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About the Mountain


As the highest summit in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney (14,505 ft) earns a place on most North American climbers’ bucket lists. Thanks to its overwhelming popularity, it can be a challenge to secure climbing permits, especially if you want to camp on the mountain for a two-day summit attempt. But the experience of standing at the top of this majestic peak in the Sierra Nevada is worth planning in advance and entering the lottery for a less popular day (late season, mid-week). Just be sure to train and prepare yourself. Out of 30,000 people that attempt Mount Whitney every year, only 10,000 succeed, largely due to fitness and altitude challenges. For a better chance of success, plan a night on the mountain at Trail Camp (12,000 ft), Consultation Lake (12,000 ft), Outpost Camp (10,400 ft), or Lone Pine Lake (9,900 ft).

“Most people climb Mt. Whitney because it is the highest peak in the contiguous United States those bragging rights do not come easy.”

- Chris Marks

Mount Whitney is uniquely situated close to the lowest point in North America, which is in Death Valley. Each year, daring ultra-runners take on the journey from Badwater Basin (-279 ft) to Whitney Portal (8,374 ft) on foot, crossing 135 miles of jagged terrain in the process. Some adventure purists even continue the journey up to Mount Whitney’s summit after, having secured permits in advance. For a different kind of challenge, you can take on the East Face of Mount Whitney if you have technical rock climbing experience. It’s considered one of the ’50 Classic Climbs of North America’.

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