Ski the Eastern Sierra with Daron Rahlves
Join Olympic ski racer and World Cup Champion Daron Rahlves and IFMGA Mountain Guide Zeb Blais for the ski mountaineering adventure of a lifetime in California's Eastern Sierra. This beautiful range, also known as the Range of Light, is home to incredible ski touring and ski mountaineering.
Bring your team and enjoy this challenging and rewarding experience with Daron and Zeb in the California's biggest mountains. We can't wait to get out there and show you what this range has to offer!
The trip has a 3 person minimum per day.
- Advanced to Expert Skiing Ability. You should feel comfortable on steep, off-piste terrain in variable snow conditions. The routes we will be steep and may have less than ideal snow surfaces.
- Proficiency with Ski Mountaineering Skills. These skills include ice axe arrest, cramponing, rest step, ski crampons and skinning efficiency on firm slopes as well as advanced-expert downhill skiing ability. Please reach out to make sure you have the requisite skills for this program or book our one-day Ski Mountaineering Skills in advance of this program.
- Excellent Fitness. We'll ascend thousands of feet of elevation on variable terrain, using skins, ski crampons and boot crampons before skiing back down. All this will be with a backpack containing food, water, layering and technical equipment for the day.
Prices are as follows:
|Eastside Skiing Price List|
|Ski Touring & Ski Mountaineering Private|
|Private Rates||Per Person / Per Day|
6:00 am Meet your guide at the designated trailhead
Our start times are governed by the weather and avalanche conditions and may be MUCH earlier. Meet your guide at the trailhead and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the avalanche problem for the day, the proposed route up and options for the ascent and descent. The guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.
6:30 am Ski Tour
Tour into our objective for the day and ski as many laps as time will allow on the best snow available.
5:30 pm Arrive back at the trailhead.
Return to the trailhead with enough daylight to have a margin to get back safely. These days can be long and variables with conditions and pacing can make them longer. Many spring days we head out early and return early to avoid the heat of the day. 5:30 would be on the later side for return times on spring tours.
Eastern Sierra Ski Mountaineering Gear Guide
Gear Guide / Packing List
Backcountry Touring Gear
- Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”
- Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1
- Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles
- Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,
- Ski Crampons - Specific to your Skis/Board;
- Ski Strap - Voile Ski Strap or Similar
- Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT
- Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel
- Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300
- Climbing/Ski Helmet - Dual Rated Helmet; Petzl Sirocco or Black Diamond Vision
- Headlamp - LED headlamp with fresh batteries; Petzl Actik Core
- Climbing Harness - Light Alpine Harness; Petzl Altitude, Mammut Zephyr Altitude
- Two Locking Carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc
- Triple Action Locking Carabiner - Edelrid HMS Strike Triple FG Locking Carabiner
- Double Length Sling - Sewn Runner; Black Diamond 10mm Dynex Runner
- Belay Device - Tube Style Belay Device; BD ATC Guide, Petzl Reverso
- Crampons, Steel - Steel Crampons Compatible with Your Boots; Petzl Vasak
OR Crampons, Aluminum - Aluminum Crampons, Compatible with Your Boots
Please ask your guide which is appropriate for your objective
- Lightweight Ice Axe - An ultralight Axe for Steep Terrain; Petzl Ride, BD Raven Ultra
Head and Neck Layers
- Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat
- Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield
- Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive
- Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet;
- Neck Gaiter - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks
***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings
Upper Body and Hand Layers
- Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody
- 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & NanoAir
- Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar
- Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Light, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL
- Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour
- Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend
- Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic
Lower Body and Foot Layers
- Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata
- Underwear - Wool/Synthetic
- Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”; Patagonia Capilene Air
- Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant Pants; OR Trailbreaker II
- Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - (Conditions dependent) Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather
Camping & Backpacking Gear
- Sleeping Bag - Down or Synthetic Rated to 0F-20F; Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
- Sleeping Pad - Insulated Inflatable Air Mattress; Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Therm, X-Lite
- Compression Stuff Sack - To Pack Sleeping Bag; Ultralight Compression Stuffsack 10L
- Backpack - Lightweight, Simple 50 Liter Pack; Patagonia Alpinist 50, BD Speed 50 - MUST FIT ALL OF YOUR GEAR AND FOOD
Food and Water
- Dinner - Your Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Night in the Field.
- Breakfast - Your Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Morning in the Field
- Hot Drinks - For After Dinner and During Breakfast; Instant Coffee, Decaffeinated Tea, Hot Cocoa, Tang, Whatever You Prefer
- Half Liter Nalgene Bottle - A Hard Sided Water Bottled that Can Act as your Mug For Hot Drinks and WAter Bottle Dutring the Climb; Nalgene 16oz Wide Mouth Bottle
- Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L
***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.
- Water Treatment or Filtration - Katadyn BeFree Filter Connects to Hydrapak Flux Bottles
- Bowl - Reuse your Freeze Dried Dinner Bag as Your Bowl, or Bring Another;
- Spoon - 9” Long Handled Spoon (For Eating Food in a Bag); GSI Essential Spoon Long
- Snacks - Snacks and Lunch food for each day of the trip
- Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)
- Lip Balm (with SPF)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet Paper
- First Aid/blister Kit
- Chemical Hand Warmers
- Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus
Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:
- Slingfin Tents (Designed and Headquartered in Berkeley, CA)
- Fuel for Stoves
- Snow Pickets (if required)
- Rock Protection (if required)
- Guide’s First Aid Kits
- Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)
Know Before You Go
Eastern Sierra, CA
Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
This program involves skinning firm and icy slopes, climbing steep snow with an ice axe and crampons and the ability to ski expert terrain in variable conditions. On exposed terrain your guide may choose to rope the team together using a short roping technique during climbs.
Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪
The Eastern Sierra offers incredible couloir and open bowl skiing. Most routes are fairly strenuous, both physically and with technique. Climbs of 3,000 feet or more are common. This program requires efficiency with skinning, transitioning and excellent endurance.
This two day itinerary requires proficiency with Ski Mountaineering Skills including: ice axe arrest, cramponing, rest step, ski crampons and skinning efficiency on firm slopes as well as advanced-expert downhill skiing ability. Please reach out to make sure you have the requisite skills for this program or book our one day Ski Mountaineering Skills in advance of this program.
We highly recommend Trip Insurance. Cancellation & Rescheduling Policy.
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