Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

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Marmaduke

 
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Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Marmaduke » Thu Mar 04, 2021 3:52 pm

Question, we will be backpacking from the north on The JMT then west up to Whitney. I'll have 3 people with me that are much more the backpacker and casual climber. When headed down to The Whitney Portal, I'd like to save 6 miles and decend on The Mountaineers route. Thoughts on the two routes?

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colinr

 
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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by colinr » Sat Mar 06, 2021 12:19 am

I would recommend the Main Whitney Trail in your scenario as it is a gentle class 1 path in comparison. The MR has multiple sections that would be more technically difficult than anything on the rest of the trip with strenuous, steep, and sometimes exposed movements required. Plus the group will have backpacking packs that make such terrain more challenging than when traveling light and you will be going downhill, where control through moderate scrambling, steep, or rugged terrain is more difficult than when going uphill. In addition to picking your way down the steep class 3 scramble from the summit area without route experience, there is some route finding through brush and boulders near the creek and then the exposed E-ledges. Going downhill on the main trail will be a breeze, safer, and possibly even faster for the described group. The only thing you would have going for you if not worn out by the trip is that all would be well adapted to hiking and altitude at that point in the trip.

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Marcsoltan » Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:36 am

I second Colinr . His assessment of the situation is right on the money.

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by phydeux » Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:20 pm

'Ditto' what Marcsoltan and colinr recommend. If your group are more casual backpacker types the Mountaineers route should be avoided. Its always harder going down a 'scramble' route, and much more so when you did not come up it and are carrying fully-loaded backpacks.

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Marmaduke

 
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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Marmaduke » Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:37 am

Thank you all!

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sierraman

 
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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by sierraman » Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:18 pm

If Colinr's commentary was not enough to persuade you to take the main trail, here are 2 more considerations. You didn't say when your trip was scheduled, but the Mountaineers Route can have hard steep snow and ice to cross until late in the year. Then consider that using the Mountaineers Route you would have to hump your packs up 2+ miles from Trail Crest to the Whitney summit.

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Marmaduke

 
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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Marmaduke » Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:34 pm

sierraman wrote:If Colinr's commentary was not enough to persuade you to take the main trail, here are 2 more considerations. You didn't say when your trip was scheduled, but the Mountaineers Route can have hard steep snow and ice to cross until late in the year. Then consider that using the Mountaineers Route you would have to hump your packs up 2+ miles from Trail Crest to the Whitney summit.


Thank you and yes the Whitney Trail for sure. And snow/ice likely will be part of the equation as the trip is June 8th - 13th. It's been a very light snow year but ......

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Todd ulz

 
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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Todd ulz » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:53 pm

related question...

has anyone done the standard whitney trail then south at consulation lake, over arc pass and down to meysan lakes somehow? arc pass looks chill and then maybe cut east just south of mallory?
trying to make a loop...

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Romain » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:11 pm

Arc Pass alone will dump you into Miter Basin. To get to Meysan, you would need to take a left from Arc Pass over Richins Pass (between Mounts Irvine and Mallory). That will involve what I would call Class 2+ terrain. The descent to the main Meysan Lake from there is a bit loose and steep. It is doable, but likely to be an adventure.

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by johnifors » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:55 pm

My advice would be to go Mountaineers up, and then descend Main Route. The two routes are very different in character, technical skill, and views.

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by asmrz » Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:52 pm

1st question would be when you plan to do it?

Sorry, I missed your response re the trip schedule. Early June is a bit early not to have some snow/ice on the Mountaineers Rte.

In early season, (May, June, early July) the Mountaineers Route can have a bit of technical stuff high up and can be icy in places. The Regular Route (if you follow the trail and don't try to short cut it) has no issues. So if you go with people who are not quite proficient, go up and down the Trail Route. If it is someone's first experience with Whitney, it will be unforgettable anyway.

cheers Marmaduke, Alois.

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Re: Mountaineers route versus Whitney trail

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:52 pm

Depending on conditions, the descent off the summit and traverse over to the Mountaineer's Route can be icy and sketchy.

You might need crampons and ice axe. Also, unless you've been there before it's always an issue finding the correct route down.

An alternative is to descend the north face instead of the Mountaineer's Route. I've skied both lines.

But the initial descent couloir on the north face ends in cliffs, so they need to know how to self arrest. One-third of the way down you have to traverse over into the next couloir to bypass the cliffs. And then you just pop over the Whitney-Russell Pass and down to Whitney Portal.

The N face is a much more reasonable descent than the Mountaineer's Route, but it's still not a cake walk.

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