While we really love the long distance tours we know that not everyone can get a week off work. So we offer this as a short weekend tour to get you a taste of what it is all about and hope that this will whet your appetite for longer trips. The skiing is straightforward and really has one short uphill, some flat and a long steady downhill. Overall you climb about 1000 feet and then get a 3000 foot downhill.
How many times can you do that?
We strongly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000′) just prior to the trip. Spending a night or two in Mammoth or camped at the trailhead campground would do the trick. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.
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 pricy). 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
We start from the snow park area at the road closure in Rock Creek Canyon and head up the two mile groomed road to Rock Creek Lodge. Here we leave the road and make a short steep climb up onto the top of the huge moraine ridge that runs along the west side of Rock Creek Canyon.
Once atop it the terrain eases off and flattens out as we start our descent down towards Hilton and Davis Lakes. This is home for the night and it is a truly spectacular camp with the peaks of Stanford, Crocker and Huntingdon rising above us.
Sun arrives slowly here so after breakfast we can tour up canyon a little ways and enjoy the scenery and hopefully get in a few turns without packs.
In early afternoon we pack up camp and follow down the drainage following the course of an old mining road until we reach the edge of the huge alluvial fan that drops to Crowley Lake.
Here the real fun begins and the next four miles go by in a few minutes as we carve big wide turns across the snow covered sage and low angle slopes. Too soon it is all over and we are at our vehicles and shuttle back up to Rock Creek.
You need SMC Beginning Ski Skills or better for this tour.
You need beginning ski skills for this tour and no prior winter camping experience. You should be able to ski intermediate ski area runs confidently and be proficient at kick turns, snowplow turns all while carrying a pack of about 25 pounds.
Price includes guiding, 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.
Details, Itinerary, and Equipment List:
Details, itinerary, and equipment list.
Hilton Lakes Tour Map