Type: Snow, Alpine, 1500 ft, Grade III
FA: John Muir, Oct. 21, 1873
Page Views: 23,233 total · 240/month
Shared By: saltlick on Jun 11, 2011
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Certain Peaks: Access limited from May to October every year Details


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.
Fan Zhang
Silver Spring, MD
Fan Zhang   Silver Spring, MD
This goes without saying, but please remember to check any fixed gear before rappelling off it. As of last Wednesday, 7/5, the third rappel station on the way down the Final 400' (blue nylon sling and yellow cord, with an old D-shaped gated carabiner) is slung around an EXTREMELY LOOSE block the size of a refridgerator. It's off to climbers' left, or skier's right. Do not use this rappel! I should have cut it, but we were trying to get down as fast as possible because of a thunderstorm. The first two rappels (green sling with a quick link on flat flake near the summit, and red sling on boulder with no rings/links) appeared safe. But this third one should be removed if it hasn't already been. We downclimbed to the next and final rappel station, which took us to the notch. [The above has been reported to the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center.] Jul 10, 2017
Aaron Vix  
Was up on MR solo on 6/8/18. Started at Whitney Portal at 1:30 am, got lost for a bit on the ledges, and hit the chute at Iceberg Lake about 7 am. The start of the chute was the start of the snow. It was just starting to soften up to the verge of post-holing, however, the final 400 was rock hard ice as it was all in the shade still. A lot of the rock ledges at the bottom of the final 400 were glazed over in ice from the freeze/thaw cycles. There were plenty of hand holds to make the moves still but may be difficult for a newer person. Once above those, the snow was snow cupped and covered in penitentes. It was hard to get good footing and purchase with the crampons on the snow, and not always easy to get purchase with my mountain axe. Still do-able but made for some extra excitement on the final part!

For the future though, if I knew it would be icy, I would bring 30m rope for bail out/descent. However, if it were dry or soft, down climbing did not seem like it would too bad. There were a handful of relatively new looking slings already around boulders up there, but did not inspect how solid the boulders themselves were. Jun 15, 2018