Winter/Spring Mountaineer’s Route

At 14,508’/4422m Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states.

Overview

It is also one of the most sought after mountains in North America.  During the winter and spring months the Mountaineer’s Route is full of snow and is a classic mountaineering challenge.  Crampon, ice axe, and rope travel skills are necessary as well as fixed line and in some conditions running belays are employed.  Over the four-day climb we will set in two expedition style camps with the highest located at the base of the spectacular East Face of Mt. Whitney.  This 25-45 degree climb offers an excellent opportunity to learn and review skills applicable to climbs such as Mt. McKinley, peaks in South America, the Alps, Russia, Nepal, and other big snow climbs.   It is also a good time to test and get comfortable with any new equipment you may have acquired since your last big climb.

Join us and learn why winter/spring climbs of Mt. Whitney’s Mountaineer’s Route have become the single most popular program SMI runs in the Sierra!

Cost

$1000

Dates

4 Days/Grade 3 Rock, Snow and Ice
February 19-22, 2017
March 9-12, 2017
March 23-26, 2017
March 25-28, 2017
March 30-April 2, 2017
April 1-4, 2017
Apr 6-9, 2017
April 13-16, 2017
April 20-23, 2017
May 18-21, 2017
June 1-4, 2017
Contact SMI for custom dates or private guiding rates.

Itinerary

Day 1: The group meets at the nearby town of Lone Pine on the first day of the trip.  We will drive as far as the snow will allow us to which is usually within a mile of the summer trailhead at Whitney Portal.  We will ascend the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek and put our first camp in at Lower Boy Scout Lake at 10,350’/3155m.

Day 2: We move to our high camp to 12,000’/3658m in preparation for our summit bid the following morning.

Day 3: Summit day on the Mountaineer’s Route.  We wake before sunrise beginning our ascent in the early morning hours when are treated to a breathtaking sunrise en route.  Above Iceberg Lake (12,610’/3844m) we enter the Mountaineer’s Chute along the north side of Mt. Whitney.  The slope angle runs between 25-35 degrees to a notch at approximately 14,000’/4267m.  During the spring months the route is full of snow and will require crampons and ice axes.  From the Notch the terrain steepens to an angle of 40-45 degrees. The route tops out at Mt. Whitney’s summit plateau and a short 5 minute walk brings us to the top.  We retrace our steps on the descent back to camp.

Day 4: is devoted to descending back to our cars and are usually back between 12-2 PM.

There is time during this trip to review/refresh techniques needed for this climb including ice axe self arrest and cramponing skills.  For a full day of thorough review, keep reading to learn about our Whitney Prep/Basic Snow Travel Course.

Whitney Prep/Basic Snow Travel Course Overview

This course covers the basics of travel on snow and is a great way to prepare or review your skills for a climb of Whitney. Techniques practiced include use of an ice axe, efficient methods for walking up and down on snow, cramponing skills, travel roped together with other people, all four positions in self arrest techniques and belaying on snow. This course provides practical knowledge applicable whether you plan on climbing snow covered peaks throughout the year, or your backcountry adventures are mainly during the summer months with an occasional snowfield to negotiate.

Cost

$180

Dates: Snow Travel Instruction

1 day
March 22, 2016
March 29, 2016
Contact SMI for custom dates or private guiding rates.

Personal Equipment List

CLOTHING

__ __ LIGHT OR MID WEIGHT LONG UNDERWEAR TOP AND BOTTOM
__ __ EXPEDITION WEIGHT LONG UNDERWEAR TOP OR WOOL SHIRT
__ __ PILE OR THICK WOOL SWEATER
__ __ SYNTHETIC CLIMBING PANTS, OR PILE OR WOOL PANTS
__ __ WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE JACKET
__ __ WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE PANTS OR BIBS
__ __ *DOWN JACKET
__ __ GAITERS
__ __ WOOL OR PILE CAP
__ __ FACE MASK OR BALACLAVA
__ __ WARM INSULATED SHELL GLOVES
__ __ PILE OR WOOL GLOVES
__ __ MOUNTAINEERING SOCKS
__ __ LINER SOCKS (OPTIONAL)
__ __ BASEBALL CAP

GEAR
__ __ *FULL SIZE PACK- 5000 to 6000 cubic inch capacity
__ __ *SLEEPING BAG WITH STUFF SACK- rated to at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit
__ __ *SLEEPING PAD
__ __ *MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS- plastic or insulated leather, and cramponable
__ __ *SNOWSHOES
__ __ *AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER
__ __ *CRAMPONS- fitted to your boots
__ __ *ICE AXE- 60 to 70 cm in length
__ __ *CLIMBING HARNESS
__ __ CARABINERS- two large pear shaped screw gate locking, and two non locking
__ __ *MOUNTAINEERING HELMET
__ __ *ONE MECHANICAL ASCENDER
__ __ WEBBING- one 5’ & one 10’ piece of 11/16”, or 1 double & 1 shoulder length sewn sling
__ __ *TREKKING POLES- with the baskets attached
__ __ *HEADLAMP- with new batteries and spare bulb
__ __ DARK GLASSES- with side shields and UV rated
__ __ SKI GOGGLES OR SPARE GLASSES
__ __ TWO WATER BOTTLES- 1 liter wide mouth with a personalized identifying mark
__ __ POCKET KNIFE
__ __ SUNSCREEN- spf 15 minimum
__ __ LIP BALM- spf 15 minimum
__ __ EATING UTENSILS- bowl, insulated cup, spoon
__ __ CAMERA AND FILM
__ __ PERSONAL LUNCH FOOD
*Items with an asterisk are available for rental from SMI if you do not have already.