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3-day alpine climbing camp for beginners in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains

Mountaineering Sierra Nevada
Mountaineering Sierra Nevada
Mountaineering Sierra Nevada
Mountaineering Sierra Nevada
Mountaineering Sierra Nevada

The certified guides from SWS Mountain Guides take you on this awesome 3-day alpine climbing camp for beginners in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, a spectacular locale where you will learn the basic skills, techniques and confidence needed to indulge in mountain climbing.


Sierra Nevada (California)

3 Days

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep




  • Learn the skills and techniques needed to mountain climb in Sierra Nevada!
  • Increase your confidence in a wide range of basic capabilities
  • Ascend the mighty Crystal Crag on day 3!
  • Admire the epic and lovely scenery of the surrounding area


Join me on this 3-day alpine climbing camp for beginners, and together we will go through the essential skills and techniques needed to tackle the addictive and enjoyable activity of mountain climbing, as we navigate the sublime region of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, an idyllic setting featuring the perfect conditions for introductory mountain climbing.

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range that mainly lies in California, stretching 640km North to South and 110km East to West. The areas around the mountain range are often sparsely populated, meaning the surrounding landscape and terrain remains pristine, with few effects from the modern world.

We will meet and depart from Lee Vining, California, where all relevant safety and general information will be run through.

Over the course of the 3 days we will constantly be educating you and teaching you about all the possible skills, techniques and capabilities needed to take on Summer alpine mountain climbing.

The aim will be to start with easy skills, such as the basics of snow travel, and then build your confidence up and until we have a go at ascending the majestic and magnificent Crystal Crag.

During the course there will be ample time to admire and take in the epic scenery and views around us, with the lush green alpine forests, gorgeous rock formations and tranquil lakes all spreading out beneath us.

After the 3 days you should have the confidence to undertake alpine mountain climbing in plenty of different locations and settings, and hopefully will have fallen in love with this peaceful and beautiful part of California.

Learn how to mountain climb in an absolutely spectacular location – book now to experience!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Permit and entrance fees

- Rope

- Harness

- Helmet

Price details

Professional guide(s)/instructors, group climbing equipment including: technical rock

climbing equipment, ropes, helmets and permits fees.

Note: course consist of three consecutive day trips, no overnight backcountry equipment is required. Each evening you're free to explore town and natural setting at whatever accommodation you

choose: Forest Service campgrounds, motels, and lodges (reservations required), are located only minutes away from daily meeting points, so choose your own style of sleeping quarters.


Day 1 to 3: Meet, Climb, Finish

Meet each morning and mountaineer all day. Finish each afternoon and head back to accommodation.




Tent, motel or lodge accommodation available, depending on preference.

More info

Experience Level: Previous hiking and backpacking experience required. No previous mountaineering experience is needed.

Meeting point

Lee Vining, California

Equipment you will need to bring



Watter bottle

Frequently Asked Questions

 How far in advance should I start training and what kind of training do you suggest?

 Will I need to bring any technical equipment of my own? Is it possible to rent equipment, and if so, what would be the approximate cost of that?

 What is the best time of the year to climb this mountain?

 What experience and how fit do I need to be to climb this mountain? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

 Are there any other special requirements such as permits/insurance/vaccines that we need to consider before the tour?

 How will accommodation and meals be handled on the mountain?

 What is the guide-to-client ratio to climb this mountain?

 Will there be porters to help to carry group and personal equipment?

 Can I join a group?

 What happens in the event of bad weather?

About the guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.




Mount Shasta, California

What people are saying about SWS Mountain Guides

Loren Sweet


September, 2022

Had an amazing experience! What memories but must be honest, we were in over our head. Feel we were physically up to it but we went from sea level to 10,000 feet in 30 hours and it was a challenge to keep up. Some time to acclimate would have made a big difference. The guides were careful and supportive. We were outside our comfort zone for sure but also realize that made it so memorable! Thanks Loren

Jon Niswander


July, 2022

Life changing experience!!

Theodora C


January, 2022

I have summited some amazing peaks, but Mt. Whitney has stolen my heart. From her diverse landscape, to the ever changing appearance of her face each hour of the day; she is a wild beauty not easily put out of your mind. This Jersey girl hiked/climbed/scrambled-up/slid-down the Mountaineer’s Route, which was both physically and mentally challenging but, incredibly fulfilling. My guide, Matt M., was confident, extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and I am pretty sure part mountain goat. Best guide I have ever had, prettiest mountain I have ever been on; if you are considering this hike, I would say DO IT!

Bryan Vidinsky


January, 2022

Fantastic guide service! I have skied with a number of guides over the years and I have to say that the guide we booked through SWS was one of the most knowledgeable, instructive and fun guides I have spent time with on the mountain. From the pre-trip communication all the way through the climb and ski down, I felt that I was in good hands, which was really important to me as my climb/ski partner was my 17 year old son. Our trip was epic, 4:00AM wakeup to a full moon, beautiful climb and huge ski down, my only complaint is that it was only a two day trip! Highly recommend, great experience!

Rising Percey


May, 2022

Our guides took 27 of us, all of different skill level and age range 12- 50. We all loved it! Professional, friendly, helpful and highly skilled. I highly recommend them.

Magdalena Bucka


April, 2022

This was an amazing trip and overall super positive experience with SWS Mountain Guides. I had a great guide with lots of mountain experience and many cool stories to share!

Ken Manabe


February, 2022

The hike was great and I got exactly I wanted.

Barbara J Eikmeier


January, 2021

Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.

Kendra Grubb


August, 2021

Excellent experience with my guide Ben and SWS. Was able to summit Mt Whitney via the mountaineer’s route thanks to Ben’s understanding of the mountain and assessment of my capabilities. Great experience that exceeded my expectations.

Oz Pena


June, 2021

Overall, the fair evaluation for the SWS Mountain Guides and the guide assigned to me is 3 stars. Reasons: 1. The guide did not seem to remember or respect the fact that I was new to mountaineering and that the name of program is called “introduction to mountaineering...”. For example, the guide set his own time for walking and resting without any concern to my physical ability for that timing. The guide walked ahead many times and didn’t even notice when I fell a few times. I understand the guide is not the insurer of safety or a hand holder, but a complete abrasive approach to the service is not right, especially when it’s a paid service. Perhaps, the guide is not a right choice for introduction tours. 2. There was a miscommunication with timing of the summit day. I thought we would start summiting around 5am the next day; however, I was told less than 15 hours before that we would start hiking at 1am the next day from base camp. We arrived at base camp early afternoon, and I’m wired up, hot, and not prepared to fall asleep between 5pm-12am, thus, I didn’t sleep at all. I attempted the summit hike but around 12k feet the sleep deprivation was killing me and I was catching myself falling asleep and my body trying to lay down while waking. The guide didn’t seem to concerned about this. Lack of empathy. Eventually, I had to insist we turn around because I didn’t want to go beyond 30 hours of no sleep and still have to descend from the summit. 3. The guide did help set up the tent and food. The guide did explain layers of clothes on and off and why. The guide did help instruct how to pack and why. 4. Overall, I feel this guide is best suited for advanced climbers not introduction courses as he seems to be more of a “ill walk ahead of you” not “ill walk with you” type of guide.

Harshikesh Panchal


January, 2019

Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.

Michael Smith


January, 2019

Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.

Jordan Kowalski


January, 2019

My guides name was Matt and we were lucky enough to summit Mt. Whitney during the winter. This was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have done and SWS did a great job throughout the process. Matt was such a great guide who took the time to educate us. He was polite, understanding and very helpful throughout the climb, I felt comfortable with him right from the start and look forward to more climbs with both Matt and the SWS team. Would recommend them to anyone!

Andrew Moran


January, 2018

Just finished my second trip with SWS Mountain guides...summiting Mt. Shasta a few days ago (previously climbed Mt Whitney last summer with SWS as well). This company provides excellent service both on and off the mountain, from addressing all my questions prior to the trip to establishing a well-rounded professional and fun educational experience during the climb itself!!!! Specifically, the guides on my trip were amazing, connecting with me on both a professional and personal level, keeping in tune with all aspects of the climb, emphasizing safety and education while helping me to fine-tune my climbing technique. Having used several different guiding services in the past, I have no hesitation to highly recommend SWS mountain guides!!!!

Neil Ferguson


January, 2015

I climbed Mt whitney with sws mountain guides in may 2015 ,what a fantastic experience me and two friends from the uk where led by john brown (jb) who was highly professional,knowledgeable and really good company.



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