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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

Fall is Here

We have had our first snow falls and the mountains are white, days are cool and the weather is spectacular. These are indeed the golden days! It is our shoulder season as we wind down from a busy summer and await the big winter storms. But there is plenty to do and to get out and about; rock climbing, desert hiking, Death Valley trips. This is our favorite time of the year.

If you have the inclination and the time we have the ideas. So don’t be limited in thinking about the “traditional” times for activities. The Eastern Sierra is a year-round center for fun and adventure.

John Muir Trail supported thru hike

Winter is Coming. And so are our Avi I courses

SMC owner and veteran of over 40 years climbing and skiing the Sierra Nevada, SP Parker, will be teaching lecture day of most courses this winter. This is your unique chance to learn from a very experienced instructor who knows the terrain, the curriculum and the most important factors better than most anyone. We hope you show up with tough questions ready!
Start your backcountry education with the Level 1 AVI Course. We aim to demystify avalanche phenomena and evaluation, giving you the skills to head out make better decisions.Continuing our adaption to Covid-19 we will be doing our online format for the class work and now you can fit the two day field sessions into any 2-day weekend. Classes will fill rapidly so don’t miss out.

High Sierra Backcountry Skiing

Wilderness First Responder and Recertifications

Things can go wrong in the mountains and we should know how to try and fix them without hitting the SOS button. Medical training is a part of that preparation. These courses are not just for guides and outdoor professionals – they are for anyone who believes in taking responsibility for themselves and their part. We offer a 10 day full course and 2 day recertifications.

John Muir Trail Section Hikes

Fall Rock Climbing

The Sierra Eastside is truly a world destination for rock climbing with everything and anything a climber can desire. Long route, short routes, sport or trad, mountain or lowland; we have it all. We find that fall is the best time to get out and expand your skills, have new experiences and see new vistas.
We have a wide range of programs to choose from so get out before the winter snows fall.

Women’s Gym to Crag Weekend
Sport Climbing Weekend
Multi-pitch Weekend

Contact SMC and Get Outside!

Sierra Mountain Center & Covid-19

Inyo County Covid business compliance

We continue to take Covid mitigation measures 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.

Veteran guide SP Parker who has lived and guided locally for over 40 years is at the helm of SMC. He sets the standards required of SMC guides and works to mentor and train them in the long tradition of Sierra Guiding of which we are proud to be a part of and to continue.

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 is the only locally based AMGA Accredited guide service. As an AMGA Accredited Guide Service in 2022 we are bound to hold our staff to the AMGA “Scope of Practice” That sets out the appropriate terrain for a given level of training. Other non-accredited guide services are not bound by this professional standard. We believe in it.


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!