A descent of this classic mountain in the Missions takes good weather and the right conditions for an incredible day trip.
- Brian Story
- Skinning MacDonald Peak after descending east ridge of Sheepshead Pk
On May 2, with a perfect weather forecast, Brian and I left early for the Ashley Lakes Trailhead. We hiked the ridge and summitted Sheepshead Peak just to the west of MacDonald Peak in about four hours. We enjoyed nice powder skiing down the east ridge and face into the basin below the classic MacDonald northwest descent line. Another hour brought us to the summit of MacDonald and there Brian and I chose different routes to the lakes below.
Brian choosing the north face, side slipped the steep exposed line. I watched until he disappeared and waited for awhile before descending the moderate east face for three thousand vertical to the lakes in the upper headwaters of Post Creek.
For both of us we skied new personal terrain and enjoyed the approach over Sheepshead very much. We reascended to the divide between Post and Ashley creeks and enjoyed another long 2,000 foot descent to Upper Ashley Lake, which was still mostly frozen.
With numerous aspects to choose from, the area around Ashley Lakes is excellent for backcountry skiing featuring a large number of distinct and transformative long ski runs in a small amount of acreage.