David Beck: 1st Sierra High Route Winter Traverse

David Beck skiing in the 60s

Known worldwide as the ultimate Sierra Classic ski tour, the Sierra High Route was first skied in it’s entirety in 1975 by David Beck. Since David's crowning achievement, the subtle line of the route's "linking high passes" and "long contours around huge snow filled bowls" has become the goal of many a backcountry skier. Starting in the low desert of the Eastern Sierra and crossing some of the more rugged parts of the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra High Route is a challenge and an achievement sought by the best of backcountry skiers. Often compared to the famous “Haute Route” of the European Alps or Colorado’s Tenth Mountain Trail, this is a true extended wilderness ski tour, with no huts, few other people and no nearby roads.

David Beck has been ski touring in California for over three decades. He started out by working four seasons on ski patrol and avalanche control teams and was an avalanche consultant for three winters in Mineral King. David has skied the John Muir Trail and let numerous trans-Sierra tours. In 1979, he skied the European Haute Route on cross country skis. David also directed nordic ski schools for the Sierra Club, Alpine Meadows and Sequoia National Park.

David is an expert in the field of avalanche training, starting at UC Berkeley where he received his BS in Conservation of Natural Resources in 1972. Working as an avalanche consultant during this time, he was given a taste for what would be a lifelong pursuit of avalanche study and expertise. David has instructed at UC Berkeley, the National Avalanche School, Lake Tahoe Community College, and Western Nevada Community College to name a few. Among his many accomplishments, he has written the guidebook Ski Touring in California and has trained generations of avalanche rescue dogs for over 30 years.

Before retirement, David was director and host of Sierra Ski Touring - Husky Express. Going on a tour with David allowed many Tahoe area visitors to enjoy the winter with a true living legend and pioneer in American backcountry skiing.

David Beck of Sierra Ski Touring today