Copper Mountain

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 8.9 miles round trip
+1400, -1400 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Full day
Season December through April
Snowmobiles Use Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Lundy
Start Drive 0.1 mile west from Conway Summit on the road to Virginia Lakes and park where it is no longer plowed.

Description   Link to more information about description

Because of its wide open route, the Copper Mountain tour features many magnificent views of Virginia Canyon, the Sierra Crest, the White Mountains, Pumice Valley and Mono Craters. But the most awe inspiring vista is upon reaching the top of Copper Mountain and finding oneself looking down on Mono Lake. The unsheltered route also makes it prone to strong winds.

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 2.5
Elevation change:  +1250 feet

From the trailhead (1), climb steadily southwest up the ridge for 2.5 miles until you reach a point (2) from where you can traverse to Copper Mountain, which is visible to the southeast. There is no landmark at this point so you will need to use your judgment. As you climb, you should take time to enjoy the view up Virginia Canyon, which gets better and better the higher you climb.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 2.5 - 3.4
Elevation change:  +50 feet

Leave the ridge and traverse generally south for a total of 0.9 mile until you reach some trees (3). If you picked the correct route, you have just completed a traverse of the Jordan drainage (the drainage which descends to the east) and avoided the trees located in it.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 3.4 - 4.3
Elevation change:  -50 feet

Traverse southeast, initially in trees and then in the open, for a total of 0.9 mile until you reach a saddle (4).

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 4.3 - 4.7
Elevation change:  +50 feet 

Ski east for 0.4 mile to the summit of Copper Mountain (5). You will have a 50-foot climb at the very end to the summit. From the summit, in addition to other points of interest, you can look down on Mono City to the east or up Lundy Canyon at the headwaters of Mill Creek to the west.

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 4.7 - 6.0
Elevation change:  -350 feet 

This tour returns to the trailhead through the Jordan drainage. It traverses slopes that are susceptible to avalanching under some conditions. If in doubt, it is safer to return via the ascending route to Copper Mountain. That round trip distance is 9.4 miles or 0.5 miles longer than the loop trip.

From Copper Mountain, look northwest into the Jordan drainage and visually locate the road that leaves the drainage on its north side. Descend northwest for 1.3 miles until you reach the road where it crosses the drainage (6).

Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 6.0 - 7.0
Elevation change:  +50 feet

Follow the road east and then north for a total of 0.9 mile to its highest point (7).

Waypoint 7 to 8
Miles: 7.0 - 8.9
Elevation change:  -1000 feet

Descend northeast along the road, as it traverses the southeast side of the ridge you originally ascended, for 1.9 miles until you reach the trailhead (1). If the road between the Jordan drainage and the end of the tour is not visible in places due to snowdrifts, you will have to pick your own route. An alternative is to climb northwest onto the ridge you ascended earlier and descend to the trailhead.


Print version of map for tour