2019 is turning out to be a very… different year. Above average snowfall, late snowfalls, high water runoff, delayed runoff; and now an avalanche hazard to take into consideration. On June 4th we had our annual staff training up in Rock Creek Canyon and found evidence of recent avalanche activity. The type of avalanches we [...]
This is turning into a very atypical spring in the Sierra Nevada with extensive periods of snow and rain. Mammoth Mountain is reporting 29 inches of snow for May which is an all time recorded record, beating the last high in 2015. The ski area is now proposing to stay open until August. This has [...]
The Department of Water Resources has updated the predictions for run off. The maximum runoff dates have been pushed back and later due to cooler temperatures in the Sierra and unsettled weather with small storms moving through and frequent thunderstorm activity that seems to be ongoing. Kern River at Isabella, May 17 PCT mile approx. [...]
The winter of 2018/19 is on its way out and spring is here. Despite the media hype, this was not the biggest snow year ever. But looking at monthly totals from Mammoth Mountain, where the snows came early — February was the biggest February on record Nov 55 inches Dec 26 inches Jan 93 [...]
Since our regional avalanche forecasting center, Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (or ESAC), started issuing its advisories on the first of January, we have seen “considerable” to “high” danger ratings more than fifty percent of the time, with more than a dozen days so far receiving the latter rating. For some, this might seem unusual for [...]
It was late one night in July of this year, I was messaging a few friends and tossing around an idea for this year’s off season “retreat”. Some may say that my job is a retreat or a sort of vacation already. I now have numerous arguments against such claims, but this story is not [...]
The book, 50 Classic Climbs of North America, came out in the early 1980 and was then, and still is now, a collection of the great climbs from a classic era. Some of the climbs are not so great and there are climbs that are better, but these all have history behind them and are [...]
I just wanted to mention 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 [...]
Most of the big climbs I do in the Sierra are thanks to my friend Ian McEleney. He comes up with stupid ideas and I’m dumb enough to join him. Well, payback is a bitch: When I came up with the idea of stacking Peter Croft’s “Big Four” alpine routes car-to-car and back-to-back in four [...]
I (Sp) am back in New Zealand for a few weeks and filling it with some hiking, climbing and enjoying the country.The great thing about NZ "tramping" is that there are lots of tracks, fantastic views and a great hut system. The bad thing is that there are lots of biting sandflies, rain and nothing [...]
The Wet West Coast West side of the South Island has always had a reputation. Annual rainfall here can be up to almost 60 feet of water. The forest is rainforest and often a battle to get through. Rivers come up and people are stranded for days. A bridge on the main highway washed out [...]
Mt Owen aka Moria Jan. 2013 Owen is the high point of Kahurangi National Park and also had a moment of fleeting fame as one of the settings for Lord of the Rings. Even has a summit dragon. More importantly it has a wonderful new hut and spectacular limestone karst terrain and is about an [...]
Tapi is the highest point in New Zealand outside of the main Divide and I have wanted to climb it for over 40 years. So I connected with an old friend Penny, from the old days of university back in the 1970s, and she flew down from Auckland and we made a quick trip since [...]
My wife Chris and I want to tell you what a fabulous experience the Whitney Cottonwood trip was. Much better than we hoped it would be. It was one, if not the best, vacation experiences we have ever participated in. Our leaders, Aaron and Jessica were marvelous--patient, caring, helpful, knowledgeable, and good-humoured. In addition, they are terrific cooks. We [...]
Boundary Peak is the high point of Nevada and we get a number of people who are doing all of the high points of the 50 states wanting to do it. This was the case with Jayme and Don Holcomb. This was a warm up before Whitney, but with no good trail and the dry [...]
We have been working with Rock Creek Pack Station to set up the JMT in stages as a pack supported trip. This allows people who want to do the JMT but do not want the heavy packs to spread the journey out over four years and to have a relaxed memorable vacation along the way. [...]
We have been working with Rock Creek Pack Station to set up the JMT in stages as a pack supported trip. This allows people who want to do the JMT but do not want the heavy packs to spread the journey out over four years and to have a relaxed memorable vacation along the way.This [...]
OUTSTANDING, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, any variation of adjectives. On a scale of to 10, an 11.
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 [...]
The summit to Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route was amazing. Sam is a great guide and we were fortunate to have him lead our group. Daniel and I will have this special memory forever and I want to thank you for your patience with all of my calls and answering all of my questions. I [...]
This is the eight trip that Linda and SP have done as Linda works her way to completing all of the Sierra Peaks list. We intended to do this trip two years ago and then last year, but things got in the way. The third time was however a charm and went just perfectly with [...]
Some of the Sierra Mountain Center team went out on July 4, 2012 to check out Mt. Emerson 13,225'. There are several different approaches. We decided to climb the SE Face. Short approach for this fun alpine route on solid rock. Leaving the Piute Pass trail before Loch Leven Lakes- Route climb the [...]
Dear Connie: My recent trips with SMC (Boundary Peak & Mount Whitney) were incredible! I want to thank my guides (Ryan, Jim, Andrew, & Sam) 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. I [...]
Over the years John Miller has done a bunch of trans Sierra ski trips with SMC. Given this year's low snow fall in California it was just as well that we decided to head north to Canada to do a hut to hut ski across the Wapta Traverse out of Lake Louise in [...]
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.
Joe and I are just a couple days removed from an awesome trip up the East Face of Mount Whitney. Aaron was our guide and did a fantastic job from start to finish and made the experience really fun. We would use SMC again in a heartbeat and recommend your service to anybody looking to [...]
We just returned home from our trip to Whitney via Cottonwood and I wanted to express my sincere thank you for putting together such a fantastic trip. Honestly, it will be one to remember forever. Above all, Marie and Luke were outstanding. Their expertise, encouraging words, ability to pace us and sure friendship was the [...]
The White Mountains of California are truly fantastic. This unique range became wilderness only two years ago. It is high alpine desert and this year was marked by a profusion of flowers with fragrant phlox scenting the air. This year we had only one client, Robyn from Monaco (she hiked the JMT with us last [...]
Connie, Andrew, and SP, I'm just now back in touch with e-mail, so it's the first opportunity to say thanks for the Bear Creek Spire trip and for the flexibility in rescheduling. It was perfect. Andrew is an excellent guide; I can't imagine better. I've done four trips with SMC, all of them A+.
Hi Connie, 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.