Monday, June 28, 2010

Mount Whitney Report - June 27

Mount Whitney - East Buttress
June 24-27

Guide: Ian McEleney
Climber: Ilya Koltover

"The East Buttress of Mount Whitney is the best alpine rock climb of it's grade in America. There, I said it. It's long, consistent, has great rock quality, and tops out on the highest peak in the lower 48. Last Friday, Ilya Koltover and I made the hike from Whitney Portal up to Iceberg Lake to climb this route. The weather was typical High Sierra perfection on this day and for our entire climb. Camping at 8000 feet the night before certainly got us a jump start on acclimatizing, which helped us dispatch the steep approach hike in good time.

The next morning we waited until the sun had been warming the rock for a while before starting up. The pitches went smoothly. Though each features great fifth class climbing, we both agreed that the delicate 5.7 face on the third pitch was the most fun. As we got higher the views of surrounding peaks got better, and we took a break on one of the great belay ledges for lunch. A few hundred feet before the summit we switched from long pitches to short ones interspersed with easy scrambling. This took us to the top. One of the coolest aspects of this route is that you can pull fifth class moves right onto the summit, to the surprise of hikers who came up on the trail.

After hanging out on top for a while, we descended the Mountaineers route. This winter was a big one for snow in the Sierra, and the Mountaineers couloir still has a lot of snow in it. We were glad to get to use the ice axes we carried up the route. We got back to camp in time to lounge in the sun barefoot and admire the amazing piece of rock we climbed. If you're a intermediate or advanced rock climber with multipitch experience or a peak bagger who has some technical rock climbing experience and you haven't climbed this route, you're missing out. "


No comments: