Mt Whitney Portal Store: A Hikers Paradise

Last weekend we had the opportunity to travel up to Lone Pine and hike Mt. Whitney. While preparing for that epic hike we spent a couple of nights camping to let our bodies acclimate. One of those nights was spent at the Whitney Portal where the awesome Mt Whitney Portal Store resides. This post is simply to show my appreciation for how awesome the food, people and products are at the Whitney Portal Store, while letting others know what they have in store for them before they get there.

Breakfast (Pancakes Bigger Then You Have Ever Seen)

On the day of our hike we decided to get a nice carb filled meal before we set out on the mountain. Having heard stories of how big their pancakes were, my group of three decided to split the meal that included one pancake, 3 eggs and 5 pieces of bacon, all for $8.95. Now even with three people we were not able to finish this entire meal. The pancake itself had to be brought out on two plates and you can see the size based on my friend Zac’s hand below. It was the largest pancake I have ever seen.

Not only was the pancake big, but it was also really good. The chef told me that he has to make the batter individually for each pancake since they use so much. Also, he said he puts in vanilla and cinnamon in it, and the cinnamon was a great addition that you could really taste. We were all huge fans of this meal and couldn’t believe how much food we got for $8.95.

Dinner (Burgers and Beer)

Not to be outdone by the amazing breakfast, the Portal Store also has six different burgers ranging from chicken and beef to veggie burgers and BLT’s. Their selection of beer is what initially caught my eye though. They stock three different kinds of beer from Stone Brewing Company, one of my personal favorites in Southern California. When I finished summiting Mt Whitney my next checkpoint was making it down to the Portal Store so I could have a burger and a beer.

I, of course, got the burger and it was great. Zac decided on the chicken sandwich, that he also enjoyed; while Amie had the veggie burger that she liked as well. Dinner was a lot more expensive then breakfast with a burger and fries running around $9 and the beer around $4, but to have this kind of meal 50 feet from the Mt Whitney trail exit, it is priceless.

The Store

After all this talk of food you may think that the store doesn’t have much to offer, but that is false as well. The store is a great resource for the hiker with everything you could have forgotten, all at non exorbitant prices.

Their products range from micro spikes to deodorant and everything in between. I was surprised by how well everything was priced also. Normally places like this try to rip you off, but this was not the case here. They have a great section of rentals as well if you forget your bear box or back pack.

Lastly, when you come down from completing your Mt Whitney summit, they have a wide range of souvenirs you can take home. Amie gravitated to a “I climbed Mt Whitney” shirt, Zac to a magnet and a map and I myself picked up a couple pins of the survey marker for my backpack. They also have the traditional stuff like picture frames and stickers.

All in all the Whitney Portal Store is a diamond in the rough. It is one of those places that has good food, cheap souvenirs, hiking supplies and friendly workers… wait, do places like that exist? I guess at least one does. Anyways, I love this store and it is a great stop on your trip up Mt Whitney. Check out the rest of the photos and leave me a comment below.

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  • Lorraine

    What are the hours of the Whitney portal store? We will be hiking the mountain in one day so it will be very early when we start and probably very late when we return. Thanks!

  • Kirk Anderson

    I actually worked at the Whitney Portal Store back in 1978 and 1979. I decided to get out of Los Angeles. A friend of mine told me about Lone Pine. I came up here and visited the store. I had a little money saved up so I just kicked back and relaxed for the entire summer. That was when Jerry Kisker and his girlfriend, Jan (Gabby) owned the place. I met them, became friends with them and they asked if I wanted to help around the place.
    I loved it! In exchange for working the counter and cleaning up, etc. I got free room and board. I climbed Mt. Whitney, signed the guest book, etc. Wow, 1978! 38 years ago. I was 29 years old at the time. Seems like a couple of lifetimes ago. Jerry and Jan sold the place a few years later and went to Vegas. They started their own business – they took care of large parties, from the food to the tables, to everything. Lost touch with them. They were really nice to me.
    I really miss those days. So carefree. No worries at the time. Just had so much fun! The store looks completely different. I almost don’t recognize it! There was a flat piece of ground in back of the store. I pitched a big tent and that’s where I stayed. I loved it. You could look up at night and swear you could just pluck a star right out of the sky.
    Funny story about reaching the top of Mt. Whitney. Someone had a $20 walkie-Talkie (a cheapie). He turned it on and started calling out to anyone who could hear him. Some guy from Texas answered. Texas! On a cheap walkie-talkie. The guy from Texas (a truck driver) couldn’t believe where we were calling from. He thought we were pulling his leg. LOL. He also managed to get hold of someone in, if I remember correctly, somewhere like Kansas, or some silly place like that. Because we were do high up, there was no interference – the radio wave just traveled and traveled and traveled!
    Rebecca Lyn M., if you read this, I sincerely hope you are safe and healthy and happy! Bless you.
    Kirk 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Kirk, that is a really fun story to share. I always love hearing about people’s personal histories with these unique places!