Solo ascent of the North Ridge. My first high Sierra summit.
I soloed the North Ridge over Labor Day weekend 2005, carrying a light but not ultralight pack (about 17 pounds with bivy gear and full-water capacity). The approach from Whitney Portal is cruisy and gaining the Ridge is, for the most part, unproblematic. Had I intended to do this car-to-car in a day, I would make a point to get an alpine start; the route seemed much longer than its grade (Grade III) suggests.
Two pieces of beta: (1) I would carry about 3 liters of water per person, assuming a car-to-car effort, and leave the stove behind; also, be judicious about consuming those three liters; (2) I screwed up the descent route and ended up downclimbing fourth- and fifth-class cliffs; be sure to go pretty far off the summit plateau to the southwest before taking a hard right.
Great climb though.
Mike Ybarra and I climbed the route via Meysan Lake drainage on the way to the Whitney or Meysan Basin traverse. We carried full packs with bivy gear and LOTS of water. Due to lack of acclimitization and knowledge of the route, we took nearly 11 hours to reach the summit from the trailhead. Supposedly this was not too bad since we were the only party (out of three) to reach the summit that day. Two other parties settled for a forced/unprepared bivy somewhere on the ridge (!?). We stayed as true to the ridge proper as possible and did encounter some ~5.7 terrain. Belayed for a couple of short pitches and solo'd the rest. Spent a windy but beautiful night on the summit!!
Climbed this with Brian Decker. Climbed the left side of the first 1/2 of the summit headwall, a much better alternative to the route Secor describes. Brought a rope but never used it. Thankfully, the forecast thunderstorms never materialized. Burgers and beer at WPS was the highlight of the day.
see trip report
Climbed with Sam. Scrambled most of the ridge, and roped up for just the 2-3 half pitches starting at the prominent notch (just before the 5.6-5.7 section). We scratched our heads over some puzzling climbing/route-finding here before eventually spotting the old piton protecting the lieback below us and to the right--very helpful for getting back on route and back on easier ground! Once past the short technical section and atop the ridge crest, the scrambling grew truly enjoyable--really exposed, but wonderful holds. Route-finding the whole way was quite intricate, and often I'd only remember a sequence of moves from my last attempt with Bob once I'd actually completed them a second time. Maybe it'll be easier if I go back a third time...
Like others, we managed to descend the wrong chute (we headed down too early--it's better to keep going south rather than heading down the first chute that looks reasonable), cliffed out, and traversed left with some spicy downclimbing to make it down to the trail. Found several rap slings here, and Sam added a new cordalette to his rack, to make us feel a bit better about our mistake (and downclimbing abilities).
With Matthew H. 17 hours car to car.
About 20 hours climbing time, StoneHouse->StoneHouse. We bivied on the sandy ledges a few pitches from the top. There was a little bit of ice below the notch but other than that all snow. Rockclimbing with heavy packs was the crux; the solution for us was to have the second prussik with the packs.
Real slog up scree but still a great climb. We did this while the Sequoia wild fires were burning - Owens Valley and some of the Sierras were filled with smoke.
Misha and I attempted the North Ridge just days after the heavy snow storms of December2004/January 2005. We turned back at 11,000 feet due to AMS and a desire to avoid an unpleasant epic. A full trip report is here. We'll be back!
I've done the regular North ridge route via the Meysan Lakes trail in the summer a bunch of times (5, I think,) and it usually takes about 6 hours from Whitney Portal to the top. I did the North East ridge once with Larry Cote early in the season, it took 3 days with a bivy on the ridge and another on the descent.
Hiked up via the chute from the Meysan Lakes area. The top 1/4 of the chute was devoid of snow. The rest had fairly nice snow that covered up the loose stuff. It was still some work though. There was occaisionally rockfall around the chute. A helmet might not have been a bad idea. Couldn't find a register on top.
A Lone Pine - LeConte - Corcoran triple header, a very long and tiring 14hrs. Trip Report
We were so lost, I don't know what we were climbing but we did top out at least.
The summit is a long ways from the summit plateau, but if you had time it would cool to run up and tag it.
This route is a pile. Maybe we were off-route or the description is incorrect? I would not recommend this climb. I don't think we saw a single "perfect knob, corner or handcrack" in the 15 pitches or so.
This time up North Ridge with Bill, Kris and Steve - I never thought it would take that long but we lost a lot of time trying to figure out the route (12 hrs from Lower Meysan)!. Took the wrong gully on the way down... so the climb turned into a 24 hour epic. I had a great time, still.
5 hrs roundtrip from Lower Meysan Lake. Interesting scramble up with awesome views along the way. This would be great route in the winter (already thinking about it)...
Another day climb turned into a 24-hour epic. Climbed with Steve, Bill and Pavel. Left our camp at Little Meysan Lake at ca. 7 am. Got to the proper before 9am. Route finding was the biggest challenge. Route descriptions basicly suck and I yet have see two of them that would agree. Alois Smrz's description seems to be pretty good, but it mentions 5.7 sections which we weren't ready for. By the time we summited it got dark and the 'obvious' and 'easy' descent route became not so obvious. We ended up in a wrong gully and between downclimbing some sketchy stuff and rappeling we made a slow progress through the night. Got back to the camp 24 hrs after we'd left it. It was the first time I watched fireworks on 4th of July from almost 13,000'.
In spite of all the difficulties and everything that went wrong I enjoyed the climb and the company of fellow SPers a lot. It's a very impressive route and it felt good to look at it and know that we've done it (or at least our own variation)
All the route descriptions for this route are poop. That's not to say I could write a better description - I just expected the route to be more straight forward (up). Took us 12 hours to summit, then another 12 hours of fumbling around in the dark to get down. The climbing was fantastic and made the efforts well worth while though. I climbed with Kris, Bill, & Pavel (all SPers).
The ridge is trivial but fun from 10,500 to 11,500. It's class 3-5 on quality rock the rest of the way. I had to pay attention to routefinding, but there was always something that worked. This route is an absolute blast to solo! It would take FOREVER with a rope.