Flying and climbing Mt. Whitney means being able to do it in a weekend, where usually it can take 3 or 4 days. We flew to Lone Pine and rented a car from a car repair shop in town, Lindsey Automotive. He charges $20 to drop off the car at the airport, and he asked if that was OK. I explained I was so thankful that someone actually rents cars in Lone Pine and will even have one waiting at the airport, I didn’t mind at all.
If you are really on a budget or if you are going to be away for multiple days, you could probably ride a bike the few miles into town, stay at the hostel and take a shuttle or get a ride up to the mountain. Here are some shuttles that were listed in a climber’s guide: John Pennington (Lone Pine) (760) 876-4545 Dave Sheldon (Lone Pine) (760) 876-8232.
My 17 year old daughter had hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney and had taken the Mountaineer’s route, but she wanted to also do the East Face route, a technical route that is also one of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America”. We flew in Saturday mid-morning, picked up our permit and had an early dinner. We got up at 1:00 am and got on the trail at Whitney Portal at around 2:00 am. We hiked up the North Fork trail and got to the towering east face of Whitney around 8:00 am to rope up and start the climb. The climb went well and we had a fantastic time. The way down wasn’t so fantastic, as we were exhausted and just wanted to get down to Lone Pine before they stopped serving dinner at the Lone Pine diner. We really had not planned on hiking out in the dark, but we had to get the head lamps out again and just keep moving. We made it, had dinner about 9:00 pm, and fell into bed. We were up early to fly back home in time for school and work on Monday morning. Not sure how productive we all were on Monday, but we made it.