Read What Our Clients Say


It has taken us fifteen years of effort but we have finally been given a permit for guiding in the Needles and are the only guide service to be able to do so. For those of you who do know the Needles, it offers some of the finest granite crack climbing anywhere. It is amazingly beautiful and incredibly atmospheric. Once you are a pitch up you feel like you are on El Cap. And White Punks on Dope is the best multi-pitch 5.9 route in Southern California.

Do not miss out on this opportunity and come climb with us in this stunning area.


September 20-22

October 18-20





We have teamed up with Rock Creek Packstation to offer the ultimate trip. Hike the entire JMT over 5 years with a day pack and mules to carry gear and deluxe meals.

>> Packstock Supported JMT Guided Hikes


Meet SMC Guide - SP Parker

Robert "SP" Parker was born in New Zealand some time in the early 1950s when black and white television had not yet even arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. His computer education in high school involved punching holes in cards and expressing things as zeros and ones. Luckily while attending the University of Auckland studying geology (from which he graduated with a Masters degree) he discovered climbing with the university tramping (backpacking to Americans) club and immediately forgot about everything else.

After years of battling the rain in the Southern Alps and the Darran Mountains he decided that there must be drier alternatives and headed to Yosemite Valley in 1979 with a flock of other New Zealanders. Once in the USA he decided that California was ‘it’ and a year in England confirmed this decision. For a year he traveled the US climbing in all the great places, Yosemite, Tuolumne, Colorado, Devils Tower, Canada and all of the places on a visitor’s hit list.

After working for a while washing dishes nights in Palm Springs and climbing days in Joshua Tree he returned to new Zealand for a while and then came back to the West Coast of the US for more climbing and a trip to Baffin island. He got somewhat distracted on the return to New Zealand and ended up in the Sierra working at Rock Creek Lodge. From here he went to work for American Alpine Institute out of Bellingham, Washington. He worked for AAI for twelve years guiding trips world wide but eventually decided that the Sierra was home and where he wanted to work. He was a partner in Sierra Mountain Guides for a while and then hooked up with Todd to create SMC.

SP has a daughter, Ariel Muir Parker, who is now 21 and has actuallly stopped rebeling against outdoor activities. She is studying astrophysics and has an apptitude for mathematics that seems to have skipped SP.

Personal Interests: SP has yet to discover the benefits of lying on a beach with tall drinks with little umbrellas in them within reach. Consequently his spare time finds him off climbing, skiing or traveling in the Sierra and other parts of the globe. Patagonia has become his favorite part of the world to climb in and thus expresses a return to his roots of sitting in the rain waiting for fine weather. Other activities include scaring himself silly paragliding in the Owens Valley.

Favorite guided trips: Any ski tours in the Sierra Nevada, especially the “Beneath the Palisades" trip. For technical rock climbs the Third Pillar on Dana is as good as any in the range. Overseas the Dolomites are fantastic low impact climbing and, of course, Patagonia where a single good day to a Patagonian summit makes up for any amount of time waiting.


Selected Guiding Experience
Alaska Mt. McKinley; West Buttress (nine times). Peak 11,300, Mt. Huntingdon, Ruth Gorge. Ski touring and ascents of  Barille & Dickey.

Cotopaxi (19348').Eight times. Chimborazo (20703'). Eight times.
Illiniza (17300'). Twice. Tungarahua (16700'). Twice.
Cayambe (18,997). Four times.

Argentina Aconcagua  (22835')

Huayna Potosi (19994').Four times
Condoriri (18,600). Three times.
Illimani (21,201). Four times.
Sajama and Las Payachatas 

Mexico                    Orizaba (18875')
Patagonia   Several trips to Fitzroy and Paine regions with ascents  of Cerro Almirante and  other first ascents.
North America

Many guided ascents throughout the Cascade Range, Red Rocks of Las Vegas, Squamish Chief, Leavenworth, Canada : Mount Robson and the Bugaboo Mountains of British Columbia.

Numerous ski Tours in California - Paiute Pass to Rock Creek, Sierra High Route, Mammoth to Yosemite , Rock Creek to Fresno, Monarch Divide, Palisades, Great Western Divide. Many guided ascents  in the Sierra Nevada.

Instructor on numerous courses in rock at Joshua Tree.


Senior instructor and examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association  in both  Rock and Alpine disciplines. Assistant AMAG Technical Director, Coordinator AMGA Rock Education programs. Involvement in designing courses, determining curriculum and examining and certifying guides.

*new route or first ascent
New Zealand

Mt. Cook; Sheila Face
Mt. Sabre*
Mt. Tasman

European Alps  

Petites Jorasses; West Face
Matterhorn; North Face
Dru; Bonatti Pillar
Aiguille du Midi; South Face
Aiguille Verte; North Face

Nepal Cholatse (21,128')

Mt. Andromeda
Mt. Athabasca
Howser Towers; Becky/Chouinard
Bugaboo Spire
Snowpatch Spire

Baffin Island

Mt. Asgard
Mt. Loki*
Tuperaut Peak*


St Exuphery
Traverse of the Southern Patagonian Icecap*


-Yosemite    El Capitan; Salathe Wall, The Nose, West Face, Lurking Fear, Leaning Tower; West Face,Half Dome; Northwest Face (twice), Washington Column; The Prow, South Face
-Sierra Nevada Charlotte Dome; South Face, Clyde Minaret; South Face, Bear Creek Spire; North Buttress*, East Arête*, South Face*
Numerous other Sierra climbs (500 plus)

-Colorado    Long's Peak; The Diamond, Hallett's Peak, Petit Grepon
-Alaska        Mt Huntingdon- Harvard Route

All Over Various  climbs in England, France, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. (Tetons, Wind Rivers, Devil's Tower, Joshua Tree National Monument, Red Rocks Canyon, Canyonlands, Toulumne Meadows).  Experienced in waterfall ice climbing.
  • American Mountain Guides Association (Recent Board of Directors Member)
  • Professional Member of Professional Ski Instructors of America
  • The American Alpine Club
  • ORCA
  • Access Fund
  • US Hang Gliding Association
  • B.S.  Geology (1976), M.S. with Honors, Geology (1978). University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • AMGA Certified Alpine Guide 1991
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide 1993
  • AMGA, Ski Certification  2002
  • IFMGA Guide 2002 with full international recognition
  • Certified Level I Nordic Instructor. 1991
  • AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guides Course and Exam 2001
  • Wilderness First Responder and CPR, current
  • Avalanche certification Level III 2001
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Recognized Instructor 2002
  • Basic and Advanced Scuba certificate
  • Underwater medicine training 1985
  • Paragliding pilot II




SIERRA MOUNTAIN CENTER | 200 South Main St. | Bishop, CA 93514 | tel. (760) 873-8526 | fax. (760) 873-4800

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"In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer." SMC operates under permits from Inyo National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Toiyabe National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and other agencies as required.

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