Location: Bishop, CA
Elevation Change: 3,700′ total vertical 8,300′ – 12,000′
I have only skied Bishop Bowl in the springtime looking for corn. This is a high elevation peak, mostly facing east. The sun and wind rough up the surface a bit, but you’ll find the south tilt to the bowl. There are smoother south facing corn runs to ski off of the sub peak you encounter halfway up, requiring a short extra climb or just a traverse on the way down towards the car. This is the highest elevation trailhead I know of during winter in Bishop AND the Eastern Sierra. You start from the Bishop Park Campground road, which is a dead end in the town of Aspendale, tucked up against the hillside. Bishop and Mammoth Locals ski all winter from this location on both sides of the highway. I have also used this high elevation trailhead to traverse over to Piute Crags, Mt. Emerson, and Peak 13,162′ before the Buttermilks Road is melted out. Just passed Aspendale is Lake Sabrina, and a common start to multi-day High Sierra backcountry ski tours. Bishop Bowl has amazing views and low to mid angle, wide open terrain to ski.
The views along your climb are sweet, reminding you that there are big south faces on Mt. Tom, Mt. Locke, and Peak 13,162′. The view from the top looking west into the High Sierra is incredible. The summit of Bishop Bowl offers some fun easy scrambling, as you can’t help but look down some some enticing north facing chutes called Piute Crags, which don’t cornice and are about 40 degrees and at least 1000′. You’ll have to put skins on and wrap back around the corner towards Aspendale to return, or boot back up. You will probably ski back in the east bowl. Remember to look at that picture you took on the way in. Going out the way you came is great. But there is a longer and smoother south facing line to ski back to your car a bit higher than the saddle you came around. Be courteous in this neighborhood where you park.