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Intro to Winter Mountaineering
Eastern Sierra Nevada

Day 1
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 Range. 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 ax skills along the way as well as winter routefinding 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.

Day 3
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