Mount Whitney - Lone Pine California Trip
- Sierra Nevada Range
Mount Whitney Elevation 14,497ft. (July 12, 2005) "Mount Whitney Trail" from the Mount Whitney Portal TH. From this TH, this class 1 trail running (22 miles rt. with 6,360ft. gain). Trail head directions are as follows; follow the signs for the trail head after turning West from the only traffic signal in Lone Pine, CA. After a failed attempt at securing 5 over night wilderness permits in August for the Whitney Zone, I decided to go it alone for a one day assault on the peak. True peak bagging style.
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Trip Schedule break down
|Monday||11:30AM||-arrive at Mount Whitney Ranger station in Lone Pine to pick up Wilderness Permit|
|12:30AM||-arrive at Mount Whitney TH Portal|
|1:30PM||-setup tent in the Whitney Portal Overnight Hikers camp (site #4)|
|Tuesday||4:15AM||-leave the Portal TH to climb Mount Whitney.|
|9:40AM||-summit Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail and the Southern Ridge Crest Trail|
|3:00PM||-back at the Portal TH.|
|4:00PM||-headed back home.|
After getting up at 3:35AM and taking down my camp, I proceeded to the TH were I could already make out the trail in the dark based upon the numerous heap lamps already on the trail. I made quick work of the first set of switch backs as the many groups of hikers were taking there time negotiating the couple of water crossing right out of the parking lot. Snow was first seen just after the "Pine Lake" and "Permit required beyond this point" signs, but it was not encountered until after outpost camp. Just before I got to Trail Camp there were some snow crossing on steep snow. I was surprised at how fast I made it to Trail Camp, the trail is so well maintained. At Trail Camp the solar toilets where closed,. so just try to find some privacy to use your WAG bags...just try. Also the route through Trail Camp was a mess and the snow and water add to the confusion.
Out of Trail Camp the first set of stitchbacks were covered in snow, but I was able to climb the next 50 or so in the clear. Next, I passed the cable railing placed on one of the traverses. The snow had just moved to the inside of the railing so you can actually walk on part of the trail instead of hanging onto the rail and walking on the snow on the out side. Being on the out side of rail would definitely give you some "exposer". The last long traverse to "Trail Crest" also had some snow but it was not difficult.
After reaching "Trail Crest" the rest of the route to the summit is in the bag. The first part of the trail before you reach the John Muir connector trail has some fun "Air" but the trail is wide and no problem to travel. On the back side, or West side, of the ridge the trail is easy going all the way to the summit.
This being my first 14ner outside of Colorado, I have this to say. The California 14ners have nothing on the Peaks in Colorado, they are just a little more inaccessible. Being in Colorado and climbing 14ners I have to say thanks to all the miners of old, that have made access to the peaks much easier.
Whitney Permit Information: Inyo National Forest -Mount Whitney Information