Mt Whitney

The Lost Whitney Post - Whitney Mountaineers Route

A friend recently told us they couldn't wait to read about our Whitney trip... to which I replied you should read our blog post. "Hmmm" was his response "must have missed it". NOPE somehow this was never published. So here it is better late than never! 11:00 am Saturday Mt. Whitney, Lone Pine, CA 14,505ft The shutters clicked with crazy abandoned, we were all very excited and enjoying our perfect weather on this perfect summit. The team signed the registry, noting where they were from, New York, Laguna Beach, Denver, Boulder, Boise, Pasadena. We took pictures with our flags, with each other, with the mountain and looked down to where we came from... and still had to return to.

7:00 pm 6:00 pm Wednesday Whitney Lodge Lone Pine, CA 3,727ft We moved dinner up so we could get to bed earlier. Saveria and I would meet the team for the first time in its entirety. We had driven up from Pasadena, got settled then took a drive to Whitney Portal with two of our team mates earlier now we were sitting down for a final civilized meal, meaning with chairs. The team was in great spirits some arrived just in time for dinner others were excited we moved up the time so they could catch Survivor before turning in. We talked about where we were from and our experience the weather forecast, but I'm sure most thoughts were on the mountain ahead which for most of the day was covered in one cloud. Team one was already up there and reports of snow and wind were coming to our guides.

12:00 pm Saturday The Notch, Mt. Whitney 14,000ft We down climbed the summit block in our rope teams with our guide bringing up the rear giving us support and tips. Our guide, Forest lowered us down over the last step section and we gathered at the Notch. We put back on our crampons, grabbed our ice axes and poles, all which we had cashed and began what I thought would be plunge step heaven down the couloir. Well not quite. The snow was softer but just soft enough to ball up our crampons upon each step. The pace became step, step, bang, bang as we hit our crampons with our axes to gather a little purchase for the next go. After a while we reached Iceberg Lake and unroped for a bit, we all walked our own pace thinking about our effort of the past few hours, our teammates, but mostly about breathing.

3:00 pm Thursday Lower Boy scout Lake 10,200ft We reached our first camp after a good breakfast at the Whitney Cafe, I decided to only eat an egg, oatmeal, berries and some toast. We finished breakfast with a gear check some parting wisdom from our guides, Tristan, Thomas and Forest, and we were off. We got to the Whitney Portal took a "clean" photo, the rest of the pictures would be examples of "not clean" photos, weighed the packs, mine was just 3 lbs heavier than Saveria's to her disapproval, and started up the trail. The first fork we came to was the split for the Whitney Trail and the Mountaineers Route, the last time Saveria and I were here we took the left fork, to the trail this time the right, Mountaineers Route here we come! It was not bad walking and we just concentrated on breathing and rest steps for most of the way, the biggest challenge was near the end the Ebersbacher Ledges It was the first exposure we faced on the trip with a bit of climbing needed, super exciting, we were in it now. We reached camp and started to soak it all in, while eating a great dinner provided by the guides.

3:45 pm Saturday High Camp 12,000ft After roping up one last time down a steep snow section which we had done in the dark earlier this mourning we unroped fro the last time and skipped all the way into camp, or at least it felt like that in our heads. Everyone started stripping down as it had gotten very warm, I got down to a T shirt and bare feet. I laid down for a while and thought mostly of how I was happy of my training, my fitness was good but I need more practice climbing in plastic boots. As Saveria recovered in the tent I was outside getting a little cold, I realized at 12,000ft it is probably colder than I think, I put my socks and boots back on and a light jacket, much better. I sent a message out on our Delorme inReachSE that we were down safe. Now time for dinner.

4:20 am Saturday High Camp 12,000ft Our headlamps lit up the trail as we headed out. No one was tired, we got hot drinks and a small breakfast, harnesses on and we set out. We got to Iceberg Lake as the sun was coming up, our guides had ordered perfect weather for our ascent. The group broke up into three rope teams we headed up the couloir at a deliberate pace, rest step, breath, repeat. We finally got to the Notch at 14,000ft, just 500 more to go. When there is enough snow you just stay with your crampons and snow climb the rest of the way, because of how warm it has been we instead switched to what I was told was the spring Mountaineers Route which was third class rock scrambling, with some moderate exposure to the summit. We were roped in a team with our guide, Forest and we sent it! I finally peaked over the last ledge and saw the Whitney hut glowing in the light, we made it, half way at least. Now where is my camera?

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The "W"s of Being AdventurUs: Whitney, Work, Wilderness 1st Aid, Weary

A week ago today we woke up at 10k feet next to Lower Boy Scout lake in the sierras, Saturday we summited mt whitney via the mountaineers route, 10am Monday morning I was back at my desk in the office, worked till 10pm last night, then was up till 1am finishing our take home test and packing for our 3 day wilderness first aid course. Whew. That is another good W word. Definitely a little weary... But having fun balancing it all. Our Whitney trip summary will be up next week!



20130426-065102.jpg Nothing a little Starbucks can't fix.

Conditioning Hike or Snow Travel?

This past Saturday 27 of us headed into the Angeles National Forest to hike up to Mt Wilson. This was the Group 4 conditioning hike for the Sierra Club's Wilderness Travel Course. Throughout this 10 week course there are 4 weekend outings, this first of which is the "conditioning hike".  The purpose of the trip is to practice newly learned navigation skills, work on nutrition & hydration while hiking and get used to clothing and gear choices. The round trip loop from Chantry Flats to the top of Mount Wilson always proves to be a challenge at 14+ miles and close to 5ooo' of elevation gain. This year a small winter storm threw a new, but very cool challenge to the mix, SNOW and near freezing temperatures at the top. The "snow travel" outing is usually the 3rd outing for the course, but we got a preview this weekend! This was also a great hike for us to check our fitness level as we are now in serious training mode for our Mt Whitney hike in April with the Big City Mountaineers Summit For Someone program.

For many, this was the first time hiking up to Mount Wilson and we have to say everyone ROCKED this hike. Each person rose to the challenge and did great! We are super excited to head to Joshua Tree National Park with the group for the next round of adventure.

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3 Reasons to Help Us Support a Great Cause!

We are excited to officially announce that we have been selected by Backpacker Magazine to join one of their teams climbing Mt Whitney this April via the Mountaineers Route. For more details about this adventure and to keep up with our journey getting there, please visit and follow our blog, This adventure is also a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a non-profit dedicated to getting under-served urban youth outdoors and into the mountains for life changing experiences. We are super excited to have the opportunity to combine our love of the outdoors with our desire to support such a great organization. BCM is really changing the lives of these kids by offering them an opportunity learn about the outdoors and gain valuable life skills as a result. Paul and I are asking you to help support BCM and make a difference in a young persons life. As if this wasn't a good enough reason, we have 3 more GREAT reasons for you to donate.

1. By making a donation by DECEMBER 31 you can receive great discounts on gear from great companies such as Kelty, Sierra Designs, adidas Outdoors and Osprey. And these discounts are good for all of 2013! Here are the discounts based on your donation amount:

Basecamp > $50 = 40% discount on Kelty products in 2013 Approach > $100 = 40% discount on Sierra Designs products in 2013 Ascent > $250 = 40% discount on Kelty and Sierra Designs products in 2013 Summit > $500 = 40% discount on Kelty, Sierra Designs and adidas Outdoor products in 2013 Summit + > $750 = 40% discount on Kelty, Sierra Designs, adidas Outdoor and two Osprey products in 2013.

2. In addition to the discounts above. For every $100 you donate by January 31st you will be entered to win one of many cool prizes. Our friends at The North Face have already donated a sleeping bag and daypack to be given away, another artist friend has donated one of her ceramic pieces, we have some free pet sitting to give-away (LA area only on this one) and this is just the start. So donate $100 get your name in once... donate $200 get your name in twice... and so on and so on and so on. Who are we to limit the number of times your name gets put in. :)

3. Worried about your taxes? Here is one more thing you can write off! Your donation will allow BCM to continue to provide programs that have a proven track record of improving integrity, self-esteem, decision-making abilities, and communication skills that keep kids healthy, active, in school, and motivated to strive for success. Go to to make a donation.

Thank you for supporting such an awesome cause.


Climbing for a Great Cause!

A few months ago Paul & I applied to be part of a team, that the editor of Backpacker Magazine was putting together, to climb Mount Whitney via the Mountaineers Route and to fundraise for a great organization, Big City Mountaineers (BCM). We were selected to be a part of the Summit for Someone program, which means that Paul & I will be climbing one of North Americas most sought after peaks to help benefit the at-risk teens BCM serves. We will be attempting to climb Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental US, via the Mountaineers Route April 2013. This will require us to use some of the winter mountaineering and snow travel skills we have been learning over the last couple of years.

Our fundraising goal is $10,000! With your help and our summit attempt, the BCM program will reach over 300 at-risk teens nationwide. We know what a huge impact these kind of experiences have had on our lives and can only imagine that once these kids get out into the mountains, challenging themselves with new skills surrounded by the magnificent beauty around them that their lives will be changed forever.

We hope that you will donate and help make a difference by supporting this worthy cause.

You can follow our training and the trip reports here by signing up to follow us on our new blog,