Mt. Whitney Winter Ascent and Ice Climbing Expedition, MTN 2, ICE 1 Training

  • 03/10/2020
  • 5:00 AM
  • 03/14/2020
  • 8:00 PM
  • Mt. Whitney, near Lone Pine, CA
  • 0


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Join MAA APEX members for a winter expedition on Mt. Whitney and ice climbing training at Thor Falls. Our expedition goals are three fold; 1. a winter ascent of Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineers Route and/or 2. to learn and climb the fun, high-altitude water ice at Thor Falls, and at the very least 3. to enjoy rock climbing at Alabama Hills, which can be done in almost any weather. This is all weather dependent - but we are going to climb something! For APEX members only - please upgrade as a renewal here. ICE 1 and MTN 2 training also provided. Prior experience climbing steep snow and winter camping required. Either skis or snowshoes are required. Loaner gear may be available. We have room for 10. $172 expedition fee required to confirm reservation. Hope to have you out with us!

SCREENED EVENT: This event is for APEX Members only. Please join the waitlist. Attendees will be selected based on skill proficiency and experience shown on their MAA profile. Those registered will be notified, please pay the hostel fee to confirm. Thank you! 


  • What's happening: 4-day winter ascent climbing between 6,000' - 9,000' total elevation depending upon how far we can drive up the road. Ice climbing WI2-WI3, steep snow climbing, winter rock climbing up to Class 4, multi-day winter camping, snowshoeing or skiing. Possibly desert rock climbing.
  • Where to meet: Whitney Portal Hostel, 5:00 pm Tuesday, March 10th.
  • Event Leader: Darren Shutt, (916) 872-3399
  • Minimum / Maximum: 4,10
  • Required Skills and Fitness: run the gamut but the most important are solid working ability to camp for multiple days in freezing and stormy weather and winter mountaineering (MTN 2) ice climbing (ICE 1) and strong fitness to handle a potentially HUGE amount of elevation gain, climbing 9,000' from the valley all the way to the summit of Whitney in deep snow while carrying a heavy pack over the course of 2 - 3 days. 
  • Shared Group Cost: $172. This covers the hostel bed at Lone Pine, a portion of the volunteer event leader mileage for gear transport, and a portion of the mandatory operations fee for gear wear and tear. 
  • Payment Due: February 9th. If payment is not received by the deadline then a registrant will be moved back to the waitlist.
  • Refunds: Full refunds can be issued 90 days from the trip date. Between 30 and 90 days, only 50% refunds are possible. Closer than 30 days no refund is possible.
  • What to bring: Warm, stormproof layers for upper and lower body - 4 layers for upper and 3 layers for lower, minimum. 2 pair socks and gloves, warm mittens, warm headwear, sunglasses, goggles, gaiters. Belay device, prusik, 2 locking and 2 non-locking carabiners, 2 runners, harness, helmet, warm mountain boots, sharp steel crampons fit to your boots, pair of ice tools, mountain axe, food for 3 nights / 4 days, waterbottles with insulating sleeve, spoon, cup, warm sleeping bag, 2 sleeping pads, trekking pole(s), snowshoes or skis, snow shovel. Rock shoes just in case the weather is really bad! Technical equipment such as rope, rock and snow protection, and stove, pots, fuel and tents may be supplied by MAA. Bring what you have of these items and we'll select the group gear. Leave about 10 liters of space and up to 10 lbs for group gear. 
  • Bobcat's Adventure SportsMAA Apex and Base members enjoy a significant retail discount on mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, skiing, splitboarding, and backcountry clothing, equipment and gear, as well as consignment and rentals.    

  • Medical: If you have any medical conditions pertinent to your participation on this event, please inform the event leaders after registration.
  • Accommodations: Whitney Portal Hostel beds will be reserved by MAA. 
  • Additional: The entire itinerary is very dependent upon conditions and weather. Chief of these is avalanche danger. This will be assessed on the MR route and at other places in the canyon. If determined to be unsafe, we will not proceed. Temperatures, storms, wind and the resulting visibility will determine how far we get up the Whitney Massif. This is why the itinerary is so flexible.


  • PRIOR: Expedition Conference Call and logistics, in February 2020, TBD
  • DAY 1, Tuesday, March 10th: Meet and greet in Lone Pine at the Whitney Portal Hostel in the evening. Check in is between 3:00 and 8:00 pm. Decide on a plan, sort gear and make preparations.  We'll catch dinner in town around 6:30. Team planning and logistics at 8:00 pm. If the weather is completely uncooperative we will climb rock at Alabama Hills while we wait for better conditions.
  • DAY 2, Wednesday, March 11th: Early start, hiking up the Whitney Portal road or driving up as far as we can. Once at the Whitney Portal, we'll take the regular trail to the Lone Pine Creek junction. Go up Lone Pine Creek trail to Ebersbacher Ledges (or if winter route is possible, stay in the creek bottom) and continue to Lower Boy Scout Lake (LBS). Establish camp in the trees there near water. Total elevation gain approx. 6,500' from the valley. LBS lake elevation approx 10,500.
  • DAY 3 and 4, Thursday March 12 & Friday March 13th: a winter ascent of Mt. Whitney MR route, or Mt. Thor or Mt. Carillon or ice climbing at Thor Falls between LBS and UBS lake, all dependent upon exact team assembled, avalanche conditions and weather. 
  • DAY 5, Saturday, March 14th: Return to the trailhead. Or contingency for bad weather.


  • In order to register you must be an Apex member.
  • Event leaders are experienced volunteers, but may not be certified guides.
  • Participant safety is our top priority. The itinerary described is the plan; however, circumstances beyond the leader's control may necessitate changes.
  • The event begins and ends at the trailhead. MAA does not insure ridesharing or other travel arrangements and bears no responsibility for them. Carpooling, ride sharing, or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among individuals.
  • MAA event leaders carry communication devices and a medical kit; The primary event leader has current wilderness first aid and CPR training as well as MAA policy training.

(916) 692-0005

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