Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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overheadx2
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Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Post by overheadx2 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:39 am

Since last year was a bad snow year, I was only able to get two cross country ski outings in. This year we are hoping to get much more experience, but with out avalanche training we don't want anything to difficult. My wife and I are pretty good skiers, but aren't looking for steep.We really enjoy cruising fire roads and trails (basically hiking with skis). Last year we hit Mammoth (Tamarack) and Rock Creek areas and enjoyed them, but they were pretty crowded and we really enjoyed hiking up to Mammoth pass and getting off the beaten path. We will be camping in the lone pine or Bishop areas over Xmas and am looking for suggestions. Looking at something out of Independence or Big Pine, Bishop (Aspendell to one of the lakes), Mammoth (Sherwin Creek to Laurel lakes), the area between Mammoth and June Lake. Any suggestions for a nice relatively easy, quiet hike? Phil








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bobby49
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Re: Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Post by bobby49 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:51 am

One thing to do is to take short day-long explorations into the Bishop Pass/Piute Pass vicinity now. Then later when you think that you are ready for it, you can do something longer like South Lake to Bishop Pass to Muir Pass to Lamarck Col to North Lake and back to the road (It took us six days).

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overheadx2
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Re: Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Post by overheadx2 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:05 pm

Thanks Bobby, that's kind of what I was looking for, ideas for general areas that I can expand on. My plan for one day was to head out from Aspendell at the road closure and then head up to the lakes and play it by ear. Or Sherwin road to laurel Lakes area. Is the trail to Big Pine Lakes doable with out a lot of experience? I'm not to concerned with navigation, just gnarly climbs or dangerous terrain. My plan is to go up and just explore some areas, but I don't want to put a lot of time into getting to a trail head or end of the road if its not really doable for a newbie.

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Re: Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Post by paul » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:34 pm

It's very mellow skiing to go up from the Aspendell closure to Sabrina. Past that, not so much. Likewise, easy skiing to take the road to North Lake. However, bear in mind that there is avalanche danger on both routes due to the steep slopes above the road. so you should definitely stay abreast of the avalanche forecast, and I would not go up there after a big storm.
You can drive out the Buttermilk Road to wherever the snow stops you, and ski from there; it's pretty mellow and extremely scenic, and not much risk of avalanche from above until you get a good ways up. But the snow cover on the road may be patchy, and could be torn up by4WD vehicles.
What I would like to do if the road were open, is take 168 east out of Big Pine up to Westgard Pass and poke around up there near the entrance for the Bristlecone pine forest. there is some pretty mellow terrain right around there; if the main road into the bristlecones is snowed over, as I expect it might be, you could wander up there as far as you please. But only in good weather, as 168 up to Westgard in bad weather is a place I would not want to be, and winds up there can be very nasty.
There's some stuff just north of Mammoth - look on the map for Deer Mountain and Glass Creek - but I don't how how popular they may be with skiers and/or snomobilers. And there's quite a bit of forested area east of the highway around that same area, but same caveat applies.
You might contact the folks at Sage to Summit - a gear shop in Bishop - they might have ideas. Also you could ask the Inyo NF folks - might even find some info on their website.

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Re: Cross country ski question - eastern sierra

Post by overheadx2 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks Paul, I’ll write a report on conditions I find over Xmas. Headed up to big bear tomorrow to poke around.

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