Massive Link-Up in Mt. Whitney Group

By Dougald MacDonald ,

The two sharply pointed peaks in the middle are Day (left) and Keeler needles; the bulky peak is Mt. Whitney; Mt. Russell is hidden to the right.Photo courtesy of

Everyone loves Sierra granite, but few love this much in a day. On August 5, Renan Ozturk and Jake Whitaker linked about 8,000 vertical feet of free climbing around Mt. Whitney during an 18-hour car-to-car outing. After the four-mile, 4,000-vertical-foot approach, the two started up Day Needle, where they followed a partially unclimbed line previously attempted solo by Whitaker; the line concluded with an overhanging 5.11a hand crack just below the 14,174-foot summit. Next they downclimbed the East Face (5.7) of 14,495-foot Mt. Whitney, and then climbed back up the Harding Route (V 5.10c) on 14,240-foot Keeler Needle. Going back over Whitney again, they descended and then finished on Western Front (5.10c) on 14,088-foot Mt. Russell. Ozturk and Whitaker climbed with a 100-foot length of a 9.1mm rope and simul-climbed most of the technical terrain. “Jake is a dark horse of the High Sierra, Tuolumne, and Yosemite Valley,” Ozturk said of his partner. The two had never climbed together before their big day in the Sierra.Comment on this story

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