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Feasibility of Whitney X-country from Wallace/Wales Lakes Ba

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:45 pm
by nhrpolitic13
I have posted a request for information concerning this route over on WhitneyPortalStore, but in the hope of reaching a wider base I though I would ask here as well; my apologies in advance to the moderators if this is frowned upon...

With that said, I'm currently planning a two-week loop from Cedar Grove to Whitney via Sphinx Lakes, Cloud Canyon, Kaweah Basin, and over to Whitney, probably returning via JMT or LSA Basin/East Creek (depending on how pressed for time we are on our return leg).

I've read great reports on the Wales/Wallace Lakes basin, and would certainly like to avoid the crowds at Crabtree, Trail Crest, etc. if I can; if it's a feasible location to base out of, I'd love to be able to set up camp at Wallace or Wales and then go for the summit from there (I presume it would be a long day out and back, if it's possible). Secor describes Whitney's west face as "class 2," so I imagine that it's more of a route-finding issue once headed up Whitney, however, I haven't been able to determine whether crossing out of the back of Wales basin on the approach to the West face (or crossing back in on the way back) is feasible (as I'm still waiting for the 7.5' maps I ordered from USGS to arrive, I haven't yet had a look at a highly detailed topo).

I haven't turned up any discussion of such a route here or elsewhere, so I'm somewhat skeptical, but before conceding to the inevitability of the standard route I thought I would ask whether anyone here give advice or commentary on the feasibility/route from Wales/Wallace to Whitney Summit (and return) via Whitney's west face? [Level 4 hiker (comfortable with cross-country, Class 3 terrain)].

Thanks all!

Re: Feasibility of Whitney X-country from Wallace/Wales Lakes Ba

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:45 pm
by maverick
Hi nhrpolitics13,

Welcome to HST! Here is the link to out HST Map of that area including the
passes that can be used to get too Whitney's west face route: HST Map
Russell-Carillion Pass is a class 2-3 with a lot of scree, and then you have to
cross over Whitney-Russell Pass to get to your starting point which would be
a very round about way, and the JMT would be much faster. You cannot gain
access to this area from anywhere west of Mount Russell to the JMT without
technical climbing,being involved.
The only other faster option would be use RC pass and ascend the class 3
Mountaineer's Route described well here: http://www.summitpost.org/mountaineer-s/155528
It is a fun route if your comfy with class 3 routes though easier with snow as
opposed to scree.

Re: Feasibility of Whitney X-country from Wallace/Wales Lakes Ba

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:56 pm
by quentinc
That would be a very, very long day. I did Russell from Wales Lake and I didn't get back until about 9:30 p.m. Factor in a 2 hour "side trip" (aka, wrong turn), and it's still a full day. And the top of Whitney is a lot further away than the top of Russell.

Re: Feasibility of Whitney X-country from Wallace/Wales Lakes Ba

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:13 am
by Hobbes
nhrpolitic13 wrote:I'd love to be able to set up camp at Wallace or Wales and then go for the Whitney summit from there.


Dr Dirtbag just set a Calif 14er speed record. One of his legs involved Langley to Williamson. He describes, in reverse, the exact route you are considering from Wales/Wallace:

http://drdirtbag.wordpress.com/2012/08/ ... ord-62h3m/

Here's his route map:



PS I was pleased to see that even Dr Dirtbag took the long way around from Langley to Crabtree to Whitney. I figure if he didn't walk along the ridge, then it's probably not a very good idea for mere mortals.

As for the route Maverick describes above, this trip report was posted @ BPL earlier this year by a person who went over R-C, then up the MR:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... d_id=61209

Re: Feasibility of Whitney X-country from Wallace/Wales Lakes Ba

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:30 am
by nhrpolitic13
Thanks all -- the information is much appreciated!