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Advanced/Intermediate Winter Mountaineering Itinerary
Eastern Sierra Nevada, Sawtooth Range



Day 1
We meet first thing in the morning in town of June Lake (Time and exact location TBD by your guide) for a day of waterfall ice climbing. You will spend the day swinging ice tools on top rope and learning the fundamentals of ice climbing including proper footwork. Waterfall ice climbing can be loads of fun and it's great for your mountaineering technique. The evening is spent at a local hotel (not included). We can make lodging arrangements for you if you wish.

Day 2
We meet in the nearby town of Bridgeport (time and exact location TBD by your guide). After a short drive to the trailhead, we begin our snowshoe/hike into our base camp in the Horse Creek Drainage. We spend the afternoon establishing a bombproof winter basecamp and discussing expedition-style winter camping techniques as well as snow caves and other snow shelters (which you may sleep in if you wish).


Day 3
Today is a comprehensive skills day. After a review of ice axe use and cramponing, we work on more advanced winter climbing skills such as ropework and belayed travel, snow and ice anchors, and will get to practice some mixed climbing. We will also spend a good amount of time evaluating the stability of the snowpack by digging snow pits and perfroming stability tests as well as avalanche rescue techniques.


Day 4
Today is an early alpine "alpine start" as we attempt a mixed snow and rock route on the nearby Sawtooth Ridge. We put all our skills together as we climb a challenging ascent of the Dragtooth, a 12,000 ft peak on the Sawtooth ridge (or another peak depending on conditions). The route involves a sustained 45 degree snow/ice couloir and 4th class rock climbing in winter conditions.

Day 5
We finish up with more winter climbing skills such as an introduction to crevasse rescue and winter white-out navigation with map, compass and GPS.l. We then break camp and descend to the trailhead. Usually we arrive at the cars by 4pm.