High Sierra Ski Traverse

March 11th 2023


Description

High Sierra Classic ski tour is starting in the low desert of the Eastern Sierra and is crossing some of the more rugged parts of the Sierra Nevada. Often compared to the famous “Haute Route”, this is a true extended wilderness ski tour, with no huts, few other people, and no nearby roads. For the experienced backcountry skier with good backcountry skills, it will be a truly outstanding venture; the essence of ski mountaineering.

 

Shepherd pass start
6-7 days, 36 miles. 13,000 feet of ascent; 12,200 of descent

The classic and original route starts from the sagebrush and pines west of Independence and ascends Symmes Creek spending the first night at Anvil Camp. The next day we cross Shepherd Pass before descending Tyndall Creek to the Kern River and camp alongside Milestone Creek. Next we’ll be climbing to just below the summit of imposing Milestone Mountain as we follow the divide between the Kings, Kern and Kaweah Rivers. Steady contours will lead us around vast bowls of prime snow and the legendary slopes of Cloud and Deadman’s Canyons.
Miles of gentle downhill takes us through the amazing undulating Tablelands, below Alta Peak, and down to the giant sequoias at Wolverton.

 

The logistics of the trip are quite complex.

Dates: Leaving Vancouver on March 11th – either by plane or a car. One of our cars will be already in California and driving a second vehicle to Sierras will make the logistics with a car shuttle easy. If flying from Vancouver – arrangements will be done for car rental and if possible – hiring a transportation to the trailhead after we drop off our car to the exit of the traverse.

It is highly recommended that we spend a night or 2 at higher elevation (Mammoth Mountain is 1.5h driving from the trailhead) for acclimatization before starting the traverse. Camping at the trailhead is an option too.

If time and conditions permit, we can climb and/or ski Mount Whitney via Mountaineer’s Route.

Previous multi day backcountry skiing experience required. Must be comfortable skiing black diamond runs up to 40 degrees at a resort in any conditions and double black diamonds in good conditions with a pack. Must be in excellent physical condition with the ability to go for hours each day…day after day.

Map:

High Sierra traverses – CalTopo

 

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