I've signed up with International Mountain Guides to climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route.
Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the continental U.S. Standing 14,505 ft. it is only 94 feet higher than Mt. Rainier. The Mountaineer's Route is a scramble in the summer, but a snow climb in the winter and spring with some slopes up to 45 degrees.
You might be wondering why I would use a guide service for a domestic climb on a such a popular mountain. Two reasons: 1) logistics/reliability of scheduling - last year I tried to put together a group of folks to climb Whitney and failed due to people unable to commit and dropping out and the difficulty and luck involved in getting a permit, and 2) the route - the Mountaineers Route in early spring offers climb more like Rainier than the typically crowded Whitney Trial hiking trial. Using a guide service gives a fixed date and allows me to explore a more advanced route.
I've opted for the Apr 2-5, 2011 trip led by Kurt Wedberg of Sierra Mountaineering International and there will be 9 climbers and 3 guides.