The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

Archive for the category “Mt Whitney”

Final report on Mt Whitney via the Mountaineer’s route

Well, gentle reader, I am very late with this, since I climbed Whitney in March! So this is by way of keeping me honest. Mt Whitney is a gorgeous place, and it was a challenge to climb it in March. I was not in the best of shape as we started heading to the trail from Whitney Portal, although I was happy that my pack weighed in at only 54 pounds. Day one headed up to Upper Boy Scout Lake. We did not go up the ledges, but instead stayed low and followed a gulley up. Rough bushwacking, some large steep up, and postholing. Uggh. There was a good amount of snow, and by 10 AM is was sludge in places. We hit camp one and I was feeling pretty worked. Something like a 6 hour day. The guides, the other guys on the climb, and the food was great. Days 2 and 3 were the humps up snow fields, I guess averaging around 30% grade or so, although it felt much steeper to my sore legs. We saw very few other climbers  heading either up or down, which I thought was a great feature. In the Summer, this must be a mad house, although the permits are controlled thankfully. We hit the high camp, which was a nice quiet spot. We saw two guys who had summited the previous day chilling out, getting ready for more climbing elsewhere. I was definitely feeling tired, and was glad to get the tent set up. Went to bed early since we had a pre-dawn start. It was cold as we got the avalanche transponders clicked out and crampons on the boots. It was a fun day, but once again as we weer on the final climb up to the notch I was wishing I had been doing more cardio over the Winter! I decided not to go all the way up, we hit the notch, 14K, at about noon or so, cold and windy, and I was worried about 3 more hours of technical climbing yet just 500 feet more (!), before the long down climb. I decide the better part of valor was calling it a day, and heading down strong, which is what I did. I regret it a bit, and here is one of the things that I am still learning. That is, how far can you push beyond your limit and recover. On a bike, I know it perfectly, on the mountains, I still keep it throttled back so I know I can come down feeling strong, and not holding up teammates. The more mountains, the better I know how far to push into the red zone and feel confident. This is what I take with me Sunday as I climb Shuksan in the north cascade range ( lots of snow no doubt), come down and rest, and then onto Rainier and the Kautz glacier route. Onward, upward!

A few photos of the climb up Whitney:

Resting at high camp, waiting for tea


Heading up to high camp


Still heading up, now in snowshoes


Day 3, up to the notch, feeling this was steeper than it looks!


Downclimbing on the famous Ledges


The team, at high camp, feeling good


And here I am celebrating the town of Lone Pine, and Whitney in the backgound. A beautiful experience



Climbing Mt Whitney in March

Finally, I am getting around to reporting on my climb of Mt Whitney via the Mountaineer’s route this past March. As usual, I used IMG, simply an outstanding guiding company, and they did not disappoint. A first class experience all the way. That does not mean it was easy, because it wasn’t. We had a team of five climbers, and two guides, one of whom was one of the owners of IMG and a legend in the mountaineering world, George Dunn. The other guide was Tristan Sieleman, of Sierra Mountaineering International, an authorized guiding company in the Inyo National Forest. One heck of a great guide. So we were set for an adventure. I fly into Las Vegas on March 12, picked up the car ( a yellow bug ?!), hit the cheap hotel, behind the strip, and slept. I spent the next morning waiting for George to arrive, I had great luck that he needed a ride out to Lone Pine CA and I was happy to have his company. We left Vegas around noon and drove West, through Death Valley. Quite something in itself, and my first time seeing this truly spectacular place. Hitting Pahrump NV we passed a promising looking Mexican Restaurant, and had lunch. Simple, but very good. We continued on and hit Lone Pine at around 4 or so. I knew nothing of this town, but it has a real history, and quite a lot of charm for being so remote. I Stayed at the Dow Villa, famous as a place where the movie stars stayed filming the dozens of westerns shot in Lone Pine over the years. A very nice spot. After a quick pizza, I packed up my pack for the early start the next day, took a photo of the Sierras, with Whitney front and center 15 miles away, and wondered what the next day would bring.


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