So, you’re looking to climb Mt. Whitney? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve climbed Mt. Whitney a number of times – without snow, with snow, on the mountaineer’s route, on the Mt. Whitney trail, under sunny skies, and under cloudy skies with thundersnow. I’ve seen bears, lots of marmots, and all sorts of hikers, mountaineers, and climbers. While I’m not going to say that I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve written a lot, so this is a great time to recap all of the resources that are present on this site (and off this site). So, without any further ado, if you want to know how to climb Mt. Whitney, here’s what you need to know!
What Is the Mt. Whitney Trail?: Lucky for you, if you need to start at the very beginning as to what the trail is and where it takes you, I talk about that right here.
Permit Process: Yes, Mt. Whitney requires a permit for the peak season (from Memorial Day through October). If you’re looking for tips and tricks as to how to get a permit, get some great insight from me here as to how the permit process works, and how to get that elusive permit if you need it. And, if you’re interested, go straight to the source here, and see what the Forest Service has to say.
Trip Reports: Check out my trip reports from 2013, 2012, and 2010. And, if you are looking for current Trail Conditions, Whitneyzone always has great trip reports and is a great resource for the casual or serious climber year-round.
Trail Hazards: Yep, Mt. Whitney is the largest peak in the continental 48 states. While I can’t predict exactly what you will encounter on the mountain, you should be prepared and aware of the dangers of altitude sickness, untreated water, dehydration, heatstroke, and hypothermia. Placing all of those scary things to the side, you should also know how to protect your food and store your food both in the car and on the trail to avoid problems from hungry marmots and hungry bears.
Everything Else: Like most mountaineers, I have my thoughts about the sport, and how one should climb Mt. Whitney. While you can read it all here, what I think in short is that everyone needs to stay safe above all else, and enjoy what they are doing. Very zen indeed!