Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 32 guests, and 14 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Forums10
Topics5,920
Posts53,086
Members4,078
Most Online1,443
Jul 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
#39194 07/29/14 11:05 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Here is the "Easy Walk-Off route from "The Notch" on the Mt Whitney Mountaineers Route. Most people climb the steep Class 3 "Final 400" chute from the Notch up to the summit of Mt Whitney. The Easy Walk Off route takes a little longer, maybe 30 minutes. It heads west and south around the side of the main summit mass, climbing slowly. It crosses loose and broken rock, but the exposure, and chances of falling more than a couple of feet are quite slim. There IS potential for rock slides from above, though, so people should be aware.

This video shows the route, starting at the Notch, and covering the section up to the gentler-sloping crest of Mt Whitney. When the video ends, the trail can be reached in about a minute. It takes almost 10 minutes after reaching the crest to hike the trail to the summit.

Here's the 15-minute video.

Thanks to Hiking Geek for joining all the videos into one.

The video was made from 8 separate short videos, with breaks to catch some air. I down-climbed the "Final 400" chute from the summit of Mt Whitney, and then climbed back to the summit via the Easy Walk Off route, carrying the camera. I carried a camera and no hiking poles through the section, and only used my hand on the rocks several times. So it is mostly difficult Class 2 hiking.

The worst time for this route is when there is ice and snow, especially on the section visible from the notch. Crampons and ice axe are mandatory at that time.
Edit: Here is a picture of the same route, taken March 7, 2015 (extremely low snow year). Three hikers climbed the same route. Report here.
                                       
Edit 2018: A climber descending this route slipped and fell to his death, when he incorrectly took the easy walk-off traverse instead of the Main Trail to the south (he was lost). He had two ice axes, and left both on the snow when his fatal slide began.


Sorry about the dirty view on the camera. It is lint and dust that has collected inside the camera on the sensor and lenses. The Panasonic Lumix ZS5 opens and closes its lens every time it is turned on/off, sucking air (and debris) into the insides of the camera.

The original 8 videos are here:

P1090257   P1090258   P1090259   P1090260   P1090261   P1090262   P1090263   P1090264

Here is a satellite view of the summit area, with various trails and routes added. Click on the picture to see the full-sized version.


Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39197 07/30/14 04:31 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,029
H
Offline
H
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,029
Steve, this is a travelogue!

I have only done it by the Final 400, so this helps me and anyone else contemplating the walkoff. More intermittent trail there than I imagined.

For those interested in Steve's heavy breathing at the end, remember that the air pressure at Whitney altitude is only about 60% of normal.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39207 07/30/14 09:11 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 671
Offline
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 671
Steve, if you want to stitch those clips into one continuous video, I should be able to do that for you.

Last edited by 63ChevyII.com; 07/30/14 09:12 AM.
Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
63ChevyII.com #39208 07/30/14 09:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Harvey:  What, you don't like my heavy breathing?   grin   I was hiking way beyond my sustainable pace mainly to keep the videos short.  For the record, first video was created at 6:22pm, last at 6:43, so it took 21 minutes to walk through the route, including my rest stops.  The videos cover about 15 minutes. So... 15 minutes walking, and half of that additional for resting.

Chevy: Sounds good. I'll upload them to a site for you to download (...or can you download them from YouTube?) I hope you can do a fade out/in or something between each one to indicate a rest stop. Also Youtube offered to "fix" the shakiness on them, and I did several. Does that make any difference?


Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39219 07/30/14 11:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 671
Offline
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 671
Originally Posted By: Steve C

Chevy: Sounds good. I'll upload them to a site for you to download (...or can you download them from YouTube?) I hope you can do a fade out/in or something between each one to indicate a rest stop. Also Youtube offered to "fix" the shakiness on them, and I did several. Does that make any difference?



I'd like to download the originals. I will add a fade in/out.
In my experience, I don't think the shakiness fix works all that well.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39225 07/30/14 12:08 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
K
Ken Offline
Offline
K
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
Steve, EXCELLENT!

That is a real service to the community. Like Harvey, I was surprised by the route.

I'm guessing that if you stayed lower, it would be even easier, but you stayed high, which is always my inclination (and I HATE to climb down something I've climbed up!)

The huffing and puffing gives it a realistic quality. Glad you added that special effect in! thanks

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Ken #39227 07/30/14 02:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Originally Posted By: Ken
Steve, EXCELLENT!

That is a real service to the community. Like Harvey, I was surprised by the route.

I'm guessing that if you stayed lower, it would be even easier, but you stayed high, which is always my inclination (and I HATE to climb down something I've climbed up!)

The huffing and puffing gives it a realistic quality. Glad you added that special effect in! thanks

De nada, Ken. 'twas a pleasure.

Re: staying lower... I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path divereged, and I took the upper one. As you can see, I moved back to the lower one to continue on.

Look at my route on Spotwalla. (First select "All" on the left for "% Fill" then click "Go".) Then, zoom in on the Whitney part, switch to "satellite" and zoom in more (Spotwalla is really cool!), you can see my waypoint signals from the SPOT, even the place I moved lower. You can also then see the use paths and the main trail. Zoom out two clicks, and you can see that the use path stays at the top of a band of broken rock. Going lower wouldn't make much difference--until you get below the band where it is again treacherously steep. Going higher would get into steeper stuff, similar to the Final 400.

That rock slide from several years ago likely started near the crest at the top of one of those steeper chutes.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Ken #39228 07/30/14 03:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 114
Offline
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 114
Hi Steve,

I'm looking at what I assume is the easy-walk-off path on google earth (see annotation below), we are facing south. Am I in the ballpark?



(purple is the mountaineers route, blue is the main trail, and red is my guess of the easy walk off)

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39230 07/30/14 03:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,255
Offline
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,255
Just great work, Steve! We appreciate your taking the time and effort (and oxygen) to detail this traverse, especially at the end of a grueling backpack. Just like your video of the E-ledges, these will be of great benefit.

And I understand now why this traverse can be deadly in winter conditions. The video shows that, while it's a relatively easy C2 in late summer, there doesn't appear to be much room for error if you picture the route snow- and ice-laden.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Bulldog34 #39235 07/30/14 04:59 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Goldscott: You pretty well nailed it. Only I think you curved up and left a little soon, and where it heads back to hit the "v" in the trail, it's way too close to the crest.

It would be really cool if you could re-do the line and move that part. It is be a very good addition to this thread.

It is amazing how the Google Earth view makes the slope look SO much steeper than it actually is.

Gary, with any snow or ice, I would say crampons are mandatory. Of course to get to the notch, people would be using them already. The section didn't seem so steep that I would be afraid if wearing crampons. But then I haven't actually tried it.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39246 07/30/14 06:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
K
Ken Offline
Offline
K
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
"I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one."

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes!

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Ken #39263 07/31/14 04:37 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,029
H
Offline
H
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,029
Originally Posted By: Ken
I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one.

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes.



Ken, now you have done it. I probably only have a rare Muir or Clarence King quote for the Sierra somewhere, but not a Cosner.

I did find some other kinda sorta related quotes. Easy to just cut and paste these, so I am sorry to be hogging Steve's thread, but here goes:

...persons who ascend hills merely for pleasure. They have no particular principles, except the general maxim that it is better to be at the top of the hill than the bottom.
R.L.G. Irving, The Mountain Way, page 56

When we see a hill we are sooner or later driven to try and get to the top. We cannot let it stand there for ever without our scrambling up it
Sir Francis Younghusband
The Epic of Mount Everest, page 12
1st part trilogy: 1921 1st British Expedition

Found it easier than we expected, which only goes to show the value of an oft quoted piece of mountaineering advice by Dr. Longstaff, that 'you must go and rub your nose in a place before being certain that it won't 'go.' '
HW Tilman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi, in
The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, page 164

Last edited by Harvey Lankford; 07/31/14 04:44 AM.
Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Harvey Lankford #39264 07/31/14 04:59 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,255
Offline
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,255
"Because it's there."

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Bulldog34 #39452 08/05/14 10:02 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Bump. I have added the Satellite view to the first post above. It shows the trails and routes in the summit area.

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39454 08/05/14 10:16 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,261
Bee Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,261
Fabulous compilation.

I hope you do not mind that I "lifted" the photo over to the thread discussing where Dawson fell.


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39459 08/06/14 09:27 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 114
Offline
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 114
Thanks for the overhead viewpoint, Steve. Sorry to everyone for not updating my image - been busy at work (where I have google earth installed).

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Harvey Lankford #39479 08/06/14 10:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,566
Offline
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,566
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: Ken
I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one.

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes.



Ken, now you have done it. I probably only have a rare Muir or Clarence King quote for the Sierra somewhere, but not a Cosner.

I did find some other kinda sorta related quotes. Easy to just cut and paste these, so I am sorry to be hogging Steve's thread, but here goes:

...persons who ascend hills merely for pleasure. They have no particular principles, except the general maxim that it is better to be at the top of the hill than the bottom.
R.L.G. Irving, The Mountain Way, page 56

When we see a hill we are sooner or later driven to try and get to the top. We cannot let it stand there for ever without our scrambling up it
Sir Francis Younghusband
The Epic of Mount Everest, page 12
1st part trilogy: 1921 1st British Expedition

Found it easier than we expected, which only goes to show the value of an oft quoted piece of mountaineering advice by Dr. Longstaff, that 'you must go and rub your nose in a place before being certain that it won't 'go.' '
HW Tilman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi, in
The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, page 164


I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost


Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!
Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #39561 08/10/14 08:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 101
K
Offline
K
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 101
Steve:
Your video makes it look very easy walk up! Thanks! Is there one place where I can look at the whole MR route including this easy walkup, starting from where it branches off from MW trail? Just like to see how easy or difficult this route is. Probably without the help of an experienced guide attempting MR is not a good idea?

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Krishna #41978 03/17/15 11:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,028
Likes: 4
Paul K led friend Colleen up the Mountaineers Route, then from The Notch, they covered the "Traverse" or Easy Walkoff to the summit. Colleen's report is here: Winter Whitney- my first mountaineering trip

Here's a picture looking west from the notch:   (click on any picture for a full-size view.)


These pictures are taken while descending the route to the Notch.
                   

                   



Another picture showing the Easy Walk Off, from April, 2016:


Picture from May 2016, looking east toward the Notch:

Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C #53122 05/14/18 10:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 148
BFR Offline
Offline
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 148
I wish we would stop calling it the "easy walk-off". I've been up there and that traverse is NOT easy at all when there is any ice at all and given the northern exposure, there is ice there well into the summer. I think "class 2/3 walk-off" would be a more appropriate title. I feel that people are of proper mind when climbing the final 400 but perhaps their guard is not as raised because of the "easy walk off" moniker.

Last edited by BFR; 05/14/18 10:50 AM.
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4
(Release build 20200307)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.3 Page Time: 0.064s Queries: 55 (0.048s) Memory: 0.6869 MB (Peak: 0.8461 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2020-06-05 05:51:45 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS