Sequoia National Park High Point Trip Report

Mount Whitney (14,494 ft)

Date: August 12, 1993
Author: Ron Tagliapietra

Drive 13 miles west from the traffic light on US 395 in Lone Pine. The road ends at Whitney Portal, and the trail begins behind the wilderness display east of the Portal Store. The trail climbs 6,133 feet in 10.5 miles from the trailhead elevation of 8361 feet. Both campsites (Outpost Camp at mile 3.5 at 10,365 feet and Trail Camp at mile 6 at 12,039 feet) require reservations:

Mount Whitney Ranger District
PO Box 8
Lone Pine, CA 93545

Our application was returned because I had not written separate checks for the reservation and the guide booklet. Be sure to obtain information in January, follow all the rules, and get your application in on March 1. They have so many applicants, they rule out applications on any hitch they can find.

In spite of the bureaucracy, the good news is that we still got a campsite by inquiring when we arrived. I do not whether the site we got was a reservation cancellation, a no-show, or a site retained for first comers separate from the reservation pool. The lesson is apply early and correctly, but don't give up if that fails.

Many prefer to day hike to avoid the campsite mess.

Beyond the campsites, you enter Sequoia NP at Trail Crest (13,000 feet) at mile 8.2 and reach the junction with the John Muir Trail a half-mile later at 13,480 feet. Beyond that you hike past pinnacles with spectacular views through the intervening windows before reaching the summit plateau.

We climbed in August so that there would be no more snow on the trail and reached the summit on 8-12-93. There is a plaque on the top beyond the small weather cabin. Those contemplating climbs are well-advised by the national forest to read the booklet Climbing Mt. Whitney by Wheelock and Condon. The book is well worth the price since it contains much info, advice, background, bibliography, maps, and especially a topo of the route.