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Intermediate to advanced mountaineering course in the Palisades, California (5 days)

This 5-day intermediate to advanced mountaineering course in the Palisades, California is led by the expert guides from SWS Mountain Guides, as they help you improve your mountaineering skills on ascents of the towering and challenging North Palisade, Mt. Sill, Thunderbolt Peak and Polemonium Peak.


Sierra Nevada (California)

5 Days

Aug, Sep




  • Learn intermediate to advanced mountaineering skills in the Palisades!
  • Ascend several of the awesome 14,000 ft. + mountains of the area
  • Admire the truly epic and awesome views out over the California scenery


Join me on this 5-day adventure of mountaineering in the Palisades, California, and I will help improve your alpine mountaineering skills and techniques with intermediate to advanced methods, as we traipse and travail around the truly spectacular setting of the Sierra Nevada mountains, taking in the glorious scenery whilst tacking the mighty North Palisade (14,242 ft.), Mt. Sill (14,153 ft.), Thunderbolt Peak (14,003 ft.) and Polemonium Peak (14,080 ft.).

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. The Palisades are a group of particularly rugged peaks in the central part of the Sierra Nevada.

We will meet in Big Pine, California, where all relevant safety gear and information will be dispensed.

Over the course of the 5 days our aim will be to take your mountaineering to the next level, as we cover intermediate to advanced skills and techniques such as instruction on protection placement, route finding, route selection, planning for the climb, alpine rock climbing, ice/snow climbing, crampon use, snow & ice hardware, protection systems, and multi-pitch climbing.

After mastering these, it is then time to put them in to practice, as we offer you the opportunity to scale some of the 14,000 ft. + peaks scattered around the area, with each providing unique and exciting challenges.

There will be plenty of time to take in and admire the sublime landscape, scenery and terrain around us, with rocky and snowy mountains leading down to the tranquil and peaceful alpine lakes and forests.

After the 5 days is over hopefully you will have gained the confidence to undertake mountaineering in different places around the world.

Become the best mountaineer you can be on this fun and challenging course – book now to take your mountaineering to the next level!


Day 1 to 5: Meet, Mountaineer, Finish

Meet in Big Pine on day 1, mountaineer every day, finish.




Tent accommodation every night.

More info

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced mountaineering experience needed. Or completion of our Palisade Mountain Camp 1 or equivalent course or experience.

Meeting point

Big Pine, California

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!!

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.

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.

Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 1851 Each

Group of 2

USD 1851 Each

Group of 3

USD 1851 Each

Group of 4

USD 1851 Each

Group of 5

USD 1851 Each

Group of 6

USD 1851 Each

Group of 7

USD 1851 Each

Group of 8

USD 1851 Each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Permit and entrance fees

Price details

Price is per person in a group.



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