Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney and Beyond!
Onion Valley to Mount Whitney traverses one of the highest and wildest sections of California’s High Sierra.
Best. Mount Whitney Climb. Ev-er. Ironic that the best part is not Mt. Whitney. So sad, all of those Whitney Trail hikers who only experience the crowded side of the mountain in one sleep-deprived day. This is a brilliant backpacking tour of the southernmost crest of the Range of Light. If you like hiking in remote wilderness and have always wanted to climb Mt. Whitney too, then this trip is for you!
This trip has a minimum of 2 to run and a maximum 6:1 guiding ratio.
Note: We are closely monitoring how the record breaking snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is going to impact conditions for backpacking trips for the Summer of 2023. We anticipate snow travel to be necessary and abundant on higher elevation trails for most or all of the Summer. Choosing trip dates later in the Summer in August, September or even October will help to decrease the amount of snow travel necessary for your trip.
An experience of a lifetime.
Onion Valley to Mount Whitney traverses one of the highest and wildest sections of California’s High Sierra. This 7-day itinerary allows hikers to summit the highest point in the Lower 48 states and tick a premier section of the world-renowned John Muir Trail. Experience the marvelous scenery and remote ambience of Southern Kings Canyon entering via Kearsarge Pass, then on to Bubbs Creek and the incredible Forester Pass. Walk the moonscape of the Tyndall Plateau and the headwaters of the Kern River. Ascend to the top of the Sierra on mighty Mount Whitney, towering over 11,500 feet above the Owens Valley desert. Continue via the shadow of Mount Langley and the Cottonwood Lakes basin for the completion of a grand Sierra traverse. An experience of a lifetime.
Includedbackpackingfastpackinglight and fastonion valley to mt. whitney
Not Included14ers3D chute3rd pillar3rd Pillar DanaAIAREAIARE 1AIARE 2AlaskaAlaska skiingalpinealpine climbingalpine rock climbingAlpsAlps climbingAlps runningAlps skiingAlps trilogyAmerican Mountain Guides AssociationAMGAavalanche awarenessavalanche coursebackcountrybackcountry 101backcountry skiBackcountry Skiingbackcountry snowboardBear Creek SpireBerner OberlandBernese OberlandBishopBishop SkylineBlacksmith PeakBloody MountainBreakthroughBridgeportCaliforniaCalifornia fourteenerscampingCardinal PinnacleCarson PeakCelestial AretesChamonixChamonix climbingCharlotte Domechefclassic rock climbclassic Sierra rockclimbclimbingclimbing campclimbing skillsclimbing Swiss AlpsClyde MinaretConvict Creekcookcoursescourses instructioncramponCrest tourCrystal Cragcustomcustom private skiDana PlateaudestinationsDevil's SlideDolomitesDolomites climbingDouble Eagle ResortDream BowlEast ButtressEast FaceEastern Sierra climbingEastern Sierra skiingEastern Sierra WinterEigerEvolution LoopexamFishhook AreteFour SeasonsFranceGlass CreekGrindelwaldguide courseHaute Routeheli assistedheli skiingHemlock RidgeHigh SierraHigh Sierra skiinghigh tourhikingHorse CreekhorsesHorsetail FallsHut to Hutice 101ice axeice climbingice climbing courseIncredible Hulkinstructionintermediate levelinternationalintroductoryintroductory ice climbing courseItalyJohn Muir TrailJohn Muir WildernessJune LakeJune MountainJungfrauKautz Glacierkidskids climbing programsLas Vegaslee viningLee Vining arealee vining canyonlevel 1level 1 refresherlevel 2lightweightLone PineLone Pine PeakLovers LeapMammoth LakesMammoth Lakes to YosemiteMammoth MountainMammoth to JuneMammoth to YosemiteMatterhornMatterhorn PeakMcGee CreekMerriam Peakmixed climbingMonchMont BlancMont Blanc runMount ConnessMount DanaMount EmersonMount GabbMount HumphreysMount MillsMount Rainiermountain runningmountaineeringMountaineers RouteMt ConnessMt. DanaMt. EmersonMt. HumphreysMt. RussellMt. SillMt. TomMt. WhitneyMt. WinchellmulesmultidaynegativesNevadaNorth PalisadeNorth Peaknorth ridgeOrtlerOwens River Gorgepack outfitpack supportpackerspalisadesPalisades Glacier Camppeak descentsPeter CroftPine CreekPolemonium PeakportersPositive Vibrationsprivateprivate customprofessional developmentRed and White MountainRed Dihedralred rockRed Slate Mountainrescue skillsRitter Rangerockrock 201rock climbingRock CreekRock Creek to MammothSabre RidgeSan Joaquin RidgeSawtoothsself arrestself belayself rescueSequoia National ParksherpasSierraSierra 5.10sierra alpineSierra Mountain GuidesSierra NevadaSierra skiingsingle pitch instructorskiski guidingski mountaineeringski tourski touringskiingsnowsnow skillssnowboardSPIsplitboardsportsport climbingStarlight PeaksupportedSwitzerlandTahoeTemple Cragthird pillarThompson PassThunderbolt PeakTiogatrad climbingtrail runningtraverseTuolumneTwin LakesUltra Trail Mont BlancultralightValdezVia Ferratawhite linewilderness tripwinterYosemiteyosemite national parkYosemite skiYost MeadowZermattZermatt Valley
|TRIP ITINERARY: Onion Valley to Mt Whitney and Beyond!|
|DAY 1||Meet at Horseshoe Meadows backpacker’s parking, bear-proof our cars, make final packing decisions, and shuttle to Onion Valley. Today, our first hiking day, does involve some altitude gain over Kearsarge Pass, about 2600 vertical feet and 8.9 miles of hiking, but we camp as low as possible (9600 feet at Vidette Meadow) to make the transition to altitude as gentle as we can.|
|DAY 2||Today the acclimatization is starting to kick in, and we tackle, slowly and steadily, the highest point on the entire Pacific Crest Trail- Forester Pass (13,180 feet). Once over Forester Pass we’ll camp among the lakes and streams under Diamond Mesa. Stats: 3600 vertical feet of gain, 9 miles.|
|DAY 3||Mellowing out a bit, on Day 3 we’ll cruise through forests and meadows, rolling over about 600 vertical feet of gain, past Tyndall Creek and the headwaters of the Kern River to Wallace Creek. 8 miles.|
|DAY 4||Another day of forested trails, gentle rolls, and more killer views of the remote, dark and menacing Kaweah Range. Our camp this night will be near Crabtree Meadow and we’ll set up for a couple of nights there. 500 vertical feet, 5 miles.|
|DAY 5||The big day to the top of the Range, California, and the contiguous US states - Mount Whitney! We’ll set out early with our day packs and cruise steadily to the top. We really needn’t say much more about the top. It’ll be awesome. 15 miles, 3000 feet of gain.|
|DAY 6||After pounding up Mount Whitney we’ll roll along through mixed trees and meadows to a camp at Rock Creek. 10 miles, 600 vertical feet.|
|DAY 7||Our last day on the trail is the scenic cruise through the southern reaches of the High Sierra. Beneath the fourteeners and the mobs of backpackers is a quiet forest of smooth trails and more meadows. The mileage is high this day (13 miles and 1800 vf.) but you'll be smiling so hard you will barely notice.|
- SMG backpacking guide
- Backcountry meals
- Group cooking and camping gear
- Logistical trip support
- Wilderness overnight permits
- Lunches and trail snacks
- Personal or rental equipment
- Personal items
- Transportation to and from the Eastern Sierra
- Good physical fitness and ability to hike 10+ miles in a day with a multi day backpack of 35-40 pounds.
- Prior backpacking experience