Mammoth to June

Once you have gained some backcountry touring skills and are comfortable skiing with a light pack it is time to head off into the Sierra winter and spring backcountry experiencing the joys of touring.

This tour from Mammoth to June Lake is an ideal introduction to backcountry touring. It is only three days long, a perfect long weekend. The skiing is moderate and the scenery outrageously beautiful. In the summer the Thousand Island Lake and Agnew Pass area is a popular destination, but in winter it is deserted and perhaps even more beautiful than ever. In fact we like this tour so much that we offer it several times during late winter and spring.


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.

Return to Backcountry Spring Tours

Quickly leaving behind the bustle and noise of the ski area lifts we follow Minaret Road to Minaret Vista (9,150 feet). This snow covered road gives time to adjust gear and ease into the skiing. After lunch at the viewpoint we make a quick, fun descent of the road to Agnew Meadows and finally leave the road. We climb up through aspens and pine forest to camp (8,800 feet) from where we can watch the sun slowly set to the west over the jagged Minarets.

On day two we take a steadily rising line through forest and open meadows to Agnew Pass (9,900 feet) and spend the night here, close to Thousand Island Lake and Mt. Banner. With several steep traverses this can be a challenging day, depending on conditions.

Day three starts with great views towards the Ritter/Banner area and the Sierra Crest before we descend to frozen Gem Lake, crossing the dam and dropping down to lower Agnew Lake. We top a rise and below is the community of June Lake and a steady descent down Rush Creek to the roadhead at Silver Lake (7300 feet). Our shuttle van is waiting here for us and we return to the vehicles and a well deserved rest.

Program Prerequisites:

You need SMC Intermediate Ski Skills or better for this tour.

You should be able to ski beginner to intermediate ski area runs confidently and be proficient at kick turns, traversing on 30 degree slopes, side slipping and wedge turns all while carrying a pack of about 25 to 30 pounds. Prior winter camping and mountaineering skills are not necessary. You will be traveling up to six miles a day and gaining a maximum of about 1300 feet on Day 2 so a moderate level of aerobic fitness is required.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, van shuttle, permits, all necessary group gear, avalanche beacons, tents, kitchen gear and dinners, lunches and breakfasts (you bring snack items).

We do not include accommodation in the pricing but can make local suggestions for you.

Please Read before you go

We feel the following information is essential... (links open as PDF in new window)

  1. Details and itinerary
    Equipment list
  2. SMC Cancellation Policy
  3. Suggestions on preparation - get the most out of your trip!
  4. Tips on physical training for your trip
  5. LNT - Let's work together to protect our precious mountain environment.

PDF Maps:

Mammoth to June Lake map

Rental Equipment:

Need to rent equipment for your trip? We can help.