour. You’ll spend a few hours just getting to Barney Lake, which earns you no turning along the way back. Snow melts out of Big Slide Canyon and in some years doesn’t even stick at all. You will want consistent valley snow coverage to justify the tour out to Crown Point. Then you’ll weave through some steep forest and gullies after Barney Lake and sniff out the little couloir. We didn’t climb to the actual summit but RJ Secor states it is class 2 from Snow Lake to the summit. The good skiing above treeline is only about 1000′ from my memory, and it was windboard for us. The rest of the vertical drop back to the car is low angle and boring, but really scenic. Plus you get to check out quite a few big steep lines to ski on various peaks along the way.
We brought kicker skins to knock out the 4 mile schlog through Big Slide Canyon. You’ll need to skin back as well unless you find firm afternoon snow and enjoy AT Skate Ski technique. Scott and I skied out to this peak because our snowpack was pretty thin and firm in the Sierra, so why not go far and fast? Well I’m not sure how fast we went, Scott’s skis were 120 underfoot and we both had big heavy tele boots. In fact I don’t think he called me to ski together after this one. If you go out there, add a reply with your experience and some pics please!