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 beginner mountaineering course that includes a summit attempt of a high Sierra peak in winter in only 3 days.

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 United State’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 at no extra cost except for your own clothing. That includes winter boots, winter sleeping bag and pad, backpack and snowshoes and more.

The winter mountaineering trip was excellent!!! I learned a ton & the memory of the trip will definitely be one I will remember for the rest of my life!
— Drew F.

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.


No previous climbing experience required, but some previous experience in off trail hiking is required. Previous backpacking is strongly recommended. Previous Snowshoeing experience is not necessary. Give us a call if you have a question.

WINTER 2019/2020 DATES

December 21-23
December 28-30
January 10-12
January 18-20
January 31 - February 2

February 15-17 (presidents day)
February 28 - March 1
March 13-15
March 27-29
April 3-5
April 17-19



COST: $765

We include all technical gear, camping gear & winter boots at no extra cost!

September 10% Off Sale!

Book before Sep 30th, 2019 and get 10% off. Use promo code at checkout: FALL2019SALE

Balance must be paid in full to get discount. Regular cancellation policies apply


  • Breakfast & dinner while in the backcountry.

  • Group camping equipment, such as tents and cooking equipment.

  • All technical climbing equipment is provided at no extra cost.

  • Sleeping bag and pad, backpack, snowshoes and winter boots if needed at no extra cost.

  • 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

For more info on this trip please fill out the form below:

Name *


Day 1
We meet in the town of Bridgeport in the Eastern Sierra at 8am. 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.

Day 2
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. 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.

Day 3
Today is additional skills day. We spend the morning learning basic self rescue and emergency snow shelter techniques. We will also may do a navigation practice scenario involving what to do in the event you are caught in a winter whiteout. Late morning is spent breaking camp and heading back to the trailhead arriving in the afternoon between 2 and 3pm.

Itinerary subject to change & the summit of Matterhorn Peak is subject to safe weather and snow conditions