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Mt Whitney, Ca.

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby jblyth » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:14 pm

apasquel wrote:If you are comfortable with class 3...do the Mountaineer's route (MR). Here's why?
1) no lottery permit...just purchase your permit online.
2) it's only 12 miles round trip
3) a whole lot less crowded

I think Colorado class three is harder than MR. There's no doubt that Crestone Needle, Crestone peak, Snowmass Mountain are tougher scrambles...at least way more sustained class three. If you go in dry conditions, the loose scree up the gully is the only burden..

this is my report form this past September:

http://seekingtheburningbush.blogspot.com/2012/09/mt-whitney-mountaineers-route-trip.html

http://seekingtheburningbush.blogspot.com/2012/09/mt-whitney-trip-report-part-ii.html


Great reports, thanks for the information. How challenging do you think this route would be with snow? Thinking about giving it a try in mid April.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby apasquel » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:34 pm

Great reports, thanks for the information. How challenging do you think this route would be with snow? Thinking about giving it a try in mid April.
[/quote]
Outside a few moves on the final 400, I honestly think it would be technically easier...the loose scree in the gully (1000 +/- ft ) was frustrating. We went in mid September hoping there was snow up higher in the mountain...it would of made for an easier ascent past iceberg lake.

There are a few routes (the slabs below Upper Boy scout lake and right next to it going up towards Iceberg) that would also be easier to do in snow and ice..because when dry, it's just one huge talus field of suckage.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby mts4602 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:43 pm

Whats the procedure for getting a permit for the mountaineers route?
Matt

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby apasquel » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:19 pm

mts4602 wrote:Whats the procedure for getting a permit for the mountaineers route?



just go to http://www.recreation.gov/recgovHome.do?topTabIndex=Home...reserve permit for the date you want to enter Inyo National Forest/Lone Pine North Fork. This is the MR route. There's a quota to how many people can enter a day...but it's not a lottery. Essentially, you can go whenever you want.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby nyker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:22 pm

There are many routes on Whitney from Class 1 to very technical vertical wall climbs.
You can choose from a "standard route" or create a longer trip starting from as far
away as Yosemite doing the John Muir Trail and making it a 200+ mile trip.
One option is to start from Kearsarge Pass which makes for a nice approach.

The most popular routes are the "Main Trail" and "Mountaineers Route"

For the Main Trail you can climb it all year, just be aware that the road getting to the
trailhead may pose a challenge if new snow falls making road dangerous or impassable
or is gated down lower, making the normal 22 mile / +6600ft roundtrip more like 30+ miles
depending on how far you can get up. This route is Class 1 all the way. Winter up there
can be brutally cold, well below zero with fierce winds or you cold have a nice 50*F day.

In the spring/early summer, you can do a good snow climb as an alternative route off
the Main Trail and go up the Couloir/chute to the west of the swichbacks from Trail Camp.
- makes for a a nice alternative to the switchbacks. I'd advise against glissading here
though since this slope is prone to ice up and the runout is filled with large rocks.

Mountaineers Route best done in either Spring snow or dry in the summer.
Doing that route in new loose snow and/or ice is not fun.
The MR is Class 3, some say Class 4 depending on your definition and travels
over a less defined trail from where you leave the Main Trail and while having
roughly the same gain, is a few miles shorter.

To clarify the permit situation - check with the Ranger Station at the Eastern Sierra
Visitor Center - I believe you need a permit for either
route. They used to separate the two permits but now think they combine them so the
same permit is used for either route ("Mountaineers Route" or "Main Trail").
www.recreation.gov is where the main resource is now for obtaining a permit for the area.

Check out the Whitneyportalstore.com or Whitneyzone.com sites for best current info.

Rob

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby steelfrog » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:20 pm

Correct--MR and main trail are now all within the "Whitney Zone" so require same permit and are subject to the same quotas.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby JDip » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:34 pm

Well the MR it is!

I'm getting a seperate permit to do the class 1 route also, it just seems too awesome of a mountain to only climb it once. :mrgreen:

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby nyker » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:42 am

Yea, it really is a nice area up there - and if you can time your trip on a shoulder season with snow, you will have far less company on the trail! My last two trips there, I saw less than 10 people all day and often only when I got to Trail Camp for a little while then was alone the rest of the day. The scenery on either route is awesome.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby jrbren_vt » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:37 am

JDip wrote:Well the MR it is!

I'm getting a separate permit to do the class 1 route also, it just seems too awesome of a mountain to only climb it once. :mrgreen:


True enough. But when you get there you will immediately see there are dozens of other mountains that will beckon. So do you climb Whitney multiple times or climb other peaks in the area ? After my 2011 trip (I did the Kearsarge pass loop on the JMT referenced above) to that region my bucket list got much longer (University Peak, Mt Tyndall, et al) , not shorter. But that is true of many of my mountain trips.
*****************
Best Regards - John
*****************

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby MuchosPixels » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:10 am

It really suxs that you need a permit just to hike a 14er (Class 1/2). I mean, not about the cost (don't mind paying to maintain the area and facilities), but the process of needing to reserve months in advance and the fact that there are limited spots available. It kinda makes sense for the cables route up half-dome (place is a zoo as it is!, they should take the cables down and just leave anchors for climbers, if that) but for this. I don't know. Does not seem right.

You can hike Pike's peak, one of the most popular mountains anywhere, without a permit and the few times ive been there it has been very mellow. After going up the busy incline area I only encountered a few hikers and the whole route was clean (no trash).

So, for Whitney they should just charge at least parking fee and maybe a fee to use the trail to keep it well maintained.

If they have a set campground then they could charge for that too and have a reservations system.

But, for everything else they should just have a permitting process (no limit) just to make people register and state their plans so they know who is where in case something bad happens.

That said, The Mountaineers Route would be my choice. Looks amazing. And camping at either lake is a must. Wow, what a place.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby mnmtman » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:02 pm

I'm planning on attempting the mountaineers route in May. I expect there with still be plenty snow on the route during this time. I do not have any mountaineering experience but I figure that I have to start somewhere. Does this sound too risky or is it doable.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby nyker » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:21 pm

Before you try that, I'd become familiar with crampon and ice ax use and some local slopes with less severe consequences of making a mistake. The last portion of that route and the chute leading to the notch will require those tools in May and the steepness increases as you go higher and the terrain there is not a place to fall. You will also likely encounter snow from lower down which could require a camp or at least a very long day.

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