2019 Participant Cheat Sheet (Trans-Sierra)


We’re excited to kick-off our 2019 Trans-Sierra Xtreme Challenge treks with you! This summer we’ll be organizing four public outings running from late-July through early-September. On this page you’ll find important information about gear prep, pack-checks, trek logistics, and your team, including updated pickup locations and times.

Please read the following in detail!


On the day of departure TSX will coordinate transportation from the following meeting points:

Confirmed pickup locations and times:

TSX will also coordinate return transportation to these meeting points when we exit the trail.

We will be emailing with each team independently to help facilitate carpool arrangements to the above meeting points on a trek by trek basis (some treks have a number of participants joining us from the Bay Area or Southern California). If you are available and willing to drive others for your particular trek, please contact us!

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your confirmed pickup time. If driving in, vehicles may be left in the hotel parking lot (while we cannot guarantee their safety, the area is generally safe, and we have not had any issues in the past). Coordinating with family, friends or cab/Uber for drop off are also great options.

Getting to the trailhead: From the Fresno/Clovis Area it’s about a 1 hour 15 minute drive to Grant Grove Village in Kings Canyon National Park where we will stop to pick up permits. From there, it will be another 45 minute drive to the trailhead. Our goal is to make it to the trailhead just before dusk.

Front country meals: Meals are not provided while in transit. Please bring pocket money or pack a meal for an early dinner at Grant Grove Village. For convenience, time will be allotted to purchase a hearty sandwich at a local Clovis sub shop just around the corner from the hotel before departing Clovis. A light snack will be provided at the trailhead after unloading gear and setting up camp.

Clean clothes: Please bring a small, separate bag with a clean set of clothes. The clean clothes will travel with return transportation and greet us on the eastern side of the Sierra as we exit the trail.

Gear and Pack Check

Below is a link to our official TSX 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.

Trans-Sierra Xtreme Challenge Gear 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 trailhead.

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 trailhead on the day of departure. All items we remove from your pack will be sent down the mountain with return transportation, and will meet up with you on the eastern side of the Sierra.

Important 2019 pro-tip: We are expecting a significant amount of snow and water on the trail for Team #1 and Team #2. This means more mosquitoes and multiple wet stream crossings each day. 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 each participant with a set of instep crampons to be used on day four for our climb over Colby Pass. For more footwear tips, read our blog post Don’t Get The Blues Hiking In Wet Shoes.

On the Trail

The morning we hit the trail we’ll distribute bear cans with group food and a personalized snack-bag (energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit etc.). The snack bag is 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. We’ll have coffee, tea and hot drinks 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, there is zero reception for 99% of the trip! The exception is the summit of Mt. Whitney, where you can call, tweet, or text home. 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

Our return transportation will meet us as we exit the trail between 11am and 2pm on the final day of our trek. We will load the vehicles and descend to Lone Pine to shower and share our last group meal. Finally, we’ll head back to our original meeting points. Expect a five hour car ride back to the Clovis/Fresno area, and 6-8pm arrival. Bring some pocket money for meals on the drive back.

We’re in this as a Team

This summer, TSX will be leading several teams across the Sierra. Separately, co-founder Mike Murphy will be leading two similar 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 look forward to sharing an experience that can provide inspiration for a lifetime.