Whitebark Pass Route Detail

For anyone interested in Whitebark Pass here are a few details of the 'Roper Route' or Sierra High Route and an alternative that I took on the north side. 

This is the view of the approach to the south side of Whitebark Pass. One of the Nydiver Lakes is visible on the right. Ropers description of the two stands of Whitebark Pines was helpful here.

This is the view from the top of the pass looking northeast toward Garnet Lake. The red line is the approximate location of the SHR. He describes the first 100 feet as a "steep defile". Although it is difficult to see in this photo it looked like a very loose, steep and unstable talus chute:  

This is the view from the top of the pass looking northwest. The red line is the alternate route, although it is not all visible in this photo:

It looked like there might be some easy granite benches that almost created a stairway down along the west side of the snowfield. The snowfield drops off in this area and it is probably not safely crossed without crampons and ice axe: 

Below is a zoomed photo of the north side of Whitebark Pass. The SHR route (on the left) and my alternate route (on the right). The numbers 1, 2 and 3 are the three places it was necessary to cross small portions of the snowfield. It did not look safe to cross the larger sections of the snowfield as it was very steep and a slip or fall would be dangerous. I climbed up to the higher sections that provided shorter portions of snow between the rocks. 

It was after 12:00 noon so it was easy to kick steps into the snow. Section 1 was relatively easy, although a slip and fall down the snowfield in this section would lead way down toward the bottom of snowfield (ouch). Sections 2 and 3 were much more steep, but a slide here would only lead a short distance to the rocks nearby. Once past the #3 snow crossing it was easy to find a class II route down to the meadow. I was fine using trail runners and trekking poles. 

I hope this helps. Have fun! 


  1. Thanks for the detailed pictures. I'm planning a hike of this area (and eventually want to do the SHR) and was curious about the difficulty of this pass.

    1. Thanks for your message. Compared to the other passes on the SHR I would rate Whitebark Pass as average with an easier than average approach. Many of the other passes on Roper's route have very long extended talus fields, but this one is easier in that respect and the south side is easy, . . . but the north side does have a very steep section and I would only recommend it to someone with experience negotiating cross country terrain. Have fun!