Sierra Traverse Talk

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Deadman Canyon, just one majestic site of many along the classic Sierra High Route.

Hamik, Clement, Thomas, and Nick will be presenting a slideshow as part of the Adventure 101 series hosted by the Caltech Y.

"The American Haute Route: Skiing Across the Range of Light"

Orland Bartholomew first crossed the High Sierra as part of his 300 mile mid-winter Odyssey in 1928-1929, all alone (even Norman Clyde declined accompaniment!), carrying >60 lbs of gear, and using wide hickory skis custom made to float on the huge Sierran snowpack. Since then, many spectacular winter "traverse" routes have been undertaken on skis; of them, David Beck's "Sierra High Route" of 1975 is perhaps the most elegant. Beginning by climbing out of the high desert of Owens Valley on the east side, the route maintains an elevation of over 11,000 ft for most of the journey, crossing 7 major passes, and ending in the lush Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park on the west. We present the tale of our own recent adventure, attempting to follow in these legendary footsteps (and ski tracks), and the great challenges and rewards that ensued, with special attention to the logistics of such a committing plan and how any group of backcountry enthusiasts can prepare for this journey of a lifetime.


  • Date: Thursday May 26, 2011
  • Time: 12-1pm
  • Location: Caltech Y
  • Lunch is provided (for the first 35 people only)!

Trip Report

Is on Supertopo!

Sponsored by Caltech Alpine Club and The Caltech Y.