Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.

Mt. Whitney (just to the left of "Mt.") as seen while we ascend Whitney Portal Road

 Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Whitney Portal RideWithGPS page.  Hover over the distance line at the spot you would like to begin a sub-  segment for this climb.  Click your mouse on the start point and drag the vertical graphing line the distance you wish to obtain sub-detail from, then release the  mouse at the end point.  This will give you the following sub-detail for the selected segment in the “Metrics” window top right of the page:  (a) distance, (b) elevation  gained and lost, (c) max grade, (d) average grade (e) that segment's climb category – e.g. Cat 1, HC, etc., and (f) FIETS score for the segment.

Hover cursor over segment slices, below, for exact  grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.

Start(click and drag for 360 degree view; double click to move forward)

Cycling and Climbing the Sierras

Whitney Portal Road, CA

Statistics and Details

  • Distance:                                          11.3 miles

  • Beginning elevation:                       3,804'

  • Ending elevation:                             8,505'

  • Elevation gained:                              4,573'

  • Average Grade:                                8.0%

  • Fiets Index:                                       12.18

  • Location:  Climb begins .6 miles up Whitney Portal Rd from its intersection with Highway 395 ( (36.60186, -118.0738 latitude/longitude), in Lone Pine, CA  236 miles northeast of LAX and 447 miles southeast of San Francisco International Airport.

​​​Ride Description

 Whitney Portal Road is the 13th most difficult climb in the United States (per Fiets Index)  and one of the 9 Top 100 rides that begin in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the  Sierra Nevada mountain range in the central/eastern portion of California.   The first half of  this ride is tame at 5.4% and 1,770' of climbing, while the second half pitches up to 9.0%  with 2,757' gained.  Along the last 3-4 miles of this climb we are treated to incredibly  gorgeous and stark views of the central Sierra Nevada mountain range which continues  on up to Mt Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States at 14,505'.   At the top  of our climb is a beautiful pond and very nice grill and store (Whitney Portal Store and  Hostel).  

 Weather - it can be very, very hot at the start of this climb (temperatures average​ 100  degrees in July, for example).

 Traffic and Roadway report:  The roadway surface is in decent condition but fairly bumpy (as  is seen from the descent video) and does have some ocassional sand/gravel spots at the  upper levels.  There is some fast moving traffic along the lower section, but the traffic seems  lighter and slower as we reach the switchback at mile 7.7 and begin in earnest our climb up  towards the portal.   (note - the road is repaved as of August, 2016).