Challenge Yourself to Change a Young Life

Mt. Whitney and Mt. Russell Traverse

Every year, Summit for Someone climbers join together to ascend some of the world’s most breathtaking mountains to improve the lives of under-served, urban youth. The vital funding that is raised through Summit for Someone makes it possible for Big City Mountaineers to deliver transformational wilderness mentoring expeditions to urban youth across the country in need of positive adult guidance in challenging and restorative environments.


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Mt WhitneyClimb three of California’s 14ers over the course of a spectacular 3 day trip! You begin your adventure with a summit of Mt. Russell (14,086’). This exhilarating climb offers fun climbing and magnificent views throughout. Sierra mountaineering legend Norman Clyde made the first ascent of this route in 1926 and today it is considered one of the all-time classic 3rd class alpine climbs in the entire Sierra! The next day you make your way up Mt. Whitney, which at 14,508’, is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. Mt. Muir is located along the Whitney Crest south of Mt. Whitney and stands 14,012’. It’s named in honor of John Muir who in addition to being an accomplished author, philosopher, naturalist, advocate of environmental preservation, and founder of the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society was also an accomplished mountaineer.

  • Guide: Sierra Mountaineering International
  • Guide fee (paid by BCM): $700*
  • Climb Type: Alpine
  • Skill Requirement: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Location: Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park, California
  • Elevation: 14,497 feet
  • Pledge Requirement: $3,500 (including a non-refundable registration fee)
  • Individual fundraising pages supported by Crowdrise
  • Route: East Ridge/ SW Chute/ Mountaineer’s
  • Length: 3 days
  • dates: September 8 – 10, 2017

*Your initial donation covers a portion of this guide fee. You may choose to donate the rest of your guide fee during registration so that 100% of the funds you raise go to Big City Mountaineers


Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise





*BOOTS or APPROACH SHOES– Conditions dependent on snow on the route.
*CRAMPONS– Conditions dependent. For early summer climbs when snow is still present on the route.
*ICE AXE– Conditions dependent. For early summer climbs when snow is still present on the route.
SUNSCREEN- spf 15 minimum
LIP BALM- spf 15 minimum
MOSQUITO REPELLENT– For early summer climbs only
*Items with an asterisk are available for rental from SMI.

This equipment list supplement is provided to describe in detail each item you will need for our trip. It answers many of the most commonly asked questions regarding each item. It also includes brand name recommendations and tips on selecting gear.
When purchasing gear look for brands that offer a lifetime guarantee and buy from retailers who will stand behind them. A reputable store will simply exchange items on the spot with no questions asked. If they do give you a hassle, do not deal with them anymore.


LONG UNDERWEAR TOP AND BOTTOM: Wool and Capilene good fabrics. Do not bring cotton. It comes in different weights or thicknesses companies assign numbers to. Icebreaker 200 or 260 or Patagonia #2 or #3 is appropriate. It should fit fairly snug against your skin without feeling constricting. There should not be a lot of wrinkles. It is designed to wick perspiration moisture away from your body and too loose of a fit will inhibit its ability to do that. We use both weights with similar results and sometimes mix and match wearing different weights on our top and bottom. Garments made from Moreno wool by Icebreaker and Patagonia work very well. It is high quality wool that does not itch or
absorb body odor quickly. Capilene made by Patagonia is a good synthetic fabric. It wicks well, is easy to wash, and stinks much less than other synthetic fabrics when worn for days at a time.

SWEATER OR SOFTSHELL JACKET: A thick wool sweater made by Icebreaker, Patagonia, or SmartWool. Many mountaineering sweaters are made from a synthetic fabric referred to as “soft shell”. Schoeller fabric is the most commonly used material. Zip styles offer more versatility. If you bring a wool sweater, make sure it is thick and tightly woven. Size your sweater to fit over the previous layer(s).

SYNTHETIC CLIMBING PANTS: Synthetic Climbing Pants have become the standard pants for mountaineering. Schoeller fabric is what most models are made out of. Examples are Mammut Courmeyeur Pants, Marmot Scree Pants, and Patagonia Guide Pants.

WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE JACKET: This is referred to as your “hard shell” or “storm” gear. This should be roomy enough to fit over all previous upper body layers without constricting your freedom of movement. It should be wind and waterproof. There are many good waterproof/breathable fabrics on the market. Gore-tex and Event are the two most common materials on the market.

WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE PANTS: Size them to fit over all previous leg layers. Be sure to bring suspenders if they are not already sewn into the garment. Side zippers are mandatory because they are usually put on during a climb. The same companies who make jackets make matching pants.

GAITERS: Models that attach by Velcro as opposed to a zipper work best. Velcro is easier to work less prone to breaking. Make sure the gaiter fits with your boots. An ankle high gaiter is sufficient for summer/fall trips. Outdoor Research Flex-Tex and Mountain Hardwear Trail are two excellent choices.

WARM CAP: Hats made of fleece or wool fabrics are readily available.

BUFF OR FACE GUARD: For wind and protection against dusty air. During treks the wind can kick up dust particles that can leave the throat dry and irritated. Many people prefer to wear a buff or bandana to minimize breathing in too much dust and to keep the throat more moist.

SYNTHETIC OR WOOL GLOVES: Gloves made of fleece or leather for warmth on cool days at nights. Examples include Black Diamond Kingpin, Arc, or HeavyWeight Gloves, and Mountain Hardwear Torsion or Power Stretch Gloves.

WOOL SOCKS: Bring two pairs for multi day trips. Icebreaker Medium Crew and Light Crew, or Smartwool Light and Medium Hiking socks are popular. Ragg wool is the old standby and still works fine. Your socks should not be loose enough to create wrinkles which lead to blisters, but not so tight that they constrict blood circulation. No cotton socks!

LINER SOCKS: Some people use these to reduce friction between their feet and thick socks cutting down on blisters. Synthetic and wool materials are available. No cotton socks. This is an optional item. Test your sock combination on your training climbs.

T-SHIRT: Loose fitting and comfortable. Any material is fine. Many people prefer a thin weight wool short sleeve t-shirt such as the Icebreaker Tech T or a button down shirt. For hiking on warm days.

SHORTS: Loose fitting and comfortable. Any material is fine. For hiking on warm days.

BASEBALL CAP: To shade your head during warm approach hikes. Hats displaying SMI, Lakers, Raiders, or USC logos work much better than any other hat on the market.


The group meets at the nearby town of Lone Pine on the first day of the trip. We will drive from here to the trailhead at Whitney Portal. We ascend the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek and put in our camp near Upper Boy Scout Lake at 11,300’/3444m. We go to sleep early that evening in preparation for our summit bid of Mt. Russell the following morning. On day two we wake before sunrise beginning our ascent in the early morning hours when we are treated to a breathtaking sunrise en route. Gaining the East Ridge we rope up for some of the most fun and exhilarating 3rd class climbing in the entire Sierra that ends at the summit of Mt. Russell. Our descent is via the SW Chute, over the Whitney/Russell Col, past Iceberg Lake and back to our camp. After some afternoon rest and a good dinner we go to sleep in preparation for our climbs of Mt. Whitney and Mt. Muir the following day. On day 3 we get another predawn start and approach the Mountaineer’s Route along the north side of Mt. Whitney. The slope angle runs between 25-35 degrees to a notch at approximately 14,100’/4298m. From here we ascend the final 400 feet where the angle steepens to 40 degrees. From the summit we descend the Main Mt. Whitney Trail towards Mt. Muir. After our ascent of Mt. Muir we retrace our steps back to the summit of Whitney and down the Mountaineer’s Route to our camp. Day 4 is devoted to packing up and descending to our cars. We’re usually back to the trailhead by lunchtime.


Travel Insurance:  We strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance which covers trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation and repatriation.  Travel insurance offers the best possible protection if you have a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling.  Check with the insurance provider for specific coverage details including adventure/sports coverage.   Additional cancellation coverage may be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit.  However, trip insurance can be purchased at any time prior to the start of your climb.

For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.

If you are flying, your choice of airports are LA, Las Vegas, and Reno. The airfares will vary depending on where you are coming from. In addition Alaska/Horizon Air and United now have daily service into Mammoth Lakes. Rent a car from wherever you fly to and drive to Lone Pine. There are many good motels in Lone Pine and camping is also available at Lone Pine a few miles out of town. A list of lodging and directions to Lone Pine from any airport is available from us upon request.


Big City Mountaineers is committed to supporting our Summit for Someone climbers every step of the way, helping to ensure you reach your fundraising goal and have fun while doing it!

We’ll help you set up a climber donation page and assist you along the way towards your fundraising goal. We encourage you to take full advantage of the Fundraising Guide and support from the BCM staff.

Many SFS participants are first-time climbers as well as first-time fundraisers. Therefore, we not only support you prepare you for your climb, but we also fully support your fundraising efforts.

Here are some of the resources we provide to make it easy to reach your goal:

  • Personal Online Fundraising Page via Crowdrisetell the world why you are Summiting for Someone, easily collect and track donations.
  • Summit for Someone Fundraising Guidewe’ve compiled years of SFS fundraising tips, ideas, initiatives, and templates to make it easy for you to reach your goal.
  • Monthly Email Newsletter Inspirationread stories of transformation and success from our BCM youth, receive even more fundraising tips.
  • Google Driveaccess to a library of inspirational stories, quotes, and videos from BCM youth & Summit for Someone climbers
  • Remittance Slipprint your own copies of our remittance slip; provide your donors a quick and easy way to send donations via snail mail. 
  • Flyers and Postcardsprint your own or we can mail some to you.
  • Facebook Group – connect to & get inspired by our growing community of climbers!
  • Social Media Tipsnew to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, etc? We’re here to help!
    • We have loads of inspiring stories, photos, videos, and quotes that you can share to help get the word out and help you reach your fundraising goal!

positive tracks

Know someone under 23 that may be interested in a Summit for Someone climb? Have them join your climbing team and your fundraising efforts could be doubled thanks to a grant from Positive Tracks!

BCM has partnered with Positive Tracks a national youth-centric non-profit, to help young people get active and give back through the Summit For Someone program! Positive Tracks has created a $25,000 Youth Fundraising Challenge to double funds generated by climbers ages 23 and under. Every dollar raised by young people and matched by Positive Tracks goes to BCM to transform the lives of under-served urban youth through wilderness mentoring experiences that instill critical life skills. With Positive Tracks’ help, Big City Mountaineers’ youth supporters aim to raise $50,000 for BCM, while teaching young people the rewards of making a difference using their own power!


As a thank you for all of your hard work fundraising, BCM sponsors provide our Whitney/Russell/Muir climbers with the following gear packages:

  • Jansport Tahoma Pack
  • Jansport SFS Shirt
  • Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe
  • Jansport Summit Flag
  • Smartwool Socks
  • Chaos Balaclava
  • Columbia Fleece
  • Light My Fire Meal Kit
  • Polartec Gloves
  • Columbia Tee

You are eligible to receive your gear package once you reach your fundraising goal, or 60 days prior to your climb, whichever comes first.

You’re also eligible to earn even more gear in our monthly prize drawings. Check them out!

Mountain Gear

Mountain Gear generously stores and ships all of the SFS climber packages at no cost to BCM, so more of what you raise goes directly to youth programs! Thank you Mountain Gear!