2019 Participant Cheat Sheet


We’re excited to kick-off our 2019 Hell For Sure Challenge treks with you! This summer we’ll be organizing up to six Hell For Sure outings running from early-July through late-September. On this page you’ll find important information about gear prep, pack-checks, trek logistics, and your team.

Please read the following in detail!


On the first day of your Hell for Sure Challenge experience we will convene in Shaver Lake, CA (specific address location sent via email). Please plan to arrive by 7pm the so that you can attend the pre-trek orientation.

First day outline:

  • Arrive after 3pm, drop off bags
  • Rolling pack-checks from 3pm to 6pm; relax at cabin or explore town and lake
  • Team orientation at 7pm around campfire
  • 8pm to 10pm late arrivals

Please contact us if you need to arrange an early, or late arrival.

Front country meals: Meals are not provided while in the front country. Please bring pocket money for dinner in Shaver Lake the evening of arrival, or pack a meal for dinner at the the cabin. A light snack will be provided after the pre-trek orientation at 7pm, and breakfast will be provided the following morning.

Clean clothes: Please bring a small, separate bag with a clean set of clothes. The clean clothes will remain at the cabin for use after we exit the trail.

Gear and Pack Check

Below is a link to our official Hell For Sure Gear Checklist. Please start thinking about gathering your gear and getting prepared. Watch our gear checklist video for tips on selecting and preparing your gear. Remember, keep it simple! Every ounce counts. Packs should weigh between 15-20 lbs. when loaded with personal gear. You should have capacity to accommodate about 12-15 lbs. of food and miscellaneous group gear.

Hell For Sure Challenge Checklist

Watch our Gear Checklist Video

Gear we provide: Any major gear requested (backpack, tent, sleeping bag etc.) will be waiting for you at the cabin.

Pack-checks: If you have additional questions or are conflicted on what to bring, please contact us to schedule a 15-minute one-on-one phone call to ask any last-minute questions before your trek. We will do a final pack-check for everyone to help lighten the load at the cabin on the day of arrival.

Important 2019 pro-tip: We are expecting a significant amount of snow and water on the trail for our July and early August treks. This means more mosquitoes and multiple wet stream crossings. There are three things you can do to help improve your experience on the trail.

First, we strongly encourage you to pre-treat one set of clothing (hat, shirt, pants, socks) with permethrin before departure. You can pick up permethrin at your local REI. Watch this video for information about permethrin and how to apply it (there is no need to treat your tent or sleep system).

Second, while there are several alternative bug repellents on the market, we find deet to be the most effective for High Sierra mosquitoes. If not your first choice for insect repellent, consider bringing a few ounces for backup.

Third, we suggest bringing shoes or boots that you can be comfortable hiking in wet. We recommend footwear with lots of mesh for breathing and for water to escape. In addition, we will be providing early season trek participants with a set of instep crampons which may be needed to summit Red Mountain and traverse the LeConte Divide.. For more footwear tips, read our blog post Don’t Get The Blues Hiking In Wet Shoes.

On the Trail

Getting to the trailhead: The morning we hit the trail we’ll carpool or caravan to the trailhead. From Shaver Lake it’s a 1-hour drive to our trailhead near Courtright Reservoir. Once there, we’ll distribute bear cans with group food, and a personalized snack-bag (energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit etc.). These are yours to keep, ration and trade while on the trip. If you want to also bring a few of your favorite snacks from home that is okay; however, don’t go overboard! All together, we plan for 2-3 snacks per day. Coffee, tea and hot drinks will be available each morning and most evenings.

Meals: Your guides will be responsible for preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, cooking is a great social activity! Your participation, help and curiosity are always welcome.

Weather: Temperature can vary widely. If you follow our gear checklist, you’ll be well prepared. Generally, you can expect 60-80’s during the day, and mildly cold to freezing evenings. However, it can be hotter, and it can be colder. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Staying in touch: If you’d like to bring your phone, okay with us, they are great for pictures. However, once at the trailhead there is zero reception for 100% of the trip! If you’d like to keep family and friends abreast of your progress, please have them join our Facebook page. We will be checking in each night via satellite text messaging device and posting our progress and GPS location to Facebook.

Team effort: Every TSX outing is a team effort! Throughout the trail we’ll need everyone’s eyes, ears, and voices working together and looking out for one another. Voices of encouragement and high 5’s are important! It’s a long, tough and incredibly rewarding experience. We’re here to help when you need it, and appreciate your positive encouragement and support for others as you’re able to give, and when they need it as well.

Exiting the Trail

An early start will get us back to Courtright Reservoir after lunch where we will reload cars, and return to the town of Shaver Lake. A final stop for showers at our cabin in Shaver and hearty group meal in town is optional. If flying out of Fresno on the same day, we suggest scheduling flights for departure no earlier than 6:00pm. Staying one additional night in the Clovis, Fresno or Shaver Lake area is also an option.

We’re in this as a Team

This summer, TSX will be leading several teams across the Sierra, both to Mt. Whitney and through Hell For Sure. Separately, co-founder Mike Murphy will be leading two Mt. Whitney youth treks.

We hope you can join in supporting each other throughout our summer adventures. We have incredibly diverse groups – different ages, backgrounds, states and countries, and shapes and sizes joining us – but a common goal. If you use social media, please follow us, and join in sharing your experience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. As you train, prepare, trek and reflect, tag your posts with #tsxchallenge. Like and support other teams and their posts as well… we’re in this together!

Follow us: Facebook: @tsxchallenge // Instagram: @tsx.challenge // Twitter: @mtwhtne

Thank you for deciding to spend a week of your summer with us! We are looking forward to an inspirational summer to remember.