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SouthWest Edge 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
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Submitted By: kenr on Aug 13, 2017

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BETA PHOTO: Mt Whitney south side from near Keeler Needle A. ...

Access limited from May to October every year MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Variety of techniques to use on very interesting rock structures, with big exposure "out on the edge" -- but not committing.
Idea is to climb on the edge of the top of the vertical wall which faces SouthEast from the summit mass.

. . Nice "add-on" for parties that finish one of the classic climbing routes or Mountaineers route to the summit and have some extra energy. Or for climbers who for social/family reasons find themselves joined into a team hiking up the Mt Whitney Trail.

. . Could be done at 4th class, but get more exposure and entertaining moves if solid to at least 5.4. Not yet known how it protects, so maybe best if comfortable soloing up to 5.6 on positive holds. The farther stay back from the edge, the more toward 4th class (? or 3rd class ?) -> See the route SouthWest Ridge.

Can start by going down into the notch to help get into perceiving "the edge" above. Lower part is scrambling on slopy stuff just above the edge. Later the holds get more positive out on the edge, and then below the edge. Choose as much exposure as you want, the rest of the way to the summit.
. . (about +360 vertical feet upward).

Even after pop out on the flat summit area in view of the building, can still look farther right for a place (or two) where can climb down and do another interesting very exposed sequence below the edge.

Of course which rocks to stand on or grab hold of is an important sequence of choices, with a multi-hundred-foot free fall as a possible consequence.

Location 

Starts at the notch between Mt Whitney and Keeler Needle -- GPS latitude longitude approx (N36.5759 W118.2939) -- which is next to the Mt Whitney hiking trail.

Simple way to find it is to hike down from the Mt Whitney summit on the main hiking trail: WNW then SSW then ESE, marked by rock-stack cairns -- just under 0.5 mile distance.

Or if coming from the south from Trail Crest or the John Muir Trail, the start of this route is 2 miles north on Mt Whitney Trail from the junction of the John Muir Trail (coming up from the west) with the Mt Whitney Trail (coming down from the south a very short ways past Trail Crest).

Protection 

Protection for trad leading is unknown.


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