Posts Tagged ‘High Sierra’

Sierra High Route

July 17, 2008


The SHR is a route, not a trail, envisioned by Yosemite guidebook author Steve Roper, and first chronicled in a 1982 book.  Subtitled “Traversing Timberline Country”, it described a route that tries to stay higher than the nearby John Muir Trail while still avoiding serious technical difficulties.  Crossing 33 passes, it was about 200 miles long, mostly above timberline, and included some sections of maintained trail, some obscure user paths, no shortage of tricky terrain over the high passes, and as much cross-country alpine cruising as possible.  Soon out of print, Roper later brought the book back out in 1997 under the title “Sierra High Route”.  
At that time, it was basically a guide for section hiking, and I doubt if 10 people had ever thru-hiked it.  Last year Backpacker Magazine Editor Steve Howe thru-hiked it in a month, doing a daily podcast via sat phone, highlighted by his arduous off-trail experience.  Kevin Sawchuck, an expert backpacker and former record-holder on the JMT, called it “My favorite backpack trip of all time.”  I suspect the popularity of this route is about to take a significant upswing.