High Sierra Backcountry Tours

in High Sierra, CA / (Skill level: Advanced)

Price per person

$495 for 1 skier

About this trip

Surrounded by 14,000' peaks and stunning backdrops, the backcountry touring in the High Sierra is some of the finest in the world. These tours are a "must-do" for any backcountry skier looking to break out from the local mountains and into some seriously big terrain.

Overview

  • skill level

    Advanced

  • Duration

Looking down on the desert valley below, skiers and riders standing atop any peak in the High Sierra are greeted with some of the longest descents in the United States. Couple the incredible terrain and goose bump inducing beauty, with near total solitude and pristine weather and you’ve got a recipe for some of the best day’s of your life. Our AMGA certified ski guides have been skiing the High Sierra for many years and will find the best terrain and snow on any given day.

Our High Sierra trips are available on a custom basis which provides our guests the ultimate flexibility in choosing dates that work best for their schedule. April and May are high time for favorable conditions. Call or email our office today to make your reservation. 877-873-5376 or info@alpenglowexpeditions.com.

Terrain Options:

Tioga Pass Area – located on the border of Yosemite National Park, Tioga Pass offers terrain selections for every skill level. From wide open bowls filled with springtime corn, to steep couloirs requiring a technical entry, the pristine Tioga Pass and the Dana Plateau are famous for many reasons.

Lundy Canyon – Mostly wide open bowls and tree skiing. Beautiful views of Lundy Lake. Near the boundary of Northern Yosemite National Park.

Bishop Skyline – Seen from the town of Bishop California, the peaks towering above the Buttermilks have been the backdrop to many a skier and climber’s dream. Multiple massive peaks jut from the Sierra Nevada range in this location, providing big terrain of varying degrees of difficulty

The Palisades – The name nearly says it all. Ski tours in both the north and south fork of Big Pine Creek are made up of some of the most incredible ski mountaineering objectives in the United States. From steep rock lined couloirs to glaciers and bowls, this high alpine playground is sure to impress.

Sample Itinerary:

Meet your guide the morning of your first day. Over coffee and breakfast, you’ll go through the plan for the day. After breakfast the team heads to the trailhead where you’ll discuss the route for the day and begin the approach. Most approaches in the High Sierra take many hours and cover multiple thousands of feet of vertical gain. Tours typically start early in the morning to take advantage of the mid morning and early afternoon snow conditions.

After reaching the top of your objective you transition to ski mode and begin one of the longest descents of your life. Spring snow (aka corn snow) provides some of the silkiest skiing conditions imaginable, making straightforward descents into transcendent experiences.

 

Alpenglow Expeditions operates under a special use permit from the Tahoe, Inyo and Eldorado National Forests. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil
rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating
on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or
retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all
programs.)
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for
program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign
Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that
administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and
TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than
English.
To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program
Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at
http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office or
write a letter addressed to USDA and provided in the letter all of the information
requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-
9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (a) mail: U.S.
Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (b) fax: (202) 690-7442;
or (c) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Preparation

  • Fitness

    Must be able to hike for multiple hours with a back pack on.

    • Sample Day 1 — Meet, plan, ski

      Meet your guide before dawn over a steaming hot cup of coffee. Review the plan for the day and proceed to the trailhead. Climb up your planned objective. Celebrate with high fives and ski the longest run of your life.

      • Equipment

      • Backcountry skis, bindings and skins

        These skis should be relatively lightweight, 90-110mm underfoot, and have a shape that works well in  a variety of snow conditions. "Tech" style bindings strongly recommended. Make sure your skins are trimmed to your ski.

        Read more
      • Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 ski pack

        A ski-specific backpack is preferred to a regular pack, due to the external pocket for avalanche rescue gear. 20-35 liters.

        Buy on Blackdiamondequipment.com
      • Backcountry Access Stealth Probe 240

        Simple, lightweight probe, 240-300cm. Must have an auto-locking feature.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Black Diamond Transfer 3 shovel

        Simple, metal bladed avalanche shovel. Extendable handle recommended.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Pieps Avalanche Beacon

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
      • Salomon ski/ climbing helmet

        This helmet is very light, comfortable, and is certified for both skiing and climbing.

        Buy on Backcountry.com
    • Would you consider organizing a private group or tour?

      We always welcome custom inquiries. Please call or email for more information.

    • What kind of day can I expect skiing in the High Sierra?

      Anywhere from about 2,000-10,000 feet of vertical glory, breathtaking views of one of the world’s most incredible mountain ranges, followed by sunset hot spring soaks should you be so inclined. The Easter Sierra is nothing short of amazing.

Zeb Blais

From bushwhacking miles of Manzanita in ski boots to traversing huge glaciers in exotic ranges, adventure draws Zeb in. Originally from Vermont, Zeb has been hooked on big mountains since his first ski tour in Jackson Hole and has pursued skiing, climbing and exploring ever since. Zeb has climbed and guided in the Himalaya, Alaska, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Asia among others and he’s working hard to keep that list growing. Working as a mountain guide allows Zeb to share his passion for human powered movement in the mountains and to pass along what he’s learned along the way.

Zeb has successfully guided Mt Everest [29,029′], Mt Cho Oyu [26,906′] including a ski descent from the summit, Lobuche East [20,075′],  and four expeditions on Denali [20,320’], including a ski descent from the summit. He has completed 64 summits of Mount Rainier [14,410’]. Additional credentials include 12 summits of Mount Shasta [14,179’]; 5 summits of Mount Shuksan [9,100’]; 3 summits via Mount Baker [10,678’], including one ski descent from the summit, and two ski descents via the North Ridge; 2 summits of Aconcagua [22,841’]; 1 summit of Cotopaxi and 1 summit of Cayabme; 2 summits of Ixtacihuatl in Mexico; 3 summits of Orizaba in Mexico, including a ski descent from the summit; and numerous rock, alpine and ski summits from the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Coast ranges and Rockies.

Zeb is an AMGA certified ski guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is a fully certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid 90’s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started leaning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has recently spent the last 8 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine and skiing as well as becoming an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, an AMGA certified ski guide and AIARE level 1 course leader. He lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele and sweet daughter Manu. 

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Glen Poulsen

A member of Squaw Valley’s pioneering founding family, Glen first ventured into the side and backcountry terrain surrounding Squaw Valley at the age of ten and has never looked back.  His forays into more remote parts of the Sierra Nevada led to numerous first descents and pioneering ski traverses throughout the range. After exploring mountains from Antarctica to the North Pole, Greenland and Spitsbergen,  Africa,  to the Andes , The Alps to Scandinavia,  Russia and China, The Himalaya, Central Asia and Oceania, Glen always returns with a greater appreciation for his home in  the “Range of Light”.  Whether its descents on skis or climbing alpine rock Glen has an intimate knowledge of the entire range. Whether its a local side country jaunt, a Sierra East side adventure, a hut tour in the alps or exploring new first descents in Greenland or Antarctica, Africa or the Andes, he can take you there. Glen has been trained by the American Mountain Guides Association and by the Canadian Ski Guide Association as a ski guide and ski mountaineering guide. He has an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche and Nols Wilderness First Responder certifications and has been an active Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team member.

Logan Talbott

Director of Operations / mountain guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over 10 years in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan keeps things running smoothly as the director of operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is a fully certified AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and spotted dog Arlo.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Peter Leh

Peter has an enthusiastic passion for skiing the backcountry. His ski guiding career began 35 years ago working in the Sierra and Cascades. Over the years his professional ski career brought him through North America and Japan, working to train ski guides, military personnel and guide skiers in search of the backcountry skiing experience. He is a AMGA certified ski mountaineering guide and a member of the AMGA instructor team. He is an AIARE Level 2 avalanche course leader and PSIA Level 3 ski instructor. With over 35 years guiding under his belt, you’ll discover that Peter’s enthusiasm for skiing in the backcountry is contagious.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Jules Hanna

If you are looking for a split boarding mountain guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

He is one of only a few splitboarders who has become certified with the AMGA as a ski guide. Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE 1 course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.

In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Chris Wright

Chris grew up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains before moving to Oregon and becoming a guide in 2006, and has been climbing and skiing across the globe ever since. He is a fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide, and can regularly be found at work from the French Alps to the Canadian Rockies and Norway’s Lofoten Islands. His achievements include everything from big walls to virgin summits, first ski descents and traverses, and his guiding career has taken him from the Matterhorn to Denali, and from Mt. Hood to Mont Blanc. An avid alpinist and expedition climber, Chris has received the prestigious Mugs Stump and Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards for his ascents of hard new routes on unclimbed peaks in the Nepali and Indian Himalayas, as well as the rest of the world, including the famed East Face of Alaska’s Mooses Tooth. He is easily excited by rocks, snow and ice, and by travel, coffee, beer and greasy food of any sort.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    High Sierra Backcountry Tours