Mt. Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

July 11, 2013

Dear Family & Friends:

Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet) is the highest mountain in the continental United States.  It is also one of my favorite mountains in the world.  I train on Mt. Whitney and have climbed it 16 times.

There are many routes up Whitney, but the two main routes are the Whitney Portal Route and the Mountaineer’s Route.  The Portal Route is 11 miles each way and the Mountaineer’s Routes is 6 1/4 miles each way.  Needless to say, the Mountaineer’s Route is steeper and much more difficult.  The altitude gain on Mt. Whitney from the trailhead to the summit is over 6,000 feet.  So, it is a very long day!

Over the years, I have led many climbing teams up Whitney, mostly family & friends.  On June 23, 2013, I led a group on a traverse of Whitney–up the Mountaineer’s Routes and down the Portal Route.  There were 14 members in the climbing team, all family and friends.  The youngest climber was my 14-year old grandson, and the oldest climber was 71 years old-me.  The other climbers were my children, grandchildren, boyfriends & girlfriends of my grandchildren, close friends and parents.  Many of the climbers are accomplished high school and college athletes.  Most members of the climbing party had no climbing experience.

We started up the mountain at 4 am and arrived back at the trailhead at 5 am the following day.  Why the late arrival?  One of the climbers moved very slow, and my ironclad rule is everyone travels together.  We had a grand time on the mountain, and everyone summitted.  I am so proud of the team.

I put together a 30-minute video of the climb.  Thanks to one of the climbers, the video is entertaining.  If you have any interest in the Mountaineer’s Route on Mt. Whitney, check out the video below.


(best to view in full screen mode)



12 thoughts on “Mt. Whitney Mountaineer’s Route

  1. Bill – I climbed the East Buttress when I climbed Whitney. I loved it! It was however an adventure. First the night before the wind howled and we thought we would sail down in our tent. However at about 3am it stopped and and I stepped outside and was greeted by a beautiful array of stars that I will never forget. A few hours later up we went but at one pitch our rope was not long enough! I had to untie and climb about 6 feet untethered to get up to a ledge to tie in again. Heart pounding! But the most fun was peaking out over the top and having everyone who did the portal route ask – where the hell did you come from. We took the Mountaineer’s route back down which is beautiful.

    Glad to see you are still out on the rock and I hope to see you soon!

    Alan Feldstein
    Infinite Safari Adventures

  2. Bill, thoroughly enjoyed your ‘outing’….I did the trail when the elevation was 14,495’…a mighty long time ago. Glad to ‘have accompanied’you on this one…becaude It’ll be the portal route again if i ever make it up there again…so glad you had the family along…so very enjoyable…

  3. Sharing the hiking passion with teenagers and young adults is invaluable. They will soon realize that “reaching one goal is the starting point to the next.” (William James) You were their inspiration and strength–blessings for your 25 hour investment!

  4. Bill,

    Thank you so much for sharing his video. I’ve done Whitney twice, both times via the Portal route. I have always wondered what the Mountaineers route looked like. Now I know. I would like to do it someday. Keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration to all of us.

  5. It’s great that you were able to take so many youth.

    I’ve been up there about 6 times. Slept on top once. Nearly all with scout groups. Never finished the Muir’s route. How did you manage to get so many spots on the permit? My groups were always 6 or less.

  6. Hello Bill,
    I am classmate of Lisa and I’ve met you on EHS 30th reunion, Mt Rainier is still on my “to do” list.
    We did the same route 6/25/2012 and the snow was all gone then also. Myself and 3 others started at 4am, summited around noon, and finished 9:30pm, thought we were 4 hours late! The cell phone didn’t work for us either so I ran ahead back to trailhead, calmed some worried nerves, and ran back to the team.
    Surprised Lisa was on base camp duty, she should’ve made the summit. The world looks different once you’ve climbed it. That was great you did it in big group.

  7. So bummed I wasn’t able to make it. Looks like a fun group, wish I was there. I’ll have to get up there before it’s gone. 😉

    Thanks for sharing; hope to see you soon, Bill.

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