Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 11 Guests and 58 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3109 Members
13 Forums
5134 Topics
48235 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Topic Options
#50961 - 07/17/17 11:21 AM Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints
OffKamber Offline


Registered: 07/17/17
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
Figured this was worth sharing as the information for a "newbie" is limited. My experience in hiking has been in SoCal and I am a fairly experienced rock climber. I've really never been on snow before though. So I don't have the "technical" experience that everyone stated is needed for this route. I went up with my wife (2 people total).

We summited via the mountaineers route on Sunday 7/16. It was a day hike. We started at 3:30 a.m. and reached the summit at 3:00 p.m. (Will explain why soon). We took the Whitney Main Trail back down and reached the parking lot around 9:45 p.m.

The route: It is not that easy to get lost on it if you prep. A lot of people mention getting lost, but if you do 2 hours of research, watch the videos posted by a user here (forgot his name) and look at a few route photos posted by members you should not get lost for more than 30 minutes in total.

The only time we got lost (for about 5 minutes) was after the second water crossing... make sure to stick hard right.

Most of the other parts of the trail that look confusing will have cairn's around or footprints.

GPS: We did use GPS. without it we probably would have lost about 30 - 45 minutes... which is totally fine on a overnight but not a day hike. GPS info on this is limited and the 3 maps I loaded were all a bit different but they will get you through. I recommend all 3 cell phone apps.

On Trail Run Project (best map): "Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route"

On Wikiloc: "Mt. Whitney - Mountaineers Route"

On AllTrails: Mt Whitney via mountaineering Route" (this one is the worst as the guy got lost a lot. It was also a difficult map to find)

We got to Iceberg Lake at around 10:30 a.m. and started heading up the snow at 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. This is probably about 1 - 1.5 hours later than we should have been up there. Past Iceberg Lake you NEED an ice axe and crampons right now. If you don't have an ice axe and crampons (not microspikes) I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to try to rock climb/boulder around the snow (probably possible but by the time your up... this won't be a day hike anymore). It took up about 1.5 hours to go up the snow. This is very slow. However, it was because I'm an idiot. I wore day hiking boots and not mountaineering boots. I also didn't bring snow gloves. At around 1 p.m. the sun was already mostly behind the rocks so I was freezing everything off. Making our trip not that much fun at this time.

Once we got off the snow the rock scrambling up sucked. Barely a place to be able to pack your crampons as you keep sliding down the hill. I think this part will get worse everyday as the snow is melting and exposing more rocks. For now, this was only about 150 - 250 feet of intense scrambling.

Once you get to the top (at the Notch) you will see snow. Right before the snow you will see a wall to your left (the Final 400). This is were you want to go up. We started climbing up and trying to take the visibly easier route which makes you take a right about 200 feet up the wall. It is almost directly after the second rappel station. You will want to take this route instinctively. Once you take this route you will hit more snow after you get past the rocks. Stick to the right and it's only a class 3 which honestly I would feel safe with even a non-climber on this.

That's it... we summitted and walked down the Whitney Trail as I was too cold to deal with the snow on this route. Once we were halfway down the Whitney trail we were extremely satisfied that we made this decision as after the Whitney base camp the Whitney trail (in my opinion) is worth the scenery and more beautiful than the Mountaineers Route.

What I didn't read anywhere and wish I new:

Even in the summer as a day hike... bring mountaineering boots, gators and gloves!

The first four miles are easy! Give yourself plenty of time for the final mile. We felt like we were making such good time that we didn't rush at all the first four miles.

I saw various reports about bringing an ice axe and crampons... but as of yesterday it is still a necessity.

This is a very enjoyable 2 day trip... for a fairly inexperienced person this is a difficult one day trip.

Top
#50962 - 07/17/17 11:50 AM Re: Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints [Re: OffKamber]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7075
Loc: Fresno, CA
OffKamber: THANKS! This is a really good report for first timers.

The Notch: It's the place you described with:

"Once you get to the top you will see snow. Right before the snow you will see a wall to your left."

The wall to the left is the "Final 400", meaning the final 400' of climbing to the summit.

Changed "Glacier" to "Iceberg" in this thread.


Edited by Steve C (07/17/17 10:12 PM)

Top
#50964 - 07/17/17 12:29 PM Re: Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints [Re: Steve C]
OffKamber Offline


Registered: 07/17/17
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
Steve: Yes, Iceberg lake. Sorry... didn't study well enough smile

"The Notch" - I made a mistake on my post above. Once you hit the Notch the final 400 is to your left.

Bottom line: Once you pass the second rappel you go hard right (to were you naturally want to go) and you will end up between two rocks. This is the spot that gives you the option to go right for class 3 or left for class 4/5. We went right.

I saw a photo somewhere of this wedge where you decide to go right or left. This photo was imprinted in my head as "the notch" and gave me reassurance that when I was in that wedge I would get to class 3 vs class 5's.

I can't find the photo now... sorry.

Top
#50968 - 07/17/17 04:15 PM Re: Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints [Re: OffKamber]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 40
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
Originally Posted By: OffKamber

Past Iceberg Lake you NEED an ice axe and crampons right now. If you don't have an ice axe and crampons (not microspikes) I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to try to rock climb/boulder around the snow (probably possible but by the time your up... this won't be a day hike anymore).


Can you post a picture or two of the terrain you're talking about here?
Thanks
_________________________
Strava, IG

Top
#50970 - 07/17/17 04:55 PM Re: Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints [Re: BFR]
OffKamber Offline


Registered: 07/17/17
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
If you look at the wall to the left - that is the wall you would be walking/bouldering to avoid the snow.
That is the only pic I have but once you get about halfway up the bouldering would get tougher.

[img]http://imgur.com/a/xZXXc[/img]

Top
#50985 - 07/17/17 10:04 PM Re: Mountaineers Route - Newbies viewpoints [Re: OffKamber]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7075
Loc: Fresno, CA
Pictures like this "flatten" the slope. It is crazy steep in this area. As he wrote, the loose gravel above the snow is pretty tough to find places to step where your foot doesn't slide back down:
Quote:
Once we got off the snow the rock scrambling up sucked. Barely a place to be able to pack your crampons as you keep sliding down the hill. I think this part will get worse everyday as the snow is melting and exposing more rocks. For now, this was only about 150 - 250 feet of intense scrambling

Top