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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


Update September 14 2021. The USFS regional office just announced that most National Forests in California with reopen at 11.59pm Wednesday September 15. That means that Sierra Mountain Center is OPEN for trips in the Inyo National Forest. We are excited to get back out with you. The trees are changing, high elevation temps are cool and there is frost on the ground in some places. Come enjoy the mountains with us.

We are are planning some fall Whitney trips. The following still have space available;
September 21 We have a permit to enter up the North Fork of Lone Pine peak so your choice of any route on Whitney or Russell
September 26 Whitney East Buttress.
October 1         Whitney Mountaineers and you can add on Mt Russell
October 8        Whitney Mountaineers
October 15      Whitney Mountaineers

Rcharge your soul and experience the Sierra Nevada in the company of one of our talented guides before the winter snows fall.

John Muir Trail supported thru hike

Fall is Here

The trees are starting to change, the air is cooling down and becoming clear and calm. Mornings are cool and the days still warm. That can mean only one thing – our favorite time of the year is here. School is back in session and the crowds have thinned out. These are the days we live for,  so don’t let them pass you by. Talk to us about a custom trip and enjoy the perfection of the summer Sierra before we move into the snowy months – which of course have their own special appeal.

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 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!