Anyone who has driven Highway 395 towards Mammoth has seen the Ritter Range on the skyline with the large bulky peaks of Ritter and Banner alongside the serrated spires of the Minarets. Even better is the view from up on Mammoth Mountain where the range and its peaks dominates the skyline and in winter the snow covered slopes and valleys just ask to be skied. This is a new trip for us and one that is not traveled at all by others despite the proximity to Mammoth and the ease of access into this area.
Our goal is a loop starting in Mammoth and along the way hopefully summiting the main peaks of the range. The travel itself is not particularly difficult and so this trip will appeal to all levels of skier. If you want to explore the area and travel through one of the most beautiful areas of the Sierra this is an ideal trip. If you also want to ski a couple of the most spectacular peaks in the range as well then this opportunity is yours as well and not to be missed. This is a fast paced tour but with straightforward skiing and only one steep pass crossing, it is not as extreme as some of our longer trips. Packs will also be as light as we can make them so we can travel smoothly and efficiently.
Here is video of the Minarets Circumnavigation trip that SP and Jen did just for fun.
We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000 feet) just prior to the trip. Spending a night or two in Mammoth or camped at the trailhead campground would do the trick.
SMC does not rent ski equipment, but we work with Mammoth Mountaineering (760-934-4191) to get you set up on the correct equipment. MMS has a very wide range of rental equipment that is probably the best you will find anywhere in California. All gear is current state of the art, well tuned and rental fees are deductible if you buy a set up from them. (We highly recommend renting before you buy so as to find what suits you best, since a full setup is pretty pricey). We can coordinate the rental and suggest that if you can you arrive Mammoth the night before and get fully set up since boot fitting can take some time.