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Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
#57555 07/02/20 07:10 PM
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Here is a list of the California peaks over 14,000 feet:

https://www.summitpost.org/california-14ers/170899

Of course none of them have a hiker trail to the summit, but the Summitpost.org list show the easiest way up all of them. And...there is no long frustrating permit waiting list with "annoying" and "incompetent" government employees involved in the permit system.

Here is a challenge to potential first-timers to Mt. Whitney: would any of you consider an alternative to Mt. Whitney. If not, why not?

Another question to those who have summited Mt. Whitney: were any of you just a wee bit disappointed in the fact that the West side of side mountain is not very visually attractive?

Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
Bob West #57556 07/02/20 08:08 PM
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The list of alternatives for an average MWMT hiker is short: White Mountain, Mount Langley and maybe Shasta. The rest is a different league in terms of approaches and actual routes. That being said, Mt. Whitney also offers a few exciting options, especially if you pursue them in the middle of winter smile Also, I love the views of the West side from the summit ... when the moon is full and the night sky is clear and full of stars, it looks magnificent smile

Last edited by Anton; 07/02/20 08:13 PM.
Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
Anton #57557 07/03/20 05:18 AM
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When you find class 2 challenging and class 3 might as well be Everest, then most of the peaks on the list go bye-bye. I always liked the view to the west.

1 member likes this: terraelise
Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
RichardK #57559 07/03/20 07:29 AM
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I almost forgot this one:

https://www.summitpost.org/mount-tom/151260

But of course, Richard, this one doesn't have a trail to the summit.

While on a Whitney SAR search, myself and another team member went directly down the West side, but cross country. At the ground level, the West side reveals a long loose, unattractive approach. Whitney looks nice from the East, but from the West it is not.

Last edited by Bob West; 07/03/20 07:31 AM.
Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
Bob West #57591 07/05/20 04:52 AM
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Mr. West - Please excuse me for being a 71 year old cancer survivor. Thank you.

Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
Bob West #57621 07/06/20 08:27 PM
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As has been said, for the average Whitney hiker, the only realistic options are White, Langley, and Shasta. White Mountain is not really an alternative to Whitney. It’s just too easy. Although it is by no means a shabby area, it is more of a hike that you do alongside Whitney for acclimation.

Langley is probably the closest thing in terms of the challenge. Altitude gain is less, but distance is comparable. There is an actual trail much of the way to the top. It is only near the summit where there is no trail and you have to follow cairns. But this isn’t too difficult.

Shasta can actually be quite a good alternative. Admittedly, many Whitney hikers would find Avalanche Gulch daunting. But there is always Clear Creek. It is often said that there is no trail up Shasta. But when the snow melts, Clear Creek can be climbed virtually all the way to the summit on good use trails. So yes, Shasta CAN be a trail hike. Of course, it is a good deal steeper than Whitney. And altitude gain is significantly greater (about 7800ft on Clear Creek). But Clear Creek without snow is entirely doable by ANYONE who can summit Whitney by the main trail.

Other than these three, the only California 14ers that MIGHT be doable by your average Whitney hiker would be Split Mountain or Mount Tyndall. Elevation gain for both is higher than Whitney - similar to Mount Shasta via Clear Creek. But both are significantly more technical than Shasta. And Tyndall via Shepherd Pass is just LONG. However, these COULD be doable.

Last edited by StorminMatt; 07/06/20 08:28 PM.
Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge
StorminMatt #57674 07/09/20 02:14 AM
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Another thing worth mentioning is that, if you are willing to forgo climbing 14ers, there are other climbs you can do that are quite comparable to Whitney in many ways. Good examples here would be climbing to the summit of Red Slate Mountain from the McGee Creek Trailhead or climbing to the top of Kuna, Koip, and/or Parker Peak from the Silver Lake Trailhead. Although you only reach the summits of 13ers on these hikes, they are good alternatives to Whitney should permits become a problem or should the trail become closed. They are also a good deal less crowded than Whitney.


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