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Mt. Whitney

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"Iceberg Spire" T 
East Buttress T 
East Face T 
Mountaineer's Route, The 
North Face T 

Mt. Whitney 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 14,496'
Location: 36.5784, -118.293 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 192,720
Administrators: Chris Owen, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Nick Wilder on Jan 23, 2006
Forecast:
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Mt. Whitney from the Russell-Carillon saddle - lat...

Description 

Want to climb the highest peak in the lower 48? You're not alone. While the permit process is a major hassle, the crowds are thin (until you summit), and the granite is as fine as it gets.

Most climbs are about 1000 feet tall on the east face that gets shady by afternoon. Storms can brew over on the west side and give you quite a surprise.

There are two non-technical ways to the summit: the Whitney trail, a long slog up an easy walking trail, and the Mountaineers Route, a steep gully filled with loose rock, which is the usual descent route for climbers.

There's a decent campground at the end of the road, near the trailhead. You must have a permit to camp anywhere beyond that, and they're not easy to get. Call 760-873-2483 or go to the forest service's website. Unless you're doing the Whitney Trail, you want a permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek.


Getting There 

Drive up the Whitney portal at about 8,300 feet. Lots of parking and bear boxes, where you need to leave anything with an odor that you're not bringing, including toiletries.

Most people spend the night at either Upper Boy Scout Lake (11,300 feet) or Iceberg Lake (12,600 feet). Iceberg is the way to go if you have the time. Incredible views of the mountain (and most routes), clear water right in front of you, and the climbing starts just a little ways up the scree slope from your campsite.

Getting there is tough and it's quite easy to get off route. I recommend buying the supertopo and follow the excellent instructions there.

The hike can get really hot. Start early (dawn) and you'll get to a campsite by lunch, have time to rest up and scope the route.


5 Total Routes


['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',1],['5.8',1],['5.9',0],['5.10',1],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Whitney:
The Mountaineer's Route   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a Mod. Snow     Snow, Alpine, 1500'   
East Face   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1000'   
East Buttress   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 11 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Classics in Mt. Whitney

Featured Route For Mt. Whitney
Tower Traverse

East Face 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  CA : High Sierra : Mt. Whitney
From Iceberg Lake, scramble up to the notch just above the First Tower. Gear up. Make the Tower Traverse across the south face of the Second Tower, and climb a short chimney (5.4-5.5) to the first belay.Scramble or simul climb up three pitches of 4th - easy 5th to the top of the Washboard. Climb left up and over a tower/chimney (5.2-5.5) to a large ledge, and traverse to the base of the Fresh Air Traverse. The Fresh Air Traverse pitch (5.5) climbs easy ground up then left to three fixed piton...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Mt. Whitney Slideshow Add Photo
Mt. Whitney and Keeler in the alpine glow. August '03.
Mt. Whitney and Keeler in the alpine glow. August ...
Whitney and Keeler from the drive to Whitney Portal.
Whitney and Keeler from the drive to Whitney Porta...
Sun setting behind Mt. Whitney from the approach to Iceberg lake.
Sun setting behind Mt. Whitney from the approach t...
Whitney massif
Whitney massif
Mt. Whitney. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Whitney.
Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Whitney at sunrise.  Mountaineer's route goes up the snowy gully.  East Buttress is the prominent buttress just to the left.  The East Face route is left of the buttress.
Mt. Whitney at sunrise. Mountaineer's route goes ...
Mt Whitney Backcountry
Mt Whitney Backcountry
Jodi Levine and Arin Trook descend from Iceberg Lake after a trip up the Mountaineer's Route (January 1, 2001).
Jodi Levine and Arin Trook descend from Iceberg La...
Duke on the approach nearing Iceberg Lake with Keeler and Whitney in the background.
Duke on the approach nearing Iceberg Lake with Kee...
Mt Whitney area
Mt Whitney area
coming down the mountaineer's route
coming down the mountaineer's route
On the upper snowfield near the summit.  January 20, 2008.
On the upper snowfield near the summit. January 2...
Mt. Whitney area
Mt. Whitney area
The Whitney crest in the clouds
The Whitney crest in the clouds
Mt. Whitney area
Mt. Whitney area
The view up the N. Fork of Lone Pine Creek to Mt. Whitney
The view up the N. Fork of Lone Pine Creek to Mt. ...
Mt. Whitney area
Mt. Whitney area
Whitney Massif
Whitney Massif
The notch at the top of the Mountaineer's Route gully looking east
BETA PHOTO: The notch at the top of the Mountaineer's Route gu...
Approaching Mt Whitney
Approaching Mt Whitney
Another shot of morning light on the Whitney Crest
Another shot of morning light on the Whitney Crest
Dawn at Iceberg Lake
Dawn at Iceberg Lake
Camp at Iceberg Lake.  Moutaineers route is up the gully.  East Buttress route is the obvious shadow line.
BETA PHOTO: Camp at Iceberg Lake. Moutaineers route is up the...
Diego Navarro stands just below the notch, during a mid-winter ascent of the Mountaineer's Route.
Diego Navarro stands just below the notch, during ...
What more can you ask for?
What more can you ask for?
Proverbial summit shot after scaring the bejesus out of the hikers by coming up over the top of the buttress. You're one chance at rock stardom.
Proverbial summit shot after scaring the bejesus o...
Mt. Whitney view of the East Face
Mt. Whitney view of the East Face
Dustin views Whitney from the Alabama hills
Dustin views Whitney from the Alabama hills
Not much further to the top, Mt. Whitney
Not much further to the top, Mt. Whitney
Approaching Whitney/Russell
Approaching Whitney/Russell
Above Iceberg Lake
Above Iceberg Lake
Early morning at Upper Boy Scout Lake, Mt. Whitney Area
Early morning at Upper Boy Scout Lake, Mt. Whitney...
The Ebersbacher Ledges on the North Fork approach, Mt Whitney Area
The Ebersbacher Ledges on the North Fork approach,...
Whitney from the Alabama Hills
Whitney from the Alabama Hills
Outpost Camp
Outpost Camp
Camp at Iceberg Lake
Camp at Iceberg Lake
Fresh Air Traverse
BETA PHOTO: Fresh Air Traverse
Looking at Mt Whitney from the backside (just past Guitar Lake)
Looking at Mt Whitney from the backside (just past...
Looking up toward the Peewee boulder on Whitney's East Buttress.
Looking up toward the Peewee boulder on Whitney's ...
Joe O'Connor at the end of the Ebersbacher Ledges. October 1986.
Joe O'Connor at the end of the Ebersbacher Ledges....
Good photo of the East Face and East Buttress routes on Mt. Whitney.
Good photo of the East Face and East Buttress rout...
Mt. Whitney area
Mt. Whitney area
East Face of Whitney
BETA PHOTO: East Face of Whitney
View south from the summit.
View south from the summit.
The view back down from Upper Boyscout Lake, Mt. Whitney Area
The view back down from Upper Boyscout Lake, Mt. W...
Mt. Whitney from Alabama Hills. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Whitney from Alabama Hills.
Photo by Blitzo.
Evening at Upper Boyscout Lake
Evening at Upper Boyscout Lake
Looking down the Mountaineer's Route at Iceberg Lake
Looking down the Mountaineer's Route at Iceberg La...
Looking toward Lonepine
Looking toward Lonepine
Whitney in the morning glory.
Whitney in the morning glory.
Another water run at Iceberg Lake
Another water run at Iceberg Lake
Looking down the mountaineer's route. June 05
Looking down the mountaineer's route. June 05
Looking back at the approach up the N. Fork of Lone Pine Creek.
BETA PHOTO: Looking back at the approach up the N. Fork of Lon...
Looking north from near the top, Mt. Whitney
Looking north from near the top, Mt. Whitney
Your first glimpse of Mt. Whitney on the North Fork trail.
Your first glimpse of Mt. Whitney on the North For...
Comments on Mt. Whitney Add Comment
Show which comments
By ClimbandMine
Jan 30, 2006

You can easily (well, maybe not easily) do the East Face, East Butt, or Mountaineer's Route in a day. IF (big if) you know the approach to Iceberg Lake. You'll be doing it in the dark. Early season the creek is high and you'll be crossing it. The trail may be running with water. You will get wet. You may get soaked.

Like the man said, buy the Supertaco. The directions are excellent. Scope the approach in daylight if you've never done it.

By Christopher Jones
From: Denver, Colorado
Mar 19, 2006

Don't take the mountaineer's route too lightly. I climbed the route on the first day of summer last year thinking I could do it pretty fast but found snow most of the way above treeline. Post holing sucked a lot of energy out of me on the descent but still managed to finish the route in 11.5 hours. It is a good idea to find out what current conditions are before climbing. Crampons and axe are necessary early in the season.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Nov 19, 2007

If you're going to do it in a day (perhaps because you couldn't get a permit) then yes, intimate knowledge of the North Fork approach and the selected route is mandatory - altitude conditioning is also mandatory. Don't forget to pack out your puke.

By Scott Rice
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 25, 2012

East Face to the top of the washboards. Direct East Face to the top of the PeeWee. East Buttress to the summit. 7 hr 20 min car to car. Direct makes for a TERRIFYING solo!!

By Sdm1568
From: Ca
Oct 1, 2012

Is anyone doing mountaineer's route this winter/spring?

By Will Treichler
May 14, 2013

I dropped a green fleece and black shell on the snow field leading off the summit. I will pay shipping+ if someone happened to pick them up.

Sorry for trashing the mountain.