Iceberg Lake (Mt Whitney) on skis

From CACWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Skinning up the Whitney Portal road

Due to the huge amount of snow and a recent rock fall, the road towards Whitney portal was closed at about 6500ft. But thanks to the great snow conditions we could start skinning directly from that point at around 9am. Even down at ~7000ft there was some powder in the northern aspects - makes appetite for what comes higher up.

From Whitney Portal we followed the North Fork Pine Creek on its left (northern) side, because the southern faces already started to soften up and we didn’t want to be in potential wet avalanche terrain. However, if possible I would recommend to follow the Mt Whitney Trail for a bit longer before following the creek. For us this little section between the camp ground at Whitney Portal and pt 9200 was very tiring due to the willows and bushes in the creek. Further up we followed the North Fork Pine Creek to Lower Boy Scout Lake (as indicated by the trail), which fortunately did not soft up too much in the sun, as it became shadowy early in the afternoon. We camped at the Lower Boy Scout Lake, from where we started at 5.30am up to Mt. Whitney the next day.

The directions were easy to find following the mountaineers route. The only little difficulty we faced were some wind snow slabs above Upper Boy Scout Lake btw. 11400-11600ft, which we wanted to avoid. So we decided to climb over the little rocky ridge instead of crossing this cushion. Approaching the last slope to get to Iceberg Lake we booted up the first snowy couloir, which ended up being a very nice downhill skiing option at an angle of about 42°. However, as we were told later, the second and third couloirs are usually the standard route.

Unfortunately the sunny and warm conditions forced us to turn around before reaching the summit. But just being in this impressive „amphitheater“ on the foot of Mt Whitney, Keeler Needle and friends was wonderful.

Skiing up the North Fork Pine Creek
Early morning at Upper Boy Scout Lake
Booting up the last bit to Iceberg Lake
The Couloir of Mountaineer's Route leading to the summit.