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Client/Guide Ratio: 5:1

Includes:
Wilderness Permit Reservation fees, group gear including tents, stove, cook kit, fuel, guide's auxiliary & emergency gear and guide's transportation expense.

Does not include:
Personal items on the equipment list, 6 trail lunches and instant breakfasts.



Operating on a non-discriminating basis under Special Use Permit, Inyo National Forest & Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Multi-Day Trips

Sierra High Route     6 Day

The premier Trans-Sierra high-level route! This six-day ski mountaineering traverse crosses the Sierra Nevada over nine high cols and passes, holding an elegant line between 10,500' and 13,000'. We ski high ridges, passes, cirques, and glaciated plateaus, reveling in breathtaking views and superb downhill runs.

ASI guides a double High Route: one group begins on the east side of the Sierra, the other on the west. Meeting halfway, we share the evening in celebration. If you love the high mountains and enjoy leaving your tracks in sun-warmed corn snow, you will understand why the Sierra High Route has become the standard by which we compare all other ski adventures!

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Cost: $990

Dates:
May 4-9, 2014 (Sun-Fri)




Prerequisites
  • Previous touring experience with climbing skins, avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel.
  • Knowledge of and experience with overnight, light weight ski camping gear such as the ASI Sugar Bowl To Squaw Valley High Route or equivalent.
  • Prepared to use ice axe and ski rope for belays and lowers, as necessary.
  • Excellent Physical Condition, prepared for up to 4,000' ascent days at consistent, moderate pace (1,000'/hr.).

SHR With ASI

When you ski the High Route with ASI you are skiing with the most experienced ski guiding program in the Sierra. The High Route and other classic routes form the cornerstone on which the ASI Program was originally built over 30 years ago. Now with the experience of 46 crossings, ASI has developed unique High & Light systems that have revolutionized ski camping adventures here in the Sierra and have been used to complete many range ski traverses around the world.

Lead Guides, Geoff Clarke and Peter Leh are AMGA certified Ski and Ski Mountaineering Guides and PSIA certified Level III ski instructors. Geoff is PSIA/W Backcountry Director and Peter is on the Ski Guide Instructor/Examiner Pool of the AMGA. Both are extremely experienced on the High Route and Peter Leh has guided more Sierra ski routes than any other Sierra guide in skiing's history. They both present the highest quality of skiing experience that is possible on this classic tour.



Route Description
Actual route and campsite locations may vary due to weather and/or snow conditions

West to East
Day 1 - Near the old Wolverton ski area at 7,300', we begin from a higher trailhead and a more gentle approach than the east side start. We climb over "The Hump" (9,400'), drop a bit, skiing around Pear lake then pass the Pear Lake Hut to our first camp at Table Meadow (10,086').

Day 2 - From Table Meadow, we ascend to Table Lands (11,000'), making the traverse to the col named Farewell Gap. We drop a bit, then climb to Horn Peak Pass (11,800') to a camp at upper Deadman Canyon (12,200'). Some years, this day carries on to Glacier Lake (11,650'), depending on conditions.

Day 3 - From Glacier Lake, the route ascends to Triple Divide Peak Pass (12,200') beneath the flanks of spectacular Triple Divide Peak. A great descent is followed by an aesthetic ascent to the top of Not Quite As Steep As It Looks Pass. The steep descent provides some fun skiing for advanced skiers. At the drainage below Colby Pass (11,200') is where we rendezvous with the East to West Group.

Day 4 - A fun climb to Milestone Pass (13,000') brings us to the high point of the route. This is followed by a fantastic descent to the camp at the headwaters of the Kern River (10,500').

Day 5 - We will climb to the Tyndall Plateau (11,700') and onto Shepherd Pass (12,000'). From here, we often choose the option to climb a bit higher to a low shoulder of Mt. Williamson (12,400') for the fabuloas, all-time ski descent of the Super Bowl all the way to Mahogany Flat (9,000').

Day 6 - One last climb to Shepherd Hump (9,400') brings us to the last downhill until we take off our skis and walk the remainder to the Symmes Creek Trailhead (6,300').



East to West
Day 1 - From the trailhead in the high desert, the route begins at Symmes Creek (6,300') and climbs to a disappearing saddle (9,400') where one must loose about 500' into the drainage of Shepherd Creek. The routes climbs past Mahogany Flat (9,000') to Anvil Camp (10,000'), usually our first night's camp.

Day 2 - The route follows Shepherd Creek past the Pothole (10,800'). The final climb to Shepherd Pass (12,000') gets steep and can be easy or difficult, depending on how the snow has been deposited by the wind throughout the winter. From Shepherd Pass, the route descends gently to Tyndall Plateau (11,700'). Interesting traverses and descents bring us to the lowest point of the route to the headwaters of the Kern River (10,650') and our second camp.

Day 3 - From the Kern, we follow the course of Milestone Creek to Milestone Basin (11,200'). From the basin, we climb to the col to the left of the spectacular summit block of Milestone Mountain. The traverse into Milestone Pass (13,000') can be tricky and we often increase security as is necessary based on the conditions. From the Pass, we enjoy a great ski down Milestone Bowl to our usual East Group meets West Group campsite.

Day 4 - We begin with a great wake-up, climbing the steep pass we call "Not Quite As Steep As It Looks Pass" (about 12,000'). From its top, an interesting ski descent brings us to a final climb of Triple Divide Peak Pass (12,200'). Another great descent brings us to Glacier Lake, where we choose to camp either above or below the cliff band guarding access to the spectacular Cloud Canyon (about 11,650' - 12,100')

Day 5 - We traverse Deadman Canyon, often with great ski descents and climbs added in. We continue the traverse to the top of Horn Peak Pass (11,300'). After another great ski descent, we climb to Farewell gap, sometimes using an alternate variation toward Mt. Silliman. Both lead to the Tablelands and our camp at Table Meadow.

Day 6 - We continue skiing down to the Pear Lake Hut (9,200'), climb over The Hump (9,400') and finally down to the trailhead at the old Wolverton Ski area (7,300').



History of the High Route
Bela G. Vadasz

The Sierra High Route, originally pioneered by Otto Steiner, an Austrian immigrant and extraordinary skier, who first skied it with a longer version including the summit of Mt. Whitney in 1931. He began from Wolverton in Sequoia National Park. After Triple Divide Peak, he skied deep in to the Kern-Kaweah drainage, then ascended to Junction Meadow and on to the summit of Mt. Whitney and Whitney Portal. He traveled solo and completed the route in 3 days!

Exactly 50 years later, Bela and Mimi Vadasz repeated his route in the opposite direction, beginning by climbing Mt. Whitney and ending at Wolverton. In 1984, Otto Steiner had heard about our guided traverses of the Sierra High Route. He and his wife came to our Lodge on Donner Pass at age 86 to introduce himself. We poured over maps and listened to his fantastic stories of his Sierra Ski Adventure. His memory of his tours seemed impecable and he remains a tremendous inspiration.

The variation that we guide has become the standard route, and was first skied by Dave Beck, Nick Hartzel and Bob Couly in 1975. Dave, the original Sierra ski guide, was also a great inspiration for Bela & Mimi in the late 70's.



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Check out the last Trip Report of ASI's Sierra High Route adventure...




"I just can't stress this enough, Geoff was an absolutely outstanding guide, impeccable in every way. Not only did he inspire confidence and a sense of safety, but was also conscientious about everyones concerns, difficulties and preferences. He gets ten out of ten by my reckoning."

- Ben Taylor


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"I just completed the SHR and it was everything I expected it to be and more. The trip itself was epic. The scenery was spectacular and the skiing awesome. Thanks for giving me memories, and a sense of accomplishment, I will treasure for the rest of my life."

- Robert Grisham


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