INTRO TO WINTER MOUNTAINEERING COURSE
The Sawtooth Range, Eastern Sierra Nevada California - 3 days
California Alpine Guides
a division of International Alpine Guides.
INTRO TO WINTER MOUNTAINEERING OVERVIEW
Begin the journey of mountaineering... our Intro to Winter Mountaineering Course is the perfect first step into the world of mountain climbing.
This 3-day winter mountaineering course is for those wishing to learn the skills for mountaineering & winter backcountry travel while climbing a major Sierra peak in winter. While learning all the basic mountaineering skills, you will attempt Matterhorn Peak (12,300 ft) in the Eastern High Sierra Nevada. A great challenge for those looking to really get away from it all in the winter. We combine the challenge of winter backcountry travel with lots of training in the various aspects of mountaineering.
This winter climbing course is conducted in the best alpine climbing training ground in California - The Sawtooth Ridge of the Eastern Sierra which mimics the iconic alpine terrain of the European Alps on a smaller scale. It provides great access in winter which allows us to offer a 3-day beginner mountaineering course.
Winter mountaineering training will cover all the basics of:
- Snow Camping, Winter Shelters and Snow Caves
- Winter Backcountry Travel & Safety
- Avalanche Awareness
- Ice Axe Self Arrest
- Snow Climbing Technique & Crampon Use
This winter mountaineering course includes an attempt at a winter ascent of Matterhorn Peak, a worthy goal for beginner mountaineers. A winter climbing adventure for anyone interested in the winter backcountry as a foundation for more advanced mountaineering. Also a great starting point for those with long term goals of bigger peaks such as Denali.
Learn the proper winter climbing techniques from mountain guides trained by the American Mountain Guides Association. Some guide services may claim "the best" guides, but can they back it up with outside training by the US's mountain guide training organization? All our technical guides have training by the AMGA.
To ease your entry into the world of mountaineering, we provide everything you are going to need except for your own clothing. That includes winter boots, winter sleeping bag and pad, backpack and snowshoes.
If you are looking for lodging in the town of Bridgeport the night prior we recommend the Ruby Inn. This is also where me meet in the first day of the course.
SKILL & EXPERIENCE LEVEL
No previous climbing experience required, but some previous experience in hiking and backpacking is strongly recommended. Previous Snowshoeing experience is not necessary. Give us a call if you have a question.
WINTER 2018/2019 DATES
February 16-18 (presidents day)
- Breakfast & dinner while in the backcountry.
- Group camping equipment, such as tents and cooking equipment.
- All technical climbing equipment is provided.
- Sleeping bag and pad, backpack, snowshoes and winter boots if needed.
- Professional AMGA trained professional mountain guides
For intro to mountaineering courses past April check out our summer version of the same course Intro to Mountaineering 3-day
INTRO TO WINTER MOUNTAINEERING COURSE ITINERARY
We meet in the town of Bridgeport in the Eastern Sierra. After a pack check and gear discussion we begin our hike into base camp up the Horse Creek drainage into the heart of the Sawtooth Ridge area. We will use snowshoes to get high up into Horse Creek Canyon. The late afternoon is spent setting up a secure winter camp and covering the basics of winter camp selection and construction. We have fun building winter shelters and snow caves, which you may sleep in if you like. In the evening you will enjoy a hearty backcountry meal prepared by your guide.
After an early "alpine start" we begin our climb of Matterhorn Peak, learning valuable snow climbing and ice axe skills along the way as well as winter route-finding and avalanche awareness. We travel with snowshoes up to and across the small Matterhorn Glacier where we enter the East Couloir (gully) that takes us to the crest of the Sierra Nevada and the border of Yosemite National Park. Taking off the snow shoes we ascend the couloir which involves moderate 38 degree snow climbing in boots and maybe crampons with an ice axe. Once on the ridge, we rock scramble up easy 3rd-4th class rock that is usually snow covered to the summit of the California Matterhorn at 12,300 ft. We then descend to base camp.
Today is additional skills day. We spend the morning learning basic self rescue and emergency snow shelter techniques. We will also do a navigation practise scenario involving what to do in the event you are caught in a winter whiteout. The afternoon is spent breaking camp and heading back to the trailhead arriving in the late afternoon.
Itinerary subject to change