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In the High Sierra, you’ll find every style of climbing for any skill level. This should come as no surprise since it is one of the most densely stacked ranges for climbing in the U.S. Whether you’re planning a big day out in the mountains by tackling one of California’s 14ers, want to advance your technique with a day of rock climbing instruction, or wish to put your systems to the test on a multi-pitch, the options in the Sierra are sky high! Discuss your objectives with an expert guide, choose the perfect location (and duration!), and embark on a private climbing adventure. To learn more, check out our Sierra Nevada alpine climbs guide and see all that you can accomplish within a day’s drive!

  • Elevations from below sea level up to 14,505ft at the summit of Mt. Whitney

  • Get a crowd-free experience due to High Sierra permit system

  • This mountain range lives up to its name with its high elevations often covered in year-round snow

Available itineraries

A Customized Day of Climbing With a Private Guide

Choosing this option, you get a regular day of climbing (6 to 8 hours) with an expert guide. There are a myriad of spots for both trad and sport climbing at virtually any grade level, meaning there is something for everyone. Your itinerary can include multi-pitch routes, mountain and technical climbs, as well as more general rock climbing and mountaineering instruction anywhere in High Sierra.

An Extreme Day of Customized Climbing With a Private Guide

Perfect for facing more advanced objectives, you get 12 to 14 hours with an expert guide with this option.Typical examples of itinerary would be summiting Mt Shasta, Mt Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous US!), or other technical climbs in Eastern Sierra.Taking it extreme means this tour is not for the faint-hearted and presents massive undertakings, granting an action-packed adventure.

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Meet your guide

SWS Mountain Guides
SWS Mountain Guides
SWS Mountain Guides has been in continuous operation since 1981 and is one of the oldest backcountry mountain guiding companies in California. Their quality of instruction and guidance rests in their organizational strength, commitment to safety, and quality of our guides. SWS operate the broadest range of programs in the most venues in California. They lead summer and winter adventures at Mt. Shasta, North Palisade, Temple Crag, The Incredible Hulk, and much more!
5.00 (5 reviews)
Adrian A (source: Google Reviews)

Signed up with SWS for a May attempt at Mt Shasta Avalanche Gulch, which ended in a successful summit. Our guide Eric was exceptional. I am convinced that without his expertise we would not have made it to the summit. He made several game time route decisions based on the weather that ended up being the right call. Will be using SWS again for future trips.

Michael Cueto (source: Google Reviews)

I would not have made it to the summit without the expertise, support, and professionalism of Caleb and Liz.  The route and pace were just right to keep us  moving up the mountain.  I’d been on Shasta 8 times and this was the first time using a guide – I would choose SWS again, particularly when conditions are cold/icy or traveling with first timers.  Also, it was just fun with these guys.

Deepak Sekar (source: Google Reviews)

I’ve done a lot of guided trips… I must say Caleb Burns has been the best mountain guide I’ve worked with so far. This is for a few reasons. He contacted me before the trip personally, asked me what questions he could answer, asked me the main things I was hoping to get from the climb and was well organized with all the pre-climb logistics. During the climb, it was clear he cared a lot about his customers and was very experienced – he had many interesting stories and anecdotes he shared, gave great inputs on climbing skills and knew how to get the best out of me. He’s a nice, positive and helpful person and it’s always cool to hang out with a personality like that. Post climb, he sent a google drive with pics he took of the climb, and gave me good inputs that helped me get better as a climber. I’ll definitely look to work with Caleb and SWS again.

Terry McCarthy (source: Google Reviews)

SWS Mountain Guides give you everything they advertise at a bargain price.  If they can get a 72 year old man to the top of Mount Whitney and back down, they are good.

Kelcy Huston (source: Google Reviews)

Knowledgeable and friendly. Learned a lot in a fun atmosphere.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in High Sierra, please refer to the California State website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • A full day or “extreme” day of (alpine) rock climbing depending on your chosen itinerary
      • All technical climbing gear
      • Permits

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the trailhead
      • Accommodations
      • Lunch/snacks
      • Parking
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • For most climbing locations in High Sierra, you are supposed to have a very good level of fitness and a solid climbing experience (whether we’re talking about summiting or multi-pitch and technical climbing). That said, there are options for beginner and inexperienced climbers as well. If you are one of them, the focus of your adventure will be on instruction and learning new skills and not so much on a specific objective, like finishing a multi-pitch route or summiting a peak.

  • There are plenty of options for beginner climbers in High Sierra. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the rocks, and most importantly, have fun! 

    For intermediate to advanced climbers, High Sierra has loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.

  • All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

      • Helmet
      • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
      • Rock shoes or boots
      • Rock or waterproof gloves
      • Ropes
      • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
      • Sleeping bags and tents

    Your full equipment list will be determined with your guide after booking. Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

      • Daypack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35L bag)
      • Water bottle or hydration pack
      • The food you can eat on-the-go
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional
      • Base layers and climbing apparel
      • Liner socks and medium thickness socks
      • Softshell
      • A waterproof jacket with hood
      • Waterproof pants
      • Softshell jacket
      • Puffy jacket
      • Neck gaiter
      • Wooly hat
      • 2 pairs of gloves

    Dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest avoiding cotton and bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Remember that the temperatures can drop dramatically in the evening, as well as with altitude, so make sure to pack extra layers.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For these private adventures, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 2:1. 
      • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family! 

    Alpine rock climbing in High Sierra can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to High Sierra, most people fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport. You can take a shuttle or rent a car to get to your accommodation (if applicable) or to the trailhead for your adventure.

    Every adventure has a different starting point because of different access roads to the destination. Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. From there, you’ll head to the crag and begin your day of climbing!

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
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