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Mt. Wood 12,637′

Mt. Wood 12,637′

Location: silver Lake, near June Lake

Elevation change: 5500′

Mt. Wood is one of the first big Eastern Sierra Peaks that people usually go for. I have skied the east side a handful of times. You can see it from hwy 395 near the North June Lake entrance and gas station. One time I started from there, but ideally you will wait until you can drive a few miles closer on the June Lake Loop Rd. Park anywhere and skin up to the left side of the peak in a lower angle gully, or on the south ridge. You will most likely ski right down the main east face, which pinches down low. This constriction is wider than it looks and is easy to get through. The views from the peak are excellent and I recommend going for spring corn snow, after a hard freeze and on a windless day. Got that? They do happen. Don’t go too early in the season to high elevation East or South facing slopes looking for corn skiing. The snow doesn’t freeze and thaw enough to be true spring corn until April or later. One small winter storm will set the corn cycle back a week at least. Other times a winter storm doesn’t leave much snow at all due to the strong solar effect on South and East aspects. I’m sure some locals ski Mt. Wood in powder, but it is obviously hard to predict avalanche danger. This peak looks like it has seen some avalanche activity. And like any big peak exposed to sun and wind, bring ski and boot crampons.

I have never skied the north face route called Pete’s Dream. It takes a big year and a little Billy goat route finding. And I haven’t skied down the South Ridge, which would be the call if winds are keeping the east face firm. Each time I have gone to Mt. wood we were treated with perfectly cooked corn snow where you are just free falling through each turn with ease. You’ll want good snow, because it’s kind of a butt kicker to get up top. 

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