Start of SMG Alps 2011

In Trip Reports by Neil SatterfieldLeave a Comment

Hey there everyone, Well, after an interesting fight (Reno – Phoenix – Philadelphia – Zurich) I’ve (Neil) arrived in Pontresina. US Airways lost one of my bags so that will be a fun follow up.  It’s the bag with all the gear in to so I’ve got fingers crossed that they find it soon.  This year we decided to  rent a car in Zurich instead of taking the train to give us more flexibility with weather.  What a cool drive …

Mt. Ritter

In Trip Reports by Howie Schwartz1 Comment

Mount Ritter is classic.  It’s the highest peak in the Ritter Range, which includes Banner Peak and the Minarets.  R.J. Secor says, “Mount Ritter is perhaps the most prominent peak in the High Sierra, and can even be seen from certain summits in the southern portion of the range.” Mt. Ritter on the left, Mt. Banner on the right The beginning of July was kicked off by a crew of six (3 clients, 2 guides, 1 intern) tackling Ritter in a …

Mt. Conness

In Trip Reports by Neil SatterfieldLeave a Comment

In The Good, the Great, and the Awesome Peter Croft says of Mt. Conness’s North Ridge, “This route has the most alpine feel of the Conness routes….” and describes it as “undeniably classic.” That’s exactly what we got climbing it this last Friday. Due to old man winter and his cronies hanging around longer this year, Conness looked more like the Sierra in March rather than late June. What is normally scree, scree and more scree was snow, snow, and more snow. …

Sawtooth Mountaineering Seminar, June 2011

In Trip Reports by Jediah Porter1 Comment

Dan G. and I just finished this year’s version of our comprehensive “Sawtooth Mountaineering Seminar”. Designed to be a thorough introduction to snow and rock mountaineering skills, the SMS is always a great time, in a great place, with the usual cast of great SMG people. This program was conducted as part of our scheduled offerings. We have a very deep list of possible courses and trips all around the world. All of these are available on a customized basis. …

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course, Eastern Sierra, June 2011

In Trip Reports by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

“The American Mountain Guide’s Association (AMGA) is the premier source for training, credentials, and services for professional mountain guides andclimbing instructors in the United States.” Becoming intimately familiar with the “training” portion of that organizational mission statement has become a large part of my life in the last number of years. And it looks like the “credential” portion of that will consume much of my life for the next few years, as I take my final exams on the way …

January Ice Climbing, 2011

In Trip Reports by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

January was awesome for Ice Climbing! While the skiing deteriorated (just a little, we made it work, but it wasn’t ideal) the climbing only improved. We scrubbed the snow off, and then ol’ Ma Nature let the water run and the temps freeze coverage onto more of Lee Vining Canyon’s walls than has been covered in years. We ran a mid-week Ice 101, a custom photo shoot, some private guiding of the bigger routes, even some sort of wedding reception …

Black Mountain, January 2011

In Trip Reports by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

On January 25 and 26 Neal W. came out from Chicago with a flexible and motivated attitude! Looking for an enjoyable two day snow-and-scramble adventure, he and I got set up to climb something near Convict Lake. We had fast and firm snow conditions for the approach, and set up camp in the drainage between Morrison and Mount Aggie. We woke in the daylight, and started snow-shoe free climbing almost immediately adjacent to camp. Along the climb to the Morrison …

Holiday Ice Climbing 2010/11

In Trip Reports by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

We ran some excellent ice climbing programs during the Holiday ’10-11 period. A custom day Christmas Eve, an Ice 101 12/26-27, another January 1-2, and a custom program January 2-3. It was a stormy, exciting time. Most notably, we were the first ones in after the pre-Christmas “Snow-pocalypse”. We broke trail, found the ice almost completely plastered with “Snice” and the canyon bottom filled in with huge piles of avalanche debris. Immediately following Christmas the creek draining Ellery Lake started …

AMGA Ice Instructor Course

In Trip Reports by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

We at Sierra Mountain Guides pride ourselves on employing AMGA trained guides. And we keep ourselves motivated to continue training. We are also very proud of our friends and clients and fans that know how the AMGA training process works and how it improves the quality and safety of our trips. Both as compared to offerings from other guide services, and as compared to your past experiences with us. The guide training and certification process requires that a guide be …

Stormy Sierra Climbing

In Trip Reports by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Its not often in the Sierra that we get to climb in a true storm. First of all, the Sierra doesn’t receive too much stormy weather so we are pretty spoiled in that respect. Summertime brings the occasional afternoon thunderstorm which we steer clear from. In the winter, storms are usually associated with high avalanche danger so we find other options on those days and weeks. But this time of year, as we’ve said before, brings a variety of conditions …