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#39194 - 07/29/14 11:05 PM Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is the "Easy Walk-Off route from "The Notch" on the Mt Whitney Mountaineers Route. Most people climb the steep Class 3 "Final 400" chute from the Notch up to the summit of Mt Whitney. The Easy Walk Off route takes a little longer, maybe 30 minutes. It heads west and south around the side of the main summit mass, climbing slowly. It crosses loose and broken rock, but the exposure, and chances of falling more than a couple of feet are quite slim. There IS potential for rock slides from above, though, so people should be aware.

This video shows the route, starting at the Notch, and covering the section up to the gentler-sloping crest of Mt Whitney. When the video ends, the trail can be reached in about a minute. It takes almost 10 minutes after reaching the crest to hike the trail to the summit.

Here's the 15-minute video.

Thanks to Hiking Geek for joining all the videos into one.

The video was made from 8 separate short videos, with breaks to catch some air. I down-climbed the "Final 400" chute from the summit of Mt Whitney, and then climbed back to the summit via the Easy Walk Off route, carrying the camera. I carried a camera and no hiking poles through the section, and only used my hand on the rocks several times. So it is mostly difficult Class 2 hiking.

The worst time for this route is when there is ice and snow, especially on the section visible from the notch. I would think crampons and ice axe would be helpful at that time. Of course, it would require those items anyway, to climb to the Notch.
Edit: Here is a picture of the same route, taken March 7, 2015 (extremely low snow year). Three hikers climbed the same route. Report here.
                                       


Sorry about the dirty view on the camera. It is lint and dust that has collected inside the camera on the sensor and lenses. The Panasonic Lumix ZS5 opens and closes its lens every time it is turned on/off, sucking air (and debris) into the insides of the camera.

The original 8 videos are here:

P1090257   P1090258   P1090259   P1090260   P1090261   P1090262   P1090263   P1090264

Here is a satellite view of the summit area, with various trails and routes added. Click on the picture to see the full-sized version.


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#39197 - 07/30/14 04:31 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 989
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Steve, this is a travelogue!

I have only done it by the Final 400, so this helps me and anyone else contemplating the walkoff. More intermittent trail there than I imagined.

For those interested in Steve's heavy breathing at the end, remember that the air pressure at Whitney altitude is only about 60% of normal.

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#39207 - 07/30/14 09:11 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Steve, if you want to stitch those clips into one continuous video, I should be able to do that for you.


Edited by 63ChevyII.com (07/30/14 09:12 AM)
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#39208 - 07/30/14 09:26 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Harvey:  What, you don't like my heavy breathing?   grin   I was hiking way beyond my sustainable pace mainly to keep the videos short.  For the record, first video was created at 6:22pm, last at 6:43, so it took 21 minutes to walk through the route, including my rest stops.  The videos cover about 15 minutes. So... 15 minutes walking, and half of that additional for resting.

Chevy: Sounds good. I'll upload them to a site for you to download (...or can you download them from YouTube?) I hope you can do a fade out/in or something between each one to indicate a rest stop. Also Youtube offered to "fix" the shakiness on them, and I did several. Does that make any difference?


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#39219 - 07/30/14 11:03 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C

Chevy: Sounds good. I'll upload them to a site for you to download (...or can you download them from YouTube?) I hope you can do a fade out/in or something between each one to indicate a rest stop. Also Youtube offered to "fix" the shakiness on them, and I did several. Does that make any difference?



I'd like to download the originals. I will add a fade in/out.
In my experience, I don't think the shakiness fix works all that well.
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#39225 - 07/30/14 12:08 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Steve, EXCELLENT!

That is a real service to the community. Like Harvey, I was surprised by the route.

I'm guessing that if you stayed lower, it would be even easier, but you stayed high, which is always my inclination (and I HATE to climb down something I've climbed up!)

The huffing and puffing gives it a realistic quality. Glad you added that special effect in! thanks

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#39227 - 07/30/14 02:56 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Ken]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Ken
Steve, EXCELLENT!

That is a real service to the community. Like Harvey, I was surprised by the route.

I'm guessing that if you stayed lower, it would be even easier, but you stayed high, which is always my inclination (and I HATE to climb down something I've climbed up!)

The huffing and puffing gives it a realistic quality. Glad you added that special effect in! thanks

De nada, Ken. 'twas a pleasure.

Re: staying lower... I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path divereged, and I took the upper one. As you can see, I moved back to the lower one to continue on.

Look at my route on Spotwalla. (First select "All" on the left for "% Fill" then click "Go".) Then, zoom in on the Whitney part, switch to "satellite" and zoom in more (Spotwalla is really cool!), you can see my waypoint signals from the SPOT, even the place I moved lower. You can also then see the use paths and the main trail. Zoom out two clicks, and you can see that the use path stays at the top of a band of broken rock. Going lower wouldn't make much difference--until you get below the band where it is again treacherously steep. Going higher would get into steeper stuff, similar to the Final 400.

That rock slide from several years ago likely started near the crest at the top of one of those steeper chutes.

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#39228 - 07/30/14 03:19 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Ken]
goldscott Offline


Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 112
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hi Steve,

I'm looking at what I assume is the easy-walk-off path on google earth (see annotation below), we are facing south. Am I in the ballpark?



(purple is the mountaineers route, blue is the main trail, and red is my guess of the easy walk off)

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#39230 - 07/30/14 03:45 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Just great work, Steve! We appreciate your taking the time and effort (and oxygen) to detail this traverse, especially at the end of a grueling backpack. Just like your video of the E-ledges, these will be of great benefit.

And I understand now why this traverse can be deadly in winter conditions. The video shows that, while it's a relatively easy C2 in late summer, there doesn't appear to be much room for error if you picture the route snow- and ice-laden.

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#39235 - 07/30/14 04:59 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Goldscott: You pretty well nailed it. Only I think you curved up and left a little soon, and where it heads back to hit the "v" in the trail, it's way too close to the crest.

It would be really cool if you could re-do the line and move that part. It is be a very good addition to this thread.

It is amazing how the Google Earth view makes the slope look SO much steeper than it actually is.

Gary, with any snow or ice, I would say crampons are mandatory. Of course to get to the notch, people would be using them already. The section didn't seem so steep that I would be afraid if wearing crampons. But then I haven't actually tried it.

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#39246 - 07/30/14 06:46 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
"I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one."

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes!

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#39263 - 07/31/14 04:37 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Ken]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 989
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Ken
I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one.

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes.



Ken, now you have done it. I probably only have a rare Muir or Clarence King quote for the Sierra somewhere, but not a Cosner.

I did find some other kinda sorta related quotes. Easy to just cut and paste these, so I am sorry to be hogging Steve's thread, but here goes:

...persons who ascend hills merely for pleasure. They have no particular principles, except the general maxim that it is better to be at the top of the hill than the bottom.
R.L.G. Irving, The Mountain Way, page 56

When we see a hill we are sooner or later driven to try and get to the top. We cannot let it stand there for ever without our scrambling up it
Sir Francis Younghusband
The Epic of Mount Everest, page 12
1st part trilogy: 1921 1st British Expedition

Found it easier than we expected, which only goes to show the value of an oft quoted piece of mountaineering advice by Dr. Longstaff, that 'you must go and rub your nose in a place before being certain that it won't 'go.' '
HW Tilman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi, in
The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, page 164


Edited by Harvey Lankford (07/31/14 04:44 AM)

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#39264 - 07/31/14 04:59 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
"Because it's there."

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#39452 - 08/05/14 10:02 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bump. I have added the Satellite view to the first post above. It shows the trails and routes in the summit area.

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#39454 - 08/05/14 10:16 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Fabulous compilation.

I hope you do not mind that I "lifted" the photo over to the thread discussing where Dawson fell.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#39459 - 08/06/14 09:27 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
goldscott Offline


Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 112
Loc: San Diego, CA
Thanks for the overhead viewpoint, Steve. Sorry to everyone for not updating my image - been busy at work (where I have google earth installed).

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#39479 - 08/06/14 10:08 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1549
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: Ken
I pretty much followed the existing use path. At one point, the path diverged, and I took the upper one.

Steve, it really struck me in your quote that you summed up the life of a mountaineer.

Harvey, this should be added to your list of quotes.



Ken, now you have done it. I probably only have a rare Muir or Clarence King quote for the Sierra somewhere, but not a Cosner.

I did find some other kinda sorta related quotes. Easy to just cut and paste these, so I am sorry to be hogging Steve's thread, but here goes:

...persons who ascend hills merely for pleasure. They have no particular principles, except the general maxim that it is better to be at the top of the hill than the bottom.
R.L.G. Irving, The Mountain Way, page 56

When we see a hill we are sooner or later driven to try and get to the top. We cannot let it stand there for ever without our scrambling up it
Sir Francis Younghusband
The Epic of Mount Everest, page 12
1st part trilogy: 1921 1st British Expedition

Found it easier than we expected, which only goes to show the value of an oft quoted piece of mountaineering advice by Dr. Longstaff, that 'you must go and rub your nose in a place before being certain that it won't 'go.' '
HW Tilman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi, in
The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, page 164


I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#39561 - 08/10/14 08:22 AM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Steve C]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Steve:
Your video makes it look very easy walk up! Thanks! Is there one place where I can look at the whole MR route including this easy walkup, starting from where it branches off from MW trail? Just like to see how easy or difficult this route is. Probably without the help of an experienced guide attempting MR is not a good idea?

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#41978 - 03/17/15 11:08 PM Re: Whitney Mountaineers Route: Easy Walk Off from the Notch [Re: Krishna]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Paul K led friend Colleen up the Mountaineers Route, then from The Notch, they covered the "Traverse" or Easy Walkoff to the summit. Colleen's report is here: Winter Whitney- my first mountaineering trip

Here's a picture looking west from the notch:   (click on any picture for a full-size view.)


These pictures are taken while descending the route to the Notch.
                   

                   



Another picture showing the Easy Walk Off, from April, 2016:


Picture from May 2016, looking east toward the Notch:

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