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Miter Basin. NB or SB?

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Miter Basin. NB or SB?

Postby oleander » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:52 pm


We're planning a first trip through the Miter Basin. Trying to get some info in order to decide between doing it northbound vs. southbound.

The route (if southbound):

North Fork Lone Pine Creek (start of Whitney mountaineers' route)
Whitney-Russell Col
Arctic Lake
Discovery Pinnacle
Upper Crabtree Lake
Crabtree Pass
Miter Basin
(Mt. Langley - maybe)
Fast exit via Cottonwood or New Army Pass

The nastiest stretch of this route is said to be that between Discovery Pinnacle and Upper Crabtree Lake. We've been advised that this is more easily done southbound, as we can just plow downhill through the scree. My question is: How, exactly, bad is this section if instead we decide to go northbound/uphill instead? Is it just a long scree slog? Is it I Will Never Do This Ever Again horrible? Is there any navigation challenge?

It is also said that the Ebersbacher Ledges (along the whitney mountaineers' route) are easier to go up than to go down. How difficult are we talking about? We are comfortable on class 2 and your basic class 3; if we had to negotiate this downhill, it would be very end of trip and our packs would be very light (they are light to start with).

Both the scree slog below Discovery Pinnacle, and the Ebersbacher ledges, are easier going southbound. So why not just go southbound? Because southbound, we'd have to carry a Whitney Zone wag bag from day 1. Yes, that means carrying our poop for a week. :eek: Northbound, we wouldn't have to pull out that Wag Bag till our last day or two out, when we enter the Zone.

- Elizabeth

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Re: Miter Basin. NB or SB?

Postby BrianF » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:22 pm

I have been up and down the Ebersbacher ledges a number of times years ago, never found it to be particularly challenging in either direction. There is some exposure in places but it is not technical
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Miter Basin. NB or SB?

Postby sparky » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:23 pm

Its just a slog....but not that long. Still its crappy I would rather go down than up. You can indeed sail down in no time. The lower crabtree lakes are worth a visit in my opinion if you havnt been there.....enjoy the views.

Edit: oh yeah wag bag go northbound....lol it isnt thaaat bad :-)
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Re: Miter Basin. NB or SB?

Postby Jim F » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:55 pm

Hi Elizabeth,

Going up or down the E Ledges is easy, provided you do not get off route (which is not uncommon the first time up the North Fork).

From the North Fork, it is often easier and quicker to get to Arctic Lake by going over Sakai Col, as opposed to Whitney-Russell Col.

If you really want to experience the Crabtree Lakes, consider heading from Arctic Lake to Timberline Lake. From the perch on the rocks on the SW shore of Timberline, stay just below the 11200' contour and wrap around Mt Hitcock until you either hit the trail or the lowest Crabtree Lake. Then follow the chain of Lakes to Crabtree Pass.

For me the most efficient way to go from Discovery Pinnacle to Crabtree Pass (or vice versa) is to not drop down to the highest Crabtree Lake. Rather stay high and traverse below Mt McAdie.

The Miter Basin is an awesome.

Go for it!

Jim F
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