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Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route!!!
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Jun 11, 2009, 9:41 AM
Post #1 of 3 (5075 views)

Registered: Oct 8, 2008
Posts: 355

Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route!!!  (North_America: United_States: California: Bishop_and_Eastern_Sierra)
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Hello. Three friends and I are planning on climbing the Mountaineer's Route on Whitney in early September. Does anyone have any experience on this route at that time of year? I am particularly interested in the Class 3 section near the top (I think it's called the North Chute?). I am a regular rock climber and lead moderate trad. However, my friends have little outdoor rock climbing experience. They are hikers and "mountaineers" (meaning we've climbed Rainier in summer and Mt. Washington in the winter), but have little in the way of actual rock experience.

Do parties normally rope up for this part of the route? Most of the TRs I've read have said that roping up isn't necessary. However, I've also heard that guide services make their clients rope up. Would you recommend roping up if you were with 3 people who don't have much experience rock climbing outside? I'm also looking for a good suggestion for a guide book that covers the Mountaineer's Route.

Also, if you have experience on this route and would be kind enough to answer additional questions, please let me know via post or pm!

Thanks in advance.


Jun 11, 2009, 10:02 AM
Post #2 of 3 (5063 views)

Registered: Nov 21, 2007
Posts: 89

Re: [IsayAutumn] Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route!!! [In reply to]
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You don't need to rope up for the mountaineer's route, but if you're going with inexperienced people you need to take into consideration that the hike is at an elevation that ill affect performance and decision making. Make sure you and your buddies are in shape.

You will need a permit. Google Lone Pine Ranger Station. There are no over night permits available, but you should be able to get a day permit.

Weather can be gnarly in the Whitney region, plan accordingly.

The Supertopo High Sierra Guide covers the mountaineer's route and I think Peter Croft's The Good, Great, and Awesome might cover it as well.


Jun 21, 2009, 11:31 PM
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Registered: Jun 21, 2009
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route!!! [In reply to]
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If your friends have done rainier/washington I imagine they'll be fine on whitney. I last did the moutaineers route in late June in a heavy snow year for the sierras and only ran into a little snow/ice on the class3 section just past thor's hammer. Usually the left side of that section is dry but that would be the spot to rope up. The toughest part of that section is the first part which is just a quick bouldering move or two. Head up the first crack you come to at the bottom of this section.

I'd say bring a rope and have your friends bring a harness all the way up for just this section. I think I saw an anchor on the left 1/2 up that section.. but easy enough to place gear. It will help because even at the bottom of that route the altitude really hits. The the first move onto the route is odd in hiking boots.

The descent is the most important - since the entire couloir is basically a top sheet of marbles. Make sure your friends have enough strength on the way down to not have sloppy feet.

Ran into a friend who was a guide halfway up the couloir with a cowoker of mine and a client from sanfran all roped up. It seemed a bit excessive beyond the client from sanfran really got hit by the altitude. Again why it would be safe to bring a rope regardless.

I honestly haven't seen a good guide book on the route... but the USGS topo has it on there, somewhat. My first attempt at the route in a day trip I ended up scrambling up the whitney-russel pass. Needless to say I didn't get to the top of whitney that day. That seems to be the common mistake when getting to upper boyscout lake go left immediately, not straight west.

I'd honestly watch out for september - might be a bad time. I've seen snow storms in the eastern sierras in sept so just come prepared and ready to turn around at any time.

All in all, that route is one of my favorites so plan it well and make sure everyone is prepared.

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