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5-day Mountaineering camp in the Palisades (Sierra Nevada), near Big Pine, CA – Level I

5-day Mountaineering camp in the Palisades (Sierra Nevada), near Big Pine, CA – Level I | undefined

This 5-day Level 1 mountaineering camp in the Palisades (Sierra Nevada), near Big Pine, California, is led by the certified guides from SWS Mountain guides, who will lead you around the numerous glorious 14,000 ft. + peaks, while also teaching you the best mountaineering skills and techniques.

Sierra Nevada (California)

5 Days

Aug, Sep




* Learn basic alpine mountaineering skills in the Palisades, California!

* Increase your confidence and ability to tackle massive mountains

* Put everything in to practice on the wide range of 14,000 ft. peaks!

* Admire the superb views out over the Californian countryside


I will guide you on this incredible, amazing, epic and awesome mountaineering course in the Palisades of the Sierra Nevada in California, where over the course of 5 days we will go through all the necessary skills and techniques needed to increase your mountaineering confidence, all while practicing on some of the numerous majestic and breath-taking 14,000 ft. peaks in the area.

The Palisades are a group of mountain peaks nestled within the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, often containing steep and rugged terrain. It has the highest concentration of 14,000 ft. mountains in the Sierra Nevada, and is considered one of the best alpine climbing spots in California.

We begin our adventure by meeting in the nearby town of Big Pine, and from there we head out to the mountains in earnest.

We will aim to cover all the basic skills and techniques needed to start alpine mountaineering, including how to climb on rock, ice and snow.

Some of the topics covered are route planning and preparation, navigation, route finding, basic mountain medicine, rock climbing techniques, rappelling, crampon techniques and roped team travel.

Once we have covered these, it is then time for the highlight of the trip, putting them in to practice. We have the pick of some of the finest mountains in the state to mountaineer on, with most peaks reaching 13-140,000 ft. high, including North Palisade (14,248 ft.), Mount Sill (14, 159 ft.), Split Mountain (14,064 ft.) and Middle Palisade (14,018 ft.).

The views from each mountain are sublime, with the vast and spectacular California countryside stretching far out in to the distance, with the other peaks of the Sierra Nevada looming large above it all.

After 5 days we will have increased your mountaineering confidence, and hopefully made you want to return to this delightful part of California.

Learn the basics of alpine mountaineering in the most spectacular setting possible – book now to experience!

To challenge yourself further and take your mountaineering to the next level, try our Palisades mountaineering camp, 5 days with 14,000′ summits in the Sierra Nevada, CA – Level II, here!

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

Price details

Price is per person in a group of 6.


Day 1 to 5: Meet, Mountaineer, Finish

  • Meet in Big Pine, California.

  • Learn basic alpine mountaineering skills and techniques over the course of 5 days.

  • Put these in to practice on the numerous peaks in the area.

  • Finish on day 5 back in Big Pine.



More info

Previous Backpacking and Hiking experience required, No previous mountaineering experience is required but helpful.

Meeting point

Big Pine, California

About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain 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.





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What people are saying about SWS



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.



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!


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


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.


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.

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