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Sierra Mountain Center

California’s premier mountaineering school and guide service.

Snow Travel Skills

Snow Travel

After a big winter snow will persist on the high passes and peaks well into summer. This Snow Travel Course is not just for mountaineers but is essential for hikers and backpackers venturing into snow country on routes such as the PCT or the JMT.

Mammoth to Yosemite Hike

Best of Sierra ~ Mammoth to Yosemite

We believe that this walk takes you through the best part of the Sierra; the Yosemite high country. A six day walk that has relatively short days, great scenery and end in Yosemite Valley.

Spring is here in the Sierra

Spring is here. The trees are blossoming in Bishop and the desert peach is flowering.
But up high we still have record quantities of snow up high in the mountains and the skiing is great. We are moving into warmer days and cold nights which will be creating the legendary Sierra corn snow – snow that lets you get out on steeper slopes and to ski with more ease than you have ever thought before.

We are starting our spring tours and have space available on;
Ionian Basin                                                  May 4-9

The quantities of snow will mean a tricky spring for hikers on the PCT and the JMT so we suggest our Snow Travel Skills and our River Crossing Skills for those venturing out early season.

We are starting our Mountaineers Route trips and taking booking for summer. Plan ahead and call the office for registration and don’t miss out on making the summer of 2019 the best ever.

We look forward to seeing you in the mountains.

River Crossing Skills

JMT or PCT River Crossing Skills

This spring is bound to bring elevated river and stream flows in May and June. Knowing how to cross these waterways safely will be essential to any JMT or PCT hiker and our River Crossing Skills program gives you added confidence to tackle this additional challenge.

Mount Whitney via Cottonwood

Mount Whitney via Cottonwood

At 15502 feet Mt Whitney is the high point of the Lower 48 states. But that does not mean it is a peak for hardcore mountaineers. Join our pack supported six day Mt. Whitney hike via Cottonwood which allows us to carry only a day pack while the mules do the hard work for us. An ideal trip for those who want to get into the mountains without the heavy backpack.

Spring Ski Tours

Spring Ski Tours

We believe that the Sierra Nevada has the best backcountry spring tours to be found anywhere in the world. Long days, fine weather fantastic corn snow, few people and endless scenery. What more do you want? Join us for a Spring Ski Tour from March into May for everyone from beginner to advanced.

Add a porter to your trip

Add a porter to your trip

Tired of the big loads and want to take it easy? We can provide a strong young back to get things to camp while you take it easy with a daypack. In, out or both.

Ask the office how

Sierra Mountain Center

Located in Bishop, California we offer rock climbing, summer mountaineering, waterfall ice climbing, backcountry skiing, emergency training, summer and winter instruction and custom guiding here in the Eastern Sierra of California.

Sierra Mountain Center

There are other guide services offering trips in the Sierra Nevada.

So why do we believe that you will get the most out of letting us be your guides?

We are knowledgeable and local

We are the oldest, most established local guide service. The Eastern Sierra has been our home for nearly 30 years and these are the mountains where we love to climb, hike and ski. There are few working guides who know the Sierra as well as we do, from the popular paths of the Sierra, but also the little-known places where we have been exploring new routes, tours and remote summits. We know the best routes and the small details that make for a successful trip. When you call us and ask what conditions are, we simply look out our office window and give you up to date information.

We literally help write the books on climbing. “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara, of Supertopo – “Eastern Sierra Ice” – self-published by us and the “Climbers Guide to the Bishop Area” by Maximus Press.

We are qualified

We believe in the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) programs and the level of quality assurance that they give you in choosing a guide. Our climbing and mountaineering guides are trained and certified by the AMGA. Certified guides have demonstrated before his or her peers high levels of competence and judgment as well as fulfilling technical requirements such as emergency medical certification, rescue training, and snow stability forecasting. Guides certified in rock, alpine and ski gain the international (IFMGA) credential. This IFMGA credential gives us the ability to provide guides to work in other IFMGA member countries such as those of Europe.

Our groups are small with low guide to participant ratios

Large groups can detract from the learning process and the wilderness experience. We work to keep ratios as small as practical, and our small groups give you more of what you came for: skiing, climbing and exploring the Sierra.

Our Programs are All Inclusive

Scheduled trip prices are all-inclusive (except for any rental equipment). Overnight backcountry programs include permit fees; group equipment such as kitchen, group technical gear, first aid supplies and avalanche beacons and good backcountry breakfast, lunch and dinners.

We are an AMGA Accredited Business.

AMG Accreditation is a process that reviews operational guidelines, staffing, permits, and insurance helping to insure professionalism by self-evaluation. It is a means of quality assurance and external review that examines such important business practices, compliance with state, federal and local regulations, staff training and professional development, resource stewardship, and adherence to current industry standards. This credential represents a commitment to excellence through exemplary operating standards and an adherence to the highest ethical standards. We are proud to share this credential with some of the nation’s most recognized and respected guide services, climbing schools, and educational institutions.

AMGA IVBV Logos

ADD A PORTER TO YOUR TRIP

Tired of the big loads and want to take it easy? We can provide a strong young back to get things to camp while you take it easy with a daypack. In, out or both. Ask the office how to do it.

Leave No Trace (LNT) logo

Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical program, not as a set of rules and regulations.

Take the next step and join us in the mountains for a wilderness adventure.

Register Today!

What Our Clients Say

It was perfect. Andrew is an excellent guide; I can’t imagine better. I’ve done four trips with SMC, all of them A+.
Peter
I want to thank my guides for two awesome mountaineering adventures. Their knowledge, professionalism, and preparedness made both trips a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Please share this email with them and thank them for me.
Angelo
We would use SMC again in a heartbeat and recommend your service to anybody looking to do a trip. Thanks again!
Steve
I want to thank your Team for a great Climb on Mt. Whitney this past week. Aaron and Luke did a fantastic job for us. These two young men were friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful. It was a pleasure having these two guide us on the mountaineers route. At every step along the way, Aaron and Luke made us feel as if our success, safety and enjoyment was their top priority.
Connie has been extremely helpful and responsive in setting up details of this climb.
I would recommend these guides and your company to anyone wanting a first rate experience. This was an outstanding adventure I will always remember.
Thank you all for helping make it so.
Brian
We had a feeling that SMC was a very competent organization from the way you handled your job and we were not at all disappointed.
René and Chris
I just wanted to thank you both for making our climb up Mt. Whitney an absolutely fantastic experience. You guys were terrific and the trip couldn’t have gone any better. I have been talking about it nonstop since getting back and have recommended it and you guys to several friends at home and at work.
Jim
AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, any variation of adjectives. On a scale of to 10, an 11.
Tim & Phil
I wanted to email you and tell you how amazing of a time we had climbing Whitney this past weekend! It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done, and I am so glad we had the opportunity to experience such an adventure! Both our guides were outstanding! They really knew what they were doing, I learned so much about climbing and the mountain itself, and I really trusted and felt safe climbing with them. Their leadership really made the trip so fun and do-able! I can’t emphasize enough what an AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, AND AWESOMELY FUN time we had on the mountain!!!
Kirsten

The entire group was impressed with Ryan’s technical expertise and leadership qualities. It’s a rare combination that lent itself to calming (group) stress, while providing quiet motivation and instilling confidence in the face of challenging conditions. Dave seems to share the same unique set of qualities that helped develop trust and support for everyone to reach their goal. I don’t know where you find these guys, but when people are literally entrusting their lives by believing in their leaders’ guidance, capabilities and decisions, it’s a rare talent indeed

Karl
Just wanted to say thanks for everything. The climbs were great and so was the service. You handled the scheduling (and changes) quickly, kindly and professionally. Aaron was also great — he is a very skilled guide and also very professional with people and logistics. Thanks again for a great experience.
Bob