Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route

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Day 1, Saturday June 5th, 2004
Summited Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route

Overview of the Day

Awoke at 1:15am to temperature of 50 F in the Portal.  Not as cold as I expected, but at least the mosquitoes were gone.  We got started on the trail at 2:15am.  Everything was fine until we crossed the North Fork.  At this point I realized I was too slow to keep up with the group.  Rather sloppily we crossed the North Fork once again to the North and ascended the E. Ledges.  It is rather difficult to find the pine at night.  It seemed strange at Lower Boy Scout (LBS) without any snow.  Instead of going up the chute we took a trail that went around the lake and ascended some class 2 rocks.  There was a beautiful sunrise over the Owens Valley as we ascended.  We were moving so fast that I didn't have time to grab my camera from my pack.  What a shame.  John and I stopped to get water near the rocks and trees at the turn off to Upper Boy Scout (UBS).  After that there was no sign of Dave or Dan for quite some time.  Once we caught up to Danve and Dan we stopped for a small break.  The next obstical was the ledges leading up to Iceburg Lake.  Because I didn't have the height I had to take a rather exposed route up.  This was probably one of the scariest moces of the entire climb b/c everything was so wet.  After thaat the walk over to the MR consisted of a few snow fields.  Iceburg Lake had a wonderful blue ring around its banks, and would have made a good water source.  At this point we put our crampons on, and also discovered that Dave and Dan didn't intend on spending the night.  Later I found out that they never spend the night, ever!  The normal route up the north side of Whitney call for using the left most snow chute and then dropping into the right chute at some point.  I think this only applies when there is no snow.  The left chute probably has class 2 footwork, while the right is scree.  It took us a long time to get to the notch b/c John and I were so tired.  Dave and Dan patiently waited for about an hour at the notch for us.  We were a little confused by the route description b/c there were no footprints leading in that direction.  The MR that people typically take makes a sharp left from the notch.  Other climbs said that when there is no snow it is rather difficult to get started on teh route.  Dave and Dan climbed up first and had some difficulty getting past some early moves.  John and I started to have second thoughts.  The two more climbers arrived and said the only way to go is up by the route our partners took.  These climbers said the route the book describes is even worse with more exposure.  The two climbers picked out a mellow route through the class 3, and John and I breathed a sigh of relief once we reached the top.  We felt spent and weren't willing to go for Russell.  Dave and Dan had already started on the main trail down.  We decided to camp at the top.  I had always wanted to watch the sunrise from Whitney, and this was my opportunity.  We thought the top would be ours, but at 7:30 pm two more people showed up.  The temperature dropped down to 35 F that night, but I stayed nice and warm in my new Big Wall bivy. Main | Day 1 | Day 2

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