Hiked to the top of California via the 99 switchbacks approach after sleeping at Outpost Camp. Spectacular conditions. Perfect day. Elevation slowed me down a bit near the summit but I pushed through it.
Summit number 7
The original plan was for Kessler and I to climb Mount Whitney in one day, but the permit office in Lone Pine had three overnight permits, so my dad wanted to come.
We set off up the trail fairly early in the morning and enjoyed the scenery up to Trail Camp. At Trail Camp we were hit by a storm right after the tent was set up.
The weather was quite bad and other people climbing the peak were turning around. We were glad that we were attempting the peak the next day.
Kessler and I decided to check out Wotans Throne when the weather cleared in the evening. We climbed up the northernmost gully on the west side, reaching a chockstone not far from the summit. It was a nasty route and I didn’t want to climb the chockstone since I was afraid that we would pull loose rock onto us. We then checked out the gully to the south, but eventually the exposure became too great considering the loose rock (either route might make a good early season snow climb). We the bench around to the south side and explored along the South Chimney Route (we had no guidebook or beta since it was an unplanned ascent), but it too was pretty exposed considering we didn’t have any climbing gear or helmets. Thus, we returned unsuccessful since we ran out of time. We should have gone around to the north side which is much easier.
We also discovered that the marmots at Trail Camp are relentless and luckily bear canisters keep them out our your food.
In the morning, Kessler, my dad, and I set off to climb Mount Whitney. The weather was clear, unlike the day before. My dad (71 years old) lagged behind, so Kessler and I spent quite a bit of time on the summit waiting for him. He eventually caught up though.
On the descent, Kessler and I took off ahead so that we could climb Mount Muir. Mount Muir was rated class 3 and although I knew that class 3 was generally harder in California than in Colorado, we underestimated Mount Muir. It was harder than I thought it would be. It was quite exposed as well. Since we weren't planning on climbing Muir until we happened to get the overnight permit, I hadn't brought any good climbing shoes and we just had old running shoes. We also didn't have any beta and didn't bring helmets. We probed two different routes before climbing one in the center of the summit block. It wasn't too bad until we had to do a slab traverse to the left with our low-traction shoes (sticky shoes would make this a piece of cake). We got up to the rappel anchor at the overhanging rock, but with our old running shoes we didn't want to stand on the summit. It was fun, but I wish we had brought better shoes (and a helmet).
Still ready for more action, we descended Muir and climbed what our map labeled as Trail Crest Tower. Either the map was wrong or there is a non technical route up the tower, because we didn't do any technical climbing. It was still a great viewpoint.
After climbing the tower, we descended and caught up with my dad on the switchbacks above Trail Camp. We packed up camp and headed down the mountain. One sore point is that a lot of people seem to leave their poop bags at Trail Camp. I took two garbage bags and put the extra poop bags in them and tied the garbage bags to the outside of Kessler's pack. We don't like packing out other's human waste, but it needed to be done. People who leave the bags are scum and shouldn't be allowed on the mountain.
The rest of the descent was routine, but at the end, Kessler and I went ahead of my dad in order to get drinks and ice cream from the store. It was a good climb, but the only sore point was the extra waste bags.
Climbed up Mountaineers route in 1:15 to the notch on the left side up the rock above the snowy chute, then the last 500' was covered with ice and snow from the last 3 nights. we used ice axes and a rope and slowly made our way up, it was really slippery and took a long time with 3 people and a half rope. Then traversed over to the ridge on the right and scrambled the rest of the way up. Beautiful view but took almost 2 more hrs to get up from the notch
Got seriously, perilously off-route before the ledges, then struggled to find a way through the willows above Lower Boy Scout Lake, then went up too far to the right of the chute and had to traverse on an airy ridge over to the notch. Then, altitude sickness. Wanted to stop, but figured that downclimbing to iceberg lake would be harder and more dangerous than summitting and taking the trail. The Class 3 notch was probably the easiest part of the day. The whole hike took about 9.5 hours.
Picked up a JMT through hiker on the way down and drove him to Yosemite. Oh, but Tioga Pass was closed so this involved driving back to the Bay Area via Bakersfield. What a day.
Picked up a last minute day hike permit after coming out of the Palisades. 2nd time. Fast and light.
Completed a 40 mile backpacking trip with Whitney's summit as the highlight of the trip. Beautiful weather and beautiful landscape. I'll be back in 2015!
Weather was good. No need for picks and pons but there was snow above trail camp. We left TH at 4:00am 18 hours RT. The trail is 22 miles RT but feels like 30 so be ready for a never ending eternity of SWITCHBACKS! Hope this beta helps.
Climbed via the mountaineer's route. Camped at Upper Boyscout Lake. It was fairly windy and never really went above freezing. Iceaxe and crampons above Iceberg lake. Went down through the willows while heading back to the trailhead the following day, rather than maneuvering heavy packs over the ledges. Snow flurries started coming down while Eric and I were heading back to the trailhead.
Here is the video
Started on the main trail at 5:45 AM and reached the summit just after noon. Weather was perfect! I've been hooked on hiking ever since.
Six in party. One dropped out at Trail Crest, another had to be helped down due to altitude sickness. Long day, but great day.
When I got to the mountain it was about 6:15 am. I started to make our way up the mountain, and I ran into a stream which was about 2 feet deep, and 12 feet wide. All there was to cross it was a wet log, and a few sticks washed up in the stream. I thought that the water was melted snow, and ice from the top of the mountain. I was able to cross, and got across without getting wet. I was making it up to 11,500 feet up the mountain, and then I ran into some slopes that were going up at a 85 degree angle, and about 4 of them. As I was making it up the 3rd one, I slipped, and fell 50 feet! Not exactly straight down, but it was almost like that. I was able to keep going cause I only got a few cuts, and bruises. I was able to proceed, and I was at 13,225 feet when a blizzard came in. My Mom, and Dad were with me when they said that we couldn't continue. So we had to turn around due to a blizzard, almost sub-zero temps, and finally they were tired, but don't worry cause I'm going to climb mount Elbert again this year!
I flew down from Alaska to go up Whitney. Had a one-day pass so I got on the trail a little past 5am and got to the top about noon and back down to the start at 5pm. What a beautiful day and gorgeous scenery! Met nice and interesting people along the way, which always seems to happen going up these mountains. This was my first hike since turning 50 on August 7th. "
Anchorage, Alaska USA
started @ 4:30am. Was solo and kept veering off in wrong path making me back track several times. From the top of notch a direct climb to the summit. All together 8 hours to summit.
I seized an opportunity to climb Mt. Whitney (via the Mountaineer's Route) with the Summit for Someone program (supporting Big City Mountaineers). The weather was beautiful and the climb was life-changing. I am hooked!
A great way to get into mountaineering. Just bring ice axe and crampons.
First climb on this mountain. Loved it
With the perfect window of pleasant weather, I convinced myself this was the day to finally drive up to the end of Whitney Portal Road and summit Whitney. No quotas, no crowds, no hassles. Most of the other twenty or so others I saw wore spikes, especially between Lone Pine Lake and the 99 switchbacks. The switchbacks were snowy, but not icy late morning nor late afternoon. Trail Crest to the summit was scenic and worth slowing a bit through the thin air.