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Mount Whitney

Mt. Whitney from the Alabama Hills
Mount Whitney (elevation 14,494 ft) is the highest point in the Continental United States. It is located at 36°34'44" North, 118°17'35" West, at the boundary between Inyo County, California and Tulare County, California. Mount Whitney is part of the Sierra Nevada.

Mount Whitney was named after Josiah Whitney, the chief geologist of California. It was first climbed in 1873 by Charles Begole, A. H. Johnson, and John Lucas (fishermen who lived in Lone Pine, California.)

Mount Whitney rises above Owens Valley, which is 2 miles in elevation below the peak. Mount Whitney is also near Death Valley, which contains the lowest point of the United States. The Badwater Ultramarathon is a 135 mile running race from the bottom of Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney.

Table of contents
1 Hiking
2 Climbing
3 Reference
4 External link


It is possible to hike up Mount Whitney from Whitney Portal. The hike is 21.4 miles round trip and 6100 feet of elevation gain. There are two places to camp on the trail. Outpost Camp is the lower of the two, while Trail Camp lies just below a long series of switchbacks up a steep face. Permits are required for either day hikes or camping. These permits are in great demand, so reservations in advance are required. The one day hike up Mount Whitney is extremely strenuous: hikers are advised to be careful of altitude sickness. People also hike the trail in two, three, or four days, sleeping at the camps on the way to the summit.


The steep eastern side of the mountain offers a variety of climbing challenges. The East Face route, first climbed in 1931, is a classic easy climbing route of the Sierra; mostly class 3, with the hardest parts at only 5.4 (YDS). Other routes range up to 5.10 in difficulty. The descent is normally along the "Mountaineer's Route", a class 2 gully to the north of the east face.

To the south of the main summit there are a series of minor summits that are completely inconspicuous from the west, but appear as a series of "needles" from the east. The routes on these include some of the finest big-wall climbing in the high Sierra.


External link