Generally if a trip date is marked in black (not red), it is open for booking. But if you are a party of 2 or more, it’s best to check first.
You can also use the final registration forms below but remember that space is not yet guaranteed. We will need to talk not only to confirm available space on the trip, but also to be sure that you or your group are in appropriate physical shape. Our trips are active outdoor programs and while you don’t have to be a “super fit athlete” to participate, you do need to be in appropriate shape as most programs require a moderate to high level of physical fitness. Remember that the mountain weather can change rapidly, potentially making any backcountry trip extremely physically challenging. Thus, we find the initial conversation over the phone an important step in the sign up process. After confirming availability, continue with online registration or print/scan/email the PDF registration form below.
SMC Online Registration Steps
- Contact and program information
- Medical information
- Covid-19 questionnaire
- Consent to Cancellation Policy, and Acknowledgement of Risk
If you can sit down and finish all at once that’s great. If not, you have the option to save what you have started and continue later, by clicking “Save and Continue Later” at the bottom of the form.
Printable PDF Signup Forms / Policies
Once we have talked with you and confirmed not only trip availability but also that the trip is appropriate for your skills, you can register online (above). Below are additional forms you might need to fill out and get back to us to get your trip inked. These are all PDFs so download, complete and email back to if it is requested of you.
NPS Acknowledgement of Risk Form — This is for trips in the National Parks (PDF).
Ski Skills Questionnaire — Only for ski trips (online form)
CANCELLATION & TRIP INSURANCE
We would like you to carefully read our cancellation policy (PDF).
We understand that plans often change and we try to be as flexible as we can, but we need to pay guides who have set aside their time for you and to and cover our expenses, so we have a cancellation policy that we go by. Sometimes things do not work out the way we want them to. SMC cannot be responsible for events that affect your ability to fully participate in the trip you have signed up and paid for.
So, we strongly encourage you to obtain trip cancellation insurance (travel insurance) near the time you pay your SMC deposit. While you may find others you prefer and that is fine, here are some of our suggestions for travel insurance companies:
Some companies offer a “cancel for any reason” provision that will cover trip cancellation due to “personal reasons,” including those related to Covid-19. Some other policies may not cover Covid-19 related cancellations. As always read the policies carefully.
Ripcord Travel Insurance
World Nomads Travel Insurance
Yonder Travel Insurance
Tip: Membership in the American Alpine Club includes subscription to a great journal AND rescue insurance, in case that’s something you’re interested in. (We hope that rescue is something we will never need to use.)
SMC reopened on 5/27/2020, 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. Our current measures to deal with the pandemic are:
• New background information and exposure information gathering
• Lowering ratios and working with small groups
• Guides will only heat water and not cook for the group. Guests will bring their own quick-cook foods.
• Practicing social distancing. This is pretty easy on trails but less easy on technical climbs. We have procedures for this.
• Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary and upping our hygiene and sanitizing techniques
• Being prepared to change our thinking as new information becomes available.
• We are abiding by state, county and federal guide guidelines and are relying upon advice from our medical advisor.
Because of our efforts to help slow the spread of Covid-19, some of our trip and course descriptions may be temporarily incorrect, especially regarding FOOD. For now, on overnight trips, we are serving ready-to-eat, freeze-dried breakfasts and dinners which can be prepared with hot water alone. You will need to bring lunches and snacks, and your favorite drink flavorings. If your trip involves any overnighting, please get in touch to ensure we are on the same page for food preparation – before your trip! We get asked this a lot: NO, there is no tent-sharing with strangers!
SPECIFIC TRIP INFORMATION
Each of SMC trip webpage has listed as PDFs: a trip description, an equipment list, our suggestions for preparation and LNT principles. We hope that in anticipation of your trip, you will hungrily devour all the information you can in preparation, including these PDFs. Have questions? Please contact us.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR TRIPS
We pride ourselves on a personal touch on all our trips. A small group size is not only more efficient but allows for more on one instruction and attention, and more time spent climbing, rather than belaying. Obviously the ratio or group size that we can guide affects our prices. You may find organizations willing to take parties of three clients, or even more up technical routes, at a lower cost, but we do not. We believe that value is not simply the lowest cost, but rather, the best possible experience.
Our scheduled trips are intended to be as inclusive as possible and to offer the best guides and services we can. If you are comparing our prices to similar trips consider the quality and experience of the guides and items included in the price such as trailhead shuttles, air charters and food inclusion.
Our scheduled programs are priced to run on a full, or near full basis. If there are insufficient registrations we will give you the option of paying an additional surcharge or perhaps shorten the program to enable it to run. We have found that most participants would rather do this then have the program cancelled and we will discuss it with you should this situation arise.
Our scheduled overnight backcountry programs include all group equipment, kitchen gear, tents, group climbing equipment when necessary, emergency kits, avalanche beacons, and food, including breakfast, lunch and dinner (You bring hot and cold drinks and your favorite snacks). We take special care to choose meals that are as nutritious as possible, providing ample chow for the heartiest of backcountry appetites.
We do our best to cater to different dietary needs. However, if you have a significant food allergy or medical condition that requires strict adherence to a dietary regime we may not be able to fully accommodate you. The guide is unable to prepare a number of different meals each night for a number of different needs. Bishop is very limited in shopping options and much lightweight food may contain a variety of allergens. We may have to ask you to bring some of your own supplies or to provide specific food menus.
Front country programs do not include meals and unless otherwise noted our front country trips do not include lodging. For these programs we provide recommendations for local (Eastern Sierra) lodging in various price ranges.
We have available for rent the following equipment: mountaineering crampons, mountaineering axes, technical crampons, technical ice tools, harnesses, belay plates and carabiners and snowshoes. SMC clients can rent gear for SMC trips using our online gear rental form.
For ski programs we work locally with Mammoth Mountaineering. If you have tried to rent randonnée equipment in Southern California you will have found that there is none to be had. Mammoth Mountaineering has the best selection you will find anywhere in the country.
PRIVATE GUIDING AND CUSTOM TRIPS
If the dates we have scheduled do not match your time available, you desire a special type of program, or you have a group and would like one of our regular programs at a different time, we will work with you to set it up. Go to our Private Guiding page.