Sierra High Route 2021

The Sierra High Route (SHR) is the 195-mile vision of Steve Roper who pioneered the route in the 1980’s and published the accompanying guidebook. Roughly speaking, it parallels the ever popular John Muir Trail (JMT), endeavoring to stick close to the Sierra Crest while avoiding trails wherever possible. Although the route is mostly off-trail and requires a fair bit of gumption to make it through a heavy dose of talus and heaping BS, the climbing difficulty never exceeds class 3 scrambling unless one wants it to.

Curiously, in the south, the SHR makes a hard turn to the west below Mather Pass and terminates unspectacularly at Roads End in Kings Canyon National Park. This always confused me, for the High Sierra continue much further south, where they continue to climb higher and widen until reaching Mount Whitney, after which the mountains diminish rather quickly. The JMT got that much right at least, finishing on Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous US. How can the Sierra-freaking-High Route miss the biggest and best stuff!?! It makes no sense.

Enter the Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR). Created by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson pretty darn recently (like 2014 or something), the SoSHR aims to pick up the slack left by the Roper’s SHR. And it does a pretty good job. Running roughly 104 miles from South Lake near Bishop, CA to Horseshoe Meadow outside of Lone Pine, CA, it finishes off the Sierra Crest in the way that I’ve always believed the SHR was supposed to.

So how about combining them?
Yep, that made sense to me too, and it’s what SpiceRack and I did. Starting in the north at Twin Lakes near Bridgeport, CA, we followed Roper’s SHR for two weeks to Bishop Pass with resupply stops at Tuolumne Meadows and Red’s Meadow. After picking up more food in Bishop, we followed the SoSHR for eight days south through the biggest of the big basins, and highest of the High Sierra. All told, we covered 260 unforgettable miles in 23 days. It was awesome.

The daily trip reports are all written and linked below. Additionally, here is an article that I wrote for The Trek post-hike:
11 Unexpected Lessons from the Sierra High Route

The stats:

Trailhead: Horse Creek Trailhead
Passes: Ooooooh boy, so many
Trip odo: 260 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 60,810/?ft
For Days? Yes, 23 days

The map:

Here’s my SHR gear list:

The words:
SHR Day 1
SHR Day 2
SHR Day 3
SHR Day 4
SHR Day 5
SHR Day 6
SHR Day 7
SHR Day 8
SHR Day 9
SHR Day 10
SHR Day 11
SHR Day 12
SHR Day 13
SHR Day 14
SHR Day 15
SHR Day 16
SHR Day 17
SHR Day 18
SHR Day 19
SHR Day 20
SHR Day 21
SHR Day 22
SHR Day 23

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