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Summary

A huge and picturesque mountain visible for miles along hwy 395, Lone Pine Peak has at times been mistaken for Mt Whitney (which it screens, especially when coming from the south).

Description

Although the North Ridge is by far the most popular route on the mountain, all three ridges offer excellent alpine adventures. All three ridges have also received winter ascents, although they become far more serious undertakings in winter conditions. The south face also hosts one of the largest single cliff faces in the Sierra Nevada.

Because of its favourable position looming over the Alabama Hills, Lone Pine Peak appears often in popular culture, from numerous advertisements to famous landscape photos (including the default background for macOS Sierra).

From the summit, the regular descent is directly off the back (approximately towards Mt Mallory), across the broad sandy summit plateau, and then as the ridge starts to narrow, keep a lookout for cairns on the right (northern) side of the ridge. These traverse the top of the north-facing slope and eventually head down the second gully (the first ends up in hanging cliffs - be especially careful if descending at night), which involves descending a long boulder / scree field towards Grass Lake. Near Grass Lake join the obvious Meysan Lakes trail back to Whitney Portal (the hike is 2-3 hours from this point).

Access issues

Wilderness permits (available from the Mt Whitney Ranger Station in Lone Pine) are required for any/all overnight stays.

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Routes

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Grade Route

The northern-most (right hand, facing the mountain) of the 3 mighty ridge-lines that sweep down from the summit of Lone Pine Peak into the Owen's River Valley 7000' below.

Only a short top section of the ridge is commonly done, after hiking up the Meysan Lakes trail from Whitney Portal and traversing onto the ridge at around 11,000' ASL. This route can also be done from the valley floor however, turning it into a 7,000' grade VI alpine monster like its siblings to the left.

FA: Art Lembeck & Ray Van Aken, 1952

The middle of the 3 major ridges. Several thousand feet of scree down low leads to mostly 3rd and 4th class rock on the ridge itself, with some mandatory low 5th class pitches, including 2 pitches of unprotectable decomposing gritty slabs fairly early on, immediately after a prominent notch. Up higher the easiest terrain is found on the right hand side of the ridge, which eventually leads to the exit gully (the right, less steep of the two obvious gullies).

People can and do complete the route in a single behemoth push, but most ascents take 2 full days (in addition to being over 7,000' tall, the ridge is almost 3 miles long). There's a good midway bivy spot on a major ledge system at around half height - this is about the last relatively good place to bivy on the route.

FA: Phil Warrender & Gary Valle, 1982

The southern-most (left hand, when facing the mountain) of the 3 major ridges. Mostly 4th class until a slabby traverse right into a gully near the top.

FA: David Krueger, 1980

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South Face cliff
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3300ft

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