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Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
#55406 06/14/19 09:23 AM
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Greg369 Offline OP
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Hello!

Are there any rules or regulations that prevent camping on the Whitney summit?

Thanks!

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Greg369 #55407 06/14/19 12:22 PM
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Well, I did spend one very cold night in the hut (there was no door at the time).

And there are a few bivy shelters built out of rock at the summit, so others have obviously camped up there.

I'm not aware of any restrictions, but when I picked up my permit two years ago they never said not to when I said I might end up staying at the top.

Be aware if there is thunder and/or lightning, you do NOT want to be on the summit (in or out of the hut). Hightail it back down to at least the bivy sites at the JMT junction if bad weather approaches the summit.

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Greg369 #55408 06/14/19 01:17 PM
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People do it regularly. There are no restrictions.

Sometimes the weather is nice and calm up there. Other times, you'd wish you were down below.

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
WanderingJim #55409 06/14/19 01:22 PM
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Thanks for the response Jim! I will definitely make sure the weather is clear for that evening before deciding on the summit as a camp spot. I'll also check with the ranger when I pick up my permit just to be sure.

Great site by the way. We're coming out from Colorado to tackle Whitney in just over a week. I enjoyed the write up you did on climbing our 14ers last year!

--Greg

PS Thanks Steve also!

Last edited by Greg369; 06/14/19 01:22 PM.
Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Greg369 #55411 06/14/19 04:01 PM
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Hi Greg,

Camping on the summit is pretty special. You get to watch the sunset, and then in the morning, you will likely be joined by early risers, coming up from both sides to watch the sunrise.

If you're planning on a one-day assault from Whitney Portal to the summit.... it can be done, you either need to go ultra-light, or be in super shape. (I did it once with ultralight equipment -- about 20 lbs, went up the shorter Mountaineers Route, then down the Main Trail next morning.) Be sure to haul enough water up, too. I took 3 liters, drinking one between last water and the summit.

Acclimatization is a problem for many but if you live at the 5k elevation common to CO, AMS shouldn't be an issue.

Sure hope you give us a trip report. And a sunset / sunrise picture, too!!

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Greg369 #55418 06/15/19 09:57 AM
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As Steve said, a night on the top can be very special. Plus, you will have a big bonus - the moon will be almost full!

My only concern for an overnight trip like that, especially in July, would be weather. Since afternoon T-storms usually move in from the west side and forecasts are not always spot on accurate, I like to delay the ascent from the Trail camp or Iceberg lake (if I choose the MR) till after ~3 pm and then make a final call when I can see the other side (e.g. at the Trail Crest or the Notch). Of course, it is much easier to commit when the sky is completely clear, but it can be done relatively safely done even when there are T-storms in the area as long as you know where the fronts are moving to and have a plan for an escape. On one night, I had a spectacular view of isolated T-storms over Palisades with absolutely clear sky over the Whitney summit and almost no wind.

A few other things to conceder:

- Although the summit plateau is huge, there are not many flat spots that are big enough for a 2+ person tent (the best spots are located near the hut). The hut is usually much warmer than a bivy but you will have no view and no privacy in the morning.

- There is still lots of good snow to melt on upper sections (not on the summit though), if you know what I mean.

- Bring an extra bar of chocolate and give it in the morning to hungry JMT-ers (dirtier and skinnier people coming from the West) - you will instantly become the most popular person on the mountain smile

Edit to add: there is nothing hardcore about getting to the top with overnight gear in one day, but it will be a long day if you come from sea level. On the up side, the full moon illuminates the main train so well (well ... most of it and on clear days) that you can easily finish the ascent under the stars - also a cool experience.



Last edited by Anton; 06/15/19 11:34 AM.
Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Anton #55419 06/15/19 05:03 PM
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A Couple of my climbing partners from the late 90ís had a pretty special night together on the summit. They were more than half way up the East Face when the leader fell. He suffered a concussion and cracked three ribs. Once the leader came to, the leader decided to try to continue up, rather than bail. They got to the summit just before dark, with no sleeping bag, no food, and little water. Fortunately, the hut still had a functioning door (and no snow inside), so they tried to keep warm by cuddling each other until the sun came up. They managed to stagger down the mountain and call their wives just minutes before a SAR helicopter was scheduled to take off. Yes. A very special night on the summit.

BTW, the leader recovered from his injuries, but his balls were never the same again.

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
bobpickering #55422 06/15/19 08:38 PM
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Taking a whipper on a 5.6 route requires some "skills", but nothing compares with cuddling with a climbing partner on the top of the mountain.

Re: Camping on the Mt. Whitney Summit
Greg369 #55434 06/17/19 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the tips, information and stories fellas! We can't wait!

--Greg


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