Lost World Peak

Looks like a good ski

Lost World Peak is an unremarkable, unofficially-named bump between Valentine and Laurel Lakes near Mammoth. It came to my attention because it features a northwest-facing ski line which would turn to slush more slowly in the longer, warmer days, and sits next to several other peaks with short lines facing north and east. The facts that someone had put it on Peakbagger and it had been on the 2021 Sierra Challenge added marginally to its appeal, but it was mostly interesting because it was nearby. I had hoped to ski lines on several peaks in the Valentine Lake area, but ended up only doing two, Lost World and unnamed 11,784′ across the way.

Begin the ski

I slept across the way, then drove over to the Sherwin Creek Road in the morning, letting some impatient folks in a big truck with Jackson plates pass on their way to ski the Bloody Couloir. I parked near where the road was made impassable by snow, then walked another mile or so in ski boots before putting on skis to skin up the weird road/trail dead-ending between Sherwin and Laurel Creeks. Eventually leaving the road, I followed the path of least resistance and some old snowmobile tracks up to and past the wilderness boundary sign and into the proper drainage. I somehow trapped myself too high on the east side, and was forced to transition to downhill mode to slide into the bottom of the drainage on the icy snow, then put my skins back on to reach the lake.

Duck Pass and Ritter Range

Mildly frustrated, I skinned across Valentine Lake a bit, then continued up through more woods toward 11,784’s east face, which looked like a good moderate ski. I skinned up a ways, then booted straight up the lower part, passing an old bootpack along the way. I crossed through some bare krummholtz and rocks, which appeared unavoidable, then continued hiking to reach the summit, one of several rockpiles of similar height. The forecast west wind was already building, so I only briefly looked at the Duck Pass area and Ritter Range on the other side before transitioning and skiing back the way I had come, with two short stretches of good turns separated by a short rock-hop.

Bloody Couloir

Rather than continuing around to the northwest side of Lost World that I planned to ski, I coasted as far as I could, then booted straight up another couloir on the west face. This started out with some annoying class 2-3 rock, then became snow almost firm enough to require crampons. I saw some old ski tracks, but the line was too melted out, and in any case would lead me farther from home. Reaching the top, I dropped my skis to tag the summit, which has an excellent view of the Bloody Couloir. While I did not see my impatient friends, I think I saw their tracks.

Second ski line

I returned to my skis, then traversed around the east side of the peak on thin snow to enter the bowl I wanted to descend. The line had mostly turned to good corn, and I enjoyed a fast ski down to near treeline. From there I made a high traverse back toward my entry, dodging tree wells and branches through ever-softer snow. It was a struggle at times, but I managed to slide all the way to where I had begun skinning in the morning. I walked back to the car, made myself a snack and coffee, and hung out for the rest of the afternoon, before driving north in search of more warm-weather skiing.

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