About Us

We are California’s premier mountaineering school and guide service. Located in Bishop, California we offer rock climbing, summer mountaineering, hut-to-hut backcountry trips, backcountry skiing, avalanche training, rock climbing and ice climbing instruction and custom guiding here in the Eastern Sierra of California. There are other guide services offering trips in the Sierra Nevada. So why do we believe that you will get the most out of letting us be your guides?

We are knowledgeable and local

We are the oldest most established local guide service. The Eastern Sierra has been our home for nearly 30 years and these are the mountains where we love to climb, hike and ski. There are few working guides who know the Sierra as well as we do, from the popular paths of the Sierra, but also the little-known places where we have been exploring new routes, tours and remote summits. We know the best routes and the small details that make for a successful trip. When you call us and ask what conditions are, we simply look out our office window and give you up to date information.

We have also literally helped write the books on local Sierra climbing: “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara, of Supertopo; our self-published “Eastern Sierra Ice”; and the “Climbers Guide to the Bishop Area” by Maximus Press.

We are qualified

AMGA IFMGA logos side by sideWe believe in the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) programs and the level of quality assurance that they give you in choosing a guide. Our guides are trained and certified by the AMGA. Certified guides have demonstrated before his or her peers high levels of competence and judgment as well as fulfilling technical requirements such as emergency medical certification, rescue training, and snow stability forecasting. Guides certified in rock, alpine and ski gain the international (IFMGA) credential. This IFMGA credential makes us one of the few companies able to guide in other member countries.

We care about wild places

We have been active in Wilderness preservation for years and SMC takes its responsibility to the land seriously with an important part of our programs being to help others learn about and experience the land we love. SMC guides are trained in Leave No Trace principles and travel lightly upon the land. Join us in exploring and preserving this remarkable and fragile environment.

We have trips for everyone

Our trips are designed to cater to all skill levels from the novice to the expert. We divide instructional programs into “Acquiring the Skills” for those wishing to gain knowledge and techniques and “Applying the Skills” which put your skills to use allowing you to take the next steps in challenging yourself.

Our groups are small with low guide to participant ratios
Large groups can detract from the learning process and the wilderness experience. We work to keep ratios as small as practical, and our small groups give you more of what you came for: skiing, climbing and exploring the Sierra.

All inclusive programs

Scheduled trip prices are all-inclusive (except for any rental equipment). Overnight backcountry programs include permit fees; group equipment such as kitchen, group technical gear, first aid supplies and avalanche beacons and good backcountry breakfast, lunch and dinners.

We offer scheduled and private guiding and custom trips

With a custom trip you get exactly what you want, when you want it and with whom you want, if you want company at all. Call us to arrange a custom trip with your goals and specifications.


Call 760-873-8526 or email office@sierramountaincenter.com