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Difficulty descriptions are by nature very subjective. The categories below represent generalized distinctions in terrain, level of commitment, time spent at elevation and overall trip duration. Level of commitment refers to the ability to opt out of activities such as peak ascents from a base camp. A committing trip requires a daily mileage to be completed each day.

Leisurely
These trips typically travel on groomed trails at a leisurely pace. You can expect maintained trails, gentle grades and more flexibility in terms of your destination for the day. Hikers will carry mainly the essentials in a light daypack and travel anywhere from 3 to 8 miles depending on the trip or preference.

Moderate- Basecamps
These include hiking, backpacking, or stock-supported trips that take place mostly on maintained trails to get to camp. These trips hike into a set basecamp and then offer optional destinations with varying degrees of challenge. You can expect modest climbs on uneven terrain. Total distances are often 4-7 miles of hiking per day over 3-4 days of hiking.

Moderate
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking or stock-supported trips. The trails can consist of uneven terrain with modest to difficult climbs and some steep passes (gains of 1000-2000’). These trips are typically 3-5 days in duration but can be longer. For backpacking trips, they can include carrying a fully weighted pack (30-42lbs) and travel 6-10 miles per day.

Challenging
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking, backpacking or stock-supported trips with uneven terrain and steep grades and passes. These trips are more physically and mentally challenging and usually 7-8 days in duration. For backpacking trips, pack weight will consist of (30-40lbs). Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment is high. Trips in this category spend significant time at higher elevations and often cover 8-12+ miles per day with average gains/losses of 1,500-3,000’ per day. The most successful people on these trips have some prior overnight backcountry experience.

Strenuous
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking on uneven terrain with steep grades. These trips travel 10-12+ miles per day and can vary from 8-21 days in length. Given the mileage and duration, there is an increased amount of physical and mental challenge throughout the trip. Pack weights will consist of 35-45lbs depending on the resupply schedule. Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment to reach your destination is high. The most successful people on these trips have extensive overnight backcountry experience.

Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney

About the trip

This trip is an ultimate crossing of Sequoia National Park through some of the most remote areas of the high Sierra, culminating in an ascent of the highest point in the contiguous US; Mt Whitney (14,500’). It’s rugged and remote and those who are up to the 83-mile challenge will be rewarded with a backpacking adventure like few others. Highlights include crossing the Great Western divide via Colby Pass (12,000’), the massive Kern River Canyon, Foxtail Pine forests, and of course panoramic views from atop Mt Whitney.

Accommodations: We provide your first night lodging at the Piccadilly Inn at the Airport in Fresno, 7 nights in tents, and your final night’s lodging at the Best Western in Lone Pine (pricing based on double room occupancy).

Equipment: We supply all group camping gear (stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.). We can also supply personal camping equipment (backpacks, sleeping bags, ground pads, trekking poles, and tents) upon request with no additional fee. You are welcome to bring your own personal camping equipment if you prefer. A detailed gear list will be sent to you upon registration.

Meals: We provide meals starting with lunch on day two through lunch and trail snacks the last day on the trail. Our "Backcountry Gourmet" meals have been acclaimed in Sunset Magazine. We take pride in providing excellent meals even in remote surroundings.

Your Cost Includes: Meals (as noted above), group camping gear (as noted above), personal camping equipment (as listed above), accommodations (as noted above), transportation to and from the remote trailheads, applicable permits, professional mountain guide(s), pre-trip planning packet, and trip support from our friendly office staff.

Not Included: Personal clothing and footwear, personal gear not listed under “Equipment” above, meals while in the front country, dinner in Lone Pine, tips for guides (10-20% of trip cost is customary), transportation except as noted above, and optional trip cancellation insurance.

Preparation:Training is paramount to the enjoyment and success of your trip. We recommend rigorous exercise in the months prior to your trip to bolster sustained cardiovascular/aerobic activities as well as core and leg strength. Day hikes with a weighted backpack, preferably on hilly, off road terrain, is the best way to train for our trips. Activities such as cycling and step-master type machines (or stadium stairs) are excellent for training as well and are preferable to a routine comprised solely of running. Be sure to include hill and steep climbs wherever possible on all training.

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Check in at the Piccadilly Inn at the Airport anytime after 4pm. Meet your guide(s) and group in the Lobby at 6pm for a brief orientation. Dinner is on your own at the Hotel.

Day 2: Following breakfast on your own, we will drive to the trailhead at Horse Corral Meadow (8200’). After a final gear check we will begin our hike over gentle Marvin Pass (8900’) and the Kanawyer Gap, before we head downhill to our campsite along Ferguson Creek (7200’). The day’s distance is 11.5 miles.

Day 3: From Ferguson Creek we’ll continue past the ranger station at Roaring River and head into Cloud Canyon. We’ll make camp in the vicinity of the looming Whaleback, a giant granite ridge that dominates the landscape. 8.5 miles

Day 4: Today, we’ll follow the trail along Colby Creek up to the crest of the Great Western Divide. The dramatic Colby Pass (12,000’) leads us to the eastern side of the ridge and is often considered the most remote spot in the Sierra. After enjoying the views, we’ll descend to Gallats Lake (10,200’) where we’ll make camp for the night. 9 miles

Day 5: We begin our day following the Kern-Kaweah River valley down into Kern Canyon. We’ll pass through the Jeffrey Pine forests at Junction Meadow and climb up to our campsite on Wallace Creek at 10,400. It is here that we meet the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails. The day’s mileage is 11 miles.

Day 6: Today’s hiking will get us within striking distance of Mt Whitney. We’ll travel over moderate trail through foxtail Pine Forests, unique to Sequoia National Park. We’ll then set up a basecamp at Guitar Lake under the Whitney massif at 11,500’. We’ll hit the sack early in preparation for our attempt of Mt Whitney in the morning. 8 miles.

Day 7: An early “alpine” start, we’ll leave our basecamp and extra gear behind for our summit attempt of Mt Whitney (14,495’). The trail is very well-graded and we’ll quickly gain final summit ridge. Bathed in early morning light, stunning views await of the Sierra high country and the eastern deserts far below. We’ll then return back to Guitar Lake, where we’ll have lunch and pack up camp. A few more miles of hiking take us below treeline to Crabtree Meadows (10,400’). From Guitar lake to Whitney and back is 9.5 miles round trip without packs and then downhill another 5 miles to camp. Total mileage this day is 14.5 miles.

Day 8: From Lower Crabtree Meadows we’ll hike a relatively flat section of the Pacific Crest Trail before a short climb in the afternoon to Rock Creek lake at 10,400’. This campsite is perfect for our last because it is truly one of the most beautiful of the trip. Total mileage is 10.5 miles.

Day 9: This is our last day on the trail and we’ll complete our grand trans-sierra crossing by hiking eastward over Cottonwood Pass (11,200). At the trailhead, we will be met by our private shuttle and cold drinks. Total mileage is 10 miles. Our shuttle takes us to our hotel in the quirky western town of Lone Pine. After a well-deserved shower, we’ll meet in the lobby a take dinner together in town.

Day 10: Continental breakfast is served at the hotel and we’ll depart for Fresno in the early morning. We’ll arrive around 1pm and can drop at either the Fresno Airport or Picadilly Inn. We suggest not planning flights before 4-5pm.

 

*Similar trips include: Yosemite High Passes LoopJohn Muir Trail, Rae Lakes Loop

Trip Details

Duration
10 Days/9 Nights

Group size
4-13 participants with 1-2 mountain guides

Difficulty Rating
Strenuous

Price
$2,750 per person (4-13 registered participants)

price based on shared room occupancy
Single Lodging Supplement (when available): Requested Single $240; Forced Single $120


Dates of trip in 2018
Aug 23-Sept 01, 2018
Custom dates & pricing available!




Testimonials

"The trip itself was more rewarding than I ever imagined. The varied terrain, flora and fauna of this route was truly magical. Though it wasn't the sole reason for my attraction to the TST trip, we did have favorable weather and were able to make our way up Mt Whitney on day six. It was exhilarating to experience the sunrise as we made our way to the top.

But without doubt, the best part of the trip for me personally was the expert guidance from Alex Kendrall and Nick Robinson. These two young men were consummate professionals from the initial group meeting the night before departure and throughout the entire journey across the Sierra Nevada. Safety, followed very closely by our enjoyment of the trip and educating us about the land were obvious priorities. And the cooking was absolutely incredible - something I think all of us looked forward to each night. I look forward to joining these two fine men on a future trip - a joy to be in their company.

I was anticipating good things from SYMG and you guys delivered on all counts. Thank you very much for a memorable and safe trip in the mountains."

-Randall - TST 2016

Hiking up Whitney under the stars and seeing daybreak through the portals will be a cherished memory. It was a demanding trip at times, but that was expected. The Grand Traverse may have had an edge on campsites, but Soldier lake helped to close that gap.

-Major Bradshaw - TST 2016

This was our best trip ever- and we have taken many!

-Judy & Peter - TST 2016

Hi, I'm cleaning out my email this morning and realize that I never told you what a great trip I had on the Trans Sierra Trail last September with Colby Brokvist. The route was great, I enjoyed the rigor, and the whole thing seemed very well-organized. Colby was fabulous -- such a pro. Thanks for a great trip

-Lee Kolm

Ian, We would like to take a moment to thank you once again for a fantastic trip/adventure. The hiking and scenery was awesome, the climb up Mt. Whitney inspiring. Also, we cannot write/"speak" more highly of our guides Drew Brodhead and Alex Kendrall. They are exceptionally charismatic individuals and excellent leaders. They made the trip an extremely memorable and fun experience. We definitely came away with lasting memories of people, places and moments. Thanks once again!

-Amy & Paul I., Sept 2013