East Face, Mt. Whitney 5.7

 
Search
Go

High Sierra, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Sort 23 beta reports by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
What is route "beta"?
Submit Beta on this Route
Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.3)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
10 Total Ratings
5 star: 40%  (4)
4 star: 50%  (5)
3 star: 10%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
5.10b4me

Advanced climber
Aug 21, 2002 - 06:47pm
 
Climbed this route in 1984. Did the Shaky Leg Crack var. Although this variation was rated 5.6, we thought it was easier. The exit crack(offwidth) seemed to be harder than anything else on the route.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
chris

Novice climber
Aug 21, 2002 - 08:21pm
 
Did this car to car in 1998. Agree with 5.10b4me, exit chimney is harder than any of the other supposed cruxes. Much simulable terrain and the classic set of features that are climbed make this a great climb on a great peak. Much fun to pull over the summit boulders to the surprise of the hikers on top.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
climbera5

Trad climber
Sacramento
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Aug 22, 2002 - 03:03pm
My first lead climb, did it in 1979 in late September right after a snow storm. The washboard was caked with ice and impassible. We had to traverse it and head up and right through a 5.9 dihedral. That added 3 hours to the climb and an epic descent in the dark back to the car.

Just watch for conditions before you depart. The weather changes dramatically so be prepared. I've been on top 7 times now, (once via Keeler Needle) and twice have been caught by hail, rain and lightning storms. Wear a helmet and enjoy the scenery.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Sep 23, 2002 - 01:22pm
Climbed this September 21st, 2002 on a crisp, clear fall day. Fantastic, and the Tower Traverse and Fresh Air Traverse lived up to their names - much fun.

Advice: Stay a pitch behind anyone (especially inexperienced climbers) on any straight up pitches. It is very loose and I have a new ding in my helmet to prove it.

Advice if you are inexperienced: Watch your rope handling on loose stuff! Ouch!

The Supertopo was great. When we got to the Fresh Air Traverse, there was a party that had been stuck there FOR 2 HOURS trying to find the route. And the guy had climbed it twice before! We pulled out the Supertopo and said, "gee, I think its right there".

By the way, the leader of this party said he dropped his $4,000 Rolex watch on the Tower Traverse. He was having a bad day...

I struggled on the 5.7 crux chimney move at the top. I downclimbed, belayed my partner up to the base of it, shed my pack and tried again. Then I hauled the packs up the short section. Worked for me.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 15, 2003 - 03:33pm
 
well -- the last post by chris must have jinxed us .. :-) ... i bet there is plenty of snow in the sierras now (after last week storms and this weeks storm!)

    ricardo
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Brian

Big Wall climber
Fresno
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Sep 21, 2003 - 03:17am
Did this route September 19. What an awesome route with perfect weather. The Tower Traverse and the Open Air Traverse make this route a must-do for every climber. The exposure is insane but the climbing is so moderate and straight forward that there is never a gripped moment; just an adrenaline rush.

We bivied at Upper Boy Scout Lake the night before which made for a long approach on the climb day. Unfortunatley, we started late, topped out at 5 p.m., and ended up wandering lost in the dark until 10 pm making our way from Iceburg Lake back to Upper Boy Scout Lake. Next time we need to get up earlier or bivy at Iceburg Lake.
We both wore approach shoes for the hike, the approach, and the climb and brought a small set of cams, a set of nuts, and 5 slings with free biners all mostly used for anchors at the ends of the pitches.
Although this route goes at 5.7 and below, there is plenty of opportunity to spice it up with a million and one variations on each pitch offering variety for every climber at every level.
Have fun!
Brian
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
jr

Mountain climber
jasper, ga
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Oct 13, 2003 - 01:57pm
a friend and i climbed the east face whitney rt. oct. 14,03 super climb! based at upper boy scout lake got to ice berg lake at 10:00am got water started off and didnot top out till 8:30pm that night, last 3 pitches in dark and off route but still fun! had to spend cold night at top because could not find mountaineer trail to come down in the dark! weather was excellant clear cold at night, day hot when sun out on east face! just a super work out! jim
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
TIM SHEA

Trad climber
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   May 24, 2005 - 04:52pm
We did it Car to Car in 14 hours. Took the "shaky legs crack" variation during the "fresh air traverse" Nearly took a bowling ball size rock up my a** from a party above on the grand staircase. If someone is ahead of you when you hit the fresh air traverse be careful ! You are in the drop zone. Route finding takes a little patience.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Oscar

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jun 25, 2008 - 09:56pm
 
What is the deal with the wilderness permits? We wanted to do this route and Keeler Needle this August camping at Iceberg Lake, but I couldnít reserve the permit because all are already taken. However, several of my friends have done the Mountaineers trail in summer and they all say that they didnít get any permit and had no problems. Can anybody give me some light about this?
Oscar
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
ola

Trad climber
bay area, ca
Jul 15, 2007 - 02:08pm
 
The High Sierra Climbing guidebook mentions that East Face can be done in less pitches with a 60m rope but no specifics are provided.

Anyone have the specifics?
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
dmalloy

Trad climber
eastside
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jul 15, 2007 - 03:45pm
for ola....and whomever else

As long as you are comfortable without a rope on 3rd class and easy 4th class terrain, I think the East Face goes about like this -

 scramble easy 3rd class to the notch between the 1st and 2nd tower, where the E Face and E Butt both start
 rope up, lead one easy traversing pitch to the left ("Tower Traverse") finishing with a semi-awkward but easy wide crack; belay on large ledge just above that wide crack (protects with nuts and such)
 unrope, scramble a few hundred feet of easy 3rd class, finishing with a few 4th class moves up and over a notch to your left, and down about 20 feet to a big ledge
 rope up, traverse left ("Fresh Air Traverse") for a while, then head up for a little while - there are a bunch of ledges, belay where you want
 Climb two more roped pitches until you are done with the steep terrain; belay on any of a variety of ledges at the end of each pitch.
 Unrope, scramble a few hundred feet of easy 4th class to the top

So in answer to ola's specific question, there is no need to choose any particular belay spot apart from the ones at the start and finish of the Tower Traverse; and I don't think that a 60m rope would really make it fewer pitches, unless you are going to belay all of that 3rd and 4th class (in which case you are going to be out there for a LOOONNNNG time)

Great route, but the E Butt is significantly better, climbing-wise.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
nvrws

climber
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jul 16, 2007 - 05:30pm
In response to 60meter ropes...I think you need to consider the potential for rock fall with longer ropes, especially on the staircase(after the fresh air traverse). I don't think you really speed yourself up that much on a meandering route like this with longer ropes. Consider simulclimbing on the washboard and above the staircase to speed things up. Have fun, a really fun route.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jul 22, 2007 - 11:20am
3 of us did this route yesterday 12 hrs, car2car. There was a lot less roped climbing than I had expected, lots of 3rd-4th. We kept the rope on for the staircase and didn't knock anything down, and we were the only ones on the climb at the time.

Topping out was crazy, it hit us unexpectedly, and there were at least 30 people up there, asking where we appeared from!

Very good exposure and easy route finding.A must do.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Floridaputz

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jul 30, 2007 - 11:13am
Climbed this again last week. The N fork of Lone pine creek is in the easiest condition I've ever seen it. Very cut back and a low water flow. No snow at Iceberg lake or in the mountaineers gully. A few afternoon thunderstorms popping up. Super Topo for the route is right on like always.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
sd_sparky

Trad climber
San Diego
Jun 26, 2008 - 12:03am
 
The annual allotment of wilderness permits are divvied up each year and issued both through reservations and on a walk in basis. The reserved ones are usually gobbled up a year in advance. The remaining few are issued daily in Lone Pine on a first come, first served basis.

Have Fun!
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 30, 2008 - 02:35pm
 
there is a great illustration of the route and approach here

http://climbingtoposofsandiego.com/mtwhitneyfinal.pdf
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Oct 28, 2008 - 07:41pm
 
One shouldn't need to be reminded of this, but according to the link below, folks have been leaving their used wag bags in the North Fork area rather than packing them out. The person who started the thread below counted 17 used bags left to ferment in that area.

Please let's remember that the Upper Boyscout/Iceberg Lake area is a delicate one and that we need to tread lightly to preserve it's beauty.

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=41236&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Simmeron

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Apr 7, 2009 - 12:27pm
 
Heads up for anyone thinking of doing this route car to car. The Forest Service recently changed the walk-in permit system for the Whitney zone. 100% of all day permits are now reservable. Check out this link to see if your dates are reservable.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/wild/otheravail.shtml
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Apr 15, 2009 - 01:07am
 
Great trip report here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=836170
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 19, 2009 - 01:46pm
 
Here is some helmet cam video of the Fresh Air Traverse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvgzcz45arg
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
The Guyser

Mountain climber
New Zealand
Apr 22, 2013 - 12:09am
 
Hi guys

Kiwis visiting in May...will it be feasible or too snowy?

Any advice appreciated...

Cheers
Guy
NZ

Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
burntheman

Trad climber
slt
Apr 22, 2013 - 12:49am
 
should not be an issue guyser. and before the summer hordes and t-storms.
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
The Guyser

Mountain climber
New Zealand
Apr 23, 2013 - 04:32am
 
Thanks folks...yeah hobo thats me...!
Was this beta helpful to you? Yes | No
Mt. Whitney - East Face 5.7 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from Iceberg Lake.
Photo: Chris McNamara
Submit Beta on this Route
 
*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.