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#1028529 - 07/26/11 12:34 PM [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011
off_the_hook Offline

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 13445
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon

Date: 7/23/2011

Trip Report:
A 50 mile adventure run up Cloud Canyon and Big Wet Meadows to climb Whaleback, one of the most remote spots in the High Sierra. We started at 2:35 am and reached the summit just before 10 am. After 45 minutes on the summit, the return trip took virtually the same amount of time, finishing at 6:05 pm for a 15:30 roundtrip.

Weather and trail conditions were pleasant for a night run and we made good time to Big Wet Meadows arriving around 6:50 am. Trail crews had logged out over 95 trees large trees along the way - thanks! The reflection of Whaleback in the meadows was spectacular. The meadows were largely flooded with several wet crossings creating cold feet in the morning. The trail up towards Colby Lake was snow-free and we departed cross-country once the small canyon flattened out and the trail turned up toward the lake. The climb up the East Face of Whaleback was more complex than I had imagined with several small cliff bands to navigate through to keep it third class. The general idea was to go climbers left at first and then make a rising rightward traverse to the ridge crest of Whaleback. Once on the ridge crest a short scramble brought us to the summit with fantastic views including Cloud Canyon, the Great Western Divide, Triple Divide Peak, and Glacier Ridge. On the way down we made several stops to photograph the gorgeous scenery. After Big Wet Meadows, it's basically a 22 mile slog back to the TH. From an endurance standpoint this was a challenging outing due to the 2,500 climb out of Sugarloaf back to Marvin Pass, most of which coming from miles 44 through 47 of the 50 mile roundtrip.

Morning reflections at Big Wet Meadow

View from Big Wet Meadow

View of Cloud Canyon from the summit of Whaleback

Many stream crossings

Early light on Whaleback

Glacier Ridge summit

Less than 50 people have signed the summit register placed in 1979.

Big Wet Meadow from Whaleback

From L to R: North Guard, Mount Brewer, South Guard

Thunder Mountain

Midway Mountain and Milestone Mountain

Great Western Divide

Shorty's Cabin: Part of a series of cabins built by fur trapper Joseph Walter ("Shorty") Lovelace between 1910 & 1940. He was the first Caucasian to reside in upper Kings Canyon region on a long-term, year-round basis.

Great Western Divide Panorama

Glacier Ridge Panorama

Gear Notes:
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles (amazingly lightweight and foldable poles); Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack; First Endurance EFS drink mix and liquid shots; First Endurance Ultragen for recovery

Approach Notes:
Start at Marvin Pass TH; 22 miles to Big Wet Meadows and another 2.5 miles toward Colby Lake before turning off for the climb

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#1028558 - 07/26/11 04:41 PM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
swezeyt Offline

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 25
TRs: 6 Photos: 66
Loc: Bellingham, Wa
That is incredible!

#1028568 - 07/26/11 07:45 PM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
pink Offline

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 8410
TRs: 1 Photos: 364

#1029177 - 07/30/11 08:45 PM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
silence Offline

Registered: 08/23/06
Posts: 43
TRs: 0 Photos: 3
the word awesome just doesn't seem to cover it ... you keep blowing me away .. killer scenery too ..

btw .. i finally made the connection that you are the same guy who passed us on the trail as we were heading up when you did olympus in a day ..

Edited by silence (07/30/11 08:52 PM)

#1029192 - 07/31/11 07:06 AM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
stevetimetravlr Offline

Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 1672
TRs: 2 Photos: 236
Loc: Washington
Wow. You guys whaled on it. Nice.

#1029434 - 08/02/11 04:04 PM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
Dan_Miller Offline
addicted to

Registered: 01/29/06
Posts: 445
TRs: 0 Photos: 1
Loc: Seattle/Heronwood
Mr. Pantilat. All I want to know is if your billable hours quotas are where they're supposed to be?

Another good job on as you've told us, a quite remote Sierra Peak.
'What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above.'

Rene Daumal

#1029575 - 08/03/11 10:10 PM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: Dan_Miller]
catbirdseat Offline
Elite Sprayforce Team

Registered: 10/09/02
Posts: 13216
TRs: 46 Photos: 144
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
We were planning on going to Cloud Canyon in September. I'd read in a guide book that the place feels haunted. Did you get that feeling you were being watched while you were there?
You don't do an encore if you just played Mahler.

#1030285 - 08/10/11 10:25 AM Re: [TR] Whaleback - East Face via Cloud Canyon 7/23/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
ryanhuetter Offline

Registered: 10/21/07
Posts: 58
TRs: 2 Photos: 3
SICK! I was just hiking below the Whaleback about 6 days ago after 3 weeks in SEKI. Good on ya.


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