We also do not like to have split groups with some people on skis and some on snowshoes because of the different rates of travel.
Avalanche danger is a major factor and we are constantly making assessments and reassessing. If snow stability is found to be poor then we need to accept that and abandon the attempt and live to climb another day.
We climb the Mountaineers Route on the east side of the peak, starting from Lone Pine. We plan to meet at the Mt. Whitney Restaurant at 7.30am for breakfast. There is only one traffic light in Lone Pine and the Restaurant is on the south-west corner of the intersection. We will do an equipment check and divide up group equipment before car-pooling to the road head.
Exactly where we start hiking depends upon the road closure which may be well below the regular parking at Whitney Portal. In fact it might just take a day to get to the parking area! We also have to consider the difficulty of retrieving vehicles should the weather change for the worse. Above the Portal we follow up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek to Lower Boy Scout Lake and then on to Upper Boy Scout. We may camp here or place high camp at Iceberg Lake at 12,400 feet.
Above Iceberg Lake rises the Mountaineers Gully proper. In winter this will be a snow-filled gully of about 35 degrees and at the top, three hundred feet of snow-covered rock lead to the summit plateau and the culmination of the climb.
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