As well as great mountains the east side of the Sierra also has an enviable wealth of rock climbing: white granite at Whitney Portal, the pocketed volcanic rock of Deadmans Summit, sculptured domes at Granite Basin, and the well known Owens Gorge. Just out of Bishop, the Buttermilks are one of the most aesthetic places anywhere to learn the basics of rock climbing, just a stroll from the car.

Regardless of the time of year, there’s always a place to climb in the Eastern Sierra.

Sierra Mountain Center is your “one stop” for acquiring rock climbing skills or for just getting out onto the rock and having a good time climbing. Our rock climbing program offers a complete progression from the basics to what we believe to be the most complete self-rescue course available.

We divide our programs into two types:

“Acquiring the Skills” These are programs that get you started with the fundamentals.

“Applying the Skills” These are programs that get you out using the skills you acquired in the initial courses and putting them to use, solidifying them and practicing them.


Acquiring the Skills

Rock I: Introduction to Rock Climbing — Easy technical top-roped climbing
This is the first step in discovering climbing and is a one-day foray to give you a taste of what it is all about. The aim is simply to have fun on the rocks. All you need to bring is lunch and enthusiasm and we will provide everything else.
Trip length: 1 day | Physical Difficulty: Low

Rock II: Introduction to Multi-pitch Climbing — Easy technical multi-pitch climbing 5.5-5.6
Once you’ve gotten some mileage on the “blunt end” of the rope by climbing a bunch and learning the basics of protection placement and anchoring it’s time to take it out onto longer routes. This course starts with protection removal and keeping yourself organized on longer routes. Then we put these skills to use on a multi pitch climb, coaching and learning on the way to a perfect summit.
Trip length: 1 day | Physical Difficulty: Moderate

Rock III: Introduction to Anchoring — None. All ground school.
If you have been climbing for awhile, on a variety of routes and wanting to learn more skills, then anchoring and gear placement is the next step. In this course we teach all the skills important to becoming an all-round solid rock climber. Starting with basic anchoring and protection placement, we will continue into more difficult and complex situations aiming for the most solid anchors we can create.
Trip length: 1 day | Physical Difficulty: Low

Rock IV: Introduction to Leading — Easy lead climbing
The heart of lead climbing is solid protection and anchoring skills. It is vastly different from following. You are in charge of protecting yourself, route finding and belaying your follower. This course will give you the skills to climb single pitch traditional and sport climbs.
Trip length: 2 days | Physical Difficulty: Moderate

Rock V: Self-rescue Training — None. All ground school
Do you know what to do should your partner fall and get hurt? Too few climbers do. Instead of relying upon outside help and assistance, we should all take the responsibility being prepared to do a self-rescue if necessary. The tools and skills required such as raising, lowering and ascending are nearly impossible to learn from a book. The only way is hands on practice and we aim to include plenty of this as well as discussions of how to avoid getting into this situation.

Trip length: 2 days | Physical Difficulty: Low

Applying the Skills

A Day on the Rocks — Moderate technical top-roped climbing.
If you have climbed before but perhaps it has been awhile, or maybe you are visiting the area and want to get outside and climb. We can fill the day with routes at your skill level, show you what the Eastern Sierra has to offer, and get you back into the climbing routine.
Trip length: 1 day | Physical Difficulty: Low

Multi-pitch Weekend — Technical multi-pitch climbing 5.7-5.9.
If you have climbed longer routes before and want more, then this program is for you. We have two great climbs chosen: Premier Buttress at Whitney Portal and The Regular Route on Cardinal Pinnacle out of Bishop. Each route is about 4-5 pitches long and also gives us the opportunity to work on multi-pitch skills and organization for even longer routes.
Trip length: 2 days | Physical Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Sport Climbing Weekend — Technical single-pitch climbing
Indoor climbing is a rapidly growing aspect of climbing and the next step from the gym is to take it outdoors and onto real rock. The Owens Gorge has established itself as one of the best places for sport climbing in California. Unlike many other locales, the Gorge has an abundance of moderate climbs and provides an ideal place to learn to rock climb in the outdoors or to expand your skills and push your limits on steep rock with large, positive holds. In the summer when the weather becomes too hot in the Gorge, we move up to the higher elevations of Rock Creek Canyon, with its granite crags, and the pocket tuff of Deadmans.
Trip length: 2 days | Physical Difficulty: Moderate