Whitney Peak (13,286) via Fall Creek Trail

Date Climbed: July 1, 2023

Trailhead: Fall Creek TH

Trailhead Access: 2wd carefully driven

It was Kate’s idea to get Whitney peak from the north, which wasn’t already written about in any of the trip reports we studied. The route is mostly trailed, all the way up to pass, and from there is a class 1 ridge walk to the summit. Which, of course, is infamously a 5.6 move up a ridiculous boulder perched atop the summit.

From the Fall Creek TH we followed the Fall Creek trail for several miles. It remained snow free until we reached the split off for the Tuhare trail leading up to Tuhare Lakes. From there we continued on the Fall Creek trail, crossing a stream. In the lower valley the trees thinned out, displaying splotches of snow cover that we were determined to avoid and hence keep our shoes dry.

So we split from the nice trail and did a series of class 2+ moves up and around cliff bands, and maybe a few easy class 3 moves. In doing this we successfully kept our shoes dry… until we reached the upper basin that is.

Quick rest at a lake

Crossing the upper basin was necessary to reach the saddle and gain the ridge. Unfortunately, in true June fashion, it was dotted with marshes that ended up ruining our careful dry-shoe work. Oh well. As Kate says, “It’s kinda freeing when you drench your shoes and no longer have to worry about them getting wet”. Kate’s sister, Libby, and husky Fen were also on the adventure. Fen seemed to care the least about getting his feet wet.

In the upper basin

Once on the pass, the route up the ridge was wide, gradual, and very straightforward. When we crested the top, the giant boulder summit block was evident in the distance. From after it seemed like you could just step up on it, but as we approached the block transformed from child sized to giant sized.

Can you spot the block?

It’s only one 5.6 move to the top, but it’s thin and a tumble might result in a broken something-or-other. There’s nothing quite like an alpine partner’s knee to make an airy summit less scary.

After having our brief moment of fame standing atop the block, we descended back down the way we came up. This time, we chose a different route through the upper basin/marsh. It proved to not be great…and we ended up diverting back to where we had initially ascended up to the basin. However, we did find a somewhat easier route down through the cliff bands that avoided the class 3 and Fen’s loud complaints for having to descend them.

The only other thing of note I have is there were 4 billion mosquitos on the trail back to the parking lot, and 5 billion mosquitos in the parking lot. So don’t forget the bug spray.

All in all this was a great route, but do it later in the season to avoid the snow if desired. Or just get your feet wet.

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