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TSX Challenge: Trans-Sierra trek to Mt. Whitney

Guide or Outfitter
Mt. Whitney

The Trans-Sierra Xtreme (TSX) Challenge is an inspiring, week long trans-Sierra trek across Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to Mt. Whitney. The journey traverses some of the most remote, least traveled regions of the Sierra Nevada including Colby Pass, the Great Western Divide, and Kern River Canyon.

The challenge is patterned after annual Whitney treks led by TSX Challenge co-Founder Mike Murphy, who has guided motivated individuals ranging from 5th grade to over 65 years of age along the same trans-Sierra trail since 1983. The trek has inspired hundreds of people. Not only is the scenery majestic, but scaling Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, is something many would have never thought possible. Participants often walk away with a renewed sense of purpose, confidence and inspiration. The TSX Challenge was created to extend that unique opportunity to others.

The TSX Challenge is an experience where active individuals with limited or no backpacking skills can safely and confidently venture into the rugged beauty and tranquility of the Sierra Nevada. A limited number of treks are organized each year, which are based on the same week-long trek to Mt. Whitney. The focus ensures that a consistent, predictable and rewarding experience can be delivered on each and every outing. We believe the memories and adventures experienced on the trek can be a source of inspiration as participants “hike on” throughout their lives. You can find more information at

Areas of Service and Expertise

TSX Challenge founders have been leading the week-long treks for over 25 years, and have helped hundreds of committed individuals complete the trans-sierra journey and achieve their goals. Strong trail familiarity and experience leading participants of all ages helps TSX Challenge guides to safely and proactively manage each day to adjust for varying trail conditions, which include water levels at stream crossings, late summer snow patches, and changing weather conditions.

TSX Challenge co-Founder Mike Murphy first began guiding the trans-sierra trail as a professional guide for the City of Visalia, CA recreation department in 1983. He has led at least one group of 10-15 individuals across the same trans-sierra trail each year since 1983. From 1983-1993, he led hikes along the trans-sierra trail for the City of Visalia. From 1993-2010, he has led one to two trans-sierra hikes per year as an independent, non-profit guide. Participants on these outings typically include students, parents and teachers from the Clovis Unified School District (where Mike has been a teacher for over 20 years) as well as members of the greater Clovis/Fresno and Central Valley community.

Mike is a Sierra Club National Outings Leader, and has led backpacking trips for the Sierra Club almost every year since 1991. In 2002, he participated in “American Frontiers: A Public Lands Journey,” a two-month trek co-sponsored by the National Geographic Society. He is also a member of the California Geographical Society where he served on the Board of Directors from 1995 to 2009. Mike has completed the John Muir Trail five times, and has over 4,000 miles of backpacking experience. Mike is currently a resident of Clovis, California, and a full-time 5th grade teacher at Gettysburg Elementary.

Co-Founder Chris Casado did his first trans-sierra hike with Mike in the early 90s at the age of 14. But he wasn’t the first in his family to get involved – his 5 foot tall, 85lb younger brother did the hike when he was 10; and mom (mother of four), did the hike around age 40. The trek solidified Chris's love of the outdoors. Mike and Chris hiked the John Muir Trail together in 1997 where their friendship was cemented. Since then, Chris has led multiple backpacking outings across the trans-sierra trail as an independent guide for family and friends. Origionally from Clovis, CA, Chris has worked as a finance professional and entrepreneur in the Bay Area since 2005, and currently lives with his growing family in Orinda, CA.

Eco-Friendly Notes

TSX Challenge outings follow minimum impact and Leave No Trace backpacking best practices.