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Sierra Mountain Center

California’s premier mountaineering school and guide service.

Winter Whitney

Winter Whitney

Climb the highest Lower 48 peak during a season when conditions are harder, but with fewer people around. A true winter mountaineering experience for those wishing to move onto higher mountains around the world. Learn More

Winter Mountaineering

Winter Mountaineering

Want to get out in the winter world? Gain the skills in this action filled course combining ice climbing, winter mountain and camping skills along with an ascent of a Sierra Peak. Learn More!

Winter in the Sierra

We are just starting to see snow fall by the foot here up high in the mountains, and the snow from the past winter is lingering. It’s time to start thinking about renewing your avalanche certificates, plan a Sierra hut trip and or maybe a winter ascent of Mt. Whitney. Not a skier? We’ve got biking day trips, snowshoeing, easy hikes, ice climbing and even though it is winter we are still rock climbing at low elevations out of Bishop.Want to go big? Check out our multi-day backcountry ski trips.  But what if you aren’t a downhill person? We’ve got adventures for you too.  Check Out ALL OF OUR WINTER PROGRAMS

We look forward to seeing you in the mountains.

Backcountry Hut Stays

Backcountry Hut Stays

Our hut at North Lake gives you comfortable shelter from the storm and an ideal base from which to ski, board or snowshoe.

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Avalanche Courses

Avalanche Courses

Avalanche danger in the winter mountains is real, so learn the skills to help you move with confidence through the mountains during the snowy months be it on skis, snowshoes, a board or afoot.

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Get fully into the mountains!

Get fully into the mountains!

Sign up through Mammoth Mountain to learn the basics at the ski area with a PSIA instructor and then come out with us to take those skills into the backcountry.

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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.

There are a lot of guide services offering trips in the Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Mountain Center

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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