Any info about couloir between Whitney and Keeler needle


Original Post
nikhilm Mm · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15

Was up mountaineers route and noticed this beautiful line between the two. I'm. I'm not qualified to climb it yet, but does anyone know if it's been done or what it is called? Thanks!

Ryan Strickland · · Idyllwild, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 131

Yes, it's called the Whitney-Keeler Couloir. Here is a direct quote from The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails by R. J. Secor: "Class 5, with some aid. First ascent September 6, 1964, by Jim Servais and John Mendenhall. This is dangerously loose. Three climbers were killed here in the 1950s. The first ascent party encountered Class 5 climbing on the walls around the numerous chockstones, and they used aid to bypass steep ice near the top of the couloir." Sounds exciting!

If you don't have Secor's book yet, you should get it. It's got just about everything you could want to know about the Sierra (except detailed descriptions or topos). 

nikhilm Mm · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15

Thanks! I really should keep my Secor book on my bedside table and not at the bottom of my storage :)

Thanks for the info! Seems like a good year for trying it in the winter though?

brian burke · · santa monica, ca · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 115

these notable ski mountaineers found it scary and impassable earlier this year:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRKTPXtAYP7/

seems hard...

Greg Opland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 167

The entire time we were on the East Face of Whitney in the fall of 2015, there was rockfall plummeting down the slot between Whitney and Keeler. All day. Take from that what you will.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60
Greg Opland wrote:

The entire time we were on the East Face of Whitney in the fall of 2015, there was rockfall plummeting down the slot between Whitney and Keeler. All day. Take from that what you will.

^^^

This.  My take is that the OP is not super experienced, which is why they posted.  Couloirs look cool and sometimes beg to be climbed.  However, they are often huge funnels that make them bowling alleys for rock and falling ice.  There are exceptions of course, so I can't fault you for asking.  I think there are a lot of better, safer climbs you can consider:  Mt. Dana Couloir, North Peak couloirs, Red Slate Mt., Bloody Mt., the U-Notch, V-Notch and other gullies in the Palisades, etc.   

William Fleming · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 295

Brian, do you or anyone else know if a ski descent has been done from the top?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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