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Mount Whitney questions?

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby uwe » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:13 pm

Hi,

Are you interested in the standard route (via lottery) or the Mountaineer's Route, (via permit - call 6 months in advance and be prepared to call multiple days in a row before you nail it.)? They issue up to 6 permits (5 days) out of 10 total permits per day. The other (4) permits are saved for walk-ups.
We timed it to be on the route during the full moon. Gorgeous. Very different from Colorado rock that's for sure. Good luck. Any questions ask. Have pic's, information. Snag Mt. Russell and Corrillion as well.

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby kimo » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:39 pm

dehrlich101 wrote:2) When is the best month to go? Preferably snow free, I am going with my cousin and she'd like to do the Whitney Trail.
4) Any advise for the standard route on Mt Whitney? Experiences on that route?


Yes...the standard was my best day in the hills ever. And I'm usually not a big fan of the well-traveled route. But Whitney is very special. You may encounter a lot of people but the breathtaking scenery along the way will keep your mind occupied. I'm sure the Mountaineers Route is super (and I hope to find out someday) but the standard route is no slouch. Anna and I made the trip as a day hike and have no regrets. We caught sunrise and sunset while on the trail. Those golden hours are always special, even more so on a beautiful mountain like Whitney.

We reserved our permits on recreation.gov in early October 2012 for a trip in late October 2012. Over 60 day permits were still available at the time. IIRC, permits were still available for every day in October. There was snow on a few sections of the route (most notably the cables, where the group ahead of us turned back) but it really wasn't anything too bad, and many day hikers were still getting past. We had the good fortune of a bluebird day and started late (430am) and finished late (930pm). We took our time, and about 1000 photos along the way. We had the warm sunny summit of Mount Whitney all to ourselves for over an hour in the late afternoon. It was a true pleasure. We then enjoyed sunset while descending the switchbacks from Trail Crest.

Sunset on the Whitney standard route. It doesn't get much better than this. I hope you enjoy your trip.
Image

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby thebeave7 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:42 am

Another echo for Mt Russell not being too practical if you are only using the Main Trail. Russell is a fantastic scramble, one of my favs in the Sierras, but isn't commonly combined with Whitney on the same day as it makes for a long day. Definitely would be doable as a scramble up the East Ridge, down the South slope, then up the Whitney Mteers route. I'd also throw out that if you're going to be on the Whitney main trail Mt Muir is a fun and quick scramble right off the trail.

One thing that many people forget about CA peaks is the routes are not always as well trodden as one's in CO (ie Muir and Russell). You won't find any bullseyes, lines of cairns, etc. You'll have to use your route finding skills to stay on track and out of class 4-5 stuff, sometimes easier than others. And yes, Colorado class 3 is a little weak compared to California class 3 :) I'd say Russell is more like doing Capitol, but on super solid and tacky granite.

Happy to answer any additional questions about those peaks or the area, grew up out there and spent many years scrambling/mountaineering around the Eastern Sierras.

Eric
Me fail English? That's unpossible. http://www.ericjlee.com/Blogs

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby dehrlich101 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:13 pm

Thanks a lot! I appreciate the input
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in - Aldo Leopold

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby nyker » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:23 pm

Hi dehrlich101,

Don't get too hung up on the lottery. If you have a day or two flexibility in your schedule, you can likely get a walk-in permit from a no-show.
With that said, I would recommend making sure you have a backup day to account for weather moving in and other misc events. On one trip where I was pressed for time,
R395 was closed in both directions for 10 hours due to a massive mudslide that carried off two 18 wheelers back in 2010. Needless to say that put a dent in my planned scheduling that week...

Best month - Personally I like snow above 11,000 on Whitney, but that's me. To get your best shot at snow free, mid-July-late August would
maximize your chances, but like in Colorado, snow can fall anytime of the year; though new August snow would not last long.

Agree with others here, if you want to add on Russell, do it from the North Fork approach unless you have an extra day or two and you want to lug your
tent over Whitney and set it up again on the other side of the mountain. Keep in mind Russel is class 3/4 and some decent exposure.
If you want some other options nearby, check out Langley, Boundary Peak and White Mountain Peak. Kearsarge Pass is another great place to hike into.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me or PM me. Good luck in your planning!

As to suggestions and details on routes, see my last four Whitney Trip Reports below for some more info which might be helpful to you:

April Mountaineers Route

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=13461&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

November Main Trail, some new snow

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=13143&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

May Spring Couloir Chute climb from Main Trail

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11767&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

Main Trail, dry in September

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11067&parmuser=nyker&cpgm=tripuser

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby steelfrog » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:55 am

MR is also via lottery

Another way to go I'd through Inyo national forest.

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby Wildernessjane » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:50 am

steelfrog wrote:MR is also via lottery

Another way to go I'd through Inyo national forest.


I may be missing something here, but we did not need to go through the lottery system to get an overnight permit to climb Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route (click on the link and check out #3: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/20/Wilderness_Permit_Options#Post20). I also didn't need to call repeatedly as someone else had suggested. I went through the online application process and it was really pretty straightforward. Just to clarify, the North Fork Lone Pine Creek Trail provides access to the Mountaineer's Route (click on Inyo National Forest when you go to register--the above link directs you to the website). The time slots fill up fast so you have to be on the ball. We were pretty flexible about the dates so that really helped. If someone has more updated information, please set me straight (we climbed in June of 2012).

Edit: It looks like you do need to enter the lottery if you are planning a DAY HIKE regardless of the route.

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby nyker » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:17 pm

Hey Dan,

I was just on Mt Langley last weekend, thought you'd like to see some more of the area with a few pics on my trip report below: Langley would make a great addition to your peaks list when you head out to the Sierras:

http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=14092&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include

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Re: Mount Whitney questions?

Postby dehrlich101 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:44 am

Thank you Nyker and everyone else for all the informative responses. I am looking forward to this trip already!
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in - Aldo Leopold

Support Colorado Search and Rescue - CORSAR Card

LOJ

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