Mammoth Mountain P1K PD

Wed, Jul 3, 1991
  Etymology Story Map Profile

This was one of my first excursions in the Mammoth area. Unfamiliar with Wilderness regulations and armed with only an area topomap, I attempted to ride my mountain bike from the town of Mammoth Lakes to Reds Meadow via Mammoth Pass. Unfortunately, when I got to the end of the road at Horseshoe Lake, I was confronted with the Wilderness sign at the TH that clearly stated that bikes were not allowed. Frustrated, I considered going anyway and actually started out for a quarter mile or so. However, I soon gave this up since I had no idea what the fines or punishments might be. And it wouldn't have been very nice.

So I turned my attention to nearby Mammoth Mountain. The south side of the mountain is a continuous slope of loose talus for 2,000ft. Not being of sound mind, I decided to haul my bike all the way up this slope (I had no idea at the time that there was a trail on the SE Ridge called the Dragon's Back which would have made this considerably easier). It was a case of two steps up, one back, with the additional burden of hauling a 40-50lb bike up with me. After a couple of hours I emerged on the summit plateau. There was some snow up top still, and some broad cat roads that allowed me to ride over to the top of Gondola #2. At this time there was no such thing as the Mammoth Bike Park, so the sight of a bike on top of the mountain was met with considerable stares from the tourists who'd ridden to the top via the gondola. While I'd like to believe I was the inspiration for the creation of the summer Bike Park, I think it had more to do with the Kamakazi Downhill they had been running for a few years already, allowing professional and amateurs alike a once-a-year chance to race down the slopes of Mammoth Mtn. The north slopes were far too daunting for me, so I took the the service road down the backside to the northwest and then around to the north. That was enough excitement for me.

Anonymous comments on 11/16/06:
You made a serious error in your decision to ride a mountain bike on the dragons back trail, this is a hiking trail only!! Next time use your legs!
Bob comments on 11/26/06:
Please read the text and look at the map next time before chastising. I never set foot (or bike) on the Dragon's Back Trail.
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