Altitude 14505

Season: Every other Summer
Ideal for: Teens
Location: High Sierra

About Altitude 14,505 (Mt. Whitney)

A Life Changing Trip for Teens ages 15-17

Tentative Dates: Thursday, JULY 25- Tuesday, AUGUST 6 2019*

*(Kings Canyon National Park Backcountry Permit pending until mid-March. Dates may be altered by one to two days on either end).

Dates, Route of Trip, and Participant Requirements

On July 25, up to ten participants will gather at Bearskin Meadow Camp to prepare to embark on a 14,505 foot, 90 mile journey, to the highest peak in the lower 48 states. The group will spend the first one to two days at DYF’s Bearskin Meadow Camp, and then cross the Western Sierra to the Mount Whitney Zone, at which point they will summit to 14,505 feet. The group will return to camp on August 1st, to debrief the trip, and depart on August 6th.

The route of the trip will be determined in late Spring. The trek will be a class 1 or class 2 level defined by walking on maintained trails and hiking over uneven terrain, through brush, and up and around rock bluffs, steep gullies, scree (loose and sandy rock), and talus (broken rock), where the hands may be needed for balance.

Regardless of the route, participants will need a moderate to high level of fitness, stamina, and determination to complete the trip. A “Mount Whitney Physician’s Statement” will need to be completed by the participants verifying a certain level of capability for the trip, and participants will be required to complete a statement of intent (provided in the registration package after your child is registered, before being accepted).

Trip Staff & Emergency Procedures

This trip will have two to three backpacking staff, and one health care professional. These persons are experienced staff with the DYF.

The group will be in satellite phone contact with DYF’s Medical Director or assistant Medical Director. Each night the group will call into the camp to discuss any diabetes or general related health issues, and will have access with their phone to contact emergency services throughout the trip, if needed. The group will also be carrying the SPOT Tracking System (

Registration Instructions and Cost

In order to reserve the participant’s spot a $150 payment is required with the registration. This will not be processed until the participant is formally accepted into the program.

After receiving the complete registration form, DYF will ask each prospective participant to complete a questionnaire upon which suitability for the trip will be determined.

The Mount Whitney trip provides an opportunity for participants to fundraise to reduce their fee. The flat fee for the trip, without fundraising, is $2000. For each dollar raised, the participants gets one dollar off of their camp fee.

If for whatever reason, DYF deems your child unable to participate on the trip your entire fee minus a $50 processing fee will be returned. If you cancel your child’s participation in the trip prior to two weeks before the program, your fee will be returned minus a $150 processing fee. Within a two week time frame, no money will be returned for your child’s cancellation in the program, medical reasons exempted with a verifying doctor’s note. In the event of cancellation all fundraised monies will go into a general scholarship fund to support other camper attendance, or may be rolled to another program.

Participants are expected to provide some of their own backpacking gear including well-fitting hiking boots. Please expect that there will be some external costs to the trip that you and your family may incur due to required gear, although DYF tries to keep these costs to you at a minimum. Much of the equipment needed will be provided by the DYF directly (for example water purification systems, calorie-dense food, cooking gear, and so on) however some backpacking gear will be brought by the participants.

Last, should your child choose to be a part of this program, your child is still able to attend Bearskin Meadow Camp’s Teen Camp and/or Family Camp Sessions.

Final Words

This program is for teens who want to be physically, emotionally, and mentally challenged, and who are ready to work with a tight-knit team in order to succeed. It is also for those who realize that it will truly be the journey of this trip, and not the final-destination, that will be life-changing. The trip will be filled with many challenging moments, and decisions that will be made in the best interest of the group, the fitness level of the participants, and the overall leadership ability of the participants. It is not guaranteed that the group will summit however every attempt will be made to reach the top. While ascending Mount Whitney is not technically difficult, it does require good planning, stamina, and persistence. Please contact the DYF with questions and concerns.

To find out more information about Mount Whitney please visit: