Camping & climbing+skiing beta - June Lake/Mammoth & Bishop area


Original Post
Boissal · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,195

I searched a bit but came back more or less empty-handed so here it is: lady-friend and I are heading to the East Side in a few days for a 10-day climbing+skiing trip. I've been mining guidebooks for some time but it's a bit overwhelming given how stacked the place is with classics and how conditions-dependent the access is. Can the collective weigh in on the following plan since it's my first venture out there and I don't want to botch it? My worry is to try to hit to many spots and end up driving 50% of the time...

The tentative plan is to set-up shop around June Lake or Mammoth for the first half then go down to Bishop for the second half. I'd like to alternate ski days and climbing days (or do both if we need to be up at 2AM to time things well for the corn harvest) and ideally not have to drive more than 1 hour away from camp to get after it. 

It seems like from June Lake we can quickly access anything between Bridgeport and Bloody Mtn (skiing wise that would be the only thing I'd really want to tick) and for climbing easily access stuff between the Tioga road (however much is opened), all of the Mammoth areas, and the eastern hills if it's cold.

Once we move down to Bishop we can still roam north to mammoth and go down as far as Big Pine and climb/ski everything that looks appealing.    

Camping recommendations around June Lake (or Mammoth if it makes more sense) and Bishop? Found tons of options online but again, nothing beats the feedback of people who've been there. We don't need an established campground but I won't throw a fit if there's a bathroom and running water. Bonus points for being close to hot springs or a lake. Extra bonus points for free, awesome scenery, on-site brewery, etc...

Climbing recommendations? Again, I started making a list but gave up after realizing I wanted to do half the routes in the guidebook. I'm climbing like a turd these days but mellow long trad is the main goal (up to mid/hard 10). Cardinal Pinnacle is the one thing on the must-do list and I'd also like to climb tuft (at least a day at the ORG, Clark). Pine Creek, Horseshoe Lake, Rock Creek all looks great.  

Skiing recommendations? Probably not the best forum for that but I know some of you guys are into it. Bloody Couloir in? I think I need to limit thing to under 4K ascent and not too much mileage as elevation may hurt a bit.

Misc stuff? Must-do eateries and watering holes? Awesome hot springs?

Thanks for any advice, I'll supply a good TR when I get back!

Rude Boy · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 615

Bloody couloir is still in BUT you will be walking about 4 miles to access it unless you got a monster truck. AND you will want to be descending by about 10 am so get up early!!!!! It's freakin' hot over there now. Stick to higher elevations for climbing. Pine Creek, Rock Creek are good. Skiing up Rock Creek sux (despite what a friend says ;)). Sun cupped like a mofo up over 12k. See me pics on the other thread. Was just there. A friend was just up at Matterhorn skiing. That blows now too. Despite all the snow I think the good skiing is over. Plan on more climbing!!! 

Boissal · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,195

Looks like some pretty serious cool off is in the forecast with freezing levels dropping below 9k, I'm hoping it will give us a bit of a window for Bloody and maybe some corn around Bridgeport. Your pics do make the sun cups look pretty horrendous, are those fuckers on all aspects above 12k? That would certainly limit options as there's not much to do below 10 and the only trailheads worth looking at Bridgeport, Rock Creek, South Lake, and Virginia. I was toying with the idea of going up the Matterhorn or maybe ski dreams but it it's a mine field it may not be worth it...  

Joe Crawford · · June Lake, California · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Skiing in the Sawtooth Ridge area is good if you don't mind walking to 9.5k (1.5-2hrs from the car). The Matterhorn Couloirs are still good to go, except that the east is tracked, boot packed and glissaded to hell. I was in Little Slide Canyon yesterday on the Turret and neither Right nor Left Hulk Couloir have continuous snow, didn't get eyes on Kettle, but it's probably getting thin. Crossing Robinson Cr to access little slide goes via a log just down stream of the usual spot, it would be pretty sketchy to walk in ski boots. There is a lot of rot on the near side of the log, so here's hoping it doesn't break before the creek goes down enough to allow the normal crossing to go. Consider checking out the Polemonium Couloir between the Dragtooth and Doodad; the guidebook lists this as the North Couloir of the Doodad (which is silly) and calls it 30-35 degrees, but having skied it several times this winter I have yet to see it as less than 45. If you are up for a bigger mission, or an overnight, the couloirs of the Whorl peaks are all still fat, smooth and rarely skied.

ORG is going to be scorching hot, but if you're set on going there, the upper gorge is cooler and shadier. The road to Clark Cyn was repaired during the 2nd fire last year and is accessible to a Prius. *semantic note* the rock is Tuff, not tuft. Horseshoe Lake is probably a ways from being climbable as there is a bunch of snow up there still.

splitclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 5

 I'm jealous. 

I would concentrate on higher elevation trailheads like Virginia lakes, Rock creek, southlake or Northlake out of bishop, onion Valley, or Tioga if it opens in time. You'll get more updated conditions on the TGR threat you posted to.

Camping spots are super abundant but it is difficult to tour from camp spots except maybe at the end of pine creek.

 Bring binocular's to better scope snow conditions. 

PM me, I can give you my phone number because talking about conditions and ski lines can be easier than describing in text.

wsperry · · San Jose/Lafayette · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 95

Wild Willy's hot springs is a sweet spot to hang out for a few nights. Free camping and a few different pools. It is pretty popular but that doesn't take away from the beauty of the place. It's right outside of mammoth.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,632

Sharon + I switched to climbing after running into nasty suncups on Memorial Day Monday. Unless some new snow fills them in, or do some multi-day high altitude thing, that's the skiing story.

Except there is one place close to drivable trailhead with delightful corn skiing if you time it right: Groomed trails at Mammoth Mountain.

Bloody Mt couloir is a long ways _in_ as well as up. If lack the radical vehicle, perhaps an E-bike might help.

Ken

Boissal · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,195

Thanks for all the feedback! I have to admit that I'm usually a lot more excited about skiing than anything else and event the prospect of Sierra granite doesn't change that.
Guess we'll give it a shot for one day and if it rattles all of our teeth off we'll give up and focus on the choss.
Funny thing, the peeps on TGR are still frothing at the mouth over how good the skiing is and the reports are conflicting enough that I still have hopes. I wonder if my standards are lower than you guys', also considering how spoiled we tend to be in the Wasatch that would be a surprise...

I haven't set foot on a groomer in about 10 years but if we get shut down super hard it would be fun to shred Mammoth. Can't be too picky in June. And I'm still psyched about Bloody but that may change when I see it. Famous last words: how bad can 5k/6 miles be...

brian burke · · santa monica, ca · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 110

hourglass on mt dade was skiing pretty sweet memorial day weekend, probably still some nice corn to be found in that zone (little lakes valley t.h.).  that trailhead is super high so the approach is chiller compared to most.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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