San Joaquin Ridge

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 6.8 miles round trip
8950 feet
+1400, -1400 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Most of a day
Season Mid-November through May
Snowmobiles Use Moderate to Minaret Vista and one-half mile beyond. Not permitted beyond the half-mile point. [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Mammoth Mountain
Start Minaret Road where it is no longer plowed. This point is located about 100 yards west of Mammoth Mountain Ski Lodge and near the base of chairlift 11.

Description   Link to more information about description

Traveling north from Minaret Summit, this tour along the San Joaquin Ridge offers hours of skiing with uninterrupted panoramas to the west of the Minarets and the Ritter Range. From Minaret Summit this tour climbs steadily to Minaret Vista and continues to the windswept summit of Peak 10,255 located just to the south of Deadman Pass.

This extension of the Minaret Vista tour gives one the chance to get away from the snowmobiles that visit the vista point.

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 - 1.1
Elevation change: +250, -50

From the trailhead (1), ski west on Minaret Summit Road for 1.1 miles until you reach a road junction and crest of the road at Minaret Summit (2). At 0.2 mile you will pass a road to the south (left) that is used by downhill skiers. Ski along the edge of the road in this first section to avoid the downhill skiers returning to the lodge.

Beyond the road junction and crest, Minaret Summit Road descends to the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. That road is described in the Reds Meadow Via Minaret Summit tour.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 1.1 - 1.4
Elevation change: +100

Turn northwest (right) and follow the indistinct road for 0.3 mile to a high point and Minaret Vista (3).

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 1.4 - 3.4
Elevation change: +1000

Follow the ridge north for 2.0 miles until you reach Peak 10,255 (4). Initially you drop slightly, but then it is a continuous climb to the top of the peak. Along the ridge you can ski along the very top or slightly to the east where you are sheltered from the wind. In either case, be aware of icy conditions.

If you would like to get a bird's-eye view of Deadman Pass and the cornices that adorn it, ski another 100 yards north along the ridge to a vantage point; be very careful because the ridge is narrow and the skiing is very tricky.

Although this tour ends at Peak 10,255, the very popular multi-day, trans-Sierra tour from Mammoth to Yosemite Valley via Agnew Pass, Donohue Pass, and Tuolumne Meadows continues north along the west side of the San Joaquin Ridge. If you want to continue north, you must descend to Deadman Pass by descending a short distance to the west of Peak 10,255 and then traversing north. As you traverse, lose elevation so that you intersect the pass. At the pass stay back from the east edge which is normally overhung.

Beyond Deadman Pass, you can traverse on a bench at about the 10,000' level along the west side of the San Joaquin Ridge. Do not ski here if there is any danger of avalanche.

Return to trailhead
Miles: 3.4 - 6.8
Elevation change: +50, -1350

Retrace the route for 3.4 miles back to the trailhead (1).


Print version of map for tour