Trip Report: 12,808′ Four Gables, CA – “Tungstar Bowls”

Miles Clark | | Trip ReportTrip Report

Report from May 31, 2023

Yesterday morning, we went for a mellow classic that we’d never done before.

Up at 4am.

Hiking by 6am.

We went for the Central Bowl.

Good firm snow for cramponing was a godsend.

We moved well due to the firm snow and it was a dream not to be post-holing for once!

This zone is spectacularly beautiful, wet, large, with a tungsten mine, and a big mountain feel.


12,808′ Four Gables – “Tungstar Bowls”

  • Summit (actually a ridgeline):  12,200′
  • Car:  7,400′
  • Vertical From Car:  4,800′
  • Vertical skied:  3,500′
  • Max Pitch:  40º 
  • Avg Pitch: 35º
  • Aspect:  North
  • Distance:  6.6-miles round trip 
  • Time From Car to Top:   5 hours & 30 mins (with a 1 hour break to let things soften)
  • Car to Car Time: 7 hours & 30 mins
  • Recommended Equipment:  Crampons, Ice Axe, Skins
  • Note:  There is a break in the snow with a waterfall in it low down and you have to rock climb around it.  Avoid this by taking the old mining road just lookers left of the chute and it’ll switchback to above the waterfall.
Miles climbing the waterfall. image: snowbrains/dwanis
Trevor. image: snowbrains

It took us a few minutes to find the trail after we parked but we found it just next to the pack station.

The trail was gorgeous.

We hiked up the trail in shoes until we saw the tongue of snow hanging out of the lower chute of Central Bowl.

Chutes. image: snowbrains

We off-trailed to the snow and switched to boots and crampons.

After only about 10 minutes of hiking there was a break in the snow with a waterfall.

We sketchily rock climbed and pulled on branches to get above it.

Team hikers. image: snowbrains

Once above it we noticed an old mining road that switchbacked around the waterfall and we planned on using that on the way down to avoid a sketchy down-climb.

The snow was firm.

The cramponing was all-time.

Tungstar dawn. image: snowbrains

We moved well.

We hit the upper bowl with chutes after 3 hours and 30 minutes of hiking.

Things were firm.

Neat light. image: snowbrains

We chilled there for an hour letting things soften up.

We then took about an hour to boot up the chutes.

The four of us split up briefly with Greggy & I skiing one chute and Trevor & Dwanis skiing another.

Trevor attacking the chutes.

We didn’t linger on top long as a thunderstorm out in the Owens River Valley was tracking straight for us and starting throwing thunder our way.

Greggy and my chute was perfect corn with a couple firm spots.

Trevor & Dwanis’ chute was a bit more firm but still good.

Light. image: snowbrains

There are about 5 chutes to choose from in the bowl.

They are all short but all fun.

From there was skied down the roller coaster bowls down into the chute at the bottom.

Chill spot. image: snowbrains

The skiing was good.

The skiing was fun.

I was tempted to just ski down to the waterfall and down-climb in the bushes on the skiers left to get more turns.

Steep chutes to the west. image: snowbrains

Greggy yelled at me and pulled me onto the switchback road.

For the record, it would’ve been more fun to keep skiing…

We trudged along the old mining road and right where it switched-back were directly in the entrance chute to the lookers left bowl.

Happy. image: snowbrains

We walked the road back to snow, found our shoes, and grateful donned them with smiles all around.

The trail back to the car was dreamy.

Soft dirt and pine needles.

Top chute & Greggy. image: snowbrains

Mostly shaded.


Birds chirping.


Mine. image: snowbrains

Back at the car we felt good.

Our next goal is the nearby monster Basin Mountain.

We’d planned on driving over and taking a look at it but we all vetoed that and headed straight home.

Thanks, California!



Mt. Tom at 5:30am. image: snowbrains
Tungstar Bowls before dawn. image: snowbrains
Pack station. image: snowbrains
Hiking up. image: snowbrains
Dirty snow. image: snowbrains
Trevor. image: snowbrains
Tunsten mine. image: snowbrains
Waterfall climb. image: snowbrains
Trevor climbs. image: snowbrains
Dawn hikers. image: snowbrains
Hiking up the lower chute. image: snowbrains
Dwanis. image: snowbrains
Looking back. image: snowbrains
Chutes. image: snowbrains
Trevor wall. image: snowbrains
Chutes. image: snowbrains
Miles skiing Tungstar Bowls. image: snowbrains
Chill spot. image: snowbrains
Greggy. image: snowbrains
Looking east. image: snowbrains
Neat light. image: snowbrains
Terrain. image: snowbrains
Looking north. image: snowbrains
Chutes. image: snowbrains
Chutes to the west. image: snowbrains
Gnar chutes. image: snowbrains
Headed down. image: snowbrains
Mining road hack. image: snowbrains
Tungsten mine. image: snowbrains
Dwanis tangled. image: snowbrains
Lightning mine. image: snowbrains
Schwacking. image: snowbrains
Cactus. image: snowbrains
Walking downhill. image: snowbrains
Pack station. image: snowbrains
Mammoth is melting out. image: snowbrains

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