Ride Report: Snow Biking Mammoth – The Laurel Lakes Basin

if you look in the distance, you can see Bloody Couloir

if you look in the distance, you can see Bloody Couloir

First off, my last post about fat bikes not being allowed to share groomed trails has received over 700 views in just a day.  I’ve gotten many emails and comments as well- all expressing support, encouragement, and hope to enjoy our amazing trail system via pedal power.  It’s funny how “outdoorsy people” are birds of a feather – regardless of the pursuit, we all respect eachothers’ … and it’s not surprising that nordic skiers are also rock climbers are also cyclists are also backcountry hikers, skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, etc.  This is why we live in Mammoth.  Whatever user group I choose to be today… as long as I’m not adversely effecting my brothers and sisters getting their groove on, or the forest we all cherish – let’s just enjoy this place.  Right?  Dave McCoy told me last week that when he moved to the Eastern Sierra there were only 6 people in Mammoth.  He started MMSA with one goal, “FUN, FUN, FUN”.  He was very emphatic about that.  Behind this ever-maturing town, there is one underlying reason we are all here.  CHILDLIKE FUN.

Sierra Wave sunrise to start the ride

Sierra Wave sunrise to start the ride

riding up Sherwin Creek Rd. during sunrise

riding up Sherwin Creek Rd. during sunrise

Blah Blah Blah.  So, I decided to hit up one of the area’s most challenging bike rides yesterday.  In the summer, the ride up to Laurel Lakes is an ass-kicker.  It’s only 4-5 miles up.  But 2,000′ of climbing are included as a bonus gift.  I’ve done it before on my single speed.  Not awesome.  Very loose, steep, and about the most technical climbing you’ll find on a “4×4 trail”.  Then once you get to the end, other than the amazing views of course, the descent isn’t really worth “earning your turns”.  It’s purely a “workout ride” for me.  However, since it’s one of the only trails I can legally ride (for now) on my fat bike, I decided to check it out.

ready to start the grind up

ready to start the grind up

It’s actually much more FUN to ride in the Winter than the Summer.  The road is packed down with snowmobile tracks for the first 3 miles or so – then they end.  This is the invisible Wilderness Boundary, so snowmobiles are not allowed past.  I started the ride early in the a.m., so the snow was still nice and firm – great for my 7psi filled Husker Du’s.  My fatty is set up as a single speed (duh) – so the climbing was pretty tough, and an out of the saddle affair for most of it.  The toughest climbing is done in the first 1.5 miles – through the switchbacks until you get some rest crossing into the Laurel Lakes Basin.  I was able to ride most of it, but had to push/hike-a-bike through the steepest parts.  Traction was not an issue – merely my fitness and gear choice.  A geared fatty should be able to ride the whole way in granny gear, no sweat.

grinding up the cimb.  sucks to be me.

grinding up the cimb. sucks to be me.

my friend Lynda Wu gave me the bike keychain - looks like a fat bike, no?

my friend Lynda Wu gave me the bike keychain – looks like a fat bike, no?

snowmobile singletrack heaven

snowmobile singletrack heaven

Man is it gorgeous up there!  I’ve hiked and backcountry skied in the area plenty in the Winter, but for some reason, being on my bike, it all looked brand new to me.  Weird.  Looking up to Bloody, and thinking about Drop In – I should’ve packed a PB & J 🙂 Anyhoo, I continued for another mile past where the snowmobile tracks ended.  I could ride some, but mostly pushed my bike as I was a little fatigued, and my gearing was a little too tough.  Then the fun began.  The descent was amazing.  The snowmobile tracks are pure singletrack bliss for a fat bike – carved out just for me!!  I was grinning ear to ear the whole way down.  It made me think – maybe I should McGyver a bike rack on the back of my snowmobile and start shuttling for some backcountry DH/freeriding adventures?? Hmmm… So yeah, tough ride, but much more fun in the Winter than Summer.  Get some.

Anyhoo, I passed my buddy Nate Greenberg on the way back to my car.  Another local backcountry skier/cyclist/dog walker/ life lover.  Him and his friend were heading up with their snowmobiles to go backcountry skiing.  On another day, I might have been joining them.  That’s what I love about this town.

my kuat nv core rack handles the fat bike fine (with the strap extender accessory)

my kuat nv core rack handles the fat bike fine (with the strap extender accessory)

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10 Responses to Ride Report: Snow Biking Mammoth – The Laurel Lakes Basin

  1. Lynda Wu says:

    yes it was supposed to be like your fat bike! You are so smart

    Like

  2. Kathy Copeland says:

    I think you should talk to John Wentworth to figure out the first steps to have the policy changed…..

    If I Can Do This, I Can Do Anything!
    [cid:image001.jpg@01C8D51C.85869750]
    Kathy Copeland
    Executive Director
    P.O. Box 7275, #1 Minaret Road
    Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
    Phone: 760.934.0791
    Fax: 760.934.0729
    kcopeland@disabledsportseasternsierra.org
    http://www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org
    P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

    Like

    • ss29er says:

      Thanks Chica,

      actually, John is already on board. check out the cover article in the times this week if you haven’t already. fat bikes are on the agenda for next weeks’ trails commission meeting- and i’ll be speaking. Jon Kazmierski from USFS will be there. he’s got a big say in if they’re gonna change policy. John’s girlfriend just ordered a fat bike, so they’re totally into it. i hate politics, but i’m gonna ride my bike. that’s that.

      love ya,

      Alan

      Like

  3. Eric Hunter says:

    I need to ride that trail I have been riding mammoth creek rd to sherwin creek rd.

    Like

    • ss29er says:

      mcghee creek is pretty good. the hardest part of the climb is right away, then it mellows. only about 3 miles to trailhead. after that, no more snowmo tracks to follow, but i was able to go another 3/4 mile. beautiful views all around, peaceful. definitely worth it. hoot!!

      Like

  4. yw says:

    So the NV Core works well huh!? I think I might get it.. was thinking of a Thule T2.. but don’t want to deal with the rust.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Getting High on your own Supply: The Sweetwater Mountains Traverse | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

  6. Pingback: Local Exploration – Finally did the McGee Mountain Climb | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

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