Sierra Peaks Section

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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.


The Sierra Peaks Section was established in 1955. The Section maintains historic summit registers at Bancroft Library on the University of California, Berkeley campus.[1]


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.[2]

Especially accomplished members are award with emblems, with the following grades (from highest to lowest):[3]

  • Third List Completion
  • Second List Completion
  • First List Completion
  • Master Emblem
  • Senior Emblem
  • 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

SPS List[edit]

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.[4] 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).[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Emblem Peaks[edit]

Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States
Mount Williamson
Peak[6] Elevation
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)

Mountaineers Peaks[edit]

Red Slate Mountain
Mount Morrison
Peak[6] Elevation
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)

See also[edit]

Other peak bagging lists:


  1. ^ "Sierra Peaks Section Brief History". 
  2. ^ "Sierra Peaks Section Membership Page". 
  3. ^ "Sierra Peaks Section Emblem Introduction Page". 
  4. ^ Andy Selters. Images of America: Inyo National Forest. p. 83
  5. ^ 1997 American Alpine Journal. p. 394.
  6. ^ a b c SPS List, 20th edition
  7. ^ Helman, Adam. The Finest Peaks - Prominence and Other Mountain Measures.
  8. ^ "Sierra Peaks Section". 


  • Secor, R. J. (2009). The High Sierra : peaks, passes, trail. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. ISBN 978-0-89886-971-2. 

External links[edit]