Paul the Explorer
08-08-2006, 11:35 AM
...have a climb planned to celebrate a friends 60th bday...any personal experiences ??...do/donts
08-08-2006, 12:12 PM
Hey... I know you (we met at the Highlands Center after my Pressie Traverse, you guys fed us some wonderful food, which hit the spot really great since by the time we got back to Cherry Mtn Road, most of the folks there have finished eating).... :-)
Regarding Whitney, Tmax, Hikethe115(vftt), and a Catskills 3500 friend just did Whitney in early July via a 4 day backpack from Cottonwood Pass, partially on the Pacific Crest Trail and then the Jon Muir trail which finishes on Whitney. We then went down the standard trail to Whitney Portal and got a ride back to our car.
I would say this is a GREAT way to do the hike, a lot nicer than the standard dayhike from the Portal and is perhaps a better way to acclimatize for the elevation. We camped at Horseshoe Meadows which is a free site at 10,000ft and is about 30 miles from Whitney Portal (~8300'). We camped at Rock Creek (9800') and Guitar Lake (11,500') the 2 nights before the summit day, all three days not being overly long or difficult other than the heavy packs due to the bear canister requirement. You have to have and use one although some of the designated campsites have bear boxes (Rock creek does, Crabtree Meadows does, Guitar Lake doesn't).
I think doing the trip like this (there are other options like New Army Pass) is a much nicer and better way to see Sequioa than the standard trail, a lot more alpine meadows, backcountry lakes (timberline Lake, Guitar Lake, etc) and more wildlife viewing, as well as just a more relaxed atmosphere. (we hardly saw anybody, as opposed to the way down and at Trail Camp).
1)Stop at Whitney Portal for food on the way out, nice but pricey (but worth it, it's still a good 16 miles to Lone Pine).
2)Don't plan on using any of the solar toilets, they're out of commision, no toilet at the summit either, despite what you may have read online. The Whitney Zone is a bag your own and pack it out. (WAG bags provided).
3)Be prepared to traverse snowfields - Nothing technical but they can be mentally challenging and slippery in some spots.
4)Mentally prepare for a gazillion switchbacks, the trail is very nice (compared to the ADKs/Catskills) but the switchbacks are killer... I felt like it was a 14 mile hike on about 4 miles point to point.
5)The record for the ascent and back is something like 3hours 7 seconds :eek: :eek:
Second, if you can search on VfTT, there is a thread there with info on the passes you need, the permit you need for Whitney is now at the Ranger state south of Whitney Portal Road and no longer at the Portal store. Don't forget to pick it up on 395 as you go there.
Third: We flew to Bakersfield, CA and took about 3.5-4 hours to drive there. Not bad, it's closer than LAX, airfair is fairly identical and you wont have to deal with LA traffic.
Sacramento is another option but that is I think 5 hours away. However, if you're going to Yosemite, that is north and on the way. Reno is another option, cheap airfare probably. But for us, I shopped for airfare and car rental and although airfare was cheap at reno, car rental was not because we were going to oregon on a one way rental so NV to OR was a two state transfer!
DO: Bring LOTS of sunscreen and a hat that covers your head and neck...The sun is relentless
DO: Bring a camera with LOTS of film...The views are endless
DO: Talk to the rangers at the visitor center in Lone Pine where you pick up your permit, they are a wealth of information
DON'T: Weigh yourself down with too much water, just bring a water filter, the water sources are abundant up until about 11,000'
DON'T: Leave any food or toiletry items in your car at the trailhead, the bears make a habit out of ripping off doors and windows to get at it! Also the rangers will tow vehicles when they know there is food in them. Both Cottonwood Pass and Main Mt. Whitney Trail trailheads have a ton of bear-proof storage bins to keep your extra stuff in while your on the trail.
DO: Have a great time...it's an amazing area:D
08-22-2006, 08:41 PM
I did a day trip from Whitney Portal. It was early June in a snowy year, and it was ice axe and crampons the for all but the first 2.5 miles. Snow was too deep for the switchbacks, so it was ice-axe up the wall. No problems with acclimation. I spent a couple days acclimating in Death Valley, then the night camping at Whitney Portal where I hardly slept at all (groop partying until late)
Then again.... once I spent 3 days acclimating at 7K feet, and got sicker than a fish on a measly 12K peak.
You never know....
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