Adventure Idea for April: Rock Climb Mt. Whitney!

Publishing confession:  this is a re-print of the first Adventure Idea column, published last October 2009.  I thought it may be more appropriate now, so hopefully it jogs your memory!  Cheers.  :)>

Possibly one of the best classic climbs in the Sierra Nevada is the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney.  At 5.7, it is a technical climb that most people can accomplish simply with a few prior days of training.  Problem is, a lot of people over-estimate how much time and skill they need, and instead settle for the "average" ascent via the Mountaineers Route ("average" is certainly relative!).

So I propose this itinerary for the complete novice to climb the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney:

Day One:  Rock Climbing Skills Day.  Meet me in Lone Pine or Mammoth Lakes (season-dependent) to go rock climbing and learn about the equipment, skills, and techniques you need.  Then go back to the hotel for a hot shower!

Day Two:  Rock Climbing Skills Day II.  Spend a second day learning about multi-pitch climbs (climbs longer than one rope-length).  The location for this might vary, depending on your prior experience and desires.  Learn about anchors, "traditional" or "clean" protection, and get your climbing dialed.

Day Three:  The climb begins!  After spending a night in the backpacker's campground at the Whitney Portal Trailhead, let's hike up to Lower Boy Scout Lake and climb The Impala, from any one of several 3-pitch, 5.7 routes offered on its south face and east ridge.

Day Four:  Bump up to High Camp at Iceberg Lake, and if time and energy allows climb one of towers in the Iceberg Crags, home to some great single-pitch climbs with the best background scenery you can imagine.

Day Five:  Climb what we came for - the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney, and descend the Mountaineers Route back to High Camp for a well deserved victory dinner.

Day Six:  Hike out to the Whitney Portal in time for a late lunch with some of the best fries, burgers and beers in 100 miles at the Whitney Portal Store!!

This itinerary could also be broken up into two trips, for those who live nearby and want to use two weekends and take less vacation time off from work.

Itineraries like this endless possibilities.  If you want to take a week off of work and really maximize the potential of your trip, email me with details about your prior experience, the month you want the trip to take place, and your ambition scale!