My daughter Whitney (27) and I recently spent a week backpacking with a group from Sierra Mountain Center (SMC) out of Bishop, CA.

For several years we had been thinking about Mt. Whitney. In 2017 we tried the Mountaineer’s Route, (with another guiding company), and made it to Upper Boy Scout Lake. Coming from Michigan and lacking the time to properly acclimate, we were not feeling well. We decided not to overpush and go for the summit. I said to Whit, we should try this again, but give ourselves more time.

Fast forward to 2020, I booked our trip with SMC and it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding guiding companies. They guided us through the sign-up process and helped us prepare. They answered every question we had and when Covid came and an earthquake hit 1-1/2 weeks before departure, SMC still found a way to make it happen safely and with the utmost professionalism.

On top of following Covid-19 safety protocols, taking care of our food, water, packing needs, along with educating us on the surrounding area history / stunning natural beauty, and respectfully guiding us on our hiking techniques, they were just plain and simple, FUN to be around!

I’ve climbed some mountains in the past, Grand Teton, Mt. Rainier, peaks in the Canadian Rockies, and sometimes with the push, the summit can almost seem anti-climactic. This wasn’t the case during the week-long trip with SMC and our summit of Mt. Whitney.

About 2 weeks after our trip I sent my daughter Whitney a text saying,

“I had a dream, I was sitting by a lake surrounded by majestic mountains.”

Whitney sent a text back with a picture of that lake and the mountains.

I replied, “I guess it wasn’t a dream after all.”

Thank you SMC for a trip we’ll never forget!

Whitney & Rick, Mount Whitney via Cottonwood Pass, July 6-12, 2020