Sierra Peaks Section
The Sierra Peaks Section (SPS) is a mountaineering society within the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club that serves to provide mountaineering activities for Sierra Club members in the Sierra Nevada, and to honor mountaineers who have summited Sierra Nevada peaks.
To become a member of the SPS, one must be a Sierra Club member and have climbed at least six peaks on the SPS List; it is not necessary that the peaks be Emblem peaks. For verification purposes, two of those ascents must be done on an official SPS trip.
Especially accomplished members are award with emblems, with the following grades (from highest to lowest):
- Third List Completion
- Second List Completion
- First List Completion
- Master Emblem
- Senior Emblem
Upon receiving one of the normal emblems, members may be recognized with one of the following additional emblems, which are not ranked:
- Geographic Emblem
- Explorer Emblem
To the general public, they are most known for their peak bagging list, created in 1955, a product of the Sierra Club's long legacy of promoting climbing in the Sierra Nevada. Completing the list is highly prestigious in American mountaineering circles, and climbers who complete the list are often cited as having done so (e.g. by the American Alpine Club).
The list is divided into three levels of importance. The Emblem peaks are considered the most iconic peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and to summit all of them is considered a major accomplishment in North American peak bagging. Mountaineers peaks are less notable peaks known for presenting mountaineering challenges; they do not have the prestige that Emblem peaks have attached to them, but ascending them is necessary to gain higher levels of recognition for Section members. Finally, there are the numerous general peaks of lesser note.
The list is an example of a "decision by committee" list with the peaks on the list being determined by the Sierra Club. Peaks are occasionally added or removed from the list due to a variety of factors, such as accessibility, notability, and interest. The list is followed by thousands of hikers and has been noted in numerous books and guides on the Sierra Nevada.
There are 15 Emblem peaks, 35 Mountaineers peaks, and 197 general peaks, for a total of 247 peaks. The number of peaks is traditionally set at 248, the original number of peaks listed in 1955; however the number changes constantly due to issues such as legal access or higher interest in one peak over another (resulting in the former being substituted in the list for the latter).
The elevations listed below are those officially described on the list (based on USGS topographic map contours), and may not be the actual elevations of those peaks, although they are usually accurate to within 50 feet.
|Olancha Peak||12,123 feet (3,695 m)|
|Mount Whitney||14,491 feet (4,417 m)|
|Mount Williamson||14,370 feet (4,380 m)|
|Mount Kaweah||13,802 feet (4,207 m)|
|Mount Brewer||13,570 feet (4,140 m)|
|Mount Clarence King||12,907 feet (3,934 m)|
|Split Mountain||14,042 feet (4,280 m)|
|Mount Goddard||13,568 feet (4,136 m)|
|North Palisade||14,242 feet (4,341 m)|
|Mount Darwin||13,831 feet (4,216 m)|
|Mount Humphreys||13,986 feet (4,263 m)|
|Mount Abbot||13,704 feet (4,177 m)|
|Mount Ritter||13,143 feet (4,006 m)|
|Mount Lyell||13,114 feet (3,997 m)|
|Matterhorn Peak||12,279 feet (3,743 m)|
|Mount LeConte||13,930 feet (4,250 m)|
|Mount McAdie||13,799 feet (4,206 m)|
|Mount Russell||14,088 feet (4,294 m)|
|Black Kaweah||13,720 feet (4,180 m)|
|Triple Divide Peak||12,634 feet (3,851 m)|
|Milestone Mountain||13,638 feet (4,157 m)|
|Table Mountain||13,632 feet (4,155 m)|
|Thunder Mountain||13,517 feet (4,120 m)|
|Mount Ericsson||13,583 feet (4,140 m)|
|Deerhorn Mountain||13,281 feet (4,048 m)|
|East Vidette||12,356 feet (3,766 m)|
|Junction Peak||13,845 feet (4,220 m)|
|University Peak||13,589 feet (4,142 m)|
|Mount Gardiner||12,907 feet (3,934 m)|
|Arrow Peak||12,959 feet (3,950 m)|
|Mount Ruskin||12,920 feet (3,940 m)|
|Tehipite Dome||7,708 feet (2,349 m)|
|Middle Palisade||14,012 feet (4,271 m)|
|Norman Clyde Peak||13,855 feet (4,223 m)|
|Devil’s Crag #1||12,400 feet (3,800 m)|
|Mount McDuffie||13,282 feet (4,048 m)|
|Mount Sill||14,153 feet (4,314 m)|
|Thunderbolt Peak||14,003 feet (4,268 m)|
|The Hermit||12,328 feet (3,758 m)|
|Seven Gables||13,080 feet (3,990 m)|
|Bear Creek Spire||13,720 feet (4,180 m)|
|Red Slate Mountain||13,123 feet (4,000 m)|
|Mount Morrison||12,277 feet (3,742 m)|
|Clyde Minaret||12,264 feet (3,738 m)|
|Mount Clark||11,522 feet (3,512 m)|
|Mount Starr King||9,092 feet (2,771 m)|
|Cathedral Peak||10,911 feet (3,326 m)|
|Whorl Mountain||12,033 feet (3,668 m)|
|Tower Peak||11,755 feet (3,583 m)|
Other peak bagging lists:
- "Sierra Peaks Section Brief History".
- "Sierra Peaks Section Membership Page".
- "Sierra Peaks Section Emblem Introduction Page".
- Andy Selters. Images of America: Inyo National Forest. p. 83
- 1997 American Alpine Journal. p. 394.
- SPS List, 20th edition
- Helman, Adam. The Finest Peaks - Prominence and Other Mountain Measures.
- "Sierra Peaks Section". SummitPost.org.
- Secor, R. J. (2009). The High Sierra : peaks, passes, trail. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. ISBN 978-0-89886-971-2.