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#90982 - 06/14/12 12:41 PM Mountaineers Route
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Hi Over the years people come into the store with about twenty forms of paper and pictures of the north fork. This week was no different so here is the story we wrote a route guide many years ago and handed it out for comments and would make the changes and send it out and until we had about a 2% return we knew that it not only worked but also had a built in safety system.

This route, although only 3.4 miles one way, rises 6,000 feet above the Portal, at some points is a class three climb, and IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! Again, this is NOT a trail. The route should be easy to follow for experienced climbers. If all of us would use the same path, it would stop the severe damage being perpetrated in this drainage by tramping around on false routes. The path you follow has been used for a long time by mountaineers. Stay on the main route that has been plainly marked. We could talk about cairns/ducks, but we know that all schools of thought will never agree as to what’s right. Our opinion: if they are wrong take them down, but if they mark critical points, leave them.
Also, as climbers we should set the example of taking out our own trash and human waste. Before you go, pick up a poop bag at the Store or the Ranger Station. On the way out, you can dispose of used bags in the covered can at the main trailhead at the Portal.
Take the main Whitney trail to the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek sign. This is 150 feet before you reach the John Muir Wilderness Boundary sign. If you have any doubt, stay on the main trail to the Wilderness sign and then come back down the trail 150 feet, re-crossing the Creek. Next, turn around so you’re facing up the trail, and head up to your RIGHT on the NORTH SIDE of the North Fork Creek. About 200 feet up this path you will see a sign, “Mountaineer’s Route.” Sign is gone now , not sure it will be replaced so held off before saying anything.
Follow this path up through the trees and ferns until it flattens out. This will be about a quarter of the way up the canyon. From here you should see the notch/gap below Lower Boy Scout Lake. Continue on about 100 feet and you will cross to the South side of the steam. There will be somewhat of a tunnel through the willows exiting onto a slab (10’ rock).


Follow the path up the South side, below the wall and above the stream. As the canyon narrows down and the path joins the slab, you will re-cross the stream to the North side. This crossing can be very wet and icy. The stream has two threads at this point. Boulder hop across the first stream of water until you reach a mud slope (about 15 feet). If a log is standing there, avoid it and climb up the mud slope. About 20 feet more will take you to the next crossing, where you’ll go down and rock-hop again and cross next to or under a waterfall. Avoid the slick log lying in the water.
As you leave the water, go to the wall and turn up the canyon. Fifty feet along the base of the wall will take you to a dead end. This is the start of the Ebersbacher Ledges. Look up and to the right, and you will see the “pine tree.” Work your way up the crack to the tree. At the tree,MOVE UP ANOTHER 15-20 FEET look to the east and the ramp is straight ahead. Stay close to the wall and you should see the path. Walk 150’ east on this narrow ramp (level). At this point you will step up, gaining about three feet of elevation. Follow this ramp, continuing east for 175 feet, staying next to the wall (away from the drop-off). This will get you to a short section of stair steps about 5 feet up and about 5 feet east.


MAKE A MENTAL NOTE OF THIS POINT. This is the turning point on the way down. If you miss this and continue on the upper ledge, you will need a rope and climbing skills to get down.
As you leave the ledge, head straight for the main wall in front of you. At the base of this wall (100’) you will find the path. Follow the path at the base of the wall until it exits onto an open area, and you will see the notch/gap below Lower Boy Scout Lake. From here, the path is easy to follow


At the notch, lose a little elevation to a sign that reads “No wood fires.” GONE NOW But you will find a trail to the water, Cross here to the south side and follow the path through the trees to the boulder field. Look along the base of the left scree slope (left or south side of Lower Boy Scout Lake). You will see the track to follow to the west. Also, you’ll see two giant rocks near the waterfall. You will begin climbing here. Head to the downhill side of the lower boulder. Stay close to this rock. As you get to the rock you will see the willows. At the very edge of the downhill side of the lower rock is the path. Follow it into the willows about 15’ and it will turn north on a slab and down into a smaller stream. Cross this stream, work up several feet, and cross another thread of water. You will be to the right of the stream.


As you exit this crossing you will be at a slab. Climb onto the slab and follow it to a group of trees (approximately 1500’ distance). These slabs will be icy and very slick- if not icy, mossy, so watch your step at all times through this section.
CAUTION: When you get near Clyde Meadow, do not go into the closed bowl of Upper Boy Scout Lake. Make sure you travel in a southerly curve around the ridge. When you get to the trees (Clyde Meadow), look up and left to the gap/saddle and follow slabs to the path that switchbacks up to this saddle. You will find a grand path at this point.



Now that you are 11,500’+ elevation, let’s talk it over. You have never had to use any more than walking skills. You are about halfway up, and your last water spot is Iceberg Lake which is just above you. Turn around, look to the east, and enjoy the view of the North Fork Drainage. Your line of sight should be almost a straight path to the Portal.


Ascend past the small water-seep below Iceberg Lake. Many old climbers used the west end of the water-seep to climb up to Iceberg Lake, but now most people travel past the water (at certain times of the year it may be a wide waterfall) and go up the next draw to the west. This route is much safer and faster with a pack. It takes you to Iceberg Lake.


The Mountaineer’s Route takes the gully to the notch at 14,000’. Several ways will get you to the notch. We suggest taking the left chute just south of the main gully. However, this depends on snow or ice conditions and your skill level. If you take the main chute, rock fall and people in the chute above make it worth staying to the right or left as much as you can. Also, in the middle of the main chute there is a large boulder blocking the path. Don’t climb up to it or try climbing around it. Pick a course around it about 50’ below and it’s fairly easy. The chute above this point is about 45 degrees, and below is about 40 degrees.



From the notch, several choices exist. The traditional Mountaineer’s Route follows the first chute to the south. Another choice, the “easy walk off,” is never easy. It’s exceptionally risky if there’s snow and ice on this traverse. This is a 50+ degree slope for about a quarter mile. Full climbing gear with ice skills and tools are needed. On the other hand, if studied, the first chute to the south of the notch will reveal a path up on rock for most of the summer. Again, this will require climbing skills, and a lot of people turn back at the notch.


The last several hundred feet are not that important. The exposure picks up in this section and is a factor to consider on the way down if you continue up. Some people choose to walk down the main trail after summiting, making it a circle trip. PLEASE NOTE: Taking the Whitney Trail requires a Whitney Zone Permit. No excuses are accepted, and you will be fined if you don’t have a permit.

Please don't think that the North Fork is a short cut for the main trail. The route is very steep and requires technical climbing skills. The route can also be icy and may require changes to the route, depending on weather conditions. A Whitney permit is required above Lower Boyscout Lake. Thanks Doug



Edited by Doug Sr (01/01/18 06:54 PM)

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#90984 - 06/14/12 12:50 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Measured at ~4.6 miles with GPS/GLONASS device twice so far...

I refused to believe that I could not maintain 1 MPH on the route. :-)

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#90988 - 06/14/12 04:12 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Interesting JL Portal to the summit about 2 hours up 1 down some people take longer.Or maybe he used the shorter distance?

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#90989 - 06/14/12 05:35 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
graham Online   content
Member

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 344
Loc: Irvine, CA
Nice write up Doug.....I can see every twist & turn in my minds-eye cool
I bet half of the WPSMB folks have a nice photo to go with every sentence.

Originally Posted By: Doug Sr
……PLEASE NOTE: Taking the Whitney Trail requires a Whitney Zone Permit. No excuses are accepted, and you will be fined if you don’t have a permit……..
This seems to suggest that you only need a permit for the main trail and not for the Mountaineers Route & North Fork area?
Cheers,
RickG


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#90990 - 06/14/12 05:48 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Originally Posted By: Doug Sr
Interesting JL Portal to the summit about 2 hours up 1 down some people take longer.Or maybe he used the shorter distance?


Naw, he just motored up at 2.3 mph and down at 4.6.

RG, you've givent me an idea: add the photos you talk about and use Doug's great route description for the captions.

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#90993 - 06/14/12 11:03 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Whitney Fan Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 21
Loc: Las Vegas
I'm confused by the statement that the route requires "technical climbing skills".

If it's Class 3 at the most . . .

I understand route finding, I understand using both hands and feet to climb . . .

I can even understand that "climbing skills" are required, but my confusion comes in with the word "technical". I start thinking of Class 5 rock climbing with that word. Or even Class 4 using rope.

But what "technical" skills are involved for this route, specifically? I will appreciate more clarification. Thanks!

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#90995 - 06/15/12 03:31 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Whitney Fan]
Wayne Offline
Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 715
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Whitney Fan,

When the last 400 feet are covered in ice, it becomes technical, and depending on which chute or rib is chosen in good weather, it can be class 4.

Doug--Thanks for posting your write-up. I used it the first time I climbed the Mountaineers Route, and passed it on to a number of other first-time climbers.

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#90996 - 06/15/12 07:23 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Whitney Fan]
MooseTracks Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 2391
Loc: B-town Eastside, CA
Originally Posted By: Whitney Fan
I'm confused by the statement that the route requires "technical climbing skills".

If it's Class 3 at the most . . .

I understand route finding, I understand using both hands and feet to climb . . .

I can even understand that "climbing skills" are required, but my confusion comes in with the word "technical". I start thinking of Class 5 rock climbing with that word. Or even Class 4 using rope.

But what "technical" skills are involved for this route, specifically? I will appreciate more clarification. Thanks!


I would never claim to know Doug's mind, but... wink

A word of caution, to make someone actually think about what they are getting themselves into, is always a plus.

And, at least to me, technical skills applies to anytime I'm not walking. The ability to look for appropriate foot and hand holds/placements, testing the hold's viability, shifting weight between three points of contact, route-finding, evaluating exposure, being aware of your environment (especially in chutes where any sort of rockfall might be evident), are all contributors to "technical climbing". Gear and rope are simply further extensions of this idea.

But, hell, I'm just a hiker.
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#90998 - 06/15/12 07:40 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
FlaG8R Offline
Member

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 100
Loc: Merritt Island NWR
"If all of us would use the same path, it would stop the severe damage being perpetrated in this drainage by tramping around on false routes."


Very wise advice Mr. Doug...

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#91001 - 06/15/12 09:04 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: FlaG8R]
AsABat Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 354
Loc: www.4jeffrey.net
Originally Posted By: FlaG8R
"If all of us would use the same path, it would stop the severe damage being perpetrated in this drainage by tramping around on false routes."


Very wise advice Mr. Doug...



Sadly true now. Many years ago the rule was different - everyone spread out to avoid creating a route.

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#91006 - 06/15/12 09:59 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: AsABat]
san onofre guy Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/03
Posts: 88
Given the number of trip and fall claims that I have dealt with over the years, walking on the sidewalk requires technical skills.

A few years ago walking in Downtown Denver with my wife, daughter and son in law, I stepped off a curb, went down on the pavement did a full summersault and was back on my feet right away.

My point being whether you are on the final 400 or walking across the knife edge on Angels Landing, you need to pay attention. I know I pay much more attention in those areas than I do in the City.

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#91008 - 06/15/12 10:08 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: san onofre guy]
JEFF SCOFIELD Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 615
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
Looking at RP's photo's already looks dry this year..Could be wrong though.....Any beta of the final 400' from RP's photo's looks bone dry.

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#91041 - 06/17/12 08:26 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: JEFF SCOFIELD]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
The MR is in "summer" conditions now. If you hit any snow, you're either off-route, or looking for it...

... which leads to: can we please stop short-cutting the use trail up to LBSL? I know some of the "damage" was done by winter run-off, but there are some spots where it's pretty obvious that people are moving the logs, etc, blocking the "wrong" path.

Talked to Doug again yesterday about putting photos with his description... going to make them small in the post with the ability to link to the Original size.

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#91124 - 06/20/12 06:38 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Hey Doug, it's taken me longer to get to Iceberg in photos than it does to climb up there on my feet...

I should have a document that you can look at tomorrow night.

I've got a couple of questions about the description from LBSL to Clyde that I think can use a few more words...

This has been fun though... finding photos of a lot of the Regulars doing the MR.

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#91459 - 07/10/12 05:31 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Dave On Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/12
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
We just returned from climbing the Mountaineer's Route on Sunday July 8th, 2012...in a single day. It was an unbelievable experience for the 3 of us. We all had alot of backpacking and hiking experience, but almost no route or climbing experience. We originally had a 4th member of our group (JJ) who was an experienced class 5+ rock climber, but he got the flu, and we were left with no leader at the last moment. JJ (with the climbing skills) had previously gone up the East Buttress and down the MR a few years back, so he would have been a natural good fit to get us to the top.

We set out with high hopes to conquer the Mountaineer's Route without a leader, as our hearts were set on it for the past 4 months. But still, we waivered back and forth between doing the MR and MWT.

First, I would like to thank Doug (Portal Store Owner) for his excellent advice to us throughout the weekend. He was apprehensive at first to let us do the route without any climbing skills and route finding experience. However, we had "hiked" Mt. Kilamanjaro and other long treks...but this was very different. He sent us on a trial run the day before (saturday) to see how we did with the Ebersbacher Ledges and finding the route (no trail) to the Lower Boy Scout Lake. We made it to Lower Boy Scout lake in 1.5 hours and then headed back down to debrief with Doug once again. He was impressed. He again sat down with us to go over every detail on how to succesfully navigate the hidden route and what to look for throughout our journey. He was okay with letting us give it a try and was quite happy to hear our plan was to go DOWN the MWT and not back down the MR once we summited.

We started at trailhead at 4:30am, to allow enough daylight to navigate through the E Ledges. We made it to Iceberg Lake by 11:00am to fill up another 4 liters each. Our route finding skills were flawless until we reached the 2,000 foot chute. We were told 3 times by Doug during our debrief....stay left, stay left, stay left. So, as we glanced up the Chute of Scree, we saw what we thought was our left route and headed up. About 60% of the way up, we see Richard P. standing on a ridge to our Left. Richard P. is smiling and telling us that we are NOT in the left Chute and guided us over to a rock wall to climb to get out of the wrong chute. We want to thank Richard for being there when he was, because little did we know we were going up a class 4 Scree Chute from Hell that were were told is only used in Winter ascents. Throughout this chute, I was telling myself....what the hell did we get ourselves into. It was pretty scary to say the least. Lots of sections where you had to lift all of your body weight by your fingers over large rocks to avoid the sandy scree. Once you hit the scree, you slip down the 45 degree slope. Unfortunatley, we were on the left side of the main chute, not the left chute.

Once Richard P. got us back on track, we looked down and notice the obvious hard rock path that we should have took. It had nice big rocks to hold onto. Unfortunatley, you can't see it from Iceberg lake unless you lift yourself over a large rock wall to see the real "left chute". So, take note of this if you plan to do this route. FYI, 90% of 20 the people we ran into, do this route in 2 days. We were very fortunate to have run into Richard when we did. Thank you Richard...you helped us more than you may know.

As we arrived at the top of the Notch, we glance up at the final 400 feet. This is by far the steepest section. We studied it for 15 minutes before starting it. It is almost like a puzzle. Once again, we remembered Doug saying..."look for these 3 little lines on a rock, start on the leftish side, work your way left more, then head right near the top". To be honest, this final 400 feet would have sent most amateurs right back down the Mountain. It's quite vertical. But after our 2.0 hour "practice run" in the advanced Main chute, this was nothing. We love rocks that don't move. The 3 of us climbed to the top like Spiderman in no time at all. We touched the top at 1:30pm, had a 45 minute lunch break, and back down the MWT by 8:00PM. T-Shirt and shorts 100% of the time.

I can not say enough great things about Doug. If you ever need any advice, he is the man. He was very happy to see us return in one piece. This route is not to be taken lightly, but very doable if you are fit and are a good decison maker. In retrospect, climbing experience is highly recommended.

It was a brutal, yet very rewarding and exhilerating experience. Thank you Mt. Whitney for being kind to us and keeping us safe.

Dave, Julie, and Seth.
Encinitas, California



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#91470 - 07/10/12 09:03 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: ]
Mountain Ginger Offline
Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Arrowbear Lake California
Sorry~

Congrats Dave on a great climb

what the heck is with the shoe post?



Edited by SanDi_carole (07/10/12 09:11 PM)
Edit Reason: forgot how to post on the board - sheesh
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Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Helen Keller

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#91471 - 07/10/12 09:05 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Dave On]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Posting from Myles' reconfigured computer...

Congratulations on a successful climb of the MR. Glad I could help.

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#91472 - 07/10/12 09:35 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Bee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 382
Loc: Northern Ca
Hi Richard,

Could you post a picture showing the correct chute and the "wrong" chute? (I know that you must have something in your archives!)

B
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#91473 - 07/10/12 10:17 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Bee]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Bee, I'm working on a slide show and eventually a quick time movie of the whole MR. I've been a little busy lately, and then Myles breaks his computer and tells me he'll take me up something if I fix it, so the MR Project is being delayed...

BTW: I'm still working on getting thru all of the Star Trek NG episodes, so my joke last Sunday was that these climbers on the right of the Main Couloir were part of the Q Continuum.

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#91474 - 07/10/12 11:16 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Bee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 382
Loc: Northern Ca
Originally Posted By: Richard P.


BTW: I'm still working on getting thru all of the Star Trek NG episodes, so my joke last Sunday was that these climbers on the right of the Main Couloir were part of the Q Continuum.


HAHA! I have every NG episode on.....gulp....VHS!! Q was such a great character

Can't wait to see the MR project.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#91479 - 07/11/12 09:39 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Bee]
Dave On Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/12
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
Richard P., I've never watched any Star Trek, but I love the fact that you think we have "Q Continiuum Powers" to climb the crazy main chute. laugh That's pretty funny. I figured that's why you were taking photos of me. Cheers my friend!

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#91485 - 07/11/12 12:00 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Dave On]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Dave, it's actually a stupid inside joke poking fun at some climbers who think that right side is "adventurous." Sorry.

Bee, here's a weak attempt to show where the fun (easy(?)) terrain is:


SierraGator (Jim) heading for the "East Buttress Approach To The MR"

If you look at the top of the snow (there are a few white spots up high) that leads your eye to the East Buttress. You scramble up towards it and where you see the white spots up high, you make a traverse onto the "Catwalk," where the angle eases significantly. Becasuse of the "high angle" of the rock and the fact that the holds are "bomber," it is some of the most fun you can have on the MR.


TomCat_RC, Robin and SierraGator on the East Buttress Approach to the MR.


Higher.


Really, this is easy Class 3.


And we've now exited onto the Catwalk.

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#91492 - 07/11/12 07:11 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
Bee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 382
Loc: Northern Ca
Amazing. Some of those areas where the hikers are lined up behind each other (narrow) almost look like they were set up to be climbed on purpose! I can see why people enjoy this part of the route.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#91919 - 08/07/12 01:52 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Blackfish Offline
Member

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 22
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, Califo...
Enjoyed reading this thread....made my hands sweat.

Great pics.

Hope to someday take the MR to the summit.
_________________________
"Teach a kid to fish, and they will never forget you"

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#91942 - 08/08/12 04:52 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
FlaG8R Offline
Member

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 100
Loc: Merritt Island NWR
Great pictures!!! I had forgotten about the high altitude deep blue/black sunburning sky...

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#91945 - 08/08/12 07:03 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: FlaG8R]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4878
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Thanks.

If the Olympics ever end and I can get myself motivated, I really would like to get the slide show of the MR finished. I've got around 75 photos of the climb (just) up to Iceberg Lake and need to put together the climb up the Couloir and the Final 400' before I can post it.

Yeah, the sky up there is pretty awesome. This past weekend, the cloud "streamers" across the sky made it even more interesting.

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#92957 - 10/11/12 06:58 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Richard P.]
hela Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Brett Maune finished the season with an impressive new record for Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route in 1:56:54 and roundtrip time of 3:06:39.
Brett also holds the unsupported and overall record for JMT at 3d 14h 13m (2009).

http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/in...amp;page=1#1043

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#99253 - 02/03/15 09:46 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: hela]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Hi Just read the write up on how to get up the North Fork , maybe add a few hints over the last few years . The sometimes used North Side trail was very over grown last season and required much more route finding. I tried several of the old routes in and out of the creek bottom only to find them blocked with willows.The people that had been cutting a fresh path must of left the area.So the South Side trail is really the fastest way and as planned if used by all it will reduce the resource damage.

A trail crew worked above the ledges /just below Lower Boyscout Lake to build a solid trail in the blown out slope, most if not all of that work was destroyed by the floods we had.

On the record time now , we have a new runner that did it just over 3 hours , another young man was doing up trips several minutes faster than all the other records. And we have a new record for 3 times in one day.This record was done by self control of speed and logic , anyone can walk a mile an hour right? and very easy to walk a mile an hour down hill! The test can you do that knowing you could do 4 miles an hour??????

Another first last season a person was about half way up the face before they found they were not on the North fork but the East Face route. So that either tells one the East Face may not be that hard or the person was that strong. You never know why people do what they do!

Richard and others posted some very good photos of the route at points where many get confused so study these. Again if you don't see a faint trail or major track you should stop and look around and find the trail. Also be aware that many climbing routes take off this trail so if you are heading to Russel or Thor Stop and question the path on a map. I see the USGS map and software build from that platform still has the approximate trail heading onto the ridge past Upper Boyscout Lake make sure you move south slightly and join the gap/saddle along the toe of that ridge. The rest of the dashed line should work fine.

A word of caution I still suggest traveling this route with some one that has been up it several times and has the ability to go slow on the lower sections so the last 2000'up isn't stressed, this section is relentless well you do have that 8' down before the last 400' and consider taking the main trail down the first time if you are not a climber, Longer distance but a much easier walk and you will see both canyons.

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#99276 - 02/07/15 05:19 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
I’ve hiked up the North Fork about six or seven times in the winter, and the route is always different. Doug: you mentioned that the “South Side trail” is now the best way to go. Does that mean we should stay on the left side of the creek, most of the way to LBSL? I may be headed up the North Fork next week, on the way to Thor Peak.

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#99277 - 02/07/15 06:27 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Mescalito345]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 994
Loc: Bishop, CA
Originally Posted By: Mescalito345
Doug: you mentioned that the “South Side trail” is now the best way to go. Does that mean we should stay on the left side of the creek, most of the way to LBSL?
I think Doug means to cross the creek at the normal spot and stay on the south side until the E Ledges then go back to the north side. Some people have been staying on the north side the whole way and not crossing the creek.
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#99278 - 02/07/15 08:13 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
Thanks, Kurt. So it sounds like the same route as in April 2014. Some of us might head up to Thor Peak next weekend. It’s not yet clear where we will stay the night before. Maybe Lone Pine Campground.

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#99281 - 02/07/15 04:02 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Mescalito345]
Jim F Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 361
Loc: California
Mescalito345,

I was at Lone Pine Campground last week. Here is my "Conditions Report":

When I drove into the Campground I was greeted by a prominent sign "Free Winter Camping." There were three other groups there. The campground was in fine condition. The bathrooms were open, clean, and well supplied.

The weather seems to be stabilizing starting Tuesday. Have a good hike on Thor.

Jim

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#99329 - 02/16/15 07:51 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Jim F]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
Thanks for the information about campsites and the North Fork route. We decided to camp at Lower Boy Scout Lake on Saturday night. Then we woke up early on Sunday, and hiked up to Thor Peak.

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#99332 - 02/16/15 03:17 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Mescalito345]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
View of Mt. Whitney and Keeler Needle, from Thor Peak, 02/15/2015.

http://pkuroda.smugmug.com/Other/Misc-ph...mp;lb=1&s=A

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#99437 - 03/05/15 10:59 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Mescalito345]
Climb out of the smog Offline
Member

Registered: 05/24/07
Posts: 13
Loc: Riverside, CA
I know conditions have changed since you were up there but any beta from your 2/15 trip? Or more recent TRs on Thor Peak?

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#99497 - 03/18/15 01:24 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Climb out of the smog]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 994
Loc: Bishop, CA
Originally Posted By: Climb out of the smog
I know conditions have changed since you were up there but any beta from your 2/15 trip? Or more recent TRs on Thor Peak?

Here's a picture I took of the route from Lower Boy Scout Lake on March 7:

_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#99499 - 03/18/15 02:24 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Climb out of the smog]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
Climb out of the smog:

We hiked up to Thor Peak a second time, on March 6. Here’s a link to some photos.

Thor Peak, March 6

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#99970 - 06/25/15 07:20 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
sadiegirl Offline
Member

Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 1
Loc: MN
My partner bailed last minute and I have a day permit for one person for July 3rd, up mountainners down the main trail. If anyone is interested place call or email me. tesl27a@hotmail.com, 612-269-7225
-Leslie

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#100264 - 08/20/15 12:03 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: sadiegirl]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Hi Did a trip up to Iceberg Lake yesterday,Flowers are in peak season now.

After the rains last year the route from Lower Boyscout Lake down is very rough , the trail work done has blown out and the top section (above the ledges ) very loose and large rocks in the path.

A very good line of Cairns now and looking at the normal wrong turns I didn't see heavy traffic signs. The last ridge before Iceberg many are following the route but some are missing the critical right turn and heading up a steeper canyon , most are climbers so this should not be an issue but if you feel stressed when you reach this point look right and on top of a large boulder about 200' feet up is the target .

After upper Boyscout Lake the slabs offer direct climbing to the saddle, saves on the plants in the area and your tread milling. After the notch you are again on a very well path till a steep scree slope try not to gain much elevation when you top out. The trail is on the flat scree field heading N/W'LY and takes you back into the canyon below the waterfall about 300' distance , looks like shear cliffs but cairns will lead you up a class 2 path.

I took of pictures of the short cut to Russel but most can't find it any way , like the slabs above Upper a slab system is about at the edge of the sandslope and will take you up on solid footing when you hit the headwall travel west this will take you to the top of the normal route and at the start of the trak to the saddle.Saves time and the loose slope travel.

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#100396 - 09/17/15 05:34 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: sadiegirl]
Christopher Schwartz Offline
Member

Registered: 09/12/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Phoenix Arizona
Hi everyone, I know snowfall the last few winters has been kinda dismal...are snow shoes necessary for a Winter ascent?

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#100397 - 09/18/15 09:33 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Christopher Schwartz]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 994
Loc: Bishop, CA
Originally Posted By: Christopher Schwartz
Hi everyone, I know snowfall the last few winters has been kinda dismal...are snow shoes necessary for a Winter ascent?

It's too early to tell yet. We won't know until (or if) the snow falls. On a normal year snowshoes are definitely helpful. These past two winters they haven't been necessary on the vast majority of the trips I've done in there.

When are you planning on going?
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#100400 - 09/19/15 07:01 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Christopher Schwartz Offline
Member

Registered: 09/12/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Phoenix Arizona
Dec 26th

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#100448 - 09/29/15 12:00 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Christopher Schwartz]
Norm_B Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Anyone has climb Mountaineers route this past week and can share the conditions on the notch and the final 400' chute? Thanks.

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#100449 - 09/29/15 01:33 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Norm_B]
graham Online   content
Member

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 344
Loc: Irvine, CA
Hi Norma, the current MR conditions are muy bueno (aka, very dry).
One iceflow in the middle of the final ‘400 is easily avoided and there’s no ice on the entrance moves
Photos from last Sat (9/26)
https://grahamcracker.smugmug.com/2015/Whitney-Hike-Sept-26-2015/
Have fun

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#100450 - 09/29/15 04:36 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: graham]
Norm_B Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Thank you Ken for the TR and for posting the great pictures...A lot of my hiking friends are flaking out but I might try to head out there this weekend....

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#100452 - 09/29/15 09:54 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: graham]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Hey anyone that has questions about the route up the Mountaineer's area check out Grahams set of photos!!!! They cover the route very well, long needed complete set. Thanks great seeing you this past weekend.

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#100454 - 09/30/15 05:23 AM Graham's Pics [Re: Doug Sr]
walt Offline
Member

Registered: 04/16/05
Posts: 113
Loc: Nashville, TN.
Nice set. Looks like a great time. Thanks!

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#101180 - 07/04/16 12:06 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
ClimbSTRONG Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 219
Loc: Aptos, California, USA
Surprised to see so little activity on this thread this season. I will be on the route in about 2 weeks and wondering if there is still enough snow in the chute to require crampons and ice axes or if I should expect a scree ascent. Any recent info would be appreciated!
_________________________
climbSTRONG
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" -Helen Keller

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#101184 - 07/06/16 09:13 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: ClimbSTRONG]
spinefxr Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 459
Loc: San Clemente, CA
Likewise. I'm headed up with 4 others July 15. If there aren't any posts I will be sure to post description and pictures when I get back on the 18th.
_________________________
Richard

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#101188 - 07/06/16 01:37 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: spinefxr]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Hey Phil posted about a week ago , still some snow and ice on the last 400' and the bottom of the chute but as always can be avoided by using the rocks.

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#101194 - 07/07/16 09:24 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
ClimbSTRONG Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 219
Loc: Aptos, California, USA
Thanks Doug.
Richard, I will look for your info. Have a great trip.
Gary
_________________________
climbSTRONG
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" -Helen Keller

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#101195 - 07/07/16 11:01 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: ClimbSTRONG]
Jeff M Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Rattlesnake Hill, CA
All the snow is avoidable other than getting onto or off of the blocks.

7/6/16


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#101209 - 07/11/16 09:24 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Jeff M]
spinefxr Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 459
Loc: San Clemente, CA
How was the chute up from Iceberg?
_________________________
Richard

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#101210 - 07/11/16 09:55 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: spinefxr]
JamesL Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/07
Posts: 613
Loc: California
Some snow on both the left and right (main) chutes but all avoidable. Mostly dry though and drying out quickly. The streams are running strong with the melt off.

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#101230 - 07/18/16 12:22 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: JamesL]
spinefxr Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 459
Loc: San Clemente, CA
Took a group of five up this weekend. Conditions were outstanding. Still some snow in the lower section of the chute above iceberg lake. My preferred route is to the left on the rocks to get around the scree here anyway so that route keeps you off of that snow and then there was nothing of significance above that. Chute above the notch is completely clear of snow. I should have some pictures ready in a couple of days and will post them. My only other observation was thousand of mosquito larva getting ready to hatch in the marshes around lower boyscout lake. I would expect to encounter significant mosquitos in the next few weeks.
_________________________
Richard

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#101342 - 08/09/16 06:47 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: spinefxr]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
It's been awhile so might be time to mention a few hints on the Mountaineer Route . Never end up in the bowl north of Upper Boyscout Lake , That's why we say you should NOT see upper Boyscout Lake until you are South of the ridge and looking back down on the lake.

Next is the "waterfall area" since at least 4 waterfalls can be found in the upper section .many people take by mistake the wrong waterfall route. You never need to touch the area of any of the "waterfall" The falls below Iceberg can be bypassed and several easy climbs farther west can lead you to Iceberg.

If you look high on the ridge North'ly you should see a carin, Watch for this landmark. I notice many are taking the harder right route and have trouble, others are going back into the canyon and need to backtrack. So as you pass below the waterfall take the path that drops some elevation and starts climbing a loose scree slope after about 100 'gain you should be on rock and work your way North and west.

From Iceberg many take the smaller chute just left of the main chute , this ramp will lead you above the large rock the blocks the main chute and also keeps you out of the scree most of the way up.

I still see some maps the have the route dashed in and the line takes you to the ridge in the Upper Boyscout Lake area ,make sure you are left of the ridge and join a very well beaten path .

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#101346 - 08/10/16 08:37 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Sierra Sam Offline
Member

Registered: 05/16/03
Posts: 753
What is the collective wisdom about how long it takes to get from the Portal store to the E-ledges for an average group carrying ~35-40 pound packs? I'm thinking about what is the latest time to start in the afternoon in order to complete the ledges before it gets dark in mid September (~7 pm sunset).

Thanks.

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#102135 - 08/12/17 06:21 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Sierra Sam]
RenoFrank Offline
Member

Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 7
Loc: Nevada
Originally Posted By: Sierra Sam
What is the collective wisdom about how long it takes to get from the Portal store to the E-ledges for an average group carrying ~35-40 pound packs? I'm thinking about what is the latest time to start in the afternoon in order to complete the ledges before it gets dark in mid September (~7 pm sunset).

Thanks.


Carrying a light daypack = 60 minutes...add some time for heavier pack - 90 minutes

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#102543 - 05/11/18 02:00 PM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: RenoFrank]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Each mountain will have the potential area for accidents,Whitney is not exempt. On the main trail 3 areas tend to see the most recovery events ,walk off the trail and off the area above the waterfall at outpost camp, next is just below Trailside meadow ,people miss the trail out of Trailcamp and take the slabs down and fall into the area above Mirror Lake the next area is during early and late season is the snow slope above Trailcamp.
On the North Fork the last 400 feet when people choose the traverse to the south along the very steep sideslope,which can be covered with fresh snow over very hard blue ice or decomposed granite over the ice. The problem is this route may have a boot track and with limited climbing skills look a lot less intimidating than the normal route. We talked with the Park many years ago and they flew over to take pictures of the area,they show the tracks with detail of the area,This area of concern is common knowledge for many years but we still sadly know of accidents in this area we might recall 6 or more,Please understand the conditions ,changing conditions and the need for the experience to travel cross-country up steep terrain.Our prayers are with the family and friends that have fallen in this area or the areas on the main trail.

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#102626 - 06/12/18 06:21 AM Re: Mountaineers Route [Re: Doug Sr]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2421
Loc: Whitney
Melting out fast

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