Once on top of Crabtree Pass we had some vistas to partake. Looking back down from whence we came we could see Lake 12129, a good swath of the Miter Basin, Cirque Peak, and most of the bulk of Mt. Langley, with only the actual summit obscured due to our location. Looking west from the high point in the middle of the saddle (which I had climbed from the south side, finding an easy way up) you could see Upper Crabtree Lake, the Dreaded Sand Hill, Discovery Pinnacle, the flank of Mt Chamberlin, and peak 12946. As we sat atop the pass we ate our lunch and came to a consensus of which way were were going to go about making our way up to Discovery Pinnacle from where we were currently. Before we left for the trip we knew there were pretty much two options to get to where we wanted to go. Both options were less than great, but doable. Option one was the most talked about that we had seen and that was to descend Crabtree Pass to upper Crabtree Lake, goto the west end of the lake, then trudge up the sand hill to Discovery Pinnacle. The other option was to try and stay level-ish with Crabtree Pass and then head around the cirque, up through the cliff bands, and then angle up the slope to make your way to Discovery Pinnacle. While we were ruminating a couple of fast packers came up and chatted for a minute. They had a similar goal, but from the look of things they were going to drop down to the lake and take the long way up. We watched them descend and when they made it to the large snow patch on the north side of Upper Crabtree Lake - one went through the patch, the other decided to go up, over and around.
Looking down to lake 12129 and Cirque Peak from the top of Crabtree Pass
Westward view from atop Crabtree Pass with Upper Crabtree Lake
Looking across to the cliff bands and Discovery Pinnacle
We donned our packs and made our way towards our selected route, through the cliff bands and up. We tried hard to not give up too much elevation, ultimately only losing about 200’ of elevation from the pass until the point where we began to ascend through the cliff bands. It was a lot of boulder hopping, with some scree thrown in for giggles here and there until we reached our low point. Gotta love when the large refrigerator sized boulder your (much slimmer) hiking partner just skipped across shifts when you put your full weight on it, forcing some quick footwork to hop to stable ground and not get ones leg crushed. With that section done it was up and down what looked like small gravel bars from across the way, but ended up being small ridgelines, until we hit our desired start point where we would begin head up through the cliff bands. Once directly below the cliff bands the going looked much easier than it had from a distance, which usually ends up being the case most of the time. We made our way through the first cliff band heading mostly due west until we came to the bottom of the snow patch. From this point we changed directions and headed north east up the hill until we reached our next landmark, another patch of snow, where we once again changed directions and headed north west until right about 13200’ of elevation where we headed due west to the shoulder of the ridgeline the last of the steep stuff. We stopped for a few minutes at this point to catch our breath and orient ourselves towards our next landmark, Discovery Pinnacle. We were at the “easy” part of the sand hill, but still with the elevation, scree and sand it still took a while to transit to the ridgeline east of Discovery Pinnacle. Three hours after starting from Crabtree Pass we were finally on top of the ridgeline of Discovery Pinnacle, and we could see the Main Mt. Whitney Trail below. We quickly found a use path down to the main trail and slid down the hill to the main trail.
Closer to the cliff bands after losing a little bit of elevation
Finally through the cliff bands and looking back from where we started a couple of hours earlier
Resting on the ridge above the main trail looking to where we were headed