Trip Report: Mammoth Lakes Basin, November 29 2015

After hours of research and planning, we decided to head up to Mammoth to spend the long weekend snowshoeing. We spent the first day of our trip driving and the second day snowshoeing near Minaret Summit. On day 3, I decided to get some sunrise photos of Crystal Crag, then hiked up to TJ Lake.

It was cold and windy (3 degrees F, when I started my hike), so it was an excellent opportunity to test some of my winter gear.  I knew that I’d warm up quickly once I started hiking, so I started the hike off just wearing a beanie, mittens over my Columbia running gloves, vented ski pants and my heavyweight merino wool hoody over a lightweight long sleeve. After nearly taking a header in the parking lot as soon as I stepped out of the car, I decided to use my hiking crampons.

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I used the hiking crampons and walked along Lake Mary Road until I decided to go off trail to reach Lake George (magenta line on the map). The snow was deep off trail, so I put on my snowshoes. Upon reaching Lake George, I setup my tripod and spend the next 45 minutes taking photos of Lake George and Temple Crag.

Interesting ice formations on Lake George. Crystal Crag in the distance.

After leaving Lake George, I loosely followed an established trail for the first half mile, then followed a GPS route that I had mapped out until I reached an overlook above TJ Lake. I took a quick break here, enjoying the view of Crystal Crag.

I continued to wear my snowshoes as I took an off trail route down to Lake Mary (green line on map). The snowshoes were very helpful for the entirety of this section, except for the road (red line on map). Since the temperature had risen significantly, my boots had plenty of traction on their own.

Geek Stats

Mammoth Lakes Basin || Distance: ~8 mi || Duration: ~4 hours || Gain/Loss: ±1000 || Net Elevation Gain (at Max Elevation): +735′ || Max Elevation: 9,334′ || Difficulty: Moderate

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  • Tubbs FLEX Vertical Snowshoes
    • This was my first experience with Tubbs Snowshoes as well the the BOA Clousure System. So far, so good! The FLEX VRTs performed flawlessly. The crampons provided secure footing over a variety of snow types and the BOA Closure System is amazing. I did not have to re-tighten or adjust my snowshoes after initially putting them on. If the BOA Closure System proves to be durable, I’m sold.
  • Minus33 Merino Wool
    • Kodiak Expedition Full Zip Hoody
      • I am impressed with how warm this hoody is. The temp was around 3° F and windy when I started. I only wore a light long sleeve as a base layer, with the hoody as my outer layer. I did add an insulation layer(down vest) while I waited for sunrise.
    • Day Hiker Sock
      • Very warm socks.
  • Hillsound
    • Armadillo LT Gaiter
      • Appear to be well-made from quality materials.
      • Sizing seems to be a little on the small side, so you if you have large calves, plan on wearing them with insulated pants or are in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up
    • Trail Crampon PRO
      • I really like the binding system. They can be put on or taken off quickly, which is useful on terrain where you need to change traction frequently.

  1. Jason

    Love that little peak. Nice seeing pictures of it in the winter.