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#50827 - 07/11/17 07:16 PM 7/10 Whitney Mountaineer's Route
Nathan Offline

Registered: 07/11/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
We completed the Mountaineer's Route on 7/10. It's been a wet year and we had minimal info on current route conditions, so we went up with no expectations of making the summit. Once on the route we felt it could be done safely so we went for it. I'm providing a quick trip report below in case this helps others:

Group: three climbers with medium experience (we all have experience climbing or hiking in winter conditions and technical gear).

Technical gear: crampons, ice axe, helmet; we didn't bring any ropes, screws or other protection.

Route/timing: Day 1 hiked to Upper Boyscout Lake and camped; Day 2 left camp at 5:45AM, arrived at Iceberg lake at 7:45AM, arrived at the Notch at 10:30AM, summitted at 11:30AM, descended to break down camp by ~3:00PM, Whitney Portal by ~8:00PM.

A couple notes on the route:

Rivers: all crossings are possible, but the second crossing just before the E-ledges involves wading through knee deep water; bring water shoes or get wet.

E-Ledges: use the photo guides on these forums and the ledges aren't very difficult to navigate.

Getting to Iceberg Lake: this was the sketchiest part of the route both up and down. Going up we took an early snow chute that had several existing tracks up. In retrospect we all agreed this was safe and the right call. However the run-out onto a small sloping boulder field wasn't ideal. Going down we traversed west all the way to the headwall/Keeler Needle - we cliffed out several times and ended up descending some class 4 rock after expecting/attempting to find a snow chute down against the headwall, which didn't exist. Lastly there's audible running water under the snow pack on the north wall of the canyon below Icerberg, and my (uninformed) fear was that the whole thing could slide. Possible? If there's a better route up we missed please chime in.

Chute above Iceberg Lake: there were two options: (1) the main chute; (2) a smaller chute to the left. We took the main chute since no one else was on the route above. The snow pack stayed firm into late morning. It can be safely ascended without ropes by anyone comfortable with self arrest on a ~45 degree slope. We descended with a controlled glissade down. Photo of this section below:

Final 400: It's now possible to ascend the 400 without climbing on snow or ice. The crux is getting onto the route, and the rest unfolded naturally. A picture of our approximate route is below. We found two ways on: I started left which took ~3 rock moves; the two others started from the snow to the right, which was easier but more exposed. The "easy walk off" looked super dangerous, and as one climber told us on his way down, "I didn't try it because I want to see my wife again". Once on the route we climbed left to the second or third rappel station, then traversed right which was an amazing class 3/4 scramble to the summit. [img][/img]

#50836 - 07/11/17 10:21 PM Re: 7/10 Whitney Mountaineer's Route [Re: Nathan]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7483
Loc: Fresno, CA
Good report. Great pictures. Thanks!

That first step onto the Final 400 is always a bear. Earlier this year, the snow ramp made it easy.