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, East Face
Mount Whitney • Pitches
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
Mobius Arch and Mount Whitney
Lower Boy Scout Lake
North Fork Lone Pine Creek
Upper Boy Scout Lake
Alpenglow over East Face
East Face, Pitch 1
East Face, Pitch 2
East Face, Pitch 3
Washboard and Tower Traverse
East Face, Pitch 8
East Face, Pitch 8
East Face, Pitch 10
View of Mount Russell
North Fork Trail
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.
By: Bernd Straehle
See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering
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