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Sierra Mountain Center

California’s premier mountaineering school and guide service.

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

Sierra Mountain Center


We are past the equinox now and the days are warming. Mountain bluebirds are back with flashes of blue streaking across the meadows. Skiing is pretty much over and we are running high mountain trips with recent ascents of Whitney and a successful mini Mountain camp within the last few days
Our trips are filling quickly and this promises to be a busy year. So plan ahead and call the office soon to avoid missing out on what promises to the best summer ever as we emerge from the darkness of Covid into better times.

Summer is here so recharge your soul and experience the Sierra Nevada.

High Sierra Backcountry Skiing

Half Dome Ascent

Half Dome is probably the most recognizable feature in an American national park and even a non-climber can look at it and say, “It looks like a Dome cut in half to me.”

We have two trips in 2021, one full and one with four spaces available, June 8-11. Permits are scarce and we were up early to get our reservations in within seconds of the permits opening. Starting in Tuolumne, we climb Clouds Rest, then Half Dome and then descend to our pick up in Yosemite Valley to shuttle back.

This is one of the finest trips to an iconic summit to be found anywhere. With four of you we can make this a private family trip so call the office now to reserve these hard to obtain spots

Contact us for Spring skiing!
High Sierra Backcountry Skiing

Early Season Mt Whitney Climbs

The Southern Sierra got very little snow this winter and while this is bad news for skiing it is good news for Mt Whitney ascents.
Snow covers up the talus of the Mountaineers route and makes for an easier ascent and descent without the loose rock and the spring is our favorite time to climb the peak. It is also outside of the July 4th to Labor weekend which means that we are less limited by our quota numbers and we can accommodate more requests for  programs.

If you don’t have the snow and crampons skills needed get them first with a one day Snowskills Course.

If Whitney is on your list then this is the ideal time to climb. Call us and set up a program.

Contact us to set up a Whitney climb!

Sierra Mountain Center & Covid-19

Inyo County Covid business compliance

We reopened on 5/27/20, taking procedures seriously doing it correctly to protecting our staff and you as well. This has involved a lot of discussion and interaction with other professionals to feel our way down the best path.

Please read more about our precautionary measures and know that we are doing our best to protect our clients, staff, and community.

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 over 40 years. These are the mountains where we love to climb, hike and ski. There are no 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.


SMC supports LNT and abides by LNT principles on our programs.
Leave No Trace is best understood as educational and ethical guidelines, not as a set of rules and regulations.

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

Register Today!