Mount Whitney Climber's Log

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scottyb - Aug 26, 2002 10:49 pm

Route Climbed: Mule Date Climbed: August 1999  Sucess!

Who hasn't climbed this giant?

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Aug 24, 2002 7:12 pm

Route Climbed: North Face (ascent) / Whitney Trail (descent) Date Climbed: Aug 24, 2002  Sucess!

Day 8 of the 2002 Mountaineers Challenge.

5:15hr to the summit of Russell from the Portal, via the Rockwell variation, Mt. Carillon, and the East Ridge. Descended the South Face, ascended Whitney's North Face, summitting 2:15h later. Summited Muir 1h later, returned to the Portal in another 2:15h. Total time, 10:45h. Trip Report.

bps - Aug 19, 2002 3:11 pm

Route Climbed: East Face Date Climbed: August 21, 1998  Sucess!

Most normal parties take 2 to 3 days for the entire climb, while someone like Josh could start at 3am and probably be back down to Lone Pine for pizza by noon. My climbing partner (Aaron) and I wanted to climb this peak like it was an expedition, with heavy packs and an extended schedule.

On the first day, we made the 6 hour drive from Sacramento (sea level) and spent the night at the Portal Trailhead (8,300ft).

On Day 2, we moved our camp up to Lower Boy Scout Lake at 10,400ft. We had a little trouble finding the Eberschier Ledges, but eventually found our way. (a picture of the ledges is extremely helpful)

We moved up to Iceberg Lake (12,500) on Day 3. I could really feel the altitude while humping the 70lb pack up the final slope that leads to Iceberg Lake. As expected for the 3rd week in August, the lake was frozen in spots, but the area was relatively free of snow.

Day 4 was a rest and acclimitization day. I woke up just before first light and captured some great photos of the East Face just as the sun light was touching the mountain. Absolutely breathtaking! We spent the rest of the day scoping out the route, hydrating, and lounging in the sun.

On Day 5, we crawled out of our sleeping bags at 2:45am and started walking at 3:50am. We made it to the rope-up point above the first tower by first light. I was really excited as this was my first technical alpine climb.

The exposure was equal to a good cup of coffee and it really got my blood pumping. The visuals were exciting and the climbing was relatively simple. Up the Washboard we went, electing to stay roped up for safety. At the top of the Washboard, we rapped down the other side of the notch and that is when Mr. Murphy made his appearance. It took us 4 hours to find the true Fresh Aire Traverse. We tried several different lines, but each one was way harder than the advertised 5.4 to 5.6. We eventually found our way and wow, there was some real exposure in that Traverse! From there, we squeaked our way up the Rotten Chimney (watch out for loose rocks) and then onto the Grand Staircase.

I slowed down a little bit due to the altitude, but was still moving along at a steady pace. We wondered our way upwards and eventually topped out at 4:45 in the afternoon. Two hikers were on top trying to look over the edge of the East Face just as we clambered over the edge. The look on their faces was priceless!

Even though we knew that we would have to descend in the dark, we took our time to ensure that we traveled down the correct gullies. Once the darkness hit, we slowed down for safety's sake. About 2/3 of the way down the Mountaineer's route, Aaron and I encountered a thick sheet of ice and I suspected this might happen since we were descending in darkness. Since we had ice axes, but no crampons, we decided to rap down past this section. It only lasted about 90ft or so, and then returned to snow/rock. We plucked our way down and by the time we rolled into our tent, we were exhausted, but had gigantic grins from just completing an absolutely gorgeous climb.

The next day we hiked out and promptly drove to Lone Pine and ordered a greasy pizza since that is all we could talk about during the descent. Climbing the East Face was extremely rewarding and I highly recommend this climb for those that are prepared. Of special note: we timed our climb so we would go for the summit during the week and it paid off as we were the only climbers on the entire route. An equal surprise was the fact that there wasn't a cloud in the sky the entire time we were on the mountain (5 days). But climbers and hikers beware! There were major thunderstorms the day before we started and the day after we finished. I guess the climbing gods were smiling on us during our stay...


adampaul - Aug 18, 2002 1:43 pm

Route Climbed: Whitney Trail Date Climbed: Aug. 11 2002  Sucess!

First time doing a hike this long, first time at this elevation, but I made it! Took absolutely forever (18.5hrs) largely due to packing way too much crap. Live 'n learn I guess! Full report w/pics here

Weather rather warm, and the air was very smoky due to nearby fires. Had a great time, though! 16 of the 19 folks in our group summited successfully.

Glenn Campbell

Glenn Campbell - Aug 14, 2002 7:29 am

Route Climbed: Whitney Trail Date Climbed: Aug. 12, 2002  Sucess!

Mike Dornheim (Los Angeles), Jim Boone (Las Vegas) and myself reached the summit around 3:30pm. Took us 11 hours up, without any pain. (The pain only struck us on the last few miles coming down, which were grueling. The hike took us 20 hours total, in a single day.) We had prepared by hiking Mt. San Antonio (about 11k feet) and Mt. Charleson (12k feet), which seemed to be sufficient. Fine weather at the summit, but sky was very hazy due to fires in the Sequoia area. This is one of the most scenic and interesting hikes I have taken. Very vertical!

Here is my trail advice.


IdahoClimber - Aug 13, 2002 2:54 pm

Route Climbed: Whitney Trail Date Climbed: May 18, 2001  Sucess!

Climbing in early May allowed it to be a climb not a hike. The "Whitney Bowl" aka Trail Crest was snow covered allowing us to bypass the 99 switchbacks and go strait up. The back side had lots of snow but steps were kicked in so crampons were not necessary. Glissading down was a blast, perfect snow and a perfect angle. We did the climb in a comfortable 3 days. Portal to Trail Camp (night) to Summit back to Trail Camp (night) to Portal. Left camp after dark to assist some climbers from Stanford back to camp (Yea I know). Still pissed that California has the highest point. Should be Colorado.


Michele - Aug 2, 2002 12:12 am

Route Climbed: Mountaineer's Date Climbed: Sometime in 2000  Sucess!

Climbed during a light sprinkling of snow. Reached the summit and heard the Ranger yell, "Everyone off the summit or you're going to get fried!" We got off the mountain by running down the Whitney trail and witnessed a spectacular lightning show.

Marathon - Jul 26, 2002 4:28 pm

Route Climbed: Mount Whitney Trail Date Climbed: 7/17/2002  Sucess!

Day hike with my son and daughter-in-law. Trained hard in Socal for 3 months and knew we were fit, but we still had 2 concerns: Socal peaks are 3000 feet lower than this one and we had no time to acclimate (drove up from sea level the evening before). Began hike from Whitney Portal at 3AM. Outpost Camp at 5AM, Trail Camp and first break at 6:40. Slowed a bit from here but reached the summit at 10:40 without too much trouble. We spent very little time on the peak as the weather had been building and was already looking fairly nasty with thunder in the distance. As we began our descent it began to snow, albeit very lightly. By Trail Crest this snow was mixed with ice pellets and then, as we descended further, rain. The rain increased in intensity through the afternoon and made conditions generally miserable. As a result, we did less sight seeing on the way down and basically did a power descent to the car so that we could dry off. Reached the portal at 4:20, bought a shower at the store and drove to Lone Pine for dinner. A wonderful day on an absolutely beautiful trail.


Chucky - Jul 21, 2002 7:52 am

Route Climbed: Whitney Trail Date Climbed: 17 September 2000  Sucess!

17 September 2000, my first time at the summit of Whitney, was a one day effort. It was a very exillerating accomplishment, but not very fun.

14 January 2001, my second time on Whitney, my four partners and I did not get above 10,000 feet.

15 June 2001, was my second time at the summit. Although altitude still was an influencing factor, it was a lot more fun than the one day trip.

Feel free to read the three trip reports on Mount Whitney. I hope they make good reference comments for anyone contemplating doing Whitney in the future.

Go for it and have fun!


kdonaldson - Jul 20, 2002 11:44 am

Route Climbed: Mountaineer's Date Climbed: July 18, 2002  Sucess!

Spent a night at the portal, hiked to Upper Boyscout on July 17. Took about 4.5 hours with loaded packs. Rain and hail in later afternoon and evening. July 18 - 2 hours up to Iceberg. From there stayed left and climbed class 3/4 up to the based of the buttress route. (There is a really cool view of the east face if you scramble up to the notch between tower 1 and 2 on the buttress route) Then traversing right to the first gully, up to the top o fthe notch. Hail on and off all the way up to the top making the final chute a little hairy with some slippery rocks. Think it was about 2.5 -3 hours to the top from iceberg with the slight detour.


IdahoSummits - Jul 19, 2002 2:41 pm

Route Climbed: Tourist Route Date Climbed: July 12, 2002  Sucess!

Hiked into trail camp on day 1. Sat around, then hit it at 4:00 AM on day 2. Had the summit to ourselves!


ocelot - Jul 9, 2002 11:24 pm

Route Climbed: Whtney Portal Trail Date Climbed: summer, 1979  Sucess!

First attempt summer 1967 via mountaineer's route with Dad. Got snowed out at Iceberg Lake.

First summit summer, 1979

Second summit summer, 1983

Third summit July 4, 1988 from base camp at Sky Blue Lake to the south.

Forth summit September 2001 added it as a side trip to Mt. Muir

What can I say? Its there, and its great!

Wildtrail - Jun 28, 2002 3:27 pm

Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route and East Face Route Date Climbed: May 2001

Got AMS bad. Had to turn back. Doing it again in September 2002. Wish me luck!


phomchick - May 19, 2002 2:48 pm

Route Climbed: Mountaineer's Route Date Climbed: May 26, 1979  Sucess!

I made this climb during a long weekend with my buddy Blair. At the top of the notch, the chute to the summit was filled with snow. Blair climbed the face to the east of the chute to avoid the snow; I stuck to the rocks at the edge of the chute and picked my way up. There were several other parties on the route that day. During the descent, a highschool aged fellow from another party broke out of some steps across the snow in the chute and fell to end up spread-eagle, face-down on a small (20' x 20') snow patch above a cliff. The next fellow, hurrying across the same spot to help ALSO FELL and ended up in the same spot. This was enough for me. I took off down the west slopes with the intent of traversing back across the north slopes to the top of the notch. The closer I got to the notch the steeper the traverse. I was kicking steps in the snow and using my ice axe and ice hammer for handholds. Then, one kick didn't go in very far. I looked down, and noticed one crampon had come off and was stuck in the snow 3 feet to my right. Here I was, alone, unprotected by any rope or anchor, and staring at a very important piece of equipment which I would dearly like to have had, but which was not obtainable. I left it there and just kicked harder to get to the safety of the notch, which was 50 feet away. Meanwhile, the climbers above had set protection and gotten out the ropes and were able to lower the injured climbers down to me at the notch. The only injuries were bumps and scrapes, and everyone got down safely to the campsites below the east face. All's well that ends well, and this experience has provided a heck of a party story. Be careful folks. The mountains can be dangerous as well as fun!


synne.chadwick - May 18, 2002 6:01 am

Route Climbed: Mountaineer`s route Date Climbed: April 2000  Sucess!

Early spring conditions. Snow was perfect..... both in the morning and evening. Camped at 12,000 feet, and sumitted the next day at 1030am. It was sunny, but quite windy.

Knowing how crowded Whitney usually is, it was very satifying to be the only ones on top during Easter weekend!! The route and the summit view combined makes this a beautiful mountain to climb.


sierragator - May 5, 2002 6:04 pm

Route Climbed: mountaineer's route Date Climbed: sept 7,2001  Sucess!

A group of six from Ridgecrest summited via the mountaineer's route in 8 hours. Returned to parking lot via the "superhighway" trail. RT in 13 hours. Third ascent of Whitney, the others were in 1983 from the west side JMT and 1987 via main trail.


John - Apr 16, 2002 2:53 am

Route Climbed: Da Trail Date Climbed: April 14, 2002  Sucess!

Spring conditions. Slush during the afternoon involving body height post-holes (one guy sank in 7-8 feet!) with winds gusting up to 110 mph on the hike out. At least no quota ;-) Probably not a good idea to be on the East Face with those winds but I did run into 3 people intent on camping on the summit (they ended up sleeping in the summit hut). Lightning could be seen at Trail Camp on the night of the 14th. If you want to read an extremely verbose version of this summit log, feel free to read my SP Trip Report.

jeffn - Apr 3, 2002 8:03 pm

Route Climbed: Mountaineer's Date Climbed: July 2000  Sucess!

Dragged 2 Brits up to show off what we Yanks have. It worked. Took the Trade Route down. Mistake and a let down after the trip up.


darinchadwick - Apr 2, 2002 6:19 am

Route Climbed: Mountaineers route Date Climbed: April 1999  Sucess!

Alone on Easter Weekend! What are the chances of that! This was our first CA 14er, and one of the best. Whitney in the summer on the trail is a drag. Way too many people. This is one place on God's Green Earth where having a quota is actually a good idea. Conditions were at their spring best. Windy at the notch at the end of the coulior, and way too icy to traverse to less steep ground, so we we climbed straight up from the notch. This was fun 'cause it was steeper than what we planned for, yet still doable. We couldn't believe we were alone on the summit. That will probably never happen again.

Dave Daly

Dave Daly - Mar 6, 2002 3:27 pm

Route Climbed: East Buttress Date Climbed: 30 Aug 2000  Sucess!

Very classic. Started at 5:00 AM before the crowd got wild. You can start about anywhere from the Second Tower and turn it into an adventure. We had some fun after the third pitch and went way right, out into No-Man's Land. Good exposure looking down into the Mountaineer's Route. Found some fun scampering up 5.8/5.9 cracks (old pins stamped TMH...I'm assuming these were T.M. Herbert's) and a few faded fixed lines from seasons past dangling down into the M.R. Summitted at 9:00 AM. Took a good sized nap till 11:00 then hiked over to Mt. Russell for some more abuse.....

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