Technical Difficulty (Class):
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Prerequisite Skills:
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Physical Condition:
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Client/Guide Ratio: 4:1

USFS Whitney Zone fee, guides climbing and safety gear, tents, cooking gear and 1 dinner, climbing helmet (reservation required).

Does not include:
Personal items on gear list, 2 trail lunches and one breakfast.

Operating on a non-discriminating basis under Special Use Permit, Inyo National Forest.

Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney, Mountaineer's Route, Class 3     3 Days

First climbed by the legendary John Muir in 1873, the Mountaineer's Route provides a good climb in a magnificent High Sierra setting. ASI offers 3-day guided climbs with a spectacular highcamp at Iceberg Lake.

Cost: $995

Dates 2021:
May 14-16, 29-31
June 11-13, 18-20, 25-27
July 6-8
August  13-15
September  18-20, 25-27
October 2-4, 10-12

The Approach:
From Whitney Portal (8,268') we begin via the "old trail" directly to the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. The recently relocated climbers path on the northside of the creek makes travel easier than it used to be. After a few creek crossings we find the "Matterhorn shaped" boulder that marks the access to the infamous Ebersbacher Ledges and the Clyde Traverse. This is the class 2-3 passage that allows reasonable access to bypass the alder-choked steep drainage of the North Fork. These ledges require attentive climbing with an overnight pack and impecable route finding (provided by your guide) to keep the ascent as safe as possible.

After a bit more ascent of the steep northside of the canyon, we arrive at Lower Boy Scout Lake (10,320') with a feeling we have arrived in the true "high country" (about 3 hrs). From here we ascend a large talus slope, cross the creek above a waterfall and around to Upper Boy Scout Lake (11,300' - 4 hrs). We continue our ascent rounding a corner to the sudden close-up view of the East Face of the Whitney Massif. This memorable view is of world class grandure. We continue along the climber's path through scree and talus that takes us either to the waterfall route or the sandy ascent option to our highcamp at Iceberg Lake (12,240' - about 6 hrs).

This strenuous approach is challenging both from the pure elevation and the elevation gain as well. However, it is rewarded by one of the most spectacular climber's camps in the world. It makes the entire trip far more interesting than camping anywhere lower on the route.

The Climb:
Beginning near dawn, we ascend the Mountaineer's Couloir either snow or rock scree, depending on the snow year and time of season to the notch in the North Ridge (about 1 1/2 hrs). From the notch, we cross to the west side and choose one of three options to the summit. Our preferred route is carefully choreographed from years of experience that intertwines gulleys and ribs to provide the highest quality of climbing. We enjoy this variation of class 3 with a bit of pleasant class 4 to the summit plateau and an easy walk to the summit (3 1/2 hrs).

The Descent:
We usually use a slightly different varriation from the summit plateau to the notch that is easier in descent and slightly less exposed than our ascent route to Iceberg Lake (2 hrs).

Cardiovascular conditioning: prepare with at least 3-4, 40 min+ aerobic workouts per week including hill running, biking, or hard-hill hiking with a pack and ski poles. Pre-climb acclimatization recommended to include hiking and sleeping at 8,000' or higher 1 or 2 days before the climb.

  • Previous experience hiking in rugged, mountainous off-trail terrain
  • Previous experience with modern, light-weight and compact overnight equipment
  • Very Good physical condition prepared for over 6,000' of elevation gain and loss in 2 days
    See physical condition description

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"Had a great time on the Mountaineer's Route; one of the most satisfying in my 63 years. Paul was a tremendous guide. He did a great job of 'gently' moving us along. Thanx. I may consider doing Shasta next year."

- Dean Moser

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