I had planned to solo the E Chute of Basin Mountain this week as part of my early season warm-up. With increasingly warmer nighttime temps I knew that the snow conditions in the gully would rapidly deteriorate, and there was no way I wanted to wait until summer when the chute becomes a heinous scree slog. On one of my regular visits to Black Sheep I pitched the idea to the other Michelle and she (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to come along.
After a 5:30a start from Bishop we were pleased to find almost ideal snow conditions - soft enough to dispense with crampons and almost no postholing. The constant winds that had been present for the past few days were gone, and the views of Humphreys and Checkered Demon were spectacular. The 400 ft of Class 4 rock was a nice treat after the necessary snow slog, as was the lengthy glissade.