Hi Salty You can do many things to avoid the ledges and the last 400'. Stay on the Mount Whitney Trail that is well traveled and avoids all the risk you would face on the Mountaineer's route.
The traverse that Mr. Secor alludes to has some very basic problems , First it has caused several fatal accidents and on the return from the summit many have trouble finding the return notch back to Iceberg. A fall from the traverse can place you near Artic lake 1000'+ below . Search for the accidents . Thanks Doug
Thought more about this last night , first if it is class 3 why do we have fatal accidents from falls , I hear of people placing gear on the route , class 3 is walking with limited use of hands and some risk of falling.Why would non climbers select a route with this risk ?
When the person wrote and published the walk off he placed it in the beta for the climbing routes off the face, We had years of drought and the west side was dry, the ice that was normal on this area was gone , the loose dry scree did offer a way off for climbers, but once we started getting snow and a return to normal people started falling that used this route, after the third fatal accident a small group got together and tried to determine why the accidents started happening , most likely hikers not climbers were not sure they could do the last 400'.
The walk off looks simple and they can see tracks that others have used the route. If one stands at the notch you can see the exit tracks south onto the west slope , what you do not see is the exposed 1500' of travel to get to that point, very loose gravel will cover blue ice on this section and most falls happen the first 100', two bodies were recovered at a location 15' apart at Artic Lake .
The degree of slope and the change of slope offer very little chance of recovery if one slips,and later in the summer from the south back to the notch the scree can be very loose, I was taken down about 100' before I was able to swim out some years ago.
I don't recall but wouldn't this above information be common knowledge now? Thanks Doug
Edited by Doug Sr (05/06/11 07:43 AM)