Last winter John and SP hauled huge loads up the east ridge of Mt Williamson only to get to the East Horn, a few feet shy of the summit height only to be shut down by snow, ice and bad pro. This summer John decided to take things a little easier and not beat himself up winter climbing and to try Whitney and Russell. John has not done a lot of technical rock, but is strong and a fast learner so we decided to jump in fully and try a couple of hard climbs. But first we tuned up at Whitney Portal doing a linkup of premier Buttress, 5.8/A0 and El Segundo Buttress, 5.9. These are close to the road and make for a great nine-pitch route. Todd rebolted Premier a few years ago and SP redid the old Beckey bolts two years back so the protection is good.
The next day we hiked to Iceberg Lake arriving in plenty of time to relax and prep for the Whitney. We had hoped to do the East Buttress, but the weather was a little unstable. It actually rained for several hours that night and a group of four from Las Vegas finished the East Buttress at 8.30pm and spent the night wet and shivering in the summit shelter. None of that business for us and we left at 5.15am got to the summit at 9.15am and we back in camp at 10.30am. Just the way it should be.
Same for Fishhook Arête where we left again at 5.15am and were back in camp at 11.30am in time to hike out.
As the great Lionel Terray said, “One rarely regrets leaving too early; one always regrets leaving too late!” No epics is what we want to strive for and so we were back in time for an early dinner at the Portal store.
A great trip with no snags and fast times on all of the climbs. Just what a guide likes!
Friends climbing behind John and SP doing the A0 bolt ladder on Premier Buttress John at the belay on Pitch 4 of Premier Buttress Great dikes and knobs on El Segundo Buttress John enjoying the Fresh Air traverse on the East Face of Whitney Cold awkward climbing on the second pitch of Fishhook Arete Into the sun on the 4th pitch on Fishhook Great crack climbing on Fishhook John signing in on Mt Russell as clouds build over the Owens Valley