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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 jsdratm » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:02 am

I would consider going with a guide if you've never done anything like that before. I know that the Sierra Mountain Center provides guides for that route.

http://www.sierramountaincenter.com/whitney_mountaineers.html

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby Porkrind » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:06 am

My daughter and I are planning a John Muir Trail thru-hike this August starting at Yosemite and ending on Mt. Whitney.
We'll have to get our permit in Yosemite for the entire trip/trail which will include the Whitney Portal/Zone - as I understand it.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby juliankowa » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:23 am

Did Mt Whitney last July with son and friend. Started at midnight and reached the summit around 10:30 or so. Got back down to the portal around 4:00. By the way if you get to the area a few days earlier you might be able to pick up a pass at the ranger station free. That way you can do extra training if you had any ideas of going past Lone Pine lake. Every once in a while you might come upon a ranger and they will ask for your pass and study it like they did to me.
Flatlander born in the mountains ( Alps )

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby spiderman » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:48 pm

nyker wrote: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.



I definitely concur with this comment. Depending on the iciness of the of the chute, and even the backside, it can be a cakewalk or a potentially dangerous route. I have been up it on a warm August day when the backside was a solid sheet of icy snow that would be fatal if someone slipped. There have been several fatal accidents of people slipping down the MR chute and not having enough experience or gear to self arrest. Even the main trail can be so icy in May that you would need serious mountaineering experience to pass a couple of sections. May is very early season and both routes are unforgiving if you run into ice or icy snow. Definitely learn how to use an ice ax and spikes/crampons on a more forgiving climb, and then go to Whitney with someone with multiple years of mountaineering experience. On a nice summer day if the conditions are good, it can be a relaxing dayhike to go up the MR and down the main trail... Spiderman loved it when he was 8. If you can follow the right path, I would rate it Colorado class 3 or a California class 2.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby nyker » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:56 pm

The Main Trail can be pretty fun in the Spring given the right conditions:

Here is a link to my report this past May on the Main Trail with shots of the "other" Chute on the Main Trail showing its steepness - While the top portion is steepest, the MR is a bit steeper overall from about 13,300 or so.

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

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby mnmtman » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:45 pm

Cool trip report. I think we will do it as a day hike and head out early. What types of crampons and axe do I need? Are there any places to rent gear from near lone pine? We will be coming from MN and flying into Vegas.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby nyker » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:13 pm

There are two shops in the area you can rent from: Elevation in Lone Pine and Wilson Eastside Sports in Bishop.

If you are not familliar with their use, you might wish to take a short Mountaineering class from Sierra Mountaineering Inc (SMI) located in Bishop. With enough notice, you should be able to plan a 101 daytrip with them the same week as your trip, maybe even get a smaller peak in to warm your legs up.

If you use the swtchbacks on the Main Trail, the angle won't be that steep and you probably won't really need an axe, but in May, you never know and won't hurt to bring it. Be aware also that depending on the snow year, you could have 10+ feet of snow on certain sections of the trail and you'll need to know where you're going. 11 miles each way makes for a lot of terrain with which to lose your route on.

You'll also need to stop in the Ranger Station (South east of the start of Lone Pine) and get your permit squared away.

Good luck!

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby mnmtman » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:24 pm

Thanks for all the info! I'll definitely take the next four months to be as prepared as possible.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby Steve C » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:11 pm

MuchosPixels wrote:It really suxs that you need a permit just to hike a 14er (Class 1/2)..... It kinda makes sense for the cables route up half-dome (place is a zoo as it is!....) but for this. I don't know. Does not seem right
The Mt Whitney quotas have been in place for approximately 30 years. Before that, people were saying the place was a zoo, like you say Half Dome is.

The Whitney permit lottery will open this year February 1 - March 15, with $6 application fee at www.Recreation.gov. This year, people can enter as many times as they want, with the $15 per hiker fee charged only if they win a reservation AND accept it post-lottery.

The lottery system is for dayhike and overnight permits on the Main Trail. The Main Trail dayhike permits are also required to dayhike the Mountaineers Route. To camp overnight on the Mountaineers Route, those permits are outside the lottery, with six slots available up to 6 months before the trip (4 slots available for walk-ins, day before the trip).

There is more information on Mt Whitney available on the WhitneyZone forum, with 2013 Whitney Lottery info here.
Last edited by Steve C on Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby Steve C » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:26 pm

mnmtman wrote: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.

MNmtman, Please do read up on Altitude sickness before you go. It would be best to take it slow to acclimate -- takes me several nights at altitude before I can safely summit Whitney. (Most CO hikers live around 5k, so they have a big advantage over low-elevation residents.) Check the WhitneyZone Orientation Notes for lots of worthwhile information.

If you go in May, permits are easy to get, outside of the Memorial Day weekend. I sure wouldn't attempt the Mountaineers Route without some prior mountaineering ice axe & crampon experience. The Main Trail route will be challenging enough with its snow cover.

Las Vegas is a good way to fly in to do Whitney. Be sure to give yourself time to enjoy Death Valley on the trip, too. The scenery is awesome.

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby mnmtman » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:18 pm

I usually do alright with elevation. I've climbed a bunch of 14ers after driving straight from MN. I'm gonna see if I can find a intro to mountaineering class somewhere in the area. If not I will have to find a couple of places that I can experiment with crampons and an axe. Anyone know if there is any good rafting near Mt. Whitney?

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Re: Mt Whitney, Ca.

Postby Steve C » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:03 pm

Rafting... several outfitters should be running the Kings River on the Sierra west side, but that puts you a lot farther away from Las Vegas. It's a 5-hour drive around from Mt Whitney. Coming in and out of LAX or other So Cal connections might work better.

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