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Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
#54984 04/23/19 09:43 AM
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For now, I知 only posting a tease. My Spot track will be here. I値l post the real trip report on Thursday.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #54985 04/23/19 08:44 PM
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Bob,

Love reading your posts. Please be carefull and will look at your progress and report when you get back safely. Thanks for all the info you put on.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #54991 04/24/19 10:19 PM
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Well, Bob completed his Whitney day hike today. He climbed the Mountaineers Route, then descended the Main Trail route. Spot started at 5:13 AM on the Whitney Portal Road, and ended at 8:30 PM. He was at Whitney Portal at 5:45 AM and 8 PM.

Here's a log from Spot:
5:13 AM start up the road
5:43 start up the trail
6:20 Leave main trail, up the Mountaineers Route
7:30 Ebersbacher Ledges (or on snow in the valley)
7:45 Lower Boy Scout Lake
8:50 Head south leaving NF Lone Pine Cr.
10:40 Iceberg Lake
1:00 start the Final 400
1:31 Whitney Summit
3:00 Mt Muir side trip
3:28 Muir sumit
3:50 back on the Main Trail
4:15 JMT junction
4:30 Trail Crest
5:10 Trail Camp
6:20 past Outpost Camp/Bighorn Park
7:00 between Lone Pine Lk & Whitney Portal
7:50 Whitney Portal
8:30 down the road to his car.

Long day, Bob. Over 15 hours! Wish I'd been following along all day, but that's how it goes with work.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #54993 04/25/19 10:25 AM
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Congrats on a successful hike, very impressive!

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #54999 04/25/19 05:40 PM
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I just turned 70, and I知 thinking about climbing all the California 14ers again. I figured I should start with Mt. Whitney and Mt. Muir. I made plans to climb the Mountaineers Route to Whitney, scurry down the trail to Muir, hike back up the trail, and then descend the Mountaineers Route. I致e done Muir this way several times before, and it works better than you would think. All I needed was a few days with perfect weather after the road opens but before quota season starts. I settled for a compromise: absolutely perfect weather, but the road was only open partway.

I drove down from Reno and slept in my car just below the locked gate. It took about 40 minutes to hike to the trailhead Wednesday morning. Once I made a dicey step across the stream below Lower Boy Scout Lake, the hike went smoothly. There was plenty of snow, and it wasn稚 too soft. I took my first sit-down break above Upper Boy Scout Lake, and never regained the speed I had down lower. Maybe old age, maybe the snow was getting softer, I don稚 know. I did feel a little better above 13,000, so it痴 hard to blame the altitude.

When I got to the notch, I was way behind schedule and doubting that I would have the time and energy for Muir. The final 400 was mixed snow and rock that looked harder than the nice snowfield that I saw in Kurt痴 photos. I wasn稚 feeling super confident, so it took a while go get up it. I致e always hated the 兎asy walk off, and I didn稚 feel like downclimbing the final 400. I decided to take the main trail. Maybe I would have the energy for Muir, and maybe I wouldn稚. But I figured I could safely stagger down the trail to my car, no matter how long it took.

I still wasn稚 feeling too strong, but the weather was spectacular, and I just couldn稚 resist Muir. I left everything except my ski poles and my Spot at the trail and headed up. The rock was warm and Muir was completely free of snow. It was fun, even if I was tired. I was the first one in 2019 to sign the register.

Back at the trail, I headed for Trail Crest and the car. I didn稚 expect to make it before dark, but I wanted to get as far as possible while I still had daylight. I focused on keeping moving and avoiding unnecessary stops. I took a shortcut that wasn稚 so short and rejoined everybody else痴 tracks at the east end of Bighorn Park. I followed the tracks until I found the real trail around 9,300. I made it to the portal before dark and followed the road to my car. About 15:25 car to car or 14:05, trailhead to trailhead. Definitely enough fun for one day! Glad to be home recovering.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55003 04/26/19 06:25 AM
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Congrats Bob! Thanks for the summary.
I followed you on the Spot website, wishing I was there and not in my office. I did remember what you told me the pre-written messages you send from Spot when you get to the peaks sound like, and it made me laugh!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
bobpickering #55004 04/26/19 09:26 AM
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Thanks for the detailed recap Bob!

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
G4u2 #55005 04/26/19 09:34 AM
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Hi, Gustavo! Yes, I send that 滴ey, *ucker! Guess where I am! message to one of my buddies every time I reach a summit. He痴 received that message about 1,100 times over the last 10 years. I guess he would rather have me taunt him than get off his butt and get back into climbing.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55007 04/26/19 12:03 PM
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Very funny!
BTW, I would love to do one of these 14ers with you if you want a less experienced hiker to tag along smile.
Best,
Gustavo

Last edited by G4u2; 04/26/19 02:28 PM.
Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
G4u2 #55011 04/28/19 06:49 AM
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Nice work!!!

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55016 04/28/19 04:38 PM
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Your 70 is the equivalent of a lot of others' 40. Or 30. Nicely done, Bob! I didn't see your message till I returned from a biz trip this week, so I unfortunately didn't get to track your SPOT live. The 14-hour RT may not thrill you, but there's only a very miniscule percentage of the population that could even hope to manage that - and virtually none at your age. Be proud, my friend!

"I focused on keeping moving and avoiding unnecessary stops . . ."

Yep, that's the Bob I know.

Congrats again, Bob. I may try to swing out there in August - hopefully we can catch up. Bri is working at a camp in the Rockies this summer, so I'll have a chance to warm up on a fourteener or two in Colorado in July when we visit her.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55017 04/28/19 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: bobpickering
There was plenty of snow, and it wasn稚 too soft.


Congrats on a big day Bob! I'm headed up the Mountaineer's Route in just over two weeks and wondering what to expect in the way of snow below Iceberg Lake. Did you wear snowshoes on the trail? Did you climb the E-ledges or bypass them on snow? Were there dry spots around Upper Boy Scout for pitching a tent or is that area still snow-covered? I'll appreciate any beta you can provide.

Hoot

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
Hoot #55018 04/28/19 06:24 PM
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Thanks for the nice words, everybody.

Hoot, I left the snowshoes at home and bypassed the ledges on the snow. I had consistent snow from below the E-ledges to just before the notch. There were no patches of dirt anywhere.

This is kinda off the subject, but I値l include it anyway. I stay in shape all winter by skiing up Relay Peak and Mt. Houghton (near Lake Tahoe). I always start from the same spot and take note of how deep the snow is. In 2017, there was one time when I could barely reach the top of the snow using my fully-extended ski pole. In 2019, I could just reach the top of the snow WITHOUT the ski pole. On April 19, it was about 5 deep. Today, nine days later, it was down to about 18.

Conditions will change fast. Everything will be different when you get there in two weeks. Plan on taking the ledges. I won稚 try to guess whether you値l be camping on the snow or on the dirt. Good Luck!

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55021 04/29/19 03:47 PM
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Thanks for the useful info Bob! I hope we can get away without snowshoes and avoid postholing in a couple of weeks.

Hoot

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55028 05/01/19 12:53 PM
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Congrats on another summit Bob! Here's what I saw 26-28 April.

I went up the Mountaineer's route last week, starting Friday the 26th at noon, and camped at lower boy scout lake that evening. We encountered snow very quickly upon exiting the trees, where the trail meets the early opening of the valley headed up to LBSL. Temps were in the 60's, and it was pretty sloppy/wet snow, although not a lot of post-holes. We were able to cross some snow bridges over to the south side of the valley and remain on that side (opposite side of Ebersbacher ledges), and trek up the snow all the way to the lake. Once at the lake, there is a lot of exposure in the ice to access fresh water.

On Friday, we packed up camp and proceeded to head to upper boy scout lake. There was a small exposed area to access water at UBSL. We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the nice weather, organizing our gear, and getting gouge from folks as they descended down. Early bedtime for a 12:30am wake-up call.

We were awake at 12:30am Sunday morning, and on the trail by 1:30am. We proceeded up to Iceberg Lake with no problems, and paused there for a break/meal. From there, up the chute in solid snow/some ice, crampons and axe were all we needed. Two climbers passed us about halfway up, and then we were subjected to a constant barrage of ice balls/pellets raining down on us for the remainder of the climb, with plenty of bruises to prove it. At about 6:30am, we were at the "final 400", and as Bob mentioned, a mix of rock/snow/minimal ice was encountered. We scrambled over the initial ledge/boulders, and opted to stay on the left side, making our way up the mountain. We had a mix of cams/nuts and a rope to use for some simul-climbing here (based on word given to us the day prior, and having done it before), but with the conditions we encountered, felt solid enough on the snow that we opted not to rope-up and start plugging gear in the wall. There was a really nice path wore into the snow leading up the last half of the final 400, and we made our way to it and ultimately used it to reach the summit.

The weather was in the 20's and very windy at the summit, and as a result, we opted to not spend time rigging rappels to make our way down the final 400. Instead, we took the "easy walkoff" (hate calling it that), and the snow conditions were great for the entire traverse. Making our way back down to Iceberg Lake, and ultimately Upper Boy Scout Lake, the snow started to get sloppy as the temps began to climb.

Finally, making our way down from Lower Boy Scout Lake to the main trail, the snow conditions went from bad to nasty - lots of thigh-high post holes, the snow bridges had all but vanished for crossing the river, and there were a couple of large slab/wet-slides coming down above us and making their way towards us as we trekked down the south side of the valley. Caution is really going to be required here as the temps warm up and continue to expose running water under the snow.

Recommendation is for folks to start considering the Ebersbacher ledges as snow continues to melt at a rapid pace near all of the willows and river. There were a few spots along our journey where small holes in the snow peered down 10 feet below you to running water - not a place you want to be when the snow finally gives way.

Overall, we had a great trip and took our time to enjoy the mountain, not the fastest group out there, but persistent. I love this route, always great to get out there and enjoy this mountain.

Re: Mountaineers' Route 4-24-19
bobpickering #55035 05/02/19 01:01 PM
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Holy Cats! What a trip, especially just turning 70!
When I grow up, I want to be like you. wink
(I better get my butt in gear...I got 11 years to go).

Mountaineers' Route - Avalanche Danger?
Granny Smith #55042 05/04/19 04:53 AM
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For those of you who have been up the Mountaineer's Route recently, how would you assess the current avalanche danger along the route? I realize this can change significantly with new snow. Do climbers generally carry avalanche beacons on the Mountaineer's Route in early spring? Are the any sections along the route where the avalanche danger is particularly high?

Re: Mountaineers' Route - Avalanche Danger?
Hoot #55043 05/04/19 09:36 AM
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When I was there, there was considerable avalanche activity below Lower Boy Scout Lake. By now, whatever is going to come down has already done so. Keep an eye out for trouble, especially during the warmest part of the day, but you should be OK. I never carry a beacon, since I知 usually alone, and there is nobody to dig me out if I get buried.


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