Eastern Sierra Ski Mountaineering 3 Days
The Eastern Sierra, also known as The Range of Light, is a ski mountaineer's dream. Clear, cold nights and warm, sunny days make for incredible corn skiing. Equally as alluring are the steep, powder filled couloirs that often are the signature of this 250+ mile range of granite spires. While these corn and powder are two snow surfaces that are seemingly at odds with one another, it's amazing how often one can find cold snow in couloirs and ski corn from the base back to the car!
Whether you're looking for perfect corn skiing or steep, granite-walled couloirs, the Eastern Sierra is a destination for aspiring ski mountaineers and veterans alike! This three day trip will only allow us to seek out multiple stellar objectives such as Dana Couloir, Powerhouse Chutes, Ellery Bowl, Mount Wood, Mount Lewis and others. This is a great opportunity to tick off some of the classic lines in the Range of Light!
The Eastern Sierra is home to a huge range of backcountry skiing objectives. From simple ski tours to involved, technical skiing, there is something for every ability level. Please be transparent with your guide to make sure that you pick an objective that is appropriate for your abilities and fitness.
Refer to overview tab for pricing.
This is a three day trip. We will most likely be returning to our vehicles & accommodations after each day of skiing, although setting up a basecamp and camping could be a potential option if it makes sense with the group and our objectives.
6:00 am 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 Tour into our objective for the day and ski as many laps as time will allow on the best snow available.
5:30 pm Return to the trailhead with enough daylight to have a margin to get back safely.
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
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.
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