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Stupid to try the Whitney Mountaineer's Route alone now?

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Stupid to try the Whitney Mountaineer's Route alone now?

Postby deungsan » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:48 am

For a variety of reasons, I seem to find myself climbing alone these days.

Been thinking about the Whitney Mountaineer's Route in a week or three...

I've been up the Main Trail several times (once up the chute because of the snow).

I have a four-season tent, -10 bag, snowshoes, an XGK, campons, ax, etc.

Am I stupid?

I guess my two biggest concerns are:

* Is there any avalanche danger?

* Are there any parts where a little ice on the rocks would make it suicidal without protection?

Thanks.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:05 am

I took these shots yesterday.

Had another small storm come through today.

What do you think.....

Image
Image
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Postby plume » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:08 pm

Nice pics from Bama's Chief. Like contrast in granite, warm to cold.
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Postby fatdad » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:46 pm

Chief, the master of understatement. I'd say from the photos it looks pretty doable. Lots of folks do it in full on winter conditions. Weather permitting, got it a shot.
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Re: Stupid to try the Whitney Mountaineer's Route alone now?

Postby Misha » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:49 pm

deungsan wrote:For a variety of reasons, I seem to find myself climbing alone these days.

Been thinking about the Whitney Mountaineer's Route in a week or three...

I've been up the Main Trail several times (once up the chute because of the snow).

I have a four-season tent, -10 bag, snowshoes, an XGK, campons, ax, etc.

Am I stupid?

I guess my two biggest concerns are:

* Is there any avalanche danger?

* Are there any parts where a little ice on the rocks would make it suicidal without protection?

Thanks.


Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may be OK going solo. However, avy conditions need to be carefully considered. This is a good winter route. But why solo? Being able to find partners is one of the strongest benefits of SP.
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Postby climb4life » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:38 pm

Check out this site for updated conditions. They also have a cool web cam.

http://www.whitneyportalstore.com

It's a good site for all things Whitney.
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Postby jddeetz » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:17 pm

Yo, I am in contact with another guy from SP right now and we plan to do a 3 day Whitney trip after Thanksgiving around the 27th.

People have died on this route before, its better to be in a group.

Email me at jddeetz@gmail.com for info.
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Postby fatdad » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:26 pm

Let me back up a little and ask whether you have much experience doing class 3, or class 3 in snowy/icy conditions. I think your experience level is going to be the biggest factor to consider. Given the season and the number of people who have gotten really banged up on that route, you might want to reconsider if you have any doubts.

Also, for the few solo trips I've made in the last few years, my wife has required me to bring a SAT (satellite) phone and check in periodically. While it initially seemed like a pain, it's really nice knowing that if something does happen, you have a way of letting people know where you're at. It'd be a long crawl out if you got hurt.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:37 pm

fatdad wrote:Chief, the master of understatement.


Hey, I just posted some recent pic's!

Made no comment on whether he should or shouldn't... just left it all up to him.

"What do you think..."

Don't put anything on me. I'm clean Fatdad!

BUT... and a big but.

Just spoke to some local's that went up Esha to ski/board this past Sunday. They were up to there chests the last 1000'. Esha is only at 12,500'. We just had another little storm that dropped 4" at 10K.

And lets not forget that this was the first big storm of the season. The snow hasn't really had enough time to consolidate.

SAT Phone really isn't req'd on the NF Trail all the way up to the Notch. Cell Phone works just fine with a solid 3-4 Bars if you have Verizon.Worked fine for me all Summer long. 12 trips to be exact. Only a couple of blind spots. But no where that is difficult.
Last edited by The Chief on Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hikinedd » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:00 pm

The Chief wrote:And lets not forget that this was the first big storm of the season. The snow hasn't really had enough time to consolidate.


Sounds like it's not out of the question to hope for good Thanksgiving consolidation.
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Postby salad » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:52 pm

here is a shot of the MR from this past weekend. not my photo...


http://www.flickr.com/photos/loriwilliamsadventures/4027923004/
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:58 pm

salad wrote:here is a shot of the MR from this past weekend. not my photo...


http://www.flickr.com/photos/loriwilliamsadventures/4027923004/


That is actually 2/3rds the way up the First Gully to the left AFTER the Notch above the MR Proper on the NF.
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Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:01 pm

Its not stupid, just be familiar with the route. It is early and there isn't enough snow, or the snow won't be consolidated, so you'll have to take the ledges. That can be tricky if they have snow on them and you don't know them. There may be some slick or icy spots, but the only other area that could be really dangerous is the final 400. Again, because of the possibility of unconsolidated snow. If you want to do the MR simply to do it, do it under summer conditions. If you want to do it in winter conditions, you'll want to wait until January or February to allow for snow depths to build and the snow up high to consolidate. I would go alone, but it isn't a cut and dry "stupid" decision to do so.
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Postby SpiderSavage » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:03 pm

The mountaineer's route is always dangerous. Rockfall is common. People usually die when they miss estimate their steps on the snowfield in the chute or above the notch. Icy snow seems to be the killer. I've been on the route twice in summer and both times had small rocks come whizzing down.

Solo being dangerous is up to you. I think people who miss out on adventure because they are afraid to solo are being stupid. That that is their choice.
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Postby salad » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:11 pm

chief - thanks for the clarification.
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