The Mt. Whitney Trail climbs over 6,000 feet in elevation over 11 miles. When free of snow, it provides a strenuous, non-technical route to the summit of Mt. Whitney. However, for most of the year, the trail is covered by deep snow and ice. When snow and ice are present, additional skills and equipment may be necessary for safe travel. The Mountaineers Route, East Face and East Buttress, are accessed via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek Trail.
At a Glance
12/9/2014: Winter conditions prevail. Conditions can change rapidly depending on weather and time of day. Obtain a weather report before climbing. When storms occur, they are likely to include strong wind, subzero-temperature, and may include heavy snowfall. Rockslide and avalanche hazard are present throughout the winter.
Visitors are expected to exhibit a high degree of self-reliance and responsibility for their own safety. Ability to navigate over snow, safe use of winter gear, such as ice axe and/ or crampons is a matter of one’s own blend of skills, experience, and comfort zone. In the recent past, deaths and numerous injuries involving snow and ice conditions have occurred on Mt. Whitney.
Be aware that there is little or no cell reception in this area. Local search and rescue are all volunteers. The arrival of help may be delayed, perhaps for more than a day, by weather, darkness, and the distance they need to travel to begin a search.
Lone Pine, CA
||Above 12,000 ft little or no water is available.
||Along trail pack out all human waste.
From Lone Pine, CA, travel 13 miles west on Whitney Portal Road. The Mt. Whitney trailhead is located on the north side of the road at Whitney Portal.
Pack out all trash and human waste.
The only acceptable way to dispose of human waste is to pack it out. Human waste pack-out kits are distributed with wilderness permits. Each year, Mt. Whitney visitors pack out almost 4 tons of human waste. More...
Store food and trash in bear-proof containers.
From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers. More...
Safety is your responsibility!
Wilderness travel involves an element of risk. Before visiting, develop a plan for dealing with emergencies. Travel with your group at all times. Report emergencies to Inyo County Sheriff at (760)878-0383. It may take up to several days for help to arrive.
Searches and Rescues are managed by Inyo County Sheriff and Inyo County SAR, a non-profit all volunteer organization.
Camp in established campsites.
There are no developed campgrounds along the Mt. Whitney Trail. Camp in established campsites OR on durable surfaces, such as snow, granite or barren sand and gravel. Established sites are scattered along the trail, and are concentrated around Lone Pine Lake, Outpost Camp and Trail Camp.
Camping is prohibited:
At Mirror Lake
At Trailside Meadow
Within 25’ of the trail
Within 100’ of water
Season descriptions are approximate. Every year is different, and conditions may vary considerably.
July to Mid-September: Relatively snow free. Severe thunderstorms are possible.
Mid-September through October: Shorter days and cooler weather. If storms occur, they may include extreme wind, cold temperatures and snow. Patches of ice may form in some locations.
November through March: Snow accumulates. By March it may be up to several meters deep. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel.
April through June: Snowpack is receding. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel.
Parking is available at the trailhead. Please minimize the number of vehicles that your group uses.
There is a high level of bear activity at the trailhead. Remove all food and trash from vehicles and place in bear-proof lockers and trash receptacles.