Sierra Nevada, CA, Report: The 3 Bears Chutes, Cinco de Mayo, & an Insane Lenticular Sunset

Miles Clark | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report
The 3 Bears Chutes on Cinco de Mayo 2022. image: snowbrains

Report from May 5, 2022

Yesterday we went for a zone we’d noticed the day before that holds 3 stupendous chutes.

The 3 Bears Chutes (we’re calling them).

Everything north and east and likely west is absolutely gross right now with what we’re calling “Macro-Sastrugi” (basically huge corrugated chunks of snow that ski like shit – we skied it on Tuesday: Tioga Pass, CA Report: Solstice Couloir + Banana Chute = 1 Concussion, 1 Dislocated Shoulder, 2 Heinous Chutes)

The 3 Bears on the other hand appeared smooth, sleek, corny, perfect, and long.

We went for it.

The 3 chutes are gorgeous and flow straight down into an alpine lake all with a view of Mono Lake in the huge valley below.

We started walking at 9 am.

Made the lake by 10:30 am.

It was windier than we thought it’d be.

It was cloudier than we thought it’d be.

It was colder than we thought it’d be.

Fox and Matty. image: snowbrains

We sat.

After about 40 minutes our buddies who had left early came ripping down Mama Bear chute and said it was still firm, but good enough.

We started up.

Holy sunset, Batman! image: snowbrains

Matty, Fox, Lee, and I skinned & cramponed up Baby Bear.

The chute was about 1,600-vertical-feet and was more magnificent than we thought.

We’d originally planned to just use it as an up ramp, but the thing was rad once we were in it.

Moody. image: snowbrains

We dropped in and skied freakin’ perfect corn from the top right down to the lake.

We were pumped.

I was tired, but it was so good, I suggested we ski another.

Lee posing above Mono Lake. image: snowbrains

Everyone agreed.

We all skinned and cramponed back up Baby Bear and scrambled over a gruesome boulder field to Mama Bear.

Matty kept on to Papa Bear since he’d already skied the other 2.

Matty. image: snowbrains

I skied the ‘sneaker entrance’ to Mama Bear for added spice but sandbagged myself a bit as the ‘sneaker entrance’ and the main gut of Mama Bear didn’t exactly connect…

Once down in the throat of Mama Bear I was dazzled.

The walls were tall, the chute was steep, the view was grandiose.

Fox coming out of Mama Bear. image: snowbrains

The snow in the most walled part of the chute was sticky and tough, unfortunately…

We were a bit late not dropping in until about 3:30 pm.

We should have skied Mama Bear 1st… 

Texture. image: snowbrains

But, hindsight is 20/20 and we’ll most certainly be back.

Especially if all the north and east-facing chutes in this zone continue to be corrugated nightmares…

I was pretty tired at this point after 3 days in a row and about 11,000-vertical-feet in 3 days off the couch.

Booter. image: snowbrains

The walk down the final 1,600-vertical-feet was noticeable.

Back at the car, we were all smiles.

Mobile Mart for fish and carnitas tacos and a huge Modelo beer.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunset insanity. image: snowbrains

The sunset in Mammoth was absolutely bonkers last night…

The lenticular clouds that had hovered above us all day took flight as the evening sun lite them up in oranges, pinks, and purples.

One of the best sunsets I’ve seen.

Miles and Matty. image: snowbrains

Better than the northern lights, I think…

Thank you, California!

Photos in Chronological Order

The road in. image: snowbrains
The 3 Bears Chutes. image: snowbrains
My gear. image: snowbrains
The first steps. image: snowbrains
About to climb. image: snowbrains
Matty & Mono Lake. image: snowbrains
Fox has a mustache and he knows it. image: snowbrains
Lee pounding up. image: snowbrains
Lee grinding. image: snowbrains
Fox and Matty and Mono Lake. image: snowbrains
Matty. image: snowbrains
Matty. image: snowbrains
The view south. image: snowbrains
Lee posing. image: snowbrains
Lee dropping into Baby Bear. image: snowbrains
Gear explosion after run #1. image: snowbrains
The boys skinning up Baby Bear. image: snowbrains
Looking cool. image: snowbrains
Fox silhouette. image: snowbrains
Lee. image: snowbrains
Lee. image: snowbrains
Lee. image: snowbrains
Walking home. image: snowbrains
The 3 Bears Chutes. image: snowbrains
Slogging home with Mono Lake. image: snowbrains
If you know, you know. image: snowbrains
Happy Cinco de Mayo! image: snowbrains
Fox likes Mobile Mart food. image: snowbrains
Steak sandwich. image: snowbrains
Carnitas tacos at Mobile Mart! image: snowbrains
Dinner of champions! image: snowbrains
Headed home to Mammoth looking at Bloody Mountain. image: snowbrains
Holy sunset, Batman! image: snowbrains

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