2023 Trans-Sierra Xtreme Challenge Cheat Sheet

Welcome to our 2023 Trans-Sierra Xtreme Challenge series of treks! We’re excited to hit the trail with you. This summer we’ll be organizing multiple outings running from late July through mid-September. On this page, you’ll find important information about logistics, gear prep, meals, and your team.

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:

Clovis Cole Best Western, Clovis, CA – 1:00pm meet-up, 1:30pm departure

  • Team #1 (July 28 – Aug 5)
  • Team #2 (August 11 – 19)
  • Team #3 (August 25 – Sept 2)
  • Team #4 (September 8 – 16)

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

We will email each team independently to help coordinate pooled transportation to the above meeting points on a trek-by-trek basis for those who may need help getting to the meet-up location (some treks have a number of participants joining us from the Bay Area or Southern California).

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 options.

Getting to the trailhead: From the Fresno/Clovis Area it’s about a 2-hour drive to our trailhead in Kings Canyon National Park. Our goal is to make it to the trailhead just before dusk. We will be stopping by the Grant Grove Visitor Center in Kings Canyon National Park on our way up to pick up permits.

Front country meals: Meals are not provided while in transit. Please bring pocket money or pack a meal for an early dinner near the trailhead. 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 the capacity to accommodate about 12-15 lbs of food and miscellaneous group gear.

Trans-Sierra Gear Checklist

Watch our Gear Checklist Video

Additional gear advice: If you have additional questions or are conflicted about what to bring, please contact us to schedule a one-on-one phone call or join one of our online classes and events where we talk gear, training, and more to help you prepare.

Last minute purchases: We’ve put together a list with descriptions and links to backpacking gear we use.

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

Pack-checks: 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.

Watch our How To Pack a Backpack Video

Pro-tips: This year has been a big snow year which 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 order permethrin from your local REI or online retailers like Amazon. 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 products using 100% deet to be the most effective for High Sierra mosquitoes. If not your first choice for insect repellent, consider bringing 1 to 3 ounces of deet for backup.

Third, if you haven’t yet purchased and broken in your hiking shoes, please do so soon. We suggest bringing shoes or boots in which you can be comfortable hiking while wet. Consider footwear with lots of mesh for breathing and for water to escape. For more footwear tips, read our blog post Don’t Get The Blues Hiking In Wet Shoes. The most important thing is to bring footwear that is comfortable.

On the Trail

On 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! Altogether, we plan for 2-3 snacks per day. We’ll have coffee, tea, and hot drinks available each morning and most evenings. If you drink more than one cup of coffee a day, bring extra coffee (we suggest Starbucks Via).

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 or text home. They can also join our Facebook page to see posts from our trips as they return. 

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 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 1pm 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, TSX will be leading similar youth treks.

We hope you can join in supporting each other throughout our summer adventures. We have incredibly diverse groups – different ages, backgrounds, 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

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.