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3-day Ascent on Mount Whitney, California via the “Mountaineer’s Route”

Take an alternative route to the summit of California's highest peak. The friendly guides at Sierra Mountaineering International are your hosts on this 3-day tour of Mount Whitney.

Mountain RangeSierra Nevada (California)
Duration3 days
Offer periodJul, Aug, Sep
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelOccasional
Type of tripPrivate and Group

Highlights

  • Stay away from the crowds on the alternative "Mountaineer's Route"

  • Stand atop the highest peak in the contiguous United States

  • Trek past pine trees, boulders, granite slabs, high alpine meadows and lakes

Description

At 14,508′, California’s Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Thousands of mountaineers stand atop this towering peak in the Sierra Nevadas every year, but not all take the same path to get there.

On this tour, we invite you to discover the less-traveled “Mountaineer’s Route” to the summit. This alternative route gives you the chance to experience the natural beauty of Mount Whitney, without the crowds.

While standing atop Mount Whitney may be the highlight of this tour, the path to get there is equally beautiful. Along the “Mountaineer’s Route”, we will pass by pine trees, high alpine meadows, granite slabs, boulders and lakes. This route on the northeast side of Mount Whitney is especially beautiful during the summer months.

From the trailhead at Whitney Portal, we will begin our ascent via Lone Pine Creek’s North Fork. Once we reach Upper Boy Scout Lake (11,300′), we will start scouting out the perfect place to set up camp. This camp, between Upper Boy Scout Lake and Iceberg Lake (12,600′), will be our base camp for the duration of our tour on Mount Whitney.

After a good night’s sleep at our base camp, we will continue upward early the next morning. We will ascend through the “Mountaineer’s Chute”, occasionally using our hands and feet to scramble across granite.

While in the chute, we will be ascending at a 25-35° angle. As we approach the summit, you can expect this angle to increase slightly (40-45°). We will use a rope for safety in the steepest section, but you do not need to have any previous rock climbing experience. The terrain is not technical in nature and is rated at a Class 3 difficulty level.

Once we have reached the summit of Mount Whitney, we will slowly retrace our steps back down to our base camp. On the final day, we will descend back to the trailhead at Whitney Portal.

You can find a detailed day-by-day itinerary below.

While this climb is certainly an adventure in and of itself, we also recommend it to anyone who is trying out new gear for a more technical climb.

To book your tour with us on Mount Whitney, please click on “Request to book” now. We look forward to showing you the path less traveled to the summit of the contiguous United States’ tallest peak this summer. 

If one summit is just not enough, you can join our triple summit tour on Mount Whitney, Mount Russell and Mount Muir. Click here for more information.

We look forward to being in touch with you!

Accommodation

We will be camping between Upper Boy Scout and Iceberg Lakes.

More info

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT LIST Clothing: -Light or mid weight long underwear top and bottom -Pile or thick wool sweater -Synthetic climbing pants -Waterproof/breathable jacket -Waterproof/breathable pants -Gaiters -Wool or pile cap -Face mask or balaclava -Pile or wool gloves -Mountaineering socks -Liner socks (optional) -Baseball cap -Shorts -T-shirt Gear: -Pack with 4000+ cubic inch capacity* -Sleeping bag with stuff sack rated to at least 20° F* -Sleeping pad* -Boots (sturdy enough for off trail 3rd class terrain)* -Climbing harness* -Carabiners (2 large pear-shaped screw gate locking) -Mountaineering helmet* -Trekking poles with the baskets attached* -Headlamp (with fresh batteries and a spare bulb)* -Dark glasses with side shields and UV protection -(2) 1-liter wide-mouthed water bottles (with a personalized identifying mark) -Pocket knife -Sunscreen with minimum SPF 15 -Lip balm with minimum SPF 15 -Eating utensils, bowl, insulated cup and spoon -Camera -Personal lunch food *Gear marked with an asterisk is available to rent from Sierra Mountaineering International.

Meeting point

Lone Pine, California

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Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: Whitney Portal - Lone Pine Creek - Upper Boy Scout Lake

  • Group meeting in Lone Pine, CA
  • Carpool to the trailhead at Whitney Portal
  • Ascend the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek to Upper Boy Scout Lake (11,300′)
  • Set up camp between Upper Boy Scout and Iceberg Lakes
  • “Lights out” early in preparation for the next day

Day 2: MOUNT WHITNEY SUMMIT

  • Rise and shine early in the morning
  • Ascend to nearby Iceberg Lake (12,600′)
  • Scramble up the “Mountaineer’s Chute”
  • Non-technical climb to the summit plateu
  • MOUNT WHITNEY SUMMIT
  • Retrace our steps back down to our base camp

Day 3: Descent

  • Retrace our steps from our base camp back to the trailhead at Whitney Portal

Generally, we arrive back to Whitney Portal around lunchtime.


About the guide

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Based in Bishop, California, Sierra Mountaineering International was created in 1995, just after its founder, Kurt Wedberg, returned from his first successful Everest expedition. Since then, Kurt climbed Everest two more times and completed the Seven Summits, all while leading more than 110 expeditions all over the world: from Alaska to Antarctica and from Russia to Ecuador and Peru.

Today, the Sierra Mountaineering Team is made up of eight guides and leaders with extensive experience in California´s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Contact them for a memorable experience in the Eastern Sierras!


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Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 1516 each

Group of 2

USD 866 each

Group of 3

USD 866 each

Group of 4

USD 866 each

Group of 5

USD 866 each

Group of 6

USD 866 each

Group of 7

USD 866 each

Group of 8

USD 866 each

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Price includes

• Guiding fee


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