Mammoth Peak & Kuna Crest – Tuolumne: 12,112’
Elevation change: Not a ton, but some miles
May 13, 2009 was a great solo overnight tour for me. There is a short window where Highway CA-120 gets plowed to the entrance of Tuolumne and they let you drive in to the entrance shack. You won’t get beta for east side ski touring access from land managers, you kind of go find out yourself or from friends when it’s time to do anything. I’m writing this now 13 years later. I think it was a big winter, because the snow was deep at the gated entrance to Tuolumne. I didn’t have any intel on the terrain past the gate, but I could clearly see Mammoth Peak had a nice fat 2000’ Northeast bowl to go reel in. I think Powder Dan told me about this peak now that I think about it.
I decided to take overnight supplies and go explore the Kuna Crest, which runs South to North and ends with Mammoth Peak. After a half day tour getting beneath some nice looking couloirs at an amazing cirque, I stashed my bivy gear in some trees and went skiing! The corn was firing, the weather was perfect, and I had my favorite tunes all programmed into one of those early apple little square music things. I had my point and shoot camera. Remember actual cameras? I didn’t ski anything extreme, but it’s back there waiting for you. The next morning, I skinned low angle terrain up the south side of Mammoth Peak and dropped into the bowl on the Northeast side. Then I skinned back along the highway I assume to reach my car. Check out the mileage on a map and go out to the Kuna Crest and ski those couloirs! The problem is you’ll need to wait for the right timing where the road Is open and there is still enough snow in the meadows. If you can’t skin from the car, I’d say go back to Saddlebag Lake for Conness, or ski Dana Peak.