Drove to California and back from Colorado (not recommended) to climb. Once on the mountain it was a great time. Camped at 12,000, and summited the next morning, all the way back to the lot for an awesome burger.
We hiked the standard route starting at midnight under a full moon and went round trip in 18 hours portal to portal. Not bad for a bunch of old guys in their 50s.
Great one day climb via the Whitney Portal. Very long day and first 14er. Also first climb with any real elevation. Did not acclimitize, but probably should have.
Route: Main Mt. Whitney Trail
Day hike to summit and back
Just for background I want to say a little about the group that I climbed with this time so if you're looking to draw comparisons you can.
4 people, all male, aged 26-30
Overall fitness condition - above average
Time spent acclimatizing - 2 spent the previous night at 10,000 feet after arriving from San Francisco; the other two arrived the night before from SF and spent the night at the Dow Villa at 4,000 feet. So not much time.
Trail conditions - Excellent. There was no snow on the trail and scattered patches just off the trail. The weather was partly cloudy and it did rain a little on the way down, but it was quite refreshing and we were never threatened with lightning.
Time left in the morning - 3:45, arrived at the summit at noon and back off the mountain by 6pm.
Since it was just for the day we packed light; our daypack size backpacks weighed in at about 25 lbs each. Most of us wore running shoes, light pants or shorts, thermal tops with another techfabric-esque shirt over that and brought a light windbreaker shell along as well.
We each had trekking poles, headlamps and 2 water filters in case one stopped working.
We also carried about 3-4 liters of water a person, usually in the form of a camelback / platypus or nalgene.
First time I used a GPS on the trail and it was awesome! Not for the positioning, but for the altitude. One of the questions everyone always has is what or when the next checkmark or ‘rest area’ is going to be. With the altimeter it’s easy to tell exactly where you are and estimate how much longer it’s going to be until you’re there. Especially heading off the mountain it’s easy to believe you’re much closer than you actually are; it helped there the most. I highly recommend it.
The usual bars, gels and beef jerky; as well as apples, peaches, bananas, sandwiches and a full bag of pink&white animal cookies (everyone we came across was jealous until we stated handing them out).
I’ve climbed the Main Trail three previous times in various conditions, and this was probably the best condition this trail has been in. Free from snow and well maintained, it was very straightforward. Plenty of water in the lakes and streams. One important note is the solar toilets are no longer there, so plan ahead.
Of the group, I was the only that had climbed it before; two others were avid cyclists and another was a triathlete and marathoner. It was a excellent group of very motivated individuals. We started the morning at a good pace with breaks almost once every fifteen minutes and held up well to Trailcamp at 12,000 feet.
Once at Trailcamp we started to notice one person starting to have difficulties with the altitude. He complained of headaches, nausea, mild hallucinations and somewhat blurred vision. All of it was stated in a half-joking manner and although we asked if he wanted to rest or head down, he felt confident he could continue. We watched him carefully from that point on. His pace was very slow, his balance was off, but he was drinking water and eating food well, so we let him continue. Although our pace was slower, we all did reach the summit. There, another member of the group reported headaches and nausea and could not even eat because he felt so sick; however he too was very happy to be at the summit.
After a 15 minute rest up top, we turned around and headed back down to Trailcamp. Everyone was starting to feel much better. We rested there for another 30 minutes to refresh our water and then booked off the mountain at a brisk pace.
1. I’m never going to wear running shoes again on this trail. Although they are fast and light, and I didn’t need the ankle support; after stepping on x number of pointed rocks or stone my arches were killing me. I still prefer fast and light to a boot, so I’m going to look for some trail runner with a vibram sole or something similar.
2. 3:45am is a great time to start.
3. Carbon trekking poles rock.
4. Having an altimeter or GPS rocks.
Overall it was an excellent climb.
Made it up the trail about a mile from the summit when weather turned us back. We missed the weather window by about 1/2 hour.
Next time we will leave earlier and move faster! Now we have a good excuse to go back :-)
Base camped at Trail Camp, which make acclimatization much easier, then summited early on day two, before descending all the way out to the Portal. If it weren't so damn hard to secure a permit for this trip, I'd be back each and every year.
What an adventure! Did it as an overnight with Paul. Stayed at Trail Camp and summitted the next day. Didn't feel too good-first time on a peak that high. Headache, dizzy, nauseated, but I made it. Even took time to find the geocache on top. Beautiful weather--warm, sunny, light breeze, perfect. Exciting! Thanks, Paul. : )
My hiking partner and I left to hike the Main Whitney Trail at 2:15 AM, so we were basically ahead of the other day-hikers when we started. The infamous (but appropriated named) "99 Switchbacks" were more intense than I imagined, but the 900-foot "gain" from Trail Crest to the Summit is very misleading, and tiresome, as you first need to descend and then you travel by several peaks. Overall, it was a very cool hike and well worth the summit!
1st - Main Trail (chute variation)
2nd - Main trail day hike solo
3rd - Main trail solo winter conditions (chute variation)
4th - Mountaineers Route
5th - East Face
6th - East Buttress
7th - Main Trail with girlfriend :)
Having attained a permit at 11 am on Friday, hiked until dark, camping at 11,500 just below Iceburg Lake. Left before sunrise and reached the summit at around 9 am. Exhilerating climb!
Date Climbed: 7 August 2010
Climbed the East Buttress with Amy! Her first Alpine rock climb, and first Sierra Peak! Great times!
Date Climbed: 15 Aug 2009
Climbed the East Face with Lea
Date Climbed: 25 Jul 2009
Climbed the East Face with Will and Luis. Fun climbing! Definitely enjoyed the exposure.
Date Climbed: 10 Aug 2007
Route: East Buttress
Climbed the East Buttress with Jim R, car to car in a day. Beautiful day in the mountains!! Swung leads for the first half of the climb, simul-climbed the 2nd half. Awesome route!
Date climbed: 19 May 2007
Route climbed: MR
Solo day hike this time. I actually had the summit to myself for almost 30 minutes (from 10am to almost 1030!!!). Then decided to go down the main trail and hit Keeler Needle and Mt Muir on the way down.
Date climbed: 18 July 2006
Route climbed: MR
Ascent via main trail. Ascended the switchbacks from Trail Camp the evening before to help carry down a heart attack victim on a stretcher. The victim was helicoptered out successfully just after dark.
Climbed with fossana. Took the 5.8 alt start as they were two other parties on the main start. Belayed 2 pitches and simul'ed/solo'ed the rest. Got back in time at the Whitney Portal Store for burger & fries. Another awesome weekend in the Sierra!
Date Climbed: March 18, 2007
Route Climbed: MR
Climbed the MR as a day hike with Tina Tretina and Rick Kent. The highlight was soloing the upper 1/3 of the chute: nice consolidated neve for mid-March.
Date Climbed: August 21, 2005
Route Climbed: East Face
Climbed the East Face with Murray Zichlinsky with Mark Ingram and Steve Sauter following as a 2nd party of 2. We had a fantastic weather day in the Sierra (no clouds, cobalt blue sky, light breeze...nice!). Took 6 hours to summit because we're stuck behind a party of 3 (dad and his 2 sons) at the 1st tower traverse pitch. Murray and I passed the "dad" team at the washboards as we unroped there. Then, we waited for Mark & Steve to come up to the Giant Alcove. Murray led the Fresh Air Traverse while I led the last short (20 feet) offwidtch/left chimney pitch at the end of the Grand Staircase. Murray and I actually belayed 5 pitches: pitch 1 was the tower traverse; pitch 2 (less than 20') was to get up to the Giant Alcove; pitch 3 was the Fresh Air Traverse; pitch 4 was the short 5.5 chimney after the Fresh Air Traverse; pitch 5 (~ 20') was the short 5.7 offwidth/left chimney at the end of the Grand Staircase. With careful routefounding, you can keep the rest at class3/4 to the summit. I reached the summit at 2:25pm. Murray arrived some 20 minutes later. Then, after waiting 1 hour at the summit for Mark & Steve, I told Murray I couldn't wait any longer as I had to descend to the Portal that day. Left the summit at 3:30pm, down the Mountaineers Route and back at Iceberg Lake at 4:40pm. Packed up and down at the Portal at 7:38pm.
Date Climbed: April 3, 2004
Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route
Conditions have changed quite a bit since people summited last weekend March 27-28. This weekend was a different North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. The road to the Portal is dry as of yesterday. We drove right to the trailhead. Our plan was to camp between Upper Boy Scout Lake and Iceberg Lake and then up the MR and summit on Saturday. On the way up, it started with flurries just below the Ebersbacher Ledges,then it switched to snow. On Friday (April 2nd), teams were getting up the Ebersbacher Ledges. It was a totally different story yesterday (April 3rd). No one descended the ledges as they were totally wet from the melting snow. The boot track has mostly disappeared now with the recent snow storm. Most teams decided to camp at Lower Boy Scout Lake (by the way, the snow level pretty much begins at 9000 feet), including a team from Fort Collins, Colorado that we met. Anyway, we decided to press on and only found 1 tent camped at Upper Boy Scout Lake on Friday afternoon. Visibility really got poor starting at 4:00pm Friday April 2nd. We hiked 'til 5:00pm and made camp at 11,700 feet betweeb UBSL and Iceberg Lake. The snow storm really started to come down after 6:00pm Friday. It did not let up all night. By morning, it has snowed over 1 foot in less than 12 hours!! And it continued snowing well into mid-morning (10:00am) Saturday, April 3rd. At about 10:15am, I noticed a team of 4 climbers coming down from higher above us. The leader in front asked us how we're doing, and I immediately recognized the voice: it was Kurt Wedberg of Sierra Mountaineering International. He said they had camped just a few hundred feet higher from where we were. Kurt decided to turn around his clients as he witnessed fracture lines on the slope to Iceberg Lake. Avalanche activity had risen quickly over the night hours of Saturday morning (April 3rd): we had over 1 foot of new snow in less than 12 hours and more snow was still coming down, rapid warming temperatures from Friday to Saturday (I guess it was around 35 degrees F Saturday around 10:00am at our 11,700-foot camp). Kurt also had another large guided team (from IMG: International Mountain Guides) camped at Lower Boy Scout Lake. The IMG team packed up and headed back down to the trailhead. Without any further hesitation, we too abandon our summit bid and headed down. We noticed that the climbers camped at UBSL also went down. Then, the Colorado team too went down. BOTTOM LINE: Everyone on Saturday bailed out and headed back down to the Portal trailhead as avalanche risk was considerable. On our way down, close to the Ebersbacher Ledges, we witnessed a small avalanche on a north facing slope. This slope released as a result of the very rapid warming temperatures which lubricated the sandwiched layer between the harder snow below with the wetter snow on top. All in all, although our 3-day trip was cut short due to the freaky snow storm (which also caught the National Weather Service forecast off guard) and considerable avalanche danger, it taught us yet another lesson in mountaineering. Looks like the storm started to die down today and the weather looks favorable for next weekend. Safe climbing everyone!
Date Climbed: November 3, 2002
Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route
My goal was to climb Mount Muir as a day hike. So I decided to go up via the Mountaineer's Route (MR) instead of the main Whitney Trail. I left L.A. at 1:40pm Saturday and was at the Portal around 5:00pm. Parked close to the trailhead and slept outside. Got up and started walking at 2:45am Sunday (Nov. 3, 2002) by headlamp. Ascended the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek (MR). Reached Iceberg Lake around 7:50am. Filled up on water, ate and rested a bit before heading out at 8:30am up the main gully. Conditions on the gully were some snow; the last few hundred feet before the notch I climbed the main gully on the right side as there was decent snow, instead of the scree rubble. Took the first gully up after the notch and did a brief class 4th section before toping out onto the summit plateau. Summited Whitney at 10:39am. Stayed at the summit for 25 minutes trying to get my cell phone to work. Descended via the main Whitney Trail onto to tag Mt Muir. Summited Muir at 11:55am, and was back at the car by 3:50pm.
BTW, I hauled up ice axe & crampons and I did not need them at all yesterday Nov 3, 2002. Conditions may change by next weekend, though, if a weather system moves through.
Date Climbed: February 3, 2002
Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route
Sunny, mostly a calm day. Made the summit at 1:20pm Pacific time, Sunday, February 3, 2002. Click here for trip report.
Date Climbed: November 11, 2001
Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route
Failed attempt on the MR. Trip report here.
Date Climbed: July 8, 2001
Route Climbed: Mountaineers Route
This was my 2nd time atop of Mount Whitney. First time up and down via the main trail on August 2000, and now the 2nd time up and down via the Mountaineer's route. Went solo. I ended up climbing next to a group of 3 climbers from San Diego. Summitted at 11:39am. Stayed only 5 minutes as dark thunder clouds were heard less than 10 seconds away. My climb report here.
Fantastic day! Dayhiked the Main trail and bagged Muir along the way down (great view of the switchbacks). Snow/ice pretty much gone; the ax and crampons stayed in the bag.
summitted via the trail while a massive fire caused the evacuation of my town. My girlfriend was pissed.
Hiked up the standard route including a side trip to get Muir as well. Both peaks car to car in just under 12hrs.
Dayhiked the Portal Trail to the summit in late Sept of '93. Party of 4 hit the TH at 5:00AM and were enjoying the summit views by noon. Returned 9-21-2003 to repeat only to be turned back by icy conditions above the switchbacks. (The party was diverse and not everyone was prepared! Lesson learned....) Going back this Sept with a 1 night/2 day permit.
Did some variation of the East Face route. Were planning to do the Great Book, but were feeling quite sodded by the altitude by the time we reached the top of the Washboard. Traversed around, but could not find the Fresh Air Traverse pitch. So, just went straight up a wide crack to get to the Grand Staircase. After the exit from the Staircase, did not find the scramble to the summit, so went straight up (and it was NOT a scramble). Took a while to summit, but was a nice day and a great climbing partner.
We did the Mountaineers route from portal to portal in 14 hours. The weather was perfect and the view at the top was worth the pain that my toes endured on the descent.