Mike’s Ski Tours

Hi there BackCountry Customers! This blog is dedicated to helping everyone get into the exciting and rewarding sport of backcountry ski touring.

If you have questions or feedback, email me – mike@thebackcountry.net. Please don’t take anything I’ve said as 100% accurate. I’m just trying to help and have fun going off of memory and looking at pictures I take. There is no precise measuring or complicated computer mapping going on here.


  • These ski tours were not created with GPS accuracy – they are just my suggestions based on memory. Some of those experiences were many years ago. I suggest that you buy the newer guidebooks from our shop for extra beta and opinions. Backcountry Skiing CA’s Eastern Sierra by Nate Greenberg/Dan Mingori. 50 Classic Descents in California: Paul Richins. Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes in California: Jeremy Benson. Backcountry skiing Ca’s High Sierra: John Moynier (out of print but find one!) 
  • There are inherent risks in going into the backcountry to ski, snowboard, snowshoe or climb. The routes on these maps may be dangerous and even deadly depending on many variables such as current avalanche danger, weather, snowpack depth, skill and experience level, and time of day. Plan on 1000′ vertical gain per hour. Add time for low angle miles, high elevation, poor equipment and lame partners. Subtract time by starting early, travelling light, and strategic tour planning. 
  • If you are not an expert and experienced backcountry skier, snowboarder, snowshoer, or climber we highly recommend you hire a professional guide. We recommend excellent local guides and backcountry skills classes from local pro guide companies Alpine Skills and Alpenglow Expeditions. We also highly recommend Sierra Mountain Guides out of Bishop, and Shasta Mountain Guides if your going up there. There are  a lot of great Sierra Ski guides. Skip the learning curve and help these guys make a living. 
  • You take FULL responsibility for yourself and your party when using this website for advice and the author disclaims any liability for injury or any other damage by anyone traveling in the areas described. 
  • Please be patient if our guidebook recommendations end up being wrong for you – we don’t know you and your skill level and experience. We are just showing you where we like to go enjoy the backcountry.

Have a great time and please be safe!
– Mike, Owner of The BackCountry

Featured Tours

Mt. Goode

Location:  South Lake above Bishop, CAElevation: 13,085'Elevation Change: 3,317'Recommended Map: Bishop Pass - Tom Harrison The view of Mt. Goode from Long Lake is one you'll never forget, and quite easy to reach from your car. What you don't see is the HUGE south...

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Mt. Sill

Location:  Palisades above Big Pine, CAElevation: 14,153'Elevation Change: 5,900'Recommended Map: kings Canyon High Country - Tom Harrison Mt. Sill is the BIG guy you see from hwy 395 in Big Pine, CA. This 14er sits proud in the center of the infamous Palisade Crest....

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Kearsarge Peak

Location: Independence, CAElevation: 12,618'Elevation Change: 3,433'Recommended Map: Kings Canyon High Country - Tom Harrison Although you could ski this peak from the highway wherever the snowline is, you might as well wait until the Onion Valley Trailhead at 9200'...

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Tahoe Area

Jack’s Peak

Location: Desolation WildernessElevation: 9,856'Elevation Change: 3,500'Recommended Map: Desolation Wilderness - Tom Harrison or Lake Tahoe Southwest - Alpine Ski Tours Jack's Peak isn't skied often, which is exactly why you should go do it. You need to ski them all...

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Mt. Price

Location:  Desolation WildernessElevation Change:  3500'Recomended Map: Desolation Wilderness - Tom Harrison Ski touring to Mt. Price 9975' and the surrounding peaks of the Crystal Range requires timing and the right partners. This is a lot of low angle mileage and...

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Mt. Tallac

Location: South Shore - Lake Tahoe, CADuration: 2-3 hoursElevation Change: 3,200' - from 6,535' to 9,735'Recommended Map: Emerald Bay, California Elevation Profile: Map of General Route: Mt. Tallac is the best thing Tahoe has to offer. I say this because of the...

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Jake’s Peak

Location: West Shore - Lake Tahoe, CA Duration: 1-2 hours Elevation Change: 2,357' - from 6,830' to 9,187 Recommended Map: Emerald Bay, California Elevation Profile: Map of General Route: With some real sweat and skilled skinning, you can wind your way up to one of...

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Rubicon Peak

Location: West Shore - Lake Tahoe, CA Duration: 1-2 hours Elevation Change: 2,200' - from 6,800' to 9,000' Recommended Map: Rockbound Valley & Meeks Bay, California Elevation Profile:   Map of General Route: A Tahoe classic, this is the peak you...

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Bliss Peak

Location: West Shore - Lake Tahoe, CA Duration: 1.5-2 hours Elevation Change: 2,400' - from 6,600' to 9,000' Recommended Map: Emerald Bay, California & Rockbound Valley, California Map of General Route: Bliss Peak, also known as Hidden Peak, is the short tour...

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Mt. Lassen, CA

Location: Mt. Lassen National ParkElevation Change: 2-4000'Recomended Map: National Geographic - Lassen National Park Mt. Lassen 10,457' is a friendly Northern California peak to ski. There are small sub peaks surrounding it and a nice view to the north of Mt. Shasta...

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Mt. Shasta, CA

Location: Northern border of CaliforniaDuration: 5-10 hoursElevation Change: 6860' - 14,179'Recomended Map: Mt. Shasta - Tom Harrison "She's a big dog", Jamie Schectman told us all as he rallied my friends and I onto our first climb of Mt. Shasta in the mid 90's. I...

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Eastern Sierras

Mt. Darwin and Lamarck

Location: North Lake above Bishop, CAElevation: ...Elevation Change: 4200' for Lamarck. 5700' for Darwin. add 500' to connect bothRecommended Map: Bishop Pass - Tom Harrison These pics are from May 2002, when I was ticking off the ski tours in John Moynier's...

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Mt. Emerson

Location: Buttermilks above Bishop, CA or access from Aspendale Elevation: 13,225' Elevation Change: ... Recommended Map: Mono Divide - Tom Harrison The North Couloir of this peak starts the butterflies twirling in your stomach when you see it from the top of Peak...

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Feather Peak

Location: Pine Creek Trailhead above town of Rovana, north of BishopElevation: 13,242'Elevation Change: 5,500'Recommended Map: Mono Divide - Tom Harrison This is another one of the peaks where you know your doin' it as soon as you see it. For me that was while ticking...

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Esha Peak

Location: McGee Creek Trailhead near Mammoth LakesElevation: 12,200'Elevation Change: 4,500'Recommended Map: ... Esha is a picturesque little peak that is easy to see and access right off hwy 395 with an ideal layout. Park on pavement where the snow ends near the...

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Mt. Johnson

Location: South Lake above BishopElevation: 12,871'Elevation Change: 3,103'Recommended Map: Bishop Pass – Tom Harrison I won't forget this day and need to go repeat this peak soon. These pics are from April 27, 2009. I joined up with John Morrison, Kip Garre, and an...

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Goodale Mountain

Location: Taboose Creek Campground south of Big PineElevation: 12,772'Elevation Change: 6,500' +/- based on snow levelRecommended Map: Kings Canyon High Country – Tom Harrison I found this less known east side giant by asking Howie Schwartz for something new and...

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