East Face (Mount Whitney)

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East Face of Mount Whitney
East Face Mount Whitney.jpg
East Face of Mount Whitney seen from the Whitney Portal.
Location High Sierra, California, United States
Coordinates 36°34′43″N 118°17′35″W / 36.57860°N 118.293°W / 36.57860; -118.293
Climbing Area Mount Whitney
Route Type Trad/Alpine
Vertical Gain 1,000 feet
Pitches 13
Rating 5.7
Grade III
First ascent Robert L. M. Underhill, Glen Dawson, Jules Eichorn, & Norman Clyde, 1931.
photo of climbers
Photo of Jules Eichorn, Norman Clyde, Robert L. M. Underhill and Glen Dawson taken the day after the first ascent.

The East Face of Mount Whitney is a technical alpine rock climbing route[1] and is featured in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.[2] Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States.

The first ascent was on August 16, 1931, by Robert L. M. Underhill of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and Sierra Club climbers Norman Clyde, Jules Eichorn and Glen Dawson.[3] By the standards of climbing in California at that time, the route was considered very exposed, especially the famous Fresh Air Traverse.[4] Steve Roper called this route "one of the classic routes of the Sierra, partly because of its spectacular location and partly because it was the first really big wall to be climbed in the range".[5] Porcella & Burns wrote that "the climb heralded a new standard of technical competence in Californian rock climbing".[6] Underhill himself commented that "the beauty of the climb lies chiefly in its unexpected possibility, up the apparent precipice, and in the intimate contact it affords with the features that lend Mount Whitney its real impressiveness".[7]


  1. ^ High Sierra Climbing, by Chris McNamara, Supertopo LLC, 1st Edition, March 2004 ISBN 0-9672391-8-4
  2. ^ Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. pp. 277–281. ISBN 0-87156-292-8. 
  3. ^ Roper, Steve (2008). "The Whitney Region". Above All: Mount Whitney + California's Highest Peaks. photographs by David Stark Wilson. Berkeley: Yosemite Association and Heyday Books. ISBN 978-1-59714-107-9. 
  4. ^ Croft, Peter; Wynne Benti (2008). "Chapter 1". Climbing Mt. Whitney: The Complete Hiking & Climbing Guide (3rd ed.). Bishop, CA: Spotted Dog Press. pp. 99–104. ISBN 1-893343-14-6. 
  5. ^ Roper, Steve, The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra (San Francisco, Sierra Club Books, 1976) ISBN 0-87156-147-6
  6. ^ Porcella, Stephen P. & Burns, Cameron M., Climbing California's Fourteeners: 183 Routes to the Fifteen Highest Peaks (The Mountaineers, Seattle, 1998) ISBN 0-89886-555-7,
  7. ^ Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. ISBN 0-87156-292-8.  page 279

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