Mount Whitney – Winter!
Climbing Mount Whitney in winter is a big undertaking.
**COVID-19 Policy Update** Sierra Mountain Guides GUESTS! You must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to the start of your program, OR provide a current negative COVID test result taken within 48 hours of the start of your program.
Climbing Mount Whitney in winter is a big undertaking. This challenging program takes longer than it would normally in the summer and you carry more gear to be sure that you have everything you need to survive and be comfortable. With heavier packs and formidable conditions you must have excellent fitness and a true spirit of mountaineering adventure to attempt this program. That being said, this is a great season to spend time in this special place. There are often less people on the mountain and depending on the conditions the snow provides great opportunities for travel that aren’t there in the summer. As in most things in life, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.
The dates we have scheduled here have a minimum of 2 to run and a maximum guiding ratio of 2:1.
Winter 2023 Dates:
As in most things in life, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.
Mount Whitney Mountaineers Route in Winter (14,505′)
Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 United States at 14,505 feet above sea level. The survey marker at the summit still says 14, 494 feet, but the latest surveys show it is higher than that. It is still not totally agreed upon what the mountain’s altitude is and much depends on what exactly is considered the “sea level” that will be used as the baseline. The consensus among surveyors seems to be that the elevation of Mt. Whitney will only be corrected upwards if at all in the years to come, and the mountain is in fact growing along with the rest of the range on a geologic time scale. We certainly hope though that we will see it rise enough in our lifetime that Sierra peaks like Mt. Barnard and Mt. Humphreys are raised to 14’er status. We just think that would be infinitely amusing (but did you really need another reason to go climb those amazing peaks?).
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 making movies on the summit. From the east the peak is much quieter and looks much more impressive guarded by its sheer granite walls. We offer trips on several different east side routes including the Mountaineer’s Route, the East Face, and the East Buttress. The latter two are some of the best 5.7 alpine climbs in the range for rock quality and aesthetics of position.
Climbing Mount Whitney in winter is a big undertaking. This challenging program takes longer than it would normally in the summer as you have to carry more gear to be sure that you have everything you need in order to survive and be comfortable. With heavier packs and formidable conditions you must have excellent fitness and a true spirit of mountaineering adventure to attempt this program. That being said, this is a great season to spend time in this special place. There are often less people on the mountain and depending on the conditions the snow provides great opportunities for travel that aren’t there in the summer. As in most things in life, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.
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TRIP ITINERARYWinter Whitney
DAY 1Meet early morning in Lone Pine. Gear check and final packing. Car shuttle and parking below winter road closure. Hike and or snowshoe to Lower Boyscout Lake (10,200').
DAY 2Move to High Camp between Upper Boyscout Lake and Iceberg Lake (11,900')
DAY 3Summit Mt. Whitney (14,505') via the Mountaineers Route and descend back to High Camp.
DAY 4Descend back to the cars and celebrate in Lone Pine.
- Prior ice axe and crampon skills
- Good overall fitness
- Ability to carry up to a 45lb. pack for 6-8 hours a day
- AMGA trained and/or certified guide
- Dinners and Breakfasts while on the trip
- Group equipment (Tents, ropes, cooking gear)
- Snacks, lunches, or hot drinks of your preference.
- Transportation to and from location
- Any rental equipment needed