At 14,495 feet Mount Whitney is the high point of the lower forty eight states and the goal of many a mountaineer. The Mount Whitney Trail is the most popular way to ascend and is a long circuitous eleven mile non technical hike up a well graded trail to the summit. Instead of this however, we follow in the footsteps of the redoubtable John Muir, who described the trail as being the choice for “soft, succulent people.” Muir ascended what is now known as the Mountaineers Route in 1873, starting on foot from the town of Independence. He failed on his first attempt, climbing Mount Muir instead. After a day of rest he tried again, finally gaining the summit in the late October cold.

This is our video description of what it is like to go up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek with SMC to approach the Mountaineers Route, the East Face, the East Buttress and Mt. Russell.

This is our video description of what it is like to climb the Mountaineers route with SMC.

And here is video of a trip up the Mountaineers with a group from Japan.


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The best guidebooks are Supertopo’s “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara and Peter Croft’s “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”.

Get them from Maximus Press.

You can also get our unpublished SMC Guide to Whitney here.

We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000′) just prior to the trip. Spending a night at Whitney Portal or the Cottonwood Campground would do the trick.


Want to do the climb, but worried about carrying the heavy pack up there? We can provide a porter to carry some of the heavier overnight gear. Call us for more information.