Mount Whitney 14,495′ Mountaineer’s Ascent to North Face Ski 5/11/2017 – Top of the Lower 48

After seeing some sketchy conditions on Thompson I decided to give the snow a day to settle. I got a permit and headed up to the Alabama Hills to shoot some pics and enjoy the beauty of the Sierra. I woke at 3am after hitting the snooze bar a few times. I headed up to the Portal and met up with Ted and Christy Mahon. They were in the zone hitting up lines too so it seemed a good fit. We hit the trail at 4:30. At the first creek crossing we met up with more Coloradoans, Doug and Maddie from Carbondale caught up with us and we did some tree walking ala Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Oh great time to hydrate to keep up with the rando racers. It actually wasn’t bad and I managed to keep up just fine. Guess the fitness is getting better. We all seemed to be on the same page when it came to decision making which was cool. At the base of the Boy Scout drainage we caught up with Nash and Landon from Salt Lake, met them in the coffee shop the day before. At the base of the Mountaineers Route we caught up with Alex Taran. The Mountaineers Route was amazing. The sheer granite wall glistening white, soared over the line. The booter was solid and the skies were clear. It was however pretty dang hot in there and we discussed our descent options while heading upwards. At the notch those conversations turned to our options at hand. The North Face direct had a booter along with some mixed ledges to deal with. The other option was to traverse the North Face. Both were over a 100′ cliff. Ted and Christy opted for the traverse. Doug wasn’t feeling well so he and Maddie headed back down. Me and Alex headed up the North Face direct. It was spicy and my new friend crushed it. I’d say M2 but it was all there. Got the blood flowing for sure. We then topped out.

For the ski we headed down the ridge a few gullies to ski a line without a downclimb. We linked up a couple gullies and found bulletproof snow mixed with 2-3″ of powder on bulletproof snow. It was spicy as the line we were skiing was over another cliff. From there were headed to the Russell Whitney Col and skied the Boy Scout Couloir. This was actually the best skiing of the day. From there we milked the snow as far as we could getting in about 5k of descent. 6.2 k for the day and 9 miles.

Such a fun day. So good to finally get out with the Mahons. Great to meet Christy, Alex , Doug, Maddie, Nash and Landon. The people you meet in the mountains are usually so awesome. Great to get to know you Alex. You’re a really rad chick. Christy I said it at the summit and I’ll say it again, “You are an inspiring person! Thank you.” Doug I hope you’re feeling better. Nash and Landon, it was great to see you guys got it done as well, wasn’t that North Face ledge spicy?

So stoked to have gotten this one done. Such an amazing day.


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