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Climbing: Mount Whitney via East Face

Summit elevation: 14,495 feet
Approach: 10 mi round-trip with 5,000 ft of climbing
Climb: 13 pitches of 5.7 difficulty
Mount Whitney • Route Profile
Mount Whitney, East Face

Mount Whitney • Pitches

5.7: 10
5.6: 1, 5, 7, 8, and 11
≤ 5.5: 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 13

Mount Whitney • Description

At 14,495 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. The summit offers spectacular views of Mount Russell and Mount Williamson to the north, Mount Muir and Mount Langley to the south, White Mountain Peak to the east, and many imposing peaks of Kings Canyon National Park to the west.
Several routes lead up the mountain, Mount Whitney Trail being the easiest. North Fork Trail leads up to the Mountaineer's Route (class 3), the East Face (5.7), and the East Buttress (5.7). The East Face is one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America.
The trailhead is located at Whitney Portal (8,400 ft). At mile one, North Fork Trail leaves Mount Whitney Trail. It twice crosses Lone Pine Creek, then leads over the Ebersbacher Ledges. It crosses Lone Pine Creek again at Lower Boy Scout Lake, then leads up to Upper Boy Scout Lake (camp at 11,300 ft) and Iceberg Lake (camp at 12,600 ft).
The base of the East Face is located at a notch between the First and Second Tower (800-foot drop-off). Pitches 1 and 2 are known as Tower Traverse. Pitches 3 and 4 are known as Washboard. Pitches 5 and 6 ascend and descend a ridge, leading left. Pitch 7 includes the exposed Fresh Air Traverse. Pitch 8 leads up two chimneys. Pitches 9 and 10 are known as Grand Staircase. Pitches 11, 12, and 13 lead right to the summit.
The descent briefly follows Mount Whitney Trail, then heads northeast to a notch and down the Mountaineer's Route to Iceberg Lake.
A permit is required.

Mount Whitney • Interactive Map

Mount Whitney • Pictures

Mount Whitney • Mobius Arch and Mount Whitney
Mobius Arch and Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney • Lower Boy Scout Lake
Lower Boy Scout Lake
Mount Whitney • North Fork Lone Pine Creek
North Fork Lone Pine Creek
Mount Whitney • Upper Boy Scout Lake
Upper Boy Scout Lake
Mount Whitney • Iceberg Lake
Iceberg Lake
Mount Whitney • Alpenglow over East Face
Alpenglow over East Face
Mount Whitney • Approach
Approach
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 1
East Face, Pitch 1
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 2
East Face, Pitch 2
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 3
East Face, Pitch 3
Mount Whitney • Washboard and Tower Traverse
Washboard and Tower Traverse
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 8
East Face, Pitch 8
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 8
East Face, Pitch 8
Mount Whitney • East Face, Pitch 10
East Face, Pitch 10
Mount Whitney • Grand Staircase
Grand Staircase
Mount Whitney • Summit
Summit
Mount Whitney • View of Mount Russell
View of Mount Russell
Mount Whitney • Mountaineer's Route
Mountaineer's Route
Mount Whitney • North Fork Trail
North Fork Trail
More pictures

Mount Whitney • Personal Notes

With Lisa in Bolivia for the summer, Sandra and I spent a few days in Mammoth Lakes, before climbing Mount Whitney via its East Face.
Thanks a lot to Ryan H., our guide.
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See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering
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