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This Trans-Sierra hike is a challenge, no doubt about that. We’ll travel 75 miles through the most isolated of the Sierras, all the way to Mt. Whitney—meaning that we’ll summit the highest point of the Lower 48. Still, what counts here the most is your motivation, positive attitude, and mental strength. It’s an intense journey and you should be physically fit, but we’ve had hikers from the age of 10 to over 70 completing this trail. We’ve been doing this trail since the 90s, and its beauty never fades away: we’ll cross streams and meadows, marvel at granite peaks and cliffs, and take (really) refreshing dips in alpine lakes. 20,000 ft of cumulative elevation gain is before you—seems like a lot, but we help regular folks do extraordinary things. The pain in your muscles will wear off, but the memories will stay with you forever!

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Adventure highlights

  • Summit the 14,505-foot Mt Whitney

    Stand at the top of the highest mountain in the contiguous U.S.

  • A challenge for motivated hikers

    The distance, elevation gain, and rugged terrain make this hike a demanding one

  • Total reset in remote areas

    In the first few days, we’ll only see a couple of people, but also forget about the internet, emails, and phones for a week

Itinerary

A week-long intense hike through the wilderness of the Sierra Mountains is perhaps just what the doctor ordered. If you’re ready for a real challenge—for +75 miles of backpacking through some of the least-traveled and remote terrain of the Sierras with an ascent to Mt. Whitney—look no further than this week-long trip. A knowledgeable and experienced guide will be by your side the whole way through, they’ll create an encouraging and safe environment, and cook some delicious meals on trek. Equipment rental is completely free, so you don’t have to worry about buying some expensive equipment if you have none! You just focus on the inspirational landscapes of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks!

  • Reach Clovis in California and check into your hotel (included in the price of the tour). Make sure you get some rest for tomorrow, as that’s when we’ll get to the trail and start our adventure!

    Accommodation: Hotel

    Clovis, California
  • After spending a night at a hotel in Clovis, pack up and get ready for a 1 pm pick-up. We will drive together to the trailhead—the goal is to reach it just before dusk. A light snack will be provided that evening at the trailhead. We’ll do a final pack-check, get to know each other, and talk safety.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast and light snack in the evening

    Fir trees in Sequoia National Park
  • After breaking camp at the trailhead, our Trans-Sierra trail begins near Big Meadow at 7,800 ft (2,380 m) and heads uphill to around 9,300 ft (2,835 m), then down to camp at 7,200 ft (2,195 m) near Sugarloaf. Expect this day to be among the toughest.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Begins at 7,800 ft (2,380 m), climbs to 9,300 ft (2,835 m), then descends to stream crossings and camp

    Stream cross along the Trans-Sierra hike
  • Today the trail undulates upward, with multiple crossings of pristine High Sierra creeks, and one Roaring River, as we climb to near 8,500 ft (2,590 m) for your camp below granite cliffs and spires. At camp #2, we will almost always have curious deer wander through. Keep your ears open for the occasional bear!

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Multiple stream crossings, trail climbs back to 8,500 ft (2,590 m)

    Big Wet Meadow along the Trans Sierra hike
  • A stiff climb will bring us to one of the prettiest campsites in the Sierra, Colby Lake at 10,600 ft (3,230 m). We’ll get there by lunch, so use the afternoon for a refreshing swim and a chance to catch fresh trout. We’ll go to sleep with an amazing display of stars above us.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Intense uphill to High Sierra lake at 10,600 ft (3,230 m)

    Colby Lake
  • An early start and a 1,400-foot (425-meter) ascent will get us to Colby Pass, where we can see the Kern Canyon and the Mt. Whitney group. After a celebratory break, our Trans-Sierra trek continues with a long and sometimes steep descent that will get us to the Kern River for a crossing just before camp. This is the most challenging, but also the most breathtaking day.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Intense up and downhill—climb to 12,000 ft (3,660 m), then long intense downhill to 8,000 ft (2,440 m)

    Colby Pass hikers
  • A long, gradual climb on a very good trail will get us to the John Muir Trail followed by an undulating trail to camp near Crabtree Meadows at 10,800 ft (3,290 m). The goal is to camp at the postcard-perfect campsite with an awesome view of the west side of Mt. Whitney.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Gradual climb to intersection with storied John Muir Trail and over 10,000 ft (3,050 m)

    West side of Mt Whitney
  • An early, before sun-up start will get us to the top of Mt. Whitney at 14,507 ft (4,422 m) by lunch (weather permitting). The adrenaline will be flowing as we move past Guitar Lake, up the switchbacks, and parallel the Hitchcock peaks to the highest point of our Trans-Sierra trail, and the highest point in the contiguous 48 states. After signing the book and taking pictures (you can also call home from the top), we’ll hike back to camp for dinner.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Long day hike to summit and back with roughly 4,000 ft (1,220 m) of elevation gain & loss

    Mt Whitney at sunrise
  • We will leave our base camp and start the final segment to cars and civilization. We’ll hike a moderate trail for about 9 miles to our remote camp on the high desert above Rock Creek.

    Accommodation: Tent
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: Morning climb to near 11,000 ft (3,350 m), mid-afternoon descent, and then climb back to 11,000 ft

    Group hiking the Trans Sierra
  • An early start will get you us Chicken Spring Lake before lunch. We will cross over Cottonwood Pass and complete our Trans-Sierra hike with a descent down the east side of the Sierra. After a cool drink and lunch, we’ll load the vehicles and head back to the Clovis Area. Family and friends are welcome to meet you on the backside of the Sierra as you exit the trail near Lone Pine. Expect to arrive in Clovis between 6 and 8 pm.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Hiking: Relatively flat, then a 500-foot (150-meter) climb before dropping to trail exit

    Sierra Mountains meadow
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Meet your guide

TSX
5.00
TSX
TSX has been guiding people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels ever since 2010. Among several other locations, they trek across Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Mt. Whitney, and the Grand Canyon. TSX’s goal is to create an experience where individuals with limited or no backpacking skills can safely and confidently venture into the rugged beauty and tranquility of the US backcountry.

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5.00 (6 reviews)
Colin Looi (source: Guide’s website)

Completed the TSX Challenge 9/8-9/16. Wow. It is certainly worthy of being labelled “Challenge” but the views were greater. Our guide was exceptional; from his intimate knowledge of the trail, his logistical skills and people skills. I don’t think there will be any other guides who could measure up. You’re in good hands. The trail is not easy by any means; but you’re in wilderness that few people have gone. If you haven’t hiked in the Sierra Nevada this is an opportunity to experience a remote part of the range that you can’t get to by driving a vehicle or even with day hikes.

Barb Douglas (source: Guide’s website)

It is hard to put into words the personal impact of this trip. Chris’ expertise, guidance, and absolute love for the outdoors set the stage for an amazing journey from Jenny Lakes through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks to the summit of Whitney and ending with salty and sweet treats and a cold beverage at the end. I loved the remoteness and beauty particularly at Colby Pass, there is nothing like looking back at a challenging route and forward to the valley below. As a group we pushed our limits to find that we could give more. I can honestly say how impressed I am with our entire group, how everyone worked together through adversity, savoured the beauty and experience, and lifted each other up. I was honored to be a part of this group and this experience will carry me forward in life.

Daniel Paradise (source: Guide’s website)

Completed the Trans Seirra/Mt Whitney hike. Had an absolute fantastic time! Our guides were amazing! We had a great Team. Most of us were strangers to each other going in, but we exited the trail as friends. It was incredibly hard, and the feeling of accomplishment when we summited Whitney was humbling. Altitude is a real thing! The incredible beauty and vastness of the parks can’t be put into words. The night sky (complete with a full view of the Milky Way!) at the High Desert Camp was awe inspiring. The guides as supremely skilled at helping each team member achieve their goals and hike their best hike. They also pass on their knowledge & love of the outdoors.
If you are on the fence , just do it! You won’t regret it

Amanda Gass (source: Guide’s website)

My 3rd TSX Challenge backpacking experience, and by far, the most physically and mentally challenging. What an incredible adventure! Once again, TSX handles every detail so you can focus on the trail each day. The guides are world-class, the food is as delicious as everyone says, and the scenery is awe-inspiring. If you’re reading these reviews and on the fence about signing-up – consider this your sign to BOOK THE TRIP already! You won’t regret it.

Peter H. (source: Guide’s website)

Just completed the Trans Sierra/Mt Whitney trek with 5 other teammates and 2 of the best guides in the business. On a good year this trek would be challenging, but add a record breaking snow year to the mix, and we had more stream/river crossings, downed trees snd avalanche debris fields, flooded meadows and trails, and snow/ice fields, and it was incredibly challenging. Through it all, our guides made sure we were safe, while doing all possible to get us to summit Mt Whitney. This while keeping us organized and well fed with delicious meals and snacks. I’m already looking at the next trek with TSX!

Steve Adams (source: Guide’s website)

This hike fulfilled an ambition to climb Whitney that had been burning away at me for six years. Chris and his team led us expertly, always managing expectations one section at a time. We bonded almost immediately as a team, and this helped all of us enormously. All of us were able to reach the top of Whitney, despite many of us having doubts in our own ability along the way. I certainly doubted myself. The entire trip was a profound experience that will surely enrich all our lives in the coming weeks and months.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 8-day Trans-Sierra hike to Mt. Whitney
      • Accommodation
      • 1 night pre- & 1 night post-trek in a hotel in Clovis, CA (Best Western or Hampton Inn & Suites)
      • Tents in the backcountry
      • Round-trip transportation from the Fresno/Clovis area to the trailhead
      • Facilitate carpool transportation to/from Northern and Southern California
      • Personalized pack check prior to departure
      • All meals and snacks in the backcountry
      • Group gear and equipment
      • Backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and pad if needed
      • Post-hike closing meal and opportunity to shower
      • 5% NPS recovery fee

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the meeting point
      • Meals in the front-country
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • If you’d like to join the Trans-Sierra hike to Mt. Whitney, you have to be in excellent physical condition. This week-long journey will have you traversing +75 miles (120 km) across some of the most remote and least-traveled regions of the Sierra before culminating with an ascent on Mt. Whitney (at 14,505 ft / 4,421 m). You will be backpacking along treks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, gaining over 20,000 ft (6,100 m) all together with a cumulative elevation loss of 18,000 ft (5,490 m).

    This week-long Trans-Sierra hike to Mt. Whitney is open to fit and motivated individuals of all ages and experience levels. You’ll also be carrying a loaded backpack, moving from camp to camp. Keep in mind that Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the Contiguous United States and that climbing it takes at least 7-8 hours, making it a big and difficult day.

    You’ll have a fantastic guide by your side the whole way through, who will make sure you feel safe and comfortable with the whole experience. With their intimate knowledge of the trail, logistical skills, and cooking skills, they’ll create a friendly and encouraging environment, making this hike memorable and potentially life-changing!

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 30-40L bag) — can be provided upon request
      • Tent, sleeping bag & pad — can be provided upon request
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
      • Comfortable hiking clothes
      • Spare clothes for layering
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Swimsuit
      • Sunhat
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Headlamp or flashlight
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

    Make sure not to bring unnecessary items which will only make your backpacks heavier, as you’ll be carrying your backpacks with you the whole way through.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For this Trans-Sierra hike & Mt Whitney adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. The maximum group size is set at 13 participants.
      • It takes a minimum of 2 people for this tour to operate.

    Trans-Sierra hike & Mt Whitney adventure can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.2

    Min. age requirements

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

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

  • To get to Clovis in California, the starting point of your tour, most people fly into Fresno Airport (FAT). Make sure to fly in a day prior to the start of the tour, as pre-trek accommodation in a hotel will be organized for you.

    Then on Day 1, your guides will coordinate transportation from Central California (Fresno/Clovis area). Pick-up from Central California will be at 1 pm at the Clovis Cole best Western, Clovis, CA. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your confirmed pick-up time.

    Your guides will also help facilitate carpool arrangements from the San Francisco Bay Area and South California to Central California when possible. Exact time and regional meet-up locations will be confirmed on a trek-by-trek basis.

    Meals are not provided when in transit, however, you’ll stop for food and to refuel before reaching the trailhead. The goal is to make it to the trailhead just before dusk. A light snack will be provided that evening at the trailhead.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.

     

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