Peak(s):  Mt. Whitney - 14,501 feet
Date Posted:  11/28/2012
Date Climbed:   04/29/2012
Author:  nmontelli
 Mt. Whitney's Mountaineer's Route  

When I first got the itch to become a mountaineer, I stumbled upon a picture of Mt. Whitney and its Mountaineer's Route. Back then it looked impossible. The couloir shot straight out of the terrain and the route just disappeared behind the mountains east face. It was so aesthetically pleasing, even to someone with no experience whatsoever. This combined with Whitney's claim to fame, makes the Mountaineer's route one of the most popular routes in the world. I knew that I had to do it.
It was not until 3 years later that I would get my first chance to try the route. A friend and I had just climbed the Baldy Bowl a week prior and we wanted something a bit more challenging so we set our sights on Whitney. It was the middle of December in the snowiest winter the Sierras have ever seen. Knowing of a recent 15 foot dump of snow the week prior we decided to test our luck. We drove up on a Thursday evening and parked at the usual road closure on the portal road. From there we hiked up the road with snowshoes, passing multiple cars trapped by the sudden storm. We finally decided to set up camp right on the road a few hundred yards ahead of the Whitney portal. That night it was cold. Really cold. The temperature in the tent got down to 3 degrees F. Both of us had frozen boots. It took us quite a while to get going in the cold. I could not seem to get my hands or my toes to warm up. By the time we started for the trailhead we were already defeated, and after a few hundred yards and deepening snow, we turned around and went down. We later found out that it was two weeks before someone broke through, but they still did not summit.
My next chance to climb the route came in March of 2012. My friend Scott and had been training for Rainier. Scott had done the East Buttress of Whitney before and had no real interest in the Mountaineer's Route, but Rainier beckoned and we both needed the training. This time the snow was a non issue, 2012 was a terrible snow year in the Sierras. However when we got to our camp at Upper Boyscout Lake we realized that we had forgotten a source of fire for the stove. We went to bed hungry with cold water. The next morning we both felt a bit drained having not replenished our bodies. We both decided that a summit attempt was out of the question, but a quick 30 min. jaunt a bit higher to catch a view of the mountain was in order. After a viewing session we packed up and headed out, determined to return more prepared.
We got our chance a month later....
See more pictures and read the rest here: Nick Montelli Alpinism
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

One Day..
11/30/2012 03:47
Nice pics! Every time I attempt the Mountaineers Route, mother nature has something against me!


12/04/2012 21:36
Good job. I'd like to climb Whitney some day, hopefully by the East face or East Buttress.

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