Mt. Whitney and Bishop in a Weekend!

At 14,494 Mt Whitney is the tallest Mountain in the continental US – whatever that means – and I have wanted to return since I first climbed the mountain in 1994. At the time, I did not look at the mountain and truly understand its magnificence or grandeur. I generally felt like it was something that most 9 year old’s did with their Dads, but in reality, I was the youngest hiker to ever summit the peak. Nearly 20 years later, I find it difficult to remember the subtleties of the hike, Was it difficult? How did I acclimatize? How was my energy? etc. I can only recall the images and memories of hiking with my Father, Uncle and Grandfather, and the German guy we met on the trail.  It is interesting how when looking back at something that is so challenging and consuming, the only memories that I remember are the ones of reaching the summit and the people I met and hiked with along the way.

When I decided two years ago that I wanted to return, I did not think it was going to take so long to actually plan the trip. I figured, let’s go on a 3 day weekend, and be back by Sunday. Little did I know that due to the amount of people who seek to climb the mountain each year, the government – yup I said the Government – is limiting access to 100 people per day. I do not really blame them, who wants to even see 100 people when they are hiking, but my desire to secure a date to climb would be postponed until the next lottery date at the beginning of the following year. So instead of charging up the mountain on the next 3 day weekend I had, I was forced to wait, accumulating my vacation time and planning a trip that would not only fulfill my desire to revisit the Summit of Mt. Whitney, but also get an introduction to the bouldering Mecca of the Owens Valley.

Whitney in a day, 22 miles round trip, 6,100′ elevation gain and knowing that you just completed the route on a Thursday so you can boulder in Bishop through Sunday. Priceless! or about $200 if you don’t factor in the price of Gas.

Once we have made our ascent up the steep gravel terrain of the Mountaineers route on Whitney, we will have reached the first of many intended summits in the area. Granted, the remainder of our summits will range from 10 to 30 feet. Armed with a Bishop Bouldering Guidebook and a thirst to climb some of the best rock in Southern California, we intend to spend the next three days ridding ourselves of the excess skin on our fingers and avoiding the 90° temps in the valley as we course between the Sherwin Plateau and the Buttermilks. With the call out to all my friends so that I can depart with a few extra crash pads, I gather the last bit of supplies filled with hope and a bit of anxiety. Two more days of work and we are off.

Look forward to sharing the adventure with you!


6 Responses to “Mt. Whitney and Bishop in a Weekend!”
  1. Bill McGee says:

    Nice, Neil. One correction though: You were probably the youngest person to summit on that particular day. Kids have been going up there for a lot longer. Here’s a six & seven-year-old on top in 1959:

    • SBClimber says:

      That’s awesome man! Such a fun hike to do the Mountaineers route this time around, much more direct and in my opinion, beautiful. I am possibly going to plan a trip to hike it again next year with my wife, maybe my son a few more years after that – he is only 10 mo’s.

  2. Matt says:

    I did this exact trip in the past few days. Just in reverse, and with an extra stop. Climbed in Yosemite for a few days before a few days in the Buttermilks. We then climbed the MR on Whitney yesterday!

    Hope you had a blast! I sure did!

    • SBClimber says:

      Hey Matt,

      It was such an awesome trip. The MR is so much more fun than the main trail. All 9 in my party reached the summit and then my buddy and I had a great time climbing and camping rough in buttermilk country. Fingers were not loving me that weekend!

  3. atoptherox says:

    Awesome….good luck!

  4. Robin Roessler says:

    Have a fantastic trip and please, please be safe.
    Mom 🙂

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