Crossing the Sierra Crest

Crossing the Sierra Crest

Crossing the Sierra Crest

August 22-27, 2017
Group size: maximum of 6 (5 guests, one guide)

A demanding itinerary for adults wishing to take their backpacking skills to the next level and see the best of what the High Sierra has to offer. We'll cross two major passes--one with a maintained trail, one with an 'informal' trail.  In addition to finer points of Leave No Trace wilderness practices and backcountry cooking, we will focus on navigation by map and compass in off-trail terrain.  Optional peak climb may also be included if the group is up for it.

Trip fee: $1,250 per person
Click here to contact us and sign up!

Included: all meals starting with dinner day 1, through lunch day 5; water filters, camp stoves, pots, pans and related kitchen gear; wilderness permit, maps and experienced guide (ORE/CMA founder Roddy McCalley will lead all trips in 2017).   Basic gear (backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping pad) can be provided for a small additional fee. 


Day 1: Tuesday, August 22
Camp location: East Fork Campground, elevation 8,900'

Participants arrive in time for dinner (prepared by guide). Introductions and gear check.

Day 2: Wednesday, August 23
Camp location: Heart Lake, elevation 10,400'
Hiking distance: 1.5 miles with packs

Breakfast in camp. Shuttle cars to McGee Creek in the morning. Lunch at the trailhead.  In the afternoon, hike in to Heart Lake and make camp.  A short day of hiking as we acclimatize to high elevation.

Orientation to Leave No Trace practices, durable surfaces and informal trails, and how to enjoy lake- and stream-side environments without causing too much erosion.  Nuts and bolts of backpacking: water filtration, camp cooking, topographic maps.  Intro to local flora and fauna.

Day 3: Thursday, August 24
Camp location: Lower Pioneer Basin Lake, elevation 10,400'
Hiking distance: 9 miles with packs

Big day of backpacking over Mono Pass (12,075') and up to the first of the lakes in beautiful Pioneer Basin.  This day will leave you tired.

Day 4: Friday, August 25
Camp location: Lower Pioneer Basin Lake, elevation 10,400'
Hiking distance: variable, without packs

Day-hike up Pioneer Basin, possible attempt on Mt. Crocker (12,460') via Crocker Col for anyone not totally destroyed by altitude at this point. If we're not up for another big day, we can ramble from lake to lake around the basin in the morning and spend the afternoon resting in camp and swimming in the lake.  Our hike will be off-trail through interesting terrain, a great opportunity to refine map-reading skills.

Day 5: Saturday, August 26
Camp location: Big McGee Lake, elevation 10,470'
Hiking distance: 9 miles with packs

Break camp, hike the mile back to Mono Creek and head down the canyon towards Hopkins Pass (11,400'). Up Hopkins creek past several lakes to the pass, and down the other side to Big McGee Lake.

To the level of group interest, at rest stops along the way your guide will present an overview of Sierra geology and human history from the Nevadan Orogeny to the Gold Rush and beyond.

Day 6: Sunday, August 27 
Hiking distance: 8 miles
Out to McGee Creek by early afternoon.

If you don't need to travel this evening, come join your guide for a well-earned beer and burger at Tom's Place, a rustic local favorite (not included in trip cost).  We recommend reserving accommodations somewhere in the area (Mammoth Lakes, Tom's Place or Bishop) for this night, you'll be tired and ready for a bed and a shower!



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