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Mt. McGee

Location: Near Crowley Lake and Mammoth on hwy 395
Elevation: 10,871′
Elevation Change: 3,200′
Recommended Map:

Mt. McGee is the most accessible big peak in the eastern sierra, which explains why mammoth Mountain Ski Corp built their first chair lift there before moving to it’s current location. You can park close enough to ski this peak even when the snow covers the valley completely.  The view from the top is better than you might think, and shows you peaks you’ll want to ski next like Esha and Red & White. You will probably find skin tracks on most days if you are into following those things. And you can adapt to the snow conditions by choosing top to bottom ski runs on 3 different sides.
 
This peak eluded me until a few years ago, as it just doesn’t look that impressive compared to the rest of the peaks. Shows you how amazing ski touring is in the Eastern Sierra. In most mountain towns Mt. McGee would be their prize like Mt. Tallac is in Tahoe. These pics are from April 25,2017. I was going in for shoulder surgery the next day that would put me out for a year. I got the personal tour from my friend Howie Schwartz, owner of Sierra Mountain Guides in Bishop. He probably skis this peak frequently with his clients. You should hire Howie no matter how experienced you are. Howie was my AMGA ski guide course instructor and I have skied with him a few times both as friends and to learn some stuff. Howie got his full cert IFMGA pin many years ago and has been very involved in teaching and certifying AMGA ski mountaineering guides. He is mellow, confident, and enjoys being out there with you. His partner and guides are the real thing as well I’m sure. 
 
Finding your way up Mt. McGee is pretty straight forward. Pull off hwy 395 at the north end of the Crowley Lake loop road and head straight to the end of the snow bank. Skin towards Esha Peak for a mile, before trending up right onto the steep NE gullies and look for the weakness in angle for your direct ascent straight to the peak. No valleys or lakes to push across here! And finally remember, read about these tours in the real guidebooks for more beta! My website guide is hopefully helpful, but slapped together quick for fun. The books by Mingori, Moynier, Benson, and Mingori should all be on your home tour planning desk. You have such a desk, yes? Me neither, maybe this year I’ll build one since we received 700″ of snow.
 
 

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