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Morrison Col

Convict Lake

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Morrison Col

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  • Gearing up near the Convict Lake Campground below Laurel Mountain (11,818').- Morrison Col
  • The trailhead begins at Convict Lake beneath the looming presence of Laurel Mountain (11,818').- Morrison Col
  • Quaking aspens (Populus tremuloides) along the approach trail.- Morrison Col
  • Prickly pear (Opuntia) cacti.- Morrison Col
  • In search of snow in a low-snow year.- Morrison Col
  • A dry and safe direct ascent up the slopes below the north face of Mount Morrison North (12,277') is possible in low-snow years . This slope is exposed avalanche terrain when it is covered in snow, however.- Morrison Col
  • View of Mount Morrison North (12,277'), center left, at snow line. - Morrison Col
  • Morrison Col (10,670') is a small pass lying between Mount Morrison North's east face and Little Morrison (also known as Mono Jim Peak).- Morrison Col
  • Skinning up the hanging valley below Mount Morrison North's sheer east northeast face.- Morrison Col
  • Morrison Col below Mount Morrison North. The ascent and descent follow the valley up to the col.- Morrison Col
  • View looking north from Morrison Col.- Morrison Col
  • Descent from Morrision Col.- Morrison Col
  • Descent from Morrison Col.- Morrison Col
  • A nice view of the coveted Pinner Couloir on Laurel Moutain as seen from the approach to Morrision Col.- Morrison Col
  • - Morrison Col
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Skiing in the shadow of Mount Morrision North.
Cons: 
Lower section climb and bushwack.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Max slope angle: 
30-45 degrees
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Total Distance: 
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,630.00 ft (2,325.62 m)
Vertical descent: 
3,200.00 ft (975.36 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Perched between Little Morrison and Mount Morrison North, Morrison Col and the hanging valley dropping off its north side offer a worthwhile ski descent when other classic Convict Lake area objectives simply aren't skiable during low snow years.

More frequently approached from the south side as part of a longer ski tour loop around Little Morrison, Morrison Col can also be approached directly from Convict Lake by climbing up the north aspect below Mount Morrison. While the approach requires some minor bushwhacking and a serious slog up a steep 1,300-foot lower slope that may be snow-free, the up close and personal experience with Mount Morrison's immense east facing buttress, the White Fang, offers a unique east-side high alpine ski experience.

From the Convict Lake Trailhead follow the trail along the south side of the lake. At the west end of the lake, break off on a small spur trail after crossing a creek bed as you navigate west through a large aspen grove. Continue west toward the steep north facing slopes of Convict Canyon opposite Laurel Mountain. Choose one of the many unmaintained climber trails and begin the push up the north facing slope that rises toward Mount Morrison North. Be sure to evaluate for stability if the lower slope has snowpack, as this is in prime avalanche terrain.

Assuming the lower slope is dry (or safe and stable), climb to a bench at 8,900 feet. From here you can see the hanging valley below Mount Morrison North’s east buttress and the skinning route to the col. Ascend the valley to the col, soak in the views of the surrounding peaks, and return the way you came for the descent. 

A note for consideration: consider this climb and ski a low snow year option or good training for bigger objectives and you'll likely be pleasantly surprised. Remember, you're likely skiing here because you can't ski elsewhere due to of low coverage.

 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(13 within a 30 mile radius)

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(44 within a 30 mile radius)

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