Three excellent rock climbs first done by Fred Beckey are found in Whitney Portal. Came to climb Mt. Whitney but can't get a permit? Tired of the crowded routes in Yosemite or Tahquitz? Looking for something different to climb in a mountain setting? Whatever the reason, these excellent climbs await the adventurous rock climber. They are -
Whitney Portal Buttress ( IV - V, 5.8 - 5.10, A3 ),
Premiere Buttress ( III, 5.8, A1 or 5.10+ )
El Segundo Buttress ( III, 5.7, A2 or 5.9+ )
These three climbs are great fun and perfect for climbers that don't lead difficult free climbing. For those that do like upper level 5.10 - 5.11+ climbing, try these links to more difficult Whitney Portal climbing -
Whitney Portal Map & Climbs
From the town of Lone Pine on Highway 395, head west on the Whitney Portal Road. For El Segundo Buttress and Premiere Buttress, follow the road until it makes a single switchback near the top of the road. Above the east end of the switchback two buttresses can be seen ( there is a gully with trees between the two buttresses ). The left buttress is El Segundo, the right one is Premiere.
For Whitney Portal Buttress, follow the Whitney Portal Road to its end. Whitney Portal Buttress can be seen to the north as a smooth high formation. Hike up the Mount Whitney trail a short distance, then follow a sandy gully to a fork. Follow the left fork to the toe of the buttress.
There are no permits required to climb these routes. Camp only in established camp grounds and campsites ( fee required ).
When To Climb
These climbs are perfect for summer months when other climbing areas are too hot. June - October are the best months for doing these climbs.
There are 4 campgrounds in the area including Lone Pine ( 43 sites ), Lone Pine Group camp ( 1 site ), Whitney Portal ( 43 sites ), Whitney Portal Group camp ( 3 sites ), all of which take reservations - go to http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/inyo/vvc/cmpgrnds.htm#LonePine
Also see the following websites - Inyo National Forest and WWW.395.COM listed in Links.
Check the Inyo National Forest website ( http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/inyo ) for current conditions.
Note - the topos and gear lists are from the early 1980's. No doubt many pitons can be eliminated from the gear shown ( there weren't TCU's in 1983 ) and much ( if not all ) of the route can go free today. However, if you want to do these climbs in there original style, I see nothing wrong with that either!