Posted by caracked caribiner, 09-18-05
Going up MR in mid-October. I read that "Doug Sr." has a pretty detailed route description. Any idea where can I get my hands (or my mouse) on these?

Posted by Wayne, 09-19-05
You can purchase his book on The title of the book is Mount Whitney: Mountain Lore From the Whitney Store.

That being said, Doug gave me a write-up on the route before he wrote his book, which I'm posting for you to see:

Mountaineer's Route

This is not a trail. For experienced climbers the route should be easy to follow and only one path needs to be used. This will stop the severe damage that is being done in this drainage. Also, as climbers, we should set the example of taking out our own trash and human waste.

Take the main Whitney trail to the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek sign, this is 150ft. before the Wilderness Boundary sign. If you have any doubt stay on the main trail to the sign and then come back 150ft., cross the creek. See the cut log faint path up THE NORTH SIDE/RIGHT SIDE of the creek. About 200ft. distance up this path you will see a sign and poop bag dispenser. Read the sign Mountaineer's Route. Take a bag and use it. Bags can be placed in the covered can at the main trailhead at the Portal.

Follow this path up through the trees and ferns until it flattens out. This will be about a quarter of the way up this canyon. From here you should see the notch/gap below Lower Boy Scout Lake. Continue on about 100ft. and you will cross to the South side of the stream. This will be somewhat of a tunnel through the willows and it exits onto a slab (10').

Follow the path up the South side. Below the wall and above the stream, as the canyon narrows down and the path joins the slabs, you will cross the stream back to the North side. This crossing can be very wet and icy. The stream has two threads at this point so you will cross one then go up a log and cross next to/under a waterfall. As you leave the water go to the wall and turn up the canyon. Fifty feet along the base of the wall will take you to a dead-end. This is the start of the ledges.

Look up and right and you will see the "pine tree." Work your way up the crack to the tree. At the the tree look to the east and the ramp is straight ahead. Stay close to the wall and you should see the path. Walk 150' east on this ramp (level), then at this point you will be able to gain about three feet of elevation. Step up and follow this ramp east 175' again staying next to the wall (away from the drop-off) and this will get you to a short section of stair steps up about 5 feet and about 5 feet east. MAKE A MENTAL NOTE OF THIS POINT. This is the turning point on the way down. If you miss this and continue on the upper ledge you will need rope and climbing skills to get down.

As you leave the ledge, head straight for the main wall in front of you. At the base of this wall (100') you will find the path. Follow the path at the base of the wall until it exits onto an open area and you will see the notch/gap below Lower Boy Scout Lake and the path is easy to follow.

At the notch lose a little elevation to a sign that reads "No wood fires." Cross here to the south side of the creek exiting LBSL, follow the path through the trees to the boulder field. Look along the base of this scree slope (south side of LBSL) and you will see the track to follow.

Look up the canyon and see two giant rocks near the waterfall, left of the slabs. Head to the downhill side of the lower boulder. Stay close to this rock. As you get to the rock you will see the willows. At the very edge of the downhill side of the lower rock is the path. Follow it in the willows about 15' and it will turn north and down into a small stream. Cross this stream and work up several feet and cross another thread of the water. As you exit this crossing you will be at a slab. Climb on to the slab and follow the slab to a group of trees (1500ft. +/- distance). These slabs can be icy and very slick. If not icy, mossy, so watch your step at all times through this section. When you get to the trees (Clyde Meadow), just below UBSL, look up and left (south) to the gap/saddle and follow slabs to the path that switchbacks up to this saddle. You will find a grand path at this point.

Now that you are here (11,500ft. +) let's talk it over. You have never had to use any more than walking skills. This should be about halfway and your last water spot is Iceberg Lake. Turn around now and you can see most of the North Fork Drainage. Your path should be almost a straight line to the Portal. The path that you followed has been used for a long time by many mountaineers. All of the false trails have caused much damage and ruined many great outings. Remember only step on rocks and stay on slabs. If you are on the path, stay on it. This will keep it fresh and easy for the next to follow. We could talk about cairns/ducks but I know that all schools of thought will never agree as to what's right. My thoughts are if they are wrong take them down. If they mark critical points, leave them.

Back to the trip. Follow this path up and past the small water-seep below Iceberg Lake. Many old climbers use this west end of the water-seep to climb up to Iceberg Lake, but now most travel past the water and go up the next draw west. This is much safer and faster with a pack. This takes you to Iceberg Lake.

The Mountaineer's Route takes the gully to the notch at 14,000ft. Several ways will get you to the notch. This depends on snow/ice conditions and your skill level. Rockfall and people in the chute above make it worth staying to the right or left as much as you can. (Most keep left.) Also in the middle of the chute there is a large boulder blocking the path. Don't climb up to it and try climbing around it. Pick a course around it about 50' below and it's fairly easy. The chute above this point is about 45 degrees and below is about 40 degrees.

From the notch several choices exist. The "easy walk off" or the first chute to the south. This easy walk off is only easy if it is DRY, and you know where to go. If it has any snow at all on it this will be 50 degrees + ice for a long way. Full climbing gear with ice skills and tools needed.

The first chute to the south of the notch if studied will reveal a path up on rock most of the summer. Again this will require climbing skills and a lot of people turn back at the notch. The last several hundred feet is not that important. The exposure picks up in this section and is a factor to consider on the way down if you continue up.

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