Besides being the highest peak in the contiguous United States (14,494'), Whitney's eastern escarpment provides excellent rock climbing in a superb alpine setting for a variety of climbing abilities.
Our Most Popular Climbs
The Mountaineer's Route, Class 3
Whitney Winter Climb
The East Face, III 5.6
The East Buttress, III 5.6
ASI on Whitney
ASI has a long history with Mt. Whitney. At age 10, Director, Bela G. Vadasz had to stay back on a summit climb with his father and his friends due to a cold. He swore he would come back and climb it someday. It wasn't until 1974 that he returned with his developing climbing partner, Allen lee from San Farancisco to climb the pleasant East Buttress Route. Two years later, Mimi joined the team and the 3 did many climbs together, including Mt. Whitney's East Face.
Since 1980, ASI has been guiding the east facing routes and had their summer headquarters based in Lone Pine, CA at the base of the mountain from 1981-1986. Since then, ASI has guided over 250 ascents and Bela is soon to celebrate his 100th ascent via an eastside route. This is a testament to the quality of climbing experience that is worth repeating.
Other Quality Climbs offered by ASI
Lone Pine Peak (12,944'), North Ridge, III 5.5
1 or 2 days
The North Ridge can be done in one long day by a party of 2. We have had the best results with a party of 3 doing the route in 2 days with a spectacular bivoauc en route. This is a good, long route with fine rock quality in a very asthetic location.
Mt. Muir (14,015'), East Buttress, Class 4 or III 5.9
1 or 2 days
This elegant route begins near Trail Camp on Mt. Whitney's regular route. It follows a stunning line predominantly up the buttress. A direct line staying true to the buttress can also be climbed at a higher rating. This route can be done in one long day as a party of two or two days with a camp if preferred.
Keeler Needle (14,000'+) Harding Route, V 5.10c
The East Face of Keeler Needle has a long history and is respected as one of the finest High Sierra harder rock climbs. Masterminded by El Capitan pioneer, Warren Harding, Keeler consists of about 15 pitches of steep and sustained climbing with lots of 5.8 and 5.9 pitches, with some 5.10+ cruxy sections.
Mt. Russell (14,086'), East Ridge Class 3
From Russell - Carillian Col, near Upper Boy Scout Lake the upper "knife edged" arÍte has been referred to as the "sidewalk in the sky" to produce a spectacular, yet exposed ascent that bears only a class 3 rating. This climb can be done in one long day from Whitney Portal.
Fishhook ArÍte, III 5.9
This nine-pitch route follows a stunning formation known as the "J" or Fishhook ArÍte. It involves great climbing with pitches in the 5.5 - 5.8 range with the crux being called 5.9 these days.
Mithral Dihedral, III 5.10a
From camp at Iceberg Lake, this side of Mt. Russell is most easily approached by crossing Whitney/Russell col to the base of the route. Stellar steep climbing is found in the upper portion of this excellent route with exceptionally high quality rock.
The Whitney Massif, Grand Traverse
Lone Pine Peak to Mt. Russell V 5.7
This great traverse links together many of the greatest summits of this incredible cirque. Though it's only grade V, it usually requires 4 days to complete the entire traverse. This route is highly recommended for fit parties prepared for this adventerous sort of Sierra climbing.
*The above climbs can be combined and/or scheduled through Private Arrangement
Mt. Whitney was named after Josiah Whitney, the California State Geologist, not the one who first climbed the peak. The first ascent was by three fishermen, apparently from the westside in 1873.
The spectacular eastern escarpment was soon developed and has maintained significant noteriety by the legendary climbers of all eras. The Mountaineer's Route was first approached and climbed by the legendary John Muir in 1894 and in 1931, the best rock climbers of the day including Noman Clyde, Jules Eichorn, Glen Dawson and teacher of modern rope technique, Robert Underhill. In 1937, Glen Dawson, Bob Brinton, Richard Jones, Howard Koster and Muir Dawson teamed up to climb the elegant Buttress Route.