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Programs & Policies

Trip Philosophy: SYMG trips focus on the experience of spending time in the wild and beautiful places of Yosemite, Sequoia-King's Canyon Nat'l Park, and the Sierra and Inyo National Forests. Though we offer a variety of trips, there are three things you will find consistent on all trips - enthusiastic, skilled guides, incredible scenery, and healthy backcountry cuisine.

What's Included: In addition to great guides, and well designed trips, we also provide most meals while in the backcountry, all activity specific gear, personal camping gear, and accommodations. Please review itineraries for each trip's specific information, found on our web site.

Guides: The quality of your guide is what makes a good trip great, and in many ways distinguishes one company from another. SYMG guides are professional, courteous and patient individuals with great skills in the mountains and with people. Guides have wilderness medical training, and participate in ongoing education each year.

Safety: Experience, use of good judgement, leadership skill and effective decision making are great factors in having a safe trip. SYMG places great emphasis on the well being of our guests, and our guiding protocol is typically well above the industry standard. SYMG guides are trained in advanced wilderness-specific first aid. The group's safety is always the first priority.

Weather, Trail Conditions, and Natural Disasters including Forest Fires: We plan our trips and departure dates for times when conditions are most stable. We use long range historical averages as well as over 25 years of personal experience running the trips we offer in the areas we offer them. With that said, weather and trail conditions can affect any trip, even at the most stable times of the year. There are no refunds for bad weather or for inaccessible trails and itineraries due to any natural diasters including forest fires. We will do everything we can to re-scheduled or re-route your trip if weather or conditions end up being a factor. Please keep in mind that your safety is our most important priorty and we reserve the right to re-route your trip itinerary to keep you safe. Although not very common, we have had to re-route trips to different locations due to dangerous river crossings, blocked trails with no pack stock access, snowed-in passes, impassable access roads, and forest fires. If this happens, we will design an alternative itinerary, keeping intact as best we can, the vital aspects to re-create the trip itinerary you originally signed up for. There are no refunds in these cases. We highly recommend Trip Cancelation Insurance if you are uncomfortable in way with these policies.

Cancellations, Deposits, Refunds, Payments: All open sign-up group trips that cost under $500.00 have a non refundable deposit of $100.00 per person that will not be refunded after signing up. The non refundable deposit for trips that cost between $500.00-$1600.00 is $200.00 per person and trips between $1,600.00-$5,000.00 have a $400.00 non refundable deposit. Privately guided day trips are also subject to the $100.00 non refundable deposit but are not billed per person, rather per day. On all privately arranged trips, either custom or standardized itineraries, there is a 25% non refundable deposit based on the total trip cost. All final payments are due 60 days prior to departure on US trips (except JMT full backpak trip) and 90 days prior to departure on International and JM backpack trips. On all trips (except JMT full backpack and International trips, see below:), cancellations made 30 days or more prior to trip departure receive a full refund, less the deposit. Cancellations made 29-6 days prior to trip departure receive 50% refund less the deposit. There are no refunds for cancellations made 0-5 days prior to trip departure, or after the trip's begun. For John Muir Trail full backpack trips and International trips, which include Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and Costa Rica, the cancellation policy is as follows: There is a $400.00 non refundable deposit per person required to reserve a spot on a trip. Balances are due at 90 days. Cancellations made 60 days or more prior to trip departure receive a full refund, less the deposit. Cancellations made 14-59 days prior to trip departure receive 50% refund less the deposit. There are no refunds for cancellations made 0-13 days prior to trip departure, or after the trip's begun. Refunds will be issued promptly in the form of a check.

Gratuities for guides: Gratuities for your trail guides are greatly appreciated and typically range from 10-20% of your trip's cost: total, not per guide. If your trip has pack stock involved, you may also consider an additional gratuity for your horse-packer of 2-5% of your trip cost depending on how involved the packer is in your trip.