Whitney Peak - East Ridge

Difficulty:  Difficult Class 2 
Upper Elevation: 13,271 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 9,100 feet
Elevation Gain:4,200 feet
Round-trip Length: 9.5 miles
Trailhead: Whitney Lake
Author: BillMiddlebrook
Route Added: 08/01/2012
Last Updated: 08/01/2012
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From Minturn, drive approx. 11 miles south on Highway 24 OR from Leadville, drive approx. 19 miles north on Highway 24. Turn west onto Homestake Road (dirt, #703). Drive 4.5 miles to reach the trailhead, which is easy to miss. There’s parking on the east side of the road.


From the Homestake Road, start up the trail - Photo #1 and Photo #2. Continue on the excellent trail (Photo #3 and Photo #4) for approx. 2.75 miles to reach Herman Lake at 10,960’ - Photo #5. Your next goal is to reach the crest of the east ridge, without a trail. From the lake, walk back on the trail a few yards, leave the trail and begin bushwacking south/southeast up through the thick forest. After approx. 0.1 mile you’ll reach easier terrain on the east ridge. Turn right and continue west and then northwest up the ridge to reach tree line, near 11,800’ - Photo #6. It’s important to note that the hike between Herman Lake and tree line is heavily-forested and requires some route-finding.

With the trees behind you, you’re now faced with the talus-covered, upper east ridge - Photo #7. Climb directly up the steep talus or swing slightly left (west) before climbing north to the top - Photo #8. Expect some Difficult Class 2 rock-hopping (Photo #9) before reaching the top of the ridge, near 13,200’ - Photo #10. Continue west (Photo #11) past a false summit to see the summit, nearly 0.25 away - Photo #12. Walk west across the summit plateau to reach the true summit - Photo #13 and Photo #14. On your way back, there’s an interesting block to climb on the east end of the summit plateau - Photo #15.




Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15