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    Bishop Skyline Traverse

    Bishop Skyline Traverse

    per person

    The Bishop skyline is the iconic ridgeline North of the Palisades that rises dramatically almost 10,000 feet above the Owens Valley desert and contains the highest extent and concentration of big and high-quality steep couloirs in the range.


    Probably the most challenging of our signature crest tours, the Bishop Skyline Traverse requires the perfect combination of timing, fitness, and skill to pull off in style. Maximum guiding ratio is 2:1. If you have considerable previous multiday, technical ski mountaineering experience then we can talk to you about guiding this crest traverse on a custom private basis.

    A truly world class and highly challenging High Sierra crest tour.

    The Bishop skyline is the iconic ridgeline North of the Palisades that rises dramatically almost 10,000 feet above the Owens Valley desert and contains the highest extent and concentration of big and high-quality steep couloirs in the range. Over the years, Sierra Mountain Guides have explored this ridge from every direction and have developed a point to point ski mountaineering traverse that is incomparable to any we have seen. By linking various steep slopes, couloirs and high passes we are able to not only move through amazing terrain, but take advantage of classic ski lines along the way. The skyline goes from Bishop Creek to Pine Creek but with vision from legendary Sierra skier and guide, Tom Carter we expanded the tour to enchain Mount Darwin and Mount Lamarck as well, making this a truly world class and highly challenging High Sierra crest tour.

    • Included
      backcountry
      Bishop Skyline
      Crest tour
      High Sierra skiing
      ski mountaineering
      traverse
      white line
    • Not Included
      14ers
      3D chute
      3rd pillar
      3rd Pillar Dana
      AIARE
      AIARE 1
      AIARE 2
      Alaska
      Alaska skiing
      alpine
      alpine climbing
      alpine rock climbing
      Alps
      Alps climbing
      Alps running
      Alps skiing
      Alps trilogy
      American Mountain Guides Association
      AMGA
      avalanche awareness
      avalanche course
      backcountry 101
      backcountry ski
      Backcountry Skiing
      backcountry snowboard
      backpacking
      Bear Creek Spire
      Berner Oberland
      Bernese Oberland
      Bishop
      Blacksmith Peak
      Bloody Mountain
      Breakthrough
      Bridgeport
      California
      California fourteeners
      camping
      Cardinal Pinnacle
      Carson Peak
      Celestial Aretes
      Chamonix
      Chamonix climbing
      Charlotte Dome
      chef
      classic rock climb
      classic Sierra rock
      climb
      climbing
      climbing camp
      climbing skills
      climbing Swiss Alps
      Clyde Minaret
      Convict Creek
      cook
      courses
      courses instruction
      crampon
      Crystal Crag
      custom
      custom private ski
      Dana Plateau
      destinations
      Devil's Slide
      Dolomites
      Dolomites climbing
      Double Eagle Resort
      Dream Bowl
      East Buttress
      East Face
      Eastern Sierra climbing
      Eastern Sierra skiing
      Eastern Sierra Winter
      Eiger
      Evolution Loop
      exam
      fastpacking
      Fishhook Arete
      Four Seasons
      France
      Glass Creek
      Grindelwald
      guide course
      Haute Route
      heli assisted
      heli skiing
      Hemlock Ridge
      High Sierra
      high tour
      hiking
      Horse Creek
      horses
      Horsetail Falls
      Hut to Hut
      ice 101
      ice axe
      ice climbing
      ice climbing course
      Incredible Hulk
      instruction
      intermediate level
      international
      introductory
      introductory ice climbing course
      Italy
      John Muir Trail
      John Muir Wilderness
      June Lake
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      Jungfrau
      kids
      kids climbing programs
      Las Vegas
      lee vining
      Lee Vining area
      lee vining canyon
      level 1
      level 1 refresher
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      light and fast
      lightweight
      Lone Pine
      Lone Pine Peak
      Lovers Leap
      Mammoth Lakes
      Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite
      Mammoth Mountain
      Mammoth to June
      Mammoth to Yosemite
      Matterhorn
      Matterhorn Peak
      McGee Creek
      Merriam Peak
      mixed climbing
      Monch
      Mont Blanc
      Mont Blanc run
      Mount Conness
      Mount Dana
      Mount Emerson
      Mount Gabb
      Mount Humphreys
      Mount Mills
      mountain running
      mountaineering
      Mountaineers Route
      Mt Conness
      Mt. Dana
      Mt. Emerson
      Mt. Humphreys
      Mt. Russell
      Mt. Sill
      Mt. Tom
      Mt. Whitney
      Mt. Winchell
      mules
      multiday
      negatives
      Nevada
      North Palisade
      North Peak
      north ridge
      onion valley to mt. whitney
      Ortler
      Owens River Gorge
      pack outfit
      pack support
      packers
      palisades
      Palisades Glacier Camp
      peak descents
      Peter Croft
      Pine Creek
      Polemonium Peak
      porters
      Positive Vibrations
      private
      private custom
      professional development
      Red and White Mountain
      Red Dihedral
      red rock
      Red Slate Mountain
      rescue skills
      Ritter Range
      rock
      rock 201
      rock climbing
      Rock Creek
      Rock Creek to Mammoth
      Sabre Ridge
      San Joaquin Ridge
      Sawtooths
      self arrest
      self belay
      self rescue
      Sequoia National Park
      sherpas
      Sierra
      Sierra 5.10
      sierra alpine
      Sierra Mountain Guides
      Sierra Nevada
      Sierra skiing
      single pitch instructor
      ski
      ski guiding
      ski tour
      ski touring
      skiing
      snow
      snow skills
      snowboard
      SPI
      splitboard
      sport
      sport climbing
      Starlight Peak
      supported
      Switzerland
      Tahoe
      Temple Crag
      third pillar
      Thompson Pass
      Thunderbolt Peak
      Tioga
      trad climbing
      trail running
      Tuolumne
      Twin Lakes
      Ultra Trail Mont Blanc
      ultralight
      Valdez
      Via Ferrata
      wilderness trip
      winter
      Yosemite
      yosemite national park
      Yosemite ski
      Yost Meadow
      Zermatt
      Zermatt Valley

    TRIP ITINERARY

    Bishop Skyline Traverse

    DAY 0

    Meet at the SMG office in Bishop. Equipment check and final packing. Plan to stay in Bishop for the night.

    DAY 1

    Drive to the town of Aspendell in Bishop Creek. Approach to camp at Lower Lamarck Lake. Ski near camp.

    DAY 2

    With day packs, summit and ski Mount Darwin and then Mount Lamarck. Descend to camp.

    DAY 3

    Ascend the Wonder Lakes drainage and the north side of the valley to "Fool's Ridge." Folow a nice north facing couloir down to Loch Leven. From there a big 2500' climb takes us to the summit ridge on Mount Emerson. Summit the peak via class 3-4 and descend technical rock and mixed terrain to the top of the North Couloir. Drop in and ski the incredible 1500', 40+ degree North Couloir on Mt. Emerson, first climbed in 1926 by Norman Clyde. Camp in Birch Creek.

    DAY 4

    Day 4 has some great options. One of our favorites is to climb to the summit of Peak 13,121 and descend the steep and exciting Kindergarten Chute. Conditions may dictate that we ski Mount Locke and one of the Wahoo Gullies first instead. Either way, there are at least a half dozen couloirs in this drainage and we will drop our camping gear to ski as many as we can before we continue over Peaklet col to camp near Longley Reservoir.

    DAY 5

    Climb and ski the Northeast couloir on Mt. Humphreys, then pick up camp and climb the South Face of Basin Mountain. Summit the peak, ski the Basin Couloir and camp in the basin on the East Face.

    DAY 6

    The big finish! Finish the descent of Basin Mountain in the early morning and traverse north to Horton Creek. Ascend the South Face of Mount Tom to the the summit. Desced the North Ridge and drop in steeply into the East Bowl. From around 11,000' in the bowl we take an unlikely ramp up 500' on the Northeast Ridge. Descend around 6000' to the desert outside of the town of Rovana and the end of the tour! Celebrate in Bishop.

    Bonus DAY!

    If conditions line up well, the bonus optional run is to summon the energy for one more day to ski the Scheelite Canyon. Though rarely in very good shape, it is a beautiful and classic line on the north side of Pine Creek and puts the full cap on the entire Bishop Skyline. There are other great lines in the Wheeler Crest and upper Pine Creek as well if conditions dictate. Pre-plan this day to plan a day of flexibility into the program for weather.

    Prerequisites:

    • Expert downhill skiing skills
    • Ability to control speed and execute fall-line turns in control and comfort in difficult snow conditions (deep powder, heavy and/or moist snow, breakable crust, firm or icy, etc.)
    • Ability to execute hop turns on 45 degree+, firm slopes, coming to a complete and immediate stop at the finish of each turn
    • Ability to sideslip forward and backward, with edge control, on steep, firm slopes
    • Significant experience ski touring in the backcountry using ski touring equipment (boots, bindings, skins, transceiver, shovel, probe, etc.)
    • Ability to make uphill facing kick-turns in an uphill track on a steep slope
    • Experience in ultra-lightweight, multi-day ski mountaineering
    • Experience on multiday technical Sierra ski mountaineering tours
    • Prior ski trips with Sierra Mountain Guides
    • Experience with the use of climbing ropes and technical competency in use of ice axe, crampons, and ski crampons
    • Exceptional fitness
     

    Cost Includes:

    • SMG Guide(s)
    • Group camping gear and technical gear
    • Meals (dinners and breakfasts)
    • Use of avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel, probe)
    • Wilderness Permits

    Not Included:

    • Travel to/from the Eastern Sierra
    • Lodging in the Eastern Sierra
    • Food or drink in towns
    • Snacks/lunches or drinks on the tour
    • Personal or rental equipment
    • Trip Insurance and Mountain Rescue Insurance (recommended)