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Descending Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route in Summer
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By JeffMK
May 31, 2012
Going to be doing the Mountaineer's Route in late June for the first time. Doesn't look like there is going to be much snow if any around that time on the upper part of the route, but most of the descent information that I can find online seems to describe conditions with snow (post-holing and glissading), which won't concern my group. I am curious what the recommended descent is, or at least some information regarding the descent, for that time of year with those conditions might be (or is the standard to go up the MR and then down the regular trail?). Thanks.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
May 31, 2012
Jeff,

The Mountaineer's Route is the standard descent route for rock climbing on Mt. Whitney. And some people like to summit Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route (without doing one of the technical climbing routes). So you can both ascend and descend it. Are you planning on doing it all in a day? Many people camp at Iceberg Lake, so you would ascend and descend the Mountaineer's Route to get your packs on the way out. The standard hiking trail is nowhere close to Iceberg Lake.

When you start going up the Mountaineer's Route gully, trend (climber's) left for the first part. It will become obvious when you get there.

FLAG
By fossana
From Bishop, CA
May 31, 2012
West Overhang
I descended the MR after soloing the E Buttress mid-May. I didn't end up using my ice axe or crampons. There was another storm in the Sierra since then, but by the time you're going it will likely be all scree (bring helmets).

There is a use trail that goes up the ledges on the rib below the E Buttress and the chute (noted with arrow) that is far more pleasant than the loose rock in the gully.
trail up ledges leads to Mountaineers Route chute
trail up ledges leads to Mountaineers Route chute



At the top of the saddle high up the chute you can scramble directly left up class 3 ledges to the summit plateau. Note where you top out before you jet to the summit because there are other cairns leading to more technical downclimbs.

Mountaineers Route on 19 May 2012
Mountaineers Route on 19 May 2012

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
May 31, 2012
West Overhang
p.s. Good place to get conditions reports for the Main Trail & MR:

hitneyportalstore.com/forum/ub...

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By JeffMK
Jun 2, 2012
Hey everyone, thanks for the replies, I wasn't getting email notifications of them so I am just noticing them now...

Anyway, our plan is to hike up the Mountaineer's route in one day in late June, and since there will likely be little to no snow on the route I was just concerned about the descent on the boulders/scree and wanted to know some details about it's condition sans snow for descending.

Thank you for the other information, it is definitely appreciated!

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By chris7
From San Diego, CA
Jun 2, 2012
Belaying
Like others have said it is the normal way to descend from going up the MR or the technical routes. Stay away from the cliff edges when descending to avoid possible rockfall. Chances are that you will take a ride on some scree at some point while descending. Once in a wile people mention bringing a rope for the MR for a few spots but if you pay attention to taking the easiest way that isn't necessary at all.

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Jun 2, 2012
West Overhang
Helmets are for rockfall kicked off by the line of people above you, which is more likely that you taking a spill if you pay attention.

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By JeffMK
Jun 2, 2012
Thank you guys again for the good info! This is helpful since I know for sure that it won't be necessary to take the longer regular trail back to the bottom, adding unnecessary hours to the trip.

Since we're on the topic, I have one more question. We were probably going to stay up at Horseshoe Meadows at least 1 night before to help with acclimating and to put us closer to Lone Pine. Online it looks like you are only allowed to stay one night max at the campground, but does anyone know how strict they are about this? Ideally we would like to spend 2 nights there.

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By JeffMK
Jun 11, 2012
Anyone? Anyone have any info on Horseshoe Meadows camping? Thanks.

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By Xan Calonne
From Studio City, Ca
Jun 11, 2012
Hey, nothing on Horseshoe camping but I descended the Mountaineer's Route last week and it was bone-dry; bring your scree gaiters for sure, perfect conditions for some High Sierra Screeing!
Good luck, Xan

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By jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Jun 11, 2012
Mean Green P2
We just went up and camped on the road from Tom's Place (10000ft)and and slept somewhere with no problems. The mountaineer's route is a gully that follows the line of crappiest rock on Whitney. It is the neccesary way down, but I can't see why anyone would ascend that route. Just take the trail if you don't want to do the technical routes. There was a small soft heavily suncuppe snowfield at the bottom of the route May 30th. No ice axe and crampons required.

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