Ritter Range High Tour
The Ritter Range is one of the most rugged and beautiful sections of the High Sierra crest.
Looking for one of the best ski mountaineering tours in High Sierra? We invented this 6-day point-to-point tour of the Sierra Crest from Mammoth Mountain to June Mountain. An unbelievable journey with epic ski descents! Best season is February through April.
Spring 2024 Dates:
– April 16-21
Maximum guiding ratio of 4:1 and needs a minimum of 2 to run on these dates with these prices. We can also arrange this trip on a custom private basis.
These high mountains get more snow than most of the range and their volcanic and metamorphic geology provide beautiful ski lines.
The Ritter Range is one of the most rugged and beautiful sections of the High Sierra crest. The legendary late Sierra ski guide Bela Vadasz and SMG guide/owner Howie Schwartz connected a beautiful ski itinerary through it while co-teaching a Ski Guide Course for the American Mountain Guides Association, and we have since evolved it into one of our most popular and spectacular ski trips. These high mountains get more snow than most of the range and their volcanic and metamorphic geology provide beautiful ski lines. The itinerary maximizes the fun of skiing yet maintains the point-to-point adventure of the classic Mammoth to June tour. For excellent skiers who are looking for the ultimate in guided multiday Sierra ski trips this is the one we recommend first.
This one is not very splitboard friendly, but we will custom build a similar program in the Ritter Range that works better for snowboarders upon request.
IncludedBackcountry SkiingCrest tourMammoth to JuneRitter Rangeski mountaineeringYosemite ski
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TRIP ITINERARY: Ritter Range High Tour
|Meet your guide very early in the morning in Mammoth Lakes. After a gear check and final packing we head up to Mammoth Mountain, skin through the ski resort to Minaret Summit, then ski down the road to Agnew Meadows. From there we head up the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River to Shadow Creek. Ascend to Shadow Lake then on up to Ediza Lake where we make a basecamp.
|Day tour! High circumnavigation of the Minarets. This is an incredible tour reminiscent of the Dolomites. The Minarets are the most jagged ridge of peaks in the High Sierra. We weave a tour betwixt the spires up past the southeast face of Clyde Minaret, up over the South Notch. over to the incredible Amphitheater Lake, and up to the Adams-Michael Col. From there we enjoy a technical ski descent down a beautiful couloir, often using ropes to enter, then wrap around the west side skiing down a roller coaster ride of ramps. Climb up to the Gap and ski back down the east side back to camp.
|Another day tour! Mount Ritter (13,149') is the crown jewel of the Ritter Range and it has an incredible ski line from the very summit down its Southeast Face. If you have skied Mammoth Mountain then you have probably looked at this line front he lifts as your gaze went fuzzy and the drool dripped from the corner of your mouth and froze on your chin. We aim to summit the mountain and ski the face. A dream line of a lifetime.
|Now that our packs are much lighter, we are ready to head up over the Ritter-Banner Col. If conditions are right, we will continue up the West Face of Banner Peak. This in an incredible ski line that starts just below the summit and drops 1800 feet to Lake Catherine. Camp there or cross North Glacier Pass and camp near Thousand Island Lake, depending on the group and conditions.
|Another day tour, this time over toward Electra Peak on the Yosemite border or some steep skiing in the Mt. Davis zone of the Northern Ritter Range.
|The Big Finish! Cross eastward to the San Joaquin Ridge and reach the final high point. Many amazing options from here including Carson Peak, Fern Creek, the Negatives, the Hourglass, the Positives, and more. If conditions are right we can finish via Devil's Slide or Hemlock Ridge to Four Seasons both of which finish at the Double Eagle Resort and Spa. Alternatively, we can finish on the slopes of June Mountain. Either way there will be a place we can finally put the packs down, enjoy a beer, and toast to a trip of a lifetime!
- Advanced-expert downhill skiing skills
- Ability to control speed and execute fall-line turns in control and comfort in difficult snow conditions (deep powder, heavy and/or moist snow, breakable crust, firm or icy, etc.)
- Ability to execute hop turns on 40 degree+, firm slopes, coming to a complete and immediate stop at the finish of each turn
- Ability to sideslip forward and backward, with edge control, on steep, firm slopes
- Experience ski touring in the backcountry using ski touring equipment (boots, bindings, skins, transceiver, shovel, probe, etc.)
- Ability to make uphill facing kick-turns in an uphill track on a steep slope
- Experience in multi-day winter camping and/or mountaineering
- Experience with the use of climbing ropes and technical competency in use of ice axe, crampons, and ski crampons
- Excellent fitness
- SMG Guide(s)
- Group camping gear and technical gear
- Meals (dinners and breakfasts)
- Return shuttle at the end of the trip from the June Lake area back to Mammoth Lakes
- Use of avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel, probe)
- Wilderness Permits
- Travel to/from the Eastern Sierra
- Lodging in the Eastern Sierra
- Food or drink in towns
- Snacks/lunches or drinks on the tour
- Personal or rental equipment
- Trip Insurance and Mountain Rescue Insurance (recommended)