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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  March 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
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Author Topic: March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras  (Read 2385 times)
Pete A

Posts: 851

March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
« on: 03/30/17, 05:00 PM »

Becky and I have done a couple longish backpacking trips in the Sierras…the John Muir Trail and the northern half of the Sierra High Route, but we’d never seen the range in the winter.   This seemed like it this was the year to get down to California and finally do some touring, but her nursing school schedule had us limited to only a handful of days in late March.  Decided four days prior to spring break that a short time in the sun in the Sierras would still be worth it, so we scrounged what info we could and barreled down there.
I think we basically spent four days skinning around mouths agape staring at the lifetime of beautiful ski runs to be had in every direction.   Figured I’d post some details for those TAY’ers who are also thinking of a springtime pilgrimage to the east side of the Sierras.
The Dan Mingori & Nate Greenberg ‘Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra 2nd Edition’ is a fantastic guidebook.   I’d also recommend getting the supplemental app (you can buy it or rent it), being new to the area, it was cool to have the routes accessible on our phone while out touring.
Road access is pretty good right now, but it’ll get better.  In late April a lot more roads are plowed out so anglers can start fishing at all the high lakes.  Buttermilk Rd suffered some damage this winter, you may need a 4x4 for that one, but it seems like a lot of the other roads are paved the whole way.    Rock Creek is the only snowpark in the Mammoth/Bishop vicinity, and supposedly you can buy a day pass at the snowpark, but we couldn’t find the pay station…maybe its there, maybe it would be better to get a pass at the ranger station.
Watch the overnight low temps- seems like corn o clock can be as early as 9am some days. Maybe wind is less of an issue later in the spring, but wow did we have a windy day and got totally shut down on finding soft snow in the alpine on one of our tours.
We didn’t check out anything north of Mammoth- given our short amount of time, we only managed to do a tour around Convict Lake/Mini Morrison, then Bishop Bowl near North Lake, Mt.Alice out of Big Pine, and McGee, just south of Mammoth. The locals we met on McGee said some seasons it never gets enough snow to be skiable, but this year it was fat.   
Wish we would’ve had a few weeks to spend down there- skiing wide open terrain into warm sagebrush valleys is a trip. 

Pictures here

« Last Edit: 03/30/17, 05:08 PM by Pete A » Logged

Posts: 47

Re: March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
« Reply #1 on: 03/30/17, 06:10 PM »

Thanks for the really nice report and photos. Yes, it's fabulous terrain. I'd love to ski it for a week sometime. Given your short time there, your list of tours says you got after it!


Posts: 760

Re: March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
« Reply #2 on: 03/30/17, 08:49 PM »

Looks awesome! I'm excited to get down there

Posts: 261

Re: March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
« Reply #3 on: 03/31/17, 08:10 AM »

Definitely on my list.  Thanks for the pics - yea, lots of elbow room in any of those runs.  Good year to get there.

Posts: 541

Re: March 26-29, 2017 Eastern Sierras
« Reply #4 on: 04/01/17, 04:44 PM »

Wow, nice. Those are some blue skies. That place is amazing. I remember being impressed how something big like McGee just started right from the road.
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