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Climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route Summer/Fall | undefined
Mt Whitney
Climb Mt. Whitney
Climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route
Mt. Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

Climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route Summer/Fall

The expert guides from SWS will lead you on this truly epic and awesome 3-day climb of Mount Whitney in the summer via the Mountaineer’s Route, a popular and classic trail that takes you through some of the most unique landscapes and terrain in California.




Sierra Nevada (California)


3 Days


May - Oct






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Based on 11 reviews

  • Scale the summit of Mt. Whitney - the highest mountain in the lower 48 states!
  • Learn some of the best mountaineering skills and techniques
  • Admire the breathtaking and gorgeous Sierra Nevada around us


Join me on this magnificent climb of Mt. Whitney in California, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states of the USA, as we traipse and travail round the popular Mountaineer’s Route over the course of 3 days, taking in the sublime alpine scenery of the area and learning more about different climbing skills and techniques.

Mount Whitney (4421m) is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states of the USA, and the highest in the world famous Sierra Nevada mountain range. It contains mostly rocky terrain, with little vegetation able to grow, and is an immensely popular and well-known locale to indulge in mountain climbing.

Our adventure begins when we meet in the nearby town of Lone Pine, and from there we hit the Mountaineer’s Route as soon as possible.

Over the course of the 3 days we will be undertaking many varied, interesting and fun activities, including rock scrambling, cross-country hiking and roped climbing, and as mentioned, we will constantly be teaching you about the safest techniques needed to navigate the ascent.

Our high camp base will be established at the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, and it is from there that we will attack the summit.

Once we reach the summit, we will be exposed to some of the most incredible and gorgeous views in the country, with the East Face and East Buttress standing in all their glory in front of us, and the vast epic valleys of the Californian countryside below.

We finish our journey by heading back down to Lone Pine, positively thrilled, tired and content at the excellent 3 days we have just spent together.

Book now to experience some of the best mountain climbing in the USA!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Permit and entrance fees

- Rope

- Harness

- Helmet

- Crampons

- Ice axe

- Camping equipment tents

- Camping equipment cooking utensils

Price details

Price is per person. Price includes: professional instruction/guide, breakfast(s), dinner(s), helmets, harness, group-climbing equipment including ropes and safety equipment, ice axes and crampons if needed, group camping equipment including tents, stoves, cooking pots, water filters, permits, and permit fees including Mt. Whitney permit reservations fees.

Secure your spot with just 25% payment

48-hour free cancellation with 30-day advance booking


Day 1 to 3: Meet, Climb, Finish

  • We will meet on day 1 in Lone Pine at 7:00 am, after a full pack check and issuing of gear for the climb, we will head off to the Whitney Portal Trailhead, a short 30-minute drive. Then, we will hike into the backcountry and establish a base camp at 11,000 ft. As we hike, we will be instructing, holding informal lectures, and preparing you for the next day’s climb.
  • On the second day, we will rise early for an alpine start, (4:00 am) and climb via the mountaineer’s route on Mt. Whitney’s northeast side, returning to our base camp by late in the afternoon.
  • On day three, we will pack up and head down to the trailhead arriving at our vehicles by 1-2:00 PM.

Equipment you will need to bring

The Basics: q Sleeping Bag (rated 15 - 30 degrees)* q Backpack (55 - 65 liters or more. Internal frame highly recommended)* q 3/4 Sleeping Pad (Closed cell foam or air filled. Full length ok)* q q Good Hiking Boots (designed for hiking rough trails) Personal Tent -- Recommend for Individual Climbers. You will also need adequate clothing and toiletries, we will send you the full list upon request. Also, keep in mind that the proper footwear is essential: Early season trips (April – June) you will typically need a heavier type of backpacking boot that will accept crampons because there will typically be more snow on the route than later in the season. Later in the climbing season (July – September) a mid-height approach shoe/boot might be more approbriate. Crampons and Ice Axes will be provided if needed.


What experience and how fit do I need to be to climb this mountain? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

Climbing Mt Whitney is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It requires both physical and mental

toughness. Listed below are the minimum physical requirements we would expect for all of our clients

before they show up to climb Mt Whitney via the mountaineer’s route:

  1. Be able to maintain 185 to 215 meters (600-700 feet) per hour climbing pace AND be

able to maintain this pace for 1-hour increments.

  1. Carry a 15-18 kilogram (35-40 pound) pack
  1. Be able to move efficiently off of maintained trails on scree and talus, using large step-ups and

step-downs, and some movements requiring the whole body while carrying a pack.

  1. A guest who can do 235 meters per hour / 750 feet per hour with a loaded pack (11-14 kilos/ 25-30

lbs) on a stair stepper should have the fitness to climb Mt. Whitney.

  1. Plus, weekend hikes 12-16 kilometers (8-10 miles) with a loaded pack (11-14 kilos/ 25-30 lbs)

over the hilliest terrain a guest has access to is also an excellent training tool.

  1. Time to basecamp on Whitney is 4-6 hours and time to the summit from basecamp is 4-6 hours.

How far in advance should I start training and what kind of training do you suggest?

We recommend 3-4 months before the climb if you have not been climbing or hiking extensively prior to the climb date.

Will I need to bring any technical equipment of my own? Is it possible to rent equipment, and if so, what would be the approximate cost of that?

You will need to bring your own sleeping bag, internal frame backpack, and mountaineering boots in the early season June - early July. Rentals are available: Sleeping bags ($42.00 for 2-3 days), Backpacks ($42.00 for 2-3 days) and Boots ($45.00 for 2-3 days)

How will accommodation and meals be handled on the mountain?

We provide a selection of breakfast items including hot cereal, coffee, teas, hot coco and a selection of freeze dried dinners are provided. We can accommodate most dietary needs.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

Due to bad weather or other unpredictable circumstances, SWS Mountain Guides keeps the right to reschedule courses or climbs. A credit or partial credit will be provided for climbs during or within 24 hours of the course start dates. The climbing guide and the director(s) of SWS Mountain Guides will make the final decision.

Are there any other special requirements such as permits/insurance/vaccines that we need to consider before the tour?

SWS Mountain Guides highly suggest trip cancellation insurance for your climb.

What is the guide-to-client ratio to climb this mountain?

Guide to client ratio of 1:3

What is the best time of the year to climb this mountain?

Mt Whitney Summer Ascents are best June through September

Can I join a group?

Yes, most of our departures are group trip with up to 6 clients with 2 guides - Custom trips are available for groups of 2-9

What is the Elevation Gain and Loss during the trip?

Day One: Whitney Portal Trailhead - 8,374 ft to 11,000 ft – 2,626 ft / 800 meters elevation gain

Day Two: High Camp to Mt Whitney Summit: 11,000 ft to 14,505 ft. – 4,505 ft /1,070 meters elevation

gain / plus 4,505 ft / 1,070 meters of elevation loss. Total elevation gain and loss: 9,010 / 2,136 meters

Day Three: High Camp to Whitney Portal: -- Elevation Loss: 2,626 / 800 meters

Is this the Mt Whitney Trail Hike?

This is NOT THE MT WHITNEY TRAIL HIKE - no guide services are allowed to guide on the Mt Whitney Trail. Our route is the Mountaineer's Route to the Summit via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek - Whitney Portal Trailhead

Is the $450 porter fee per day or for all 3 days?

The porter fee is $225 for a porter to carry up to 45 LBS from the trailhead to your camp location. It would then be another $225 if you wanted a porter for the way out also. Your porter will not be on the trip for the duration but only will be there to haul gear from and to the trailhead to and from camp. So, if you wanted a porter to carry gear from the trailhead to your camp only it would be $225. If you also want a porter for the way out, and to carry gear from camp back to the trailhead, it will be an additional $225, and $450 if you want a round-trip porter.

Any suggestions for where to stay the night before and the night after the hike?

Lone Pine is a small town that is easy to get to but doesn't have much outside access to Mt. Whitney, great rock climbing, and bouldering to keep people in the area. It's still very much an 'out west' sort of town where everyone knows everyone. Because of the town's size, and the seasonal influx of people who come to climb, it has some smaller hotels, Airbnb's, and a climber hostel, but lacks the larger more mainstream hotel chains.

Here are some of the hotels we recommend checking out:

  • Quality Inn
  • Best Western Frontier Motel
  • Dow Villa AAA Motel & Historic Hotel
  • Whitney Portal Hostel & Hotel

Where could we keep our extra luggage while hiking?

If you're staying at the same hotel after your climb, they're typically okay with having guests leave them there. If not, then we have a small amount of limited space, but generally, if you don't have food, it's best to keep them in your vehicle. Food is not to be left in the vehicle though, but they do have bear lockers at the parking area where you can leave any food items while you're on your climb. With the parking area being at higher elevations, the temperatures are generally not as hot as down in down, though I wouldn't suggest having computers, or anything that could be damaged by any hot temperatures in your vehicle during the climb.

Do you usually need an ice ax for an August hike?

Generally no, but this year could be different. We won't know until we see how summer goes, and how quickly (or slowly) the snow on the mountain melts. If we do need an ice axe and crampons though, they would be provided in the trip cost. You wouldn't need to worry about renting them for the trip.

Do you have open Group Dates for this program?

Yes, we do! You can check the 'Join a Group' section of the trip description, and request to join any of those open group dates.

What are some recommended accommodations near our adventure location?

We understand that finding the perfect place to stay is an essential part of your adventure experience. To help you with this, we’ve curated a list of three highly recommended hotels that offer comfort, convenience, and a touch of local charm. These accommodations are well-suited for adventurers looking to relax and rejuvenate after an exciting day of exploration
The Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite Village USA
See rooms
Yosemite Valley Lodge Yosemite Village USA
See rooms
Yosemite View Lodge El Portal USA
See rooms

About the guide: SWS

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Mountain Guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.





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What people are saying about this trip



Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.



Just finished my second trip with SWS Mountain guides...summiting Mt. Shasta a few days ago (previously climbed Mt Whitney last summer with SWS as well). This company provides excellent service both on and off the mountain, from addressing all my questions prior to the trip to establishing a well-rounded professional and fun educational experience during the climb itself!!!! Specifically, the guides on my trip were amazing, connecting with me on both a professional and personal level, keeping in tune with all aspects of the climb, emphasizing safety and education while helping me to fine-tune my climbing technique. Having used several different guiding services in the past, I have no hesitation to highly recommend SWS mountain guides!!!!



I have summited some amazing peaks, but Mt. Whitney has stolen my heart. From her diverse landscape, to the ever changing appearance of her face each hour of the day; she is a wild beauty not easily put out of your mind. This Jersey girl hiked/climbed/scrambled-up/slid-down the Mountaineer’s Route, which was both physically and mentally challenging but, incredibly fulfilling. My guide, Matt M., was confident, extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and I am pretty sure part mountain goat. Best guide I have ever had, prettiest mountain I have ever been on; if you are considering this hike, I would say DO IT!



Fantastic guide service! I have skied with a number of guides over the years and I have to say that the guide we booked through SWS was one of the most knowledgeable, instructive and fun guides I have spent time with on the mountain. From the pre-trip communication all the way through the climb and ski down, I felt that I was in good hands, which was really important to me as my climb/ski partner was my 17 year old son. Our trip was epic, 4:00AM wakeup to a full moon, beautiful climb and huge ski down, my only complaint is that it was only a two day trip! Highly recommend, great experience!



Such a difficult, but the most amazing experience! Something you will never forget!

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