Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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HikesInGeologicTime
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by HikesInGeologicTime » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:07 pm

nyker wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:23 pm
I'll add another note about the Sierra in general - maybe this is just me and there was some other reason related to feeling it, but I've found the peaks in the Sierra "climb higher" than in Colorado. I've theorized that due to the drier air out there perhaps make it feel higher, but again maybe it's just me. On average for mountains I've climbed there I've also probably acclimatized less than on those peaks in CO, so that could be a factor as well...
I'm a born/raised/current resident of Colorado, and I can confirm that both Whitney (which I did via the standard route both ways) and White Mountain Peak (widely claimed to be the easiest fourteener in CA) kicked my rear end way harder than they should have relative to my fitness and experience levels at the times I climbed each. I'm also pretty sure it was the dryness - yeah, Colorado's semi-arid, so bring lots of water and beware of ankle-swiping cacti when you go hiking in the foothills and all - but those peaks overlook full-on desert. I think (or maybe I'd just like to think) that's the reason I had even more people frowning and asking, "Are you okay?" on Whitney than I normally have in the Rockies.
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brichardsson
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by brichardsson » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:22 pm

nyker wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:23 pm
I'll add another note about the Sierra in general - maybe this is just me and there was some other reason related to feeling it, but I've found the peaks in the Sierra "climb higher" than in Colorado. I've theorized that due to the drier air out there perhaps make it feel higher, but again maybe it's just me. On average for mountains I've climbed there I've also probably acclimatized less than on those peaks in CO, so that could be a factor as well...
i've climbed in both states, and i think it's a factor that, generally speaking, the trailheads in the sierra are lower than the trailheads in colorado, and the routes are longer, so you have a lot more work to do. just looking at the CA 14ers, you have several of the "easier" 14ers that are 6,000' - 8,000' gain by their standard routes. off the top of my head, split is 7,500' gain by its standard route, middle pal is well over 6,000' gain, as are russell and whitney, and williamson is something like 20 miles round trip and over 8,000' gain.

i would also add that i don't know it's necessarily about being drier, but being hotter. you spend so much time above tree line, it really does take a toll, especially on the eastern side.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by jchapell » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:05 pm

We've attempted the MR twice at the end of April as a couloir climb - awesome experiences both times - but turned around in the final 400. First time There was a plug of waist deep sugar snow at the entrance to the Final 400 with a runout right over a 1000ft drop that we couldn't figure out how to safely wade through, and the second time we made it halfway up before super icey slaby rocks turned us around (we could also see the slide path in the snow just below us of a hiker who took the big ride over the cliff only a couple days before us, super morbid).

HAVING SAID ALL THAT, if you're going in the summer, I'd note that the route is beautiful and a different experience from CO mountains as others have noted - much steeper and more rugged mountains (the spires are incredible once you are in the Iceberg lake cirque), and we just love being in the Sierra. Similar effort going up the MR compared to Longs, but a steeper ascent, and as others have noted loose rock in the MR chute - I had someone kick a bread loaf sized rock down that nailed me in the back of my backpack (thankfully) and sent me fully sprawling. The Ebersbacher Ledges are no bigger deal than The Narrows or Ledges on Longs - we've done them twice in the dark with ice and found them NBD. The accessibility of water at lakes are nice, but make sure you filter if you descend the standard route, lots of campers putting a lot of pressure on it. Make sure you spend time in Alabama Hills, it's a one of a kind place!

Hit me up if you need a GPX etc., and google timblerinetrails.com mount whitney for resources on both the standard and MR, and whitneyzone.com has good trip reports and a forum to follow.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by markf » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:02 pm

Are you bivying at Iceberg Lake or are you doing the route in one long day from Whitney Portal? If you bevy at Iceberg Lake or Boy Scout Lake then it would make more sense to descend the Mountaineer's Route to retrieve your gear. If you're doing the route car to car, the Mountaineer's Route would still be more enjoyable and probably at least as fast as descending the standard route. The only reason I can think of to descend by the standard route would be for a change of scenery on the way down.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by Fletch Lives » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:11 pm

markf wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:02 pm
Are you bivying at Iceberg Lake or are you doing the route in one long day from Whitney Portal? If you bevy at Iceberg Lake or Boy Scout Lake then it would make more sense to descend the Mountaineer's Route to retrieve your gear. If you're doing the route car to car, the Mountaineer's Route would still be more enjoyable and probably at least as fast as descending the standard route. The only reason I can think of to descend by the standard route would be for a change of scenery on the way down.
I agree. That's like flying from LA to Denver and then thinking "let's fly back to LA through Pensacola just to see what it's like" --- only thing you will do is increase the chances your luggage gets lost or you get stuck in bad weather.
Uh. Well, I've sinned. I didn't take any Polaroids or anything. But, yeah, I've sinned.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by nyker » Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:44 am

Yea, and going up the Main Trail is quite nice and a cool way to see the mountain open in front of you rather than descending that way and you'll be moving in the opposite direction of all those coming up the MT route.
The loop would work, but you're making the trade off of adding ~6 miles of downhill trail walking vs. downclimbing the two chutes.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by psycholoco » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:57 pm

If you have a multi-day pass, consider adding Russell while you're in there. It's part of the Whitney zone, so you'd need another permit if you were to do it later on. It's also a very cool hike with great views.
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Re: Mount Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Post by seano » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:16 am

psycholoco wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:57 pm
If you have a multi-day pass, consider adding Russell while you're in there. It's part of the Whitney zone, so you'd need another permit if you were to do it later on. It's also a very cool hike with great views.
+1!

Russell’s east ridge is much more fun than Whitney, and the view of Tulainyo Lake is hard to beat. If you’re fast enough, you can do Russell, Whitney, and Muir as a loop, up the North Fork and down the trail. If not, you can do the Mountaineer’s Route and East Ridge from the same camp.
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