We will be climbing/hiking Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineers Route on the last day possible without permits. How's that for timing? This climb will be led by my good friend and adventure guru, Richard. He has quite a few years of experience in dealing with mountains and all that they have to offer, both good and bad. But this event should not be construed as professionally guided. It should be considered and advanced mountain event for all but the most experienced climbers.
The hike culminates with a 1600' snow/ice climb up the "chute" using crampons and an ice ax, followed by an un-roped 400' class 3 scramble/climb to the top. Both of these cases must be considered life-threatening to some degree.
Ok, consider that the "disclaimer". Now here's my two cents - the chute looks more ominous from the 395 than it really is and with a good set of crampons and your trusty ice ax, the risk is pretty minimal. In fact, most of us glassaded (slid on our butts) down the last 400 feet or so, on the way back.
At the top of the "chute" is the "notch" and this is where some have chosen to call their "summit" and take a lunch break. From here some of us, some more reluctantly (Me), chose to climb the final 400. For me the sketchiest part is really the first 30 feet. It is not very technical, but it is unprotected, and a fall here would most surely send you to the ledge below, which would lead to an icy slide off of a 1500' vertical cliff. Gulp.
Once past this, the protection appears and it feels pretty "safe". Again, if you are an experienced climber, you are probably chuckling right now.
So, this is a pretty rugged two day event, but if you have some experience hiking up some pretty tall mountains and understand the effects of altitude, then I think this would be a great out-of-the-box experience.
If you decide to sign up, I will put together a pre-climb meeting just to make sure that you have a clear picture of what will be involved. In fact, I will probably make this mandatory.
Here are a few of the items that you will need and should consider getting asap:
• Boots - I have done this with regular hiking boots and it is doable, but cold, wet feet can make things miserable. Wet socks will not dry up there and wet socks equal very cold feet. At Richard's recommendation, I am purchasing the Scarpa Charmoz Mountaineering boot (Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Scarpa-Charmoz-Mountaineering-Shark-Orange/dp/B01LYDB8KS/ref=sr_1_54?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1491588191&sr=1-54&nodeID=7141123011&psd=1&keywords=scarpa&th=1&psc=1)), but you could go higher end with the Triolet (https://www.amazon.com/Scarpa-Mens-Triolet-Mountaineering-Boot/dp/B00H8J2S8I/ref=pd_sbs_309_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00H8J2S8I&pd_rd_r=6NEQ0CES3WH6PW6DHDK1&pd_rd_w=c9eca&pd_rd_wg=BFWSI&refRID=6NEQ0CES3WH6PW6DHDK1), or even higher with the Mount Blanc (https://www.amazon.com/Scarpa-Mens-Blanc-Goretex-Mountaineering/dp/B002LH3ZOI/ref=pd_sbs_309_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002LH3ZOI&pd_rd_r=3BYNGWVPVJT529J6MD0B&pd_rd_w=GfeLA&pd_rd_wg=27DJi&refRID=3BYNGWVPVJT529J6MD0B). Stiffness and waterproofness are very important.
• Gators - to keep the socks dry.
• Socks - to keep the feet warm. A pair of wool ones would be great. Three pairs would be ideal.
• Crampons - make sure these work properly, I got turned back last time because my crampons wouldn't stay attached correctly.
• Ice Ax - A must!
• Layered clothes - the hike up should be Spring-like up to a point, then it will become Winter-like at 12,000-plus feet. Synthetics are great, especially as a base-layer. As Richard says - "cotton kills".
• Your backpacking gear - not to be flippant but, if you need this broken-down, this is probably not the best event to be starting at.
Make sure your backpack is a reasonable weight (unless you are a Yeti) this can affect your fellow climbers if you are slowed down or unable to continue with the weight you are carrying.
We will start the hike on Sunday morning and reach Upper Boy Scout Lake pretty early in the day. Here we will set up camp and hang out/acclimate. We will probably get to bed early since there will be no campfire to sit around swapping stories, which is good because we will be hitting the trail at about 3:30 Monday morning. This is to insure optimal snow conditions and so we can make it back to our cars by nightfall. The rest will be up to the Mountain Gods.
I will update this via the discussion board with the things that I have most assuredly forgotten.
Here's a map (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XTQY_neE05-4MyL1U8wDO0hMho8&usp=sharing).
Take care and see you out there!