Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mt. Whitney Portal Pancakes. Bet you can't eat one.

In the spirit of holiday eating, I thought it appropriate to write a post about one of the most glorious food items known to man...the Whitney Portal Pancake.  These behemoth pancakes are available only at the Mt. Whitney Portal Store, located 13 miles east of Lone Pine, CA.  The Mt. Whitney Portal is the most popular (and closest) starting point for climbing Mt. Whitney (elev. 14,292ft) as well as for heading north on the John Muir trail.

The pancake itself is about 2 inches thick and infused with cinnamon and some other ingredients no one in the Portal Store kitchen seems to be able to remember (riiiight).  At any rate, they are truly delicious and make a fantastic meal after a summit attempt or several weeks in the back country.

My wife and I managed to finish about half of one together, which in itself felt impressive. The remains made a great trail snack when we hiked up to Lone Pine lake later that day.  Despite my feeling of accomplishment, I once meet an elderly gentleman at the Portal Store who weighed about 125 pounds. He was telling us about how he had just returned from climbing the Mountaineer's Route (The harder, more technical of the 2 most popular summit routes) in a single day.  While the story was impressive, it was far from unheard of.  However, what he did next was; He sat down and ate two portal pancakes in about 10 minutes.  I asked Doug, one of the store owners, if he had ever seen anyone do that before.  He claimed maybe only a dozen or so people he knew of had done it, but wasn't sure.  I honestly think that was more impressive than summiting the mountain.

The world famous Whitney Portal pancakes. Few mortals can eat these alone, only together can they be conquered.
Photo: Dan Norgan

Unfortunately, the Portal Store is only open in the summer months, so you wont be able to load up on these bad boys for a holiday breakfast.  But rest assured, come May the store will be open and churning out these babies for those who dare to try them.  Any at any rate, its a great excuse to go to one of the truly great places in California, the Whitney Portal.  Hope to see you on the slopes of Mt. Whitney this year,I cant wait.

Using my head for scale.  There are 3 or 4 paper plates underneath there supporting it and it still spills over.
Photo: Robyn Norgan 

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