Sierra High Route


Marion Lake and the Cirque Crest. 

So what is the Sierra High Route? The Sierra High Route is a cross-country hiking route, 195 miles long, through the Sierra Nevada. It was scouted by Steve Roper and described by him in his book Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline Country

The Sierra High Route is not a trail but a cross country route and it is deliberately described in vague terms to encourage the hiker to find his or her own way much like the early explorers. After starting at Roads End in Kings Canyon National Park it immediately rises to 10,000 feet and stays at or above timberline most of the time until the end at Twin Lakes in northern Yosemite. About 30 miles are on trail, and only when necessary.

Although the route is 195 miles Steve Roper recommends taking a week to hike each of the five sections to adequately immerse oneself in the wilderness and enjoy the surroundings. Andrew Skurka along with Buzz Burrell hiked the entire route in seven days in 2008 (Andrew Skurka Sierra High Route). Two very fit hikers from Backpackinglight.com finished the route in 14 days in 2012 ("Sierra High Route - Trip of a Lifetime"). I decided to do the first section as part of a 9 day trip in 2012. 

My wife Candy was concerned about me taking such a potentially dangerous trip solo. I thru-hiked the JMT last summer but the SHR includes some steep Class II and Class III cross country passes so I started to keep an eye out for a hiking buddy. While reading maps, making my own gear and reading endless online trip reports I noticed someone posting questions about the SHR on backpackinglight.com. Our itineraries were almost identical and we both spent the winter researching the route, so after a few conversations we decided to hike together. Dan turned out to be a fun hiking buddy and we had a great time. 

I got a lot of inspiration from the information online while planning this trip. I hope some of my photos, maps, videos and descriptions will help any potential high route hikers. 



Sierra High Route 2012

















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