Mount Whitney Climbs
At 14,508′ Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states and as such is the goal of many a hiker and mountaineer. A well-maintained trail on the south and east side takes the vast majority of these people to the top and back. But, for the more ambitious of us, the climbing routes on the peak’s dramatic eastern escarpment offer a much more stimulating way up the mountain. Our choices are The Mountaineers Route, the East Face and the East Buttress. Not up to technical climbing? Try the beautiful ascent on the west side from Cottonwood Meadows, or if this all seems too tame, then up the ante and climb Whitney in the winter.
The Sierra Nevada has some of the most wonderful alpine rock routes anywhere. These are our favorite ascents, climbs that we will happily repeat many times – for the sheer joy of climbing on golden granite with sharp edged holds and cracks warmed by the California sun, in a setting high above alpine meadows and lakes.
What makes these climbs classic? Position, length, quality of climbing and their beautiful settings all contribute. Great views abound on these, on the hike to and from the climbs and on the routes where it’s rare to have less than good quality rock on any of these climbs and many are on perfect rock top to bottom.
Classic Alpine Ice Climbs
The Sierra is also home to some of the great gully ice climbs in the lower 48. Come fall, last winter’s snow is transformed by freeze/thaw cycles into the coveted Sierra ice. These climbs range in angle from a moderate 40 degrees to 70-degree calf-burners. Some are only several pitches long but others are up to fifteen hundred feet in length and are all day climbs.
Courses and Skill Building
Of all the world’s mountain ranges the Sierra Nevada has got to be one of the most pleasant in which to climb and learn the skills that will take you to greater heights and other ranges.
Our Mountaineering School or our Rock Climbing School will give you a progression of skills for climbing in the Sierra so that you can get out by yourself into the mountains or or take one of our more advanced climbing trips to a higher peak.
Hiking and Backpacking
Take one of our introductory programs through our Backpacking School. Or if you are already and seasoned backpacker but want the company of a trained guide or someone to take care of the complex logistics associated with a longer hike such as the John Muir Trail – world-renowned for its length and beauty, traveling through some of the most spectacular national parks in the world. If you are looking for something off the travelled path then consider the White Mountain Traverse Hike or the High Sierra Hiking. Not enough vacation time for these? Then how about combining both a hike and a climb to the top of a fourteen thousand foot peak with our Mount Langley Ascent.
Mule and Horse Supported Hikes
Sometimes hauling a heavy pack around the mountains is a necessary evil, the only way to get to the truly remote places. But then sometimes the backbreaking work can be avoided. As our knees and shoulders give out we are finding that using porters or pack stock to get to basecamp makes life easier. Who does not want to come back after a hard day, clean up in a nearby stream, then have a dinner with fresh vegetables and maybe a salmon steak? This is not a dream!!
These are our trips that take life a little more slowly and make it easier on the body.
Parents and Kids Trips
Get the kids away off the iPad and all of the odd trappings of the modern world. We know it can sometimes be hard to get kids out into nature, so we try to make it a pleasant experience, with plenty of challenges. Let’s re-open their eyes to the natural world and its beauty. Summer trips can be pack stock (mule) supported and winter trips often use our North Lake Hut as a warm cozy basecamp.
Custom trips and Private Guiding
If our schedule doesn’t match up conveniently with yours, or maybe our scheduled trip description just isn’t quite what you’ve got in mind, we offer private trips in the Sierra and beyond to meet your needs and time constraints. Just give us a call or an email if you’d like more information about the possibilities.