Sweet Whitney! (East Buttress photo trip report)

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 23, 2011
Activities:
Trad Climbing
Season:
Fall
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Sweet Whitney! (East Buttress photo trip report)
Created On: Oct 4, 2011
Last Edited On: Apr 8, 2013

Introduction

After a superb summer season in alpine terrain, we found ourselves hungry to snag one more alpine rock route before the fall snows. We scoured through the various mountain ranges close to Salt Lake City and zeroed in on Mount Whitney. We hoped the late season would make wilderness permits more accessible, while avoiding the early morning line for a same-day permits. We were fortunate to find available permits, so we made our reservations and hit the road.

Click for the Full Trip Report on my photography website.

Approach to Upper Scout Lake

East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Mount Whitney.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
East Buttress route (red line).
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Lush trail in the North Fork of Lone Pine. It was a perfect afternoon for hiking.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
The ledges. We were fortunate to arrive and help a desperate hiker find the proper descent route. He had just thrown his backpack off the ledges in dangerous location, while hunting for the proper route down. He was off route in some exposed terrain.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Lower Scout Lake with fall colors.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Hiking toward Upper Scout Lake.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Dusk at Upper Scout Lake. A stunning, comfortable location to camp.

East Buttress Route

East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
We left camp around 5:30 a.m. and caught the first light of dawn on the profile of Mount Whitney.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Sweet Alpenglow.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
East Buttress as seen from Iceberg Lake. The clouds were moving from the southeast, which allowed us to watch for threatening weather. There were dark cells over the desert, so we kept close watch.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Pitch 1. The rock is as good as advertised.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Looking down pitch 1. The morning warming up in the sunlight.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Atop pitch 2. Looking across the face of Whitney.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Pitch 3. Although sunshine was abundant over Whitney, the clouds were beginning to close in around us.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Climbing up pitch 4. Exciting exposure.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Quite cold, but the climbing was superb.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Looking down pitch 4 & 5. Small patches of snow still remained from a storm the prior week.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Pitch 5 & 6. A bit tricky in places to avoid the ice in the cracks and behind the flakes.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Belaying on the East Buttress with heavy clouds looming.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Pitch 8. This was a cold pitch, but the clouds magically began to brake apart giving us hope for some sunshine.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Astounding alpine terrain in the High Sierra. Mount Russell in the background.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
After pitch 8, we packed the gear to scramble the last few hundred feet.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Mostly 4th class terrain with scree ledges to the summit.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
The summit, and not a soul in sight. Apparently this solitude can be rare on the top of the lower 48.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Summit Panorama (click to view the large image).
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
The temperature was substantially warmer in the summit hut. Nice place to refuel.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
For the descent, we used the Mountaineer's Route. The upper half was dusted in snow and verglas. A bit sketchy.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Afternoon sun on the Mountaineer's Route descent.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Bottom half of the Mountaineer's Route.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Tired, but happy. At this point, all I could think about was a hot meal at camp.

The Day After

East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
The next morning, we had plans to climb Mount Russell. Those plans quickly faded with a large approaching storm.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
We took it easy all morning, until Mother Nature forced us to move out.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Graupel snow as a parting gift.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Fire in the sky, near Death Valley. It's crazy to consider on the summit of Whitney we were freezing, while driving through Death Valley it was 106 degrees. All in 24 hours.
East Buttress, Mt. Whitney
Ridiculous beauty on the ride home.


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Comments

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Viewing: 1-8 of 8
anita

anita - Oct 4, 2011 6:44 pm - Voted 10/10

always

a pleasure to see your photo TR's

Garfimi

Garfimi - Oct 5, 2011 12:39 am - Voted 10/10

Once again...

amazing photo's as always. Awesome stuff!

jaxcharlie

jaxcharlie - Oct 5, 2011 8:39 am - Voted 10/10

nice

report and great photo's!

EastKing

EastKing - Oct 5, 2011 11:30 pm - Voted 10/10

Excellent!!!

Great TR, and awesome photos! What a cool adventure!!!

aran

aran - Oct 8, 2011 3:13 am - Voted 10/10

Incredible images!

Wonderful photographs- you really capture the beauty and feel of the Eastern Sierra. Congrats on the ascent and summit of solitude! What camera were you snapping all those with?

marauders

marauders - Oct 9, 2011 8:22 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Incredible images!

Canon 50D with an EFS 10-22mm lens. I bit heavy to carry around in the mountains, but the quality of the photos are always worth it.

aran

aran - Oct 9, 2011 11:57 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Incredible images!

Right on. I agree, it is worth it. I used to bring my 5d, but unfortunately kept leaving it in the pack! Now I use a Canon s95- amazing images but I do miss the bigger sensor. Your photos are stunning my friend. Keep it up and enjoy Autumn!

marauders

marauders - Oct 10, 2011 3:31 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Incredible images!

To make the camera more accessible I use a LowePro LTZ 1 camera bag. The bag has connections for a LowePro chest harness. You can buy the harness, or just use two carabiners and attach the camera bag to the shoulder straps on your backpack. It works really well for ski descents, hiking, etc. For climbing, I just use a locking biner and put the camera bag on my climbing harness.

Viewing: 1-8 of 8