|Another amazing sunrise on Mt. Whitney.
Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48, and one of the most sought after. Almost named “Fisherman’s Peak” Mt. Whitney was first climbed in 1873 by the “fishermen”; John Lucas, Charles Begole and Albert H. Johnson. The local Paiute Indians, named Mt. Whitney Too-man-go-yah- (the very old man) and as legend has it a Great Spirit lives inside the mountain and watches over the people from his high perch. People of all ability levels flock to stand on its broad summit. The overwhelming majorities stumble to the top via the Mount Whitney Trail. In the summer months it is not uncommon to have several hundred bleary-eyed people talking on cell phones and watching TV on the summit. From the East the peak is much quieter and looks much more impressive guarded by its sheer granite walls. Sierra Mountain Guides offers trips on several different east side routes including the Mountaineers route, the East Face, and the East Buttress. For any of the routes on our three- day trips, you will hike 5 miles and about 5,200 feet to your camp. On the second day, you will climb Whitney (around 1000') and on the third day you will hike out.
The Mountaineers Route:
The Mountaineer’s Route is a challenging undertaking and requires excellent fitness and a spirit of mountaineering adventure that harkens back to the first ascent of the mountain. By comparison, consider that the Whitney Trail route starts and finishes at the same place but is almost twice as far in mileage! Enjoy the steep and direct aesthetics, and greater solitude getting to the highest summit. Prepare to climb a snow or rock filled gully for about 1000' and then you will enjoy technical scrambling which will be safely protected by your experienced guide for the last few hundred feet! This route may require crampons and/or ice axes depending on the time of year. No matter what time of year, however, you will definitely want your camera!
The East Face route is one of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America. You’ll be blown away by the, “The Fresh Air Traverse”, which as its name implies adds exciting exposure to the climb. Dr. Robert Underhill, a member of the first party to climb the route in 1931 exclaimed, “The beauty of the climb in general lies chiefly in its unexpected possibility, up the apparent precipice, and in the intimate contact it affords with the features that lend Mt. Whitney its real impressiveness.”
The East Buttress is only slightly more difficult and sustained than the East Face. It was originally named the “Sunshine Peewee” route by the first accent party. This route represents the cleanest, most direct line from high camp to summit. It features high-quality climbing on good granite up the buttress to the “Peewee Pillar”, a gigantic block precariously perched on the buttress. The route continues around the pillar for a few more perfect crack pitches to the summit.
Interested in climbing Whitney during the winter? Click here for more info!
Trip Itinerary | Prerequisites | Additional Information
Mt. Whitney Web Cam