The Mountaineer's Route
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The "other way" up Mt Whitney. A bit more challenging, far more interesting, and very direct, this is the path for those wishing to escape the crowds and embrace a little alpine adventure. The Route has been climbed countless times and in all conditions - at times it's a low-angle ice climb with a horrendously long and snowy approach, at others it's a scorching scree-slog - and is only becoming more popular as years go by. Perhaps the best time to go is late spring/early summer (depending on snow levels and conditions): if you're lucky, you can catch warm and calm weather, a dry approach, plenty of water and perfectly firm, stable snow all at the same time! Though often climbed car-to-car in a long-ish day, most parties will elect to pull a camping permit for one of the Boy Scout Lakes and enjoy a multi-day excursion in the Whitney Zone.
Permit details here.
Current conditions, other info here.
Follow the main Whitney trail from the Whitney Portal for approx. 1 mile until reaching the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. Turn uphill here and follow a steeper trail up the drainage and into the willows. The FS has made a concerted effort to establish an obvious route up to Lower Boy Scout Lake, and the trail is apparently much better than it once was, though some climbers still manage to lose the trail and embark on a steep and dirty bushwhack up the creek. Immediately after crossing the creek for a second time (back to the north side), scramble up an obvious weakness in the granite wall (3rd class) to access the Ebersbacher ledges and a decidedly less bushy route toward Lower Boyscout Lake. Pass by both Lower and Upper BS Lakes to the south, and find yourself at the base of the Route as you reach Iceberg Lake.
Ice axe and crampons are necessary, and some parties will appreciate a snow picket or two, if snow will be encountered in the couloir. 30M rope is desirable in most conditions for descending exposed 3rd class steps 350ft. below the summit.
Approaching Whitney's Mountaineer's Route, above U...
Looking up at the East Face of Mt Whitney and the ...
JD rappelling past the mixed steps above the notch...
Whitney summit, June 2011
Funk, JD and Saltlick approaching the East face of...
Nearing the top of the Mountaineer's Route main co...
Looking south from the summit
the scene at Iceberg Lake, looking up at the 3rd c...
Looking down The Mountaineer's Route, Mt. Whitney
back down the scree and talas - I found sticking t...
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