There was an error with your log in

Confront the crown jewel of California’s Sierra Nevada—the 14,505-foot peak of Mt Whitney. Putting aside the superlatives associated with the highest mountain of the contiguous US, reaching its summit is a beautiful experience that will test your determination and valiance. Starting in the Inyo National Forest, gain 6,200 feet while getting awe-struck by legendary granite ridges, and, finally, reach the summit in the Sequoia National Park. There are three different ways to tackle the climb: crossing an alpine route, finishing a technical climb, or, if you’re a seasoned mountaineer ready to enter the daunting world of alpine climbing, doing a winter ascent.

Book a call
  • Reach the highest peak in the Lower 48, standing at 14,505 ft

  • Daring experience of unspoiled wilderness in two protected areas

  • Crowdless ascent granted by the restrictive permit system

Available itineraries

Mt Whitney Summer Climb Via Mountaineer’s Route

Reaching the iconic summit is mostly done via the famed Mt Whitney Trail Route, but for the real alpine adventure, most people choose the Mountaineer’s Route. Not only does it grant some of the best views of the East Face and other Sierra Nevada peaks, but it also allows for a crowdless ascent. This classic mountaineering route will take you three days to complete and will involve exciting activities such as rock scrambling, cross-country hiking, and even a bit of roped climbing.

  • Your tour begins at 7 am in the town of Lone Pine in the heart of Sierra Nevada. Here you will meet your guide at a predetermined location followed by a gear check. Afterwards you will take a 30-min drive to the Whitney Portal Trailhead. Hiking into the backcountry, you will later establish a camp at an altitude of around 11,000 feet/3,350 meters. During the hike, your guide will hold informal lectures in order to prepare you for the next day’s climb.

    Three alpine climbers on a hike to start the Mountaineer’s Route to Mt Whitney.
  • Your second day in the mountains starts early. You will start climbing the Mountaineer’s Route at around 4 am, approaching Mt Whitney from its northeast side. The route is almost 15 km (9.3 miles) long and will involve rock scrambling, cross-country hiking, and some roped-climbing sections. It will take you up to 8 or more hours to reach the summit where you’ll be able to take in the sprawling views of the incredible alpine scenery. Afterwards, you will descend back to your basecamp, arriving in the late afternoon.
    Please note, this is a best-case scenario. This itinerary is subject to change at the guide’s discretion and is dependent on mountain conditions, group experience/expectations, and other factors that cannot be anticipated.

    View from Sierra Nevada’s Mt Whitney in California.
  • Get the last taste of the mountains in the morning, pack up and start your hike back. You will have returned to the trailhead at 2 pm. Say goodbye to your guide and Sierra Nevada or continue touring on your own.

    A hiker on their way from Mt Whitney back to the trailhead.
Mt Whitney Winter Alpine Climb Via Mountaineer’s Route

If you are a seasoned mountaineer who seeks an experience of alpine climbing in the winter environment, a winter ascent of Mt Whitney is bound to provide you with a solid amount of thrill and challenge. Finishing the Mountaineer’s Route during winter requires a different skill set and will expand your knowledge on things like avalanche awareness, winter climbing techniques, protecting against the cold, ice anchors, running belays, and advanced route finding.

  • Your Mt Whitney winter ascent starts in the town of Lone Pine, where you will meet your guide at a predetermined location and do a gear check. Afterwards you will take a 30-min drive to the Whitney Portal Trailhead. If the road is snowed in, you will park your car at a lower elevation. The first day consists of reaching the Lower Boy Scout Lake (10,348 feet / 3,155 meters) by skiing or snowshoeing and establishing a basecamp there. Your guide will hold informal lectures about the ascent during your journey to the basecamp.

    View of Mount Whitney in the winter.
  • On day 2, your group and your guide will move the basecamp to a higher altitude, possibly Upper Boy Scout Lake (11,339 ft / 3,455 m). Once you’ve done that, the rest of the day will be spent working on the various winter climbing skills. These include avalanche and weather awareness, route finding, winter climbing techniques, protection against the cold—along with technical skills in snow, ice anchors, running belays, quick belay techniques, protecting short pitches, wand placement, advanced route finding, and hazard evaluation. Retire early due to a very early start tomorrow.

    A mountaineer in the mountains near Mt Whitney during winter.
  • The summit day starts early—between 1 and 3 am. You will reach Mt Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route, a whole different experience in the winter that requires the use of crampons and ice axes. Upon reaching the summit, see what winter wonderland looks like in the mountain wilderness of Sierra Nevada. Later, you will return back to the basecamp for a well-deserved rest.
    Please note, this is a best-case scenario. This itinerary is subject to change at the guide’s discretion and is dependent on mountain conditions, group experience/expectations, and other factors that cannot be anticipated.

    A mountaineer on their way to the summit of Mt Whitney during winter.
  • Get a last taste of the mountains, pack up and start your hike back. The fourth day of the tour is reserved for going back to where you started and returning to Lone Pine. Say goodbye to your mountain guide and Sierra Nevada or continue touring on your own.

Mt Whitney Technical Alpine Climb With A Private Guide

If you are an avid rock climber who wants to reach Mt Whitney while getting a 3-day introduction to alpine climbing, this option is for you. You will either get to the summit via the 5.6-graded East Face Route—one of the coveted 50 classic climbs of North America—or via the more demanding 5.8-graded East Buttress Route. They are both equally thrilling and challenging technical climbs—discuss which one would better fit your skills and needs with your guide!

  • Your alpine climbing adventure starts in the town of Lone Pine, where you will meet your guide at a predetermined location and do a gear check. Afterwards you will take a 30-min drive to the Whitney Portal Trailhead. Hiking into the backcountry, you will later establish a camp at altitude of around 11,000 feet/3,350 meters. During the hike, your guide will hold informal lectures in order to prepare you for the next day’s climb.

    Alpine climbers approaching the East Face of Mount Whitney.
  • The second day of your adventure starts at around 4 am. This day you will reach the Mt Whitney Summit following either the East Buttress (graded at 5.8) or the East Face (graded at 5.6) climbing route. The ascent itself will take you up to 6 hours, but after a challenging technical climb, you’ll be rewarded by the best views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Afterwards, you will return back to your basecamp via the Mountaineer’s Route in the late afternoon.
    Please note, this is a best-case scenario. This itinerary is subject to change at the guide’s discretion and is dependent on mountain conditions, group experience/expectations, and other factors that cannot be anticipated.

    An alpine climber approaching the summit of Mt Whitney.
  • Get the last taste of the mountains in the morning, pack up and start your hike back. You will have returned to the trailhead around 2 pm. Say goodbye to your guide and Sierra Nevada or continue touring on your own.

    An alpine climber going back to the trailhead and running on large rock formations with views of Mt Whitney in the distance.
Get free trip brochure
Download Climb the Iconic Mt Whitney Brochure
The brochure contains:
Adventure and location overview, itinerary, available dates, what's included, how to prepare, and much more.
Brochure sent, check your inbox
Talk with us and let one of our adventure experts help you plan your perfect adventure.

Meet your guide

SWS Mountain Guides
5.00
SWS Mountain Guides
SWS Mountain Guides has been in continuous operation since 1981 and is one of the oldest backcountry mountain guiding companies in California. Their quality of instruction and guidance rests in their organizational strength, commitment to safety, and quality of our guides. SWS operate the broadest range of programs in the most venues in California. They lead summer and winter adventures at Mt. Shasta, North Palisade, Temple Crag, The Incredible Hulk, and much more!
5.00 (6 reviews)
SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN!
Theodora Caraway (source: Google Reviews)

I have summited some amazing peaks, but Mt. Whitney has stolen my heart.  From her diverse landscape, to the ever changing appearance of her face each hour of the day; she is a wild beauty not easily put out of your mind.  This Jersey girl hiked/climbed/scrambled-up/slid-down the Mountaineer’s Route, which was both physically and mentally challenging but, incredibly fulfilling.  My guide, Matt M., was confident, extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and I am pretty sure part mountain goat.  Best guide I have ever had, prettiest mountain I have ever been on; if you are considering this hike, I would say DO IT!

Jordan Kowalski (source: Google Reviews)

My guides name was Matt and we were lucky enough to summit Mt. Whitney during the winter.  This was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have done and SWS did a great job throughout the process.  Matt was such a great guide who took the time to educate us.  He was polite, understanding and very helpful throughout the climb, I felt comfortable with him right from the start and look forward to more climbs with both Matt and the SWS team.  Would recommend them to anyone!

Howard Lee (source: Google Reviews)

We used SWS for climb of Mount Whitney via the Mountaineers Route.Tim  M and Spencer D were our guides. SWS prepared us very well for the climb in terms of training, gear, and expectations. They answered all of our questions promptly before the climb. Tim and Spencer made the climb fun, enjoyable, and a great learning experience.  We had complete trust in their capabilities and skills. They were supportive and pushed us at all the right times. It was due to their help and guidance that were were able to summit and return to the trailhead safely. We also enjoyed their company. I would definitely do another trip/climb with SWS and Tim/Spencer again.

Michael Smith (source: Google Reviews)

Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.

Harshikesh Panchal (source: Google Reviews)

Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.

Heather Jackson

Matt made our trip experience for my husbands 40th amazing. A week later I am still in awe of summiting Mount Whitney on the mountaineer route. I never would have thought this would have been possible for me given my health diagnosis in 2020 but Matt made sure we were safe and and capable. I\’ll never forget the smile on my husbands face when we reached the top and we have Matt to thank for that. He was knowledgeable, patient, and knew how to handle our individual needs. Of all the guides we have had over the world, Matt was the best!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 3 or 4 alpine climbing days depending on your chosen itinerary
      • All camping and climbing permits
      • Helmet, harness and group climbing equipment
      • Group camping equipment (tent, stove, water filter)
      • Freeze-dried dinners for the Summer and Winter Ascents
      • Breakfast items for all itineraries
      • Hot drinks

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to and from Lone Pine
      • Transportation to the trailhead (available on request) 
      • Accommodations before and after the trip
      • Porter — available upon request
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • For all three adventures listed above, you need to be in excellent physical shape. 

    For the Technical Alpine Climb, you need to have previous mountaineering experience and experience of multi-pitch rock climbing and climbing at high altitudes. 

    For the Summer Climb, you need to have strong previous hiking and backpacking experience, but no mountaineering experience is necessary. 

    For the Winter Alpine Climb, you need to be a seasoned mountaineer with previous ice axe, crampon, and rope handling skills.

  • For the Technical Alpine Climb, you need to have some alpine climbing experience—more precisely, you need to have previous multi-pitch climbing experience and experience of rock climbing at high altitudes. 

    For the Summer Climb via Mountaineer’s Route, you need to be an avid hiker/backpacker, but no mountaineering experience is required. 

    For the Winter Alpine Climb via Mountaineer’s Route, you need to be a seasoned mountaineer ready for the challenges of alpine climbing. You also need to have basic ice axe, crampon, and rope-handling skills.

  • Here’s a list of equipment that you will need for the Technical Climb:

    Technical climbing equipment:

      • Sit harness (can be provided by your guide)
      • 3 large locking pear-shaped carabiners
      • Rappel/belay device
      • 2 double length nylon runners (36” minimum)

       Camping equipment:

      • Sleeping bag (rated 15 – 30 degrees, can be rented from your guide)
      • Backpack (55-65 L or more)
      • Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or air-filled)
      • Personal tent  (recommended for individual climbers)
      • Small towel
      • 3-one quart/liter wide mouth water containers (a hydration system such as Camelbak can substitute for up to two water containers)
      • Plastic bowl (lightweight) and a spoon
      • Swiss army knife (or small pocket knife)
      • Headlamp (something to stick on your head so it leaves your hands free)
      • Toiletries (hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, insect repellent, toilet paper, wet wipes)
      • Small first-aid kit (include personal medication, Ibuprofen or Naproxen,  bandaids, blister kit)
      • Sunblock (rated to SPF 25+), SPF chapstick

    Clothing:

      • Long pants (light-weight synthetic, no cotton!)
      • T-shirt
      • Light/medium weight synthetic long john top and a long john bottom
      • Lightweight wool or fleece sweater or jacket and a windbreaker (can use a rain jacket)
      • Lightweight wool or fleece gloves
      • Sun hat or visor
      • 2-3 pairs of wool socks and 2-3 pairs of wool/synthetic sock liners
      • Gaiters are required when there is snow en route (when there is no snow we highly recommend low cut scree gaiters, gaiters can be rented)
      • Good hiking boots (designed for hiking rough trails)
      • Rock shoes (can be rented from your guide)
      • Buff, bandana or neck gaiter
      • Sunglasses

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you will need for the Mt Whitney Summer Ascent:

    Camping equipment:

      • Sleeping bag (rated 15 – 30 degrees, can be rented from your guide)
      • Backpack (55-65 L or more)
      • Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or air-filled)
      • Personal tent—recommended for individual climbers
      • Small towel
      • Swiss army knife (or small pocket knife) and a lighter
      • Headlamp (something to stick on your head so it leaves your hands free)
      • 3 1L wide-mouth water containers (a hydration system such as Camelbak can substitute for up to two water containers)
      • Plastic bowl (lightweight) and a spoon
      • Toiletries—hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, insect repellent, toilet paper, wet wipes
      • Small first-aid kit (include personal medication, Ibuprofen or Naproxen, bandaids, blister kit)
      • Sunblock (rated to SPF 25+) and SPF chapstick

    Clothing:

      • Long pants (light-weight synthetic, no cotton!)
      • T-shirts
      • Light/medium weight synthetic long john top and a long john bottom
      • Lightweight wool or fleece sweater or jacket and a windbreaker (can use a rain jacket)
      • Lightweight wool or fleece gloves
      • Sun hat or visor
      • 2-3 pairs of wool socks and 2-3 pairs of wool/synthetic sock liners
      • Gaiters are required when there is snow en route (when there is no snow we highly recommend low cut scree gaiters, gaiters can be rented)
      • Good hiking boots (designed for hiking rough trails)
      • Buff, bandana or neck gaiter
      • Sunglasses
      • Trekking poles—optional

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment equipment you will need for the Winter Ascent: 

    Technical climbing equipment:

      • Sit Harness (this will be provided by your guide, bring your own if you want to!)
      • Personal ice axe and a helmet (this will be provided by your guide, bring your own if you want to!)
      • Ski poles/Trekking poles—recommended (ex. Black Diamond flicklock adjustable poles)
      • Mountaineering boots – modern leather hybrid (ex: LaSportiva Nepal Evo GTX) or plastic double boots (ex: Scarpa Inverno)
      • Snowshoes (can be rented)
      • Crampons—12 point hinged or semi-rigid crampons or (Ex: Black Diamond Sabertooth or contact crampons, can be rented from your guide)

    Camping equipment:

      • Sleeping Bag (rated to 0-10 °F, or -10 to -15 °C)
      • Full-length sleeping pad
      • Internal frame pack (60-80 liter packs)
      • Toiletries—hand sanitizer, sunblock (rated to SPF 25+), chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste, insect repellent, toilet paper, wet wipes
      • Swiss army knife (or small pocket knife), headlamp (something to stick on your head so it leaves your hands free), lighter
      • Nylon stuff sacks for gear organization (enough for all equipment)
      • 3 1-liter, wide-mouth water containers 
      • Swiss army knife or small pocket knife
      • Good quality mountaineering sunglasses with side shields
      • Ski or snowboarding goggles
      • Insulated cup, spoon, small plastic bowl (lightweight)
      • Sunhat
      • Headlamp (Ex: Black Diamond Spot)
      • Small first aid kit with personal medicines
      • Foam ear plugs
      • Sports drink

    Clothing:

      • Synthetic base layer or wool long john top and bottoms (lightweight to mid-weight)
      • Fleece jacket
      • Down jacket (ex. Millet Alpine Down)
      • Extra synthetic top (expedition weight recommended) or fleece sweater, wool shirt, or an equivalent
      • Medium weight synthetic running tights or light fleece pants or synthetic pants
      • Bibs or full-zip Gore Tex pants
      • 3-4 pairs wool or thermal heavyweight socks and liner socks – no cotton
      • Wool or synthetic liner gloves (Ex: Black Diamond liner gloves)
      • Wool or pile hat (a lightweight balaclava is a very good idea for sleeping comfort)
      • Buff, bandana or neck gaiter

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season.

  • Yes! Porters are available per request, but you need to let us know in advance.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • The usual client-to-guide for the Summer Ascent is 4:1. Max. client-to-guide ratio for the Technical Climb is 2:1 and 3:1 for the Winter Alpine Climbing. 
      • The cost per person for the Technical Climb decreases as the group grows.. 
      • For the Summer Ascent via Mountaineer’s Route and the Winter Ascent, the cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

    Alpine climbing on Mt Whitney can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Lone Pine,where your adventure starts, most people fly into Los Angeles International Airport, just over 3 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, usually at the guide shop in Lone Pine, CA. Once you meet, you can discuss transportation to the trailhead. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, please refer to the official website of the Government of California.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you’ll be the first one to know. Pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know once the dates are live—don’t risk missing out on your bucket list adventure!
      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the set dates for the following season are live, you can confirm your booking by the end of this year by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.
      • Once the trip has been confirmed, the regular cancellation policy applies.

    For set dates, a 50% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a refund of 40% of the total price.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
From $1,595 ()
/ 3 days
Saved to bucket list
Removed from bucket list

Choose a currency

  • USD - $
    US Dollar
  • EUR - €
    Euro
  • AUD - AU$
    Australian Dollar
  • CAD - CA$
    Canadian Dollar
  • GBP - £
    British Pound Sterling
  • CHF - CHF
    Swiss Franc
  • JPY - ¥
    Japanese Yen
  • SGD - S$
    Singapore Dollar
  • HKD - HK$
    Hong Kong Dollar
  • DKK - Dkr
    Danish Krone
  • NOK - Nkr
    Norwegian Krone
  • SEK - Skr
    Swedish Krona