Great Book

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.57860°N / 118.293°W
Additional Information Route Type: Backcountry Technical Rock
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: IV or V 5.9
Sign the Climber's Log


Start from the Whitney Portal Trailhead. Follow the Mt. Whitney trail approximately 1 mile to where North Fork of Lone Pine Creek crosses the trail. Leave the trail and hike up Lone Pine Creek, first to climber's right of the creek, then to the left of the creek, about 1/2 mile. Shortly after crossing back to the right side of the creek, climb up the right wall of the canyon 2nd-3rd class to Ebersbacher Ledges.

Head left (upcanyon) on the ledges and continue up stream to Lower Boy Scout Lake. Continue up the canyon, just to the left of the waterfalls and brush at the head of Lower Boy Scout Lake. Above the falls, work up and right on slabs, aiming for a distinct cluster of conifers on the canyon floor below upper Boy Scout Lake. This is Clyde Meadow.

Head due south on a network of trace trails up talus slopes. At the top of the talus field continue up the drainage, following faint trails passing the base of the small cliffs that lead to Iceberg Lake. Continue up the cirque to the base of the main east face of Whitney, (elevation 12,500 ft.) where the Great Book, Hairline, and Direct East Face are located..

Start about 200 yards up and right from the start of Hairline.

Some 4th class scrambling through cliff bands may be necessary to reach the start of the climb.

The route follows the huge, curving book on Whitney's East Face, visible in the photo below. (the lower half of the route is in the shadow of First Tower.) Great Book intersects the Washboard at it's upper end, then continues in a relatively direct line to the summit.

Route Description

See topo and photos below. In the landscape-format photo, the upper pitches of the Great Book show clearly as the right hand crack system ascending directly from the snow patch at the upper end of the washboard.

Essential Gear

The route can be climbed using 50m ropes. A full backcountry rack is suggested including several pieces each in the 3 inch to 3 1/2 inch range. A helmet is strongly recommended, as the lower part of the route ascends a major rockfall funnel below the Washboard. A hammer may be useful, as there were several fixed pins on the route when we climbed it (sometime in the last century).

Guidebook Error

On page 72, "Climbing California's High Sierra" second edition by Claude Fiddler and John Moynier incorrectly locates the lower pitches of the Great Book too far to the right, joining the Washboard at the end of the Tower Traverse.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.