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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Mount Whitney 14,505, CA

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1.1k 45 3
Guide 45 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
Rated
5
5 of 5 by 17
 
14
Statistics
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 21.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,365 feet
Elevation Gain 6,132 feet
Accumulated Gain 6,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 13 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 54.9
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2019-08-01 DixieFlyer
33  2017-06-19 syoung
156  2016-07-23
High Sierra Trail
Lucyan
50  2016-06-28 Lucyan
61  2016-06-19 syoung
57  2015-07-23
JMT - Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow
John9L
69  2015-07-23
Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow
chumley
21  2015-07-09 azdesertfather
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Davis2001r6
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 39
Photos 887
Trips 214 map ( 2,190 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Suffolk, UK
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 3 AM
Seasons   Early Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  5:37am - 5:58pm
Official Route
 
6 Alternative
 
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Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Highest Mount in Lower 48 States
by Davis2001r6

Likely In-Season!
Overview
Mt. Whitney at 14,497 feet is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. It can be climbed year round, but I'm just going to cover a summer time trip. Winter and Spring trips require technical gear and full winter mountaineering abilities.


Permit
A permit is required to climb the mountain, due to it's popularity they limit the number of people allowed per day. As of 2008 they allow 60 overnight slots and 100 day hike slots. The Inyo National Forest is the authority on issuing permits. To apply for a permit in advance there is lottery that is held in February, there is a per person reservation fee. If you didn't get lucky enough to land your preferred date in the lottery all permits that haven't been picked up do get released to walk in customers. For 2007 there was only ONE day that had no permits un-claimed. Also there is no reservation fee if you get a walk-up permit.

Camping
The trailhead is at Whitney Portal at an elevation of 8360'. Camping is allowed at Outpost camp at 10,365' as well as Trail Camp at 12,000 feet. A bear canister approved by the Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group is required for overnight camping.

Water
Water is available at numerous places along the trail up until Trail Camp. There is no reason with carry more than a few liters of water except for the summit attempt as there is no water available past trail camp. Water should be treated, filtered or boiled before drinking.

Waste
Also the mountain has a pack it in pack it out policy. That includes solid human waste. "Wag" bags are available for free from the ranger station in Lone Pine where you have to pick up the permit. They will give you the same briefing. With the area seeing 100+ visitors a day that is A LOT of waste. The wag bags work and do not have any smell to them, think of them as a multilayer trash and zip lock bag with a kitty litter formula inside as well. Please follow this policy as anywhere you would like to "dig" a hole, is most likely going to be near water or snow and eventually seep back into the same creeks and lakes we are getting out water from.

Timing
The summer season is known for it's afternoon thunderstorms, that why a very early start is recommended. Lightning strikes are very common on the summit as well as the ridge leading to the summit, if any weather is approaching turn around and descend, do not continue towards the summit. The trail is very easy to follow by headlamp or even a full moon if you time it right. Plan on it taking longer for each mile as you're hiking at high elevation and going to be struggling to breath. Your body just won't let you go as fast at altitude. A good formula that I came across for figuring time is 1.5 miles per hour plus an additional 30 minutes for each 1,000 feet gained. I think that formula is pretty accurate for an average hiker.

Warning
Some people do get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or known as Altitude Sickness as well at the higher elevations. Some people are not affected by the altitude at all, others may just develop a slight headache. Worse cases will cause people to vomit and can eventually lead to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) both can be life threatening but can be curred by simply descending in altitude. There are some good articles on preventing Altitude Sickness on the net, do a bit more research before you embark on your adventure.

Trail Mileages and Elevations
Whitney Portal Trail Head0.0 Miles8,350'
John Muir Wilderness Sign0.5 Miles8,500'
Lone Pine Lake2.5 Miles9,850'
Outpost Camp3.5 Miles10,365'
Mirror Lake4.0 Miles10,640'
Trailside Meadow5.0 Miles11,395'
Trail Camp6.0 Miles12,000'
Trail Crest8.2 Miles13,777'
John Muir Trail Junction8.7 Miles13,480'
Mount Muir Turnoff9.0 Miles13,800'
Keeler Needle10.2 Miles14,000'
Mt. Whitney Summit10.7 Miles14,497'


Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-17 Davis2001r6
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 17 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Mount Whitney 14,505
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    High Sierra Trail
    The High Sierra Trail leads from Crescent Meadow up the canyon of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, crossing the Great Western Divide by the 10,700' pass known as Kaweah Gap. It descends into Big Arroyo, then climbs up to the Chagoopa Plateau, and drops down again into the Kern River Canyon. After running up the bottom of the Kern Canyon, it turns east, climbing parallel to Wallace Creek up to the junction with the John Muir Trail, 49 miles from the starting point. You can then follow the John Muir Trail about 13 more miles to the summit of Mount Whitney.

    Day 1 - to Bearpaw Meadow (12 miles)
    Day 2 - to Big Arroyo Junction (13 miles)
    Day 3 - to Junction Meadow (18 miles)
    Day 4 - to Crabtree Meadow and Guitar Lake(15 miles)
    Day 5 - to the summit of Mt. Whitney and Whitney Portal (18 miles)

    Day 1 - to Bearpaw Meadow (12 miles) - The trail starts from Crescent Meadow on the southeast edge of the Giant Forest. You can see back to Moro Rock to the west, down to the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, and ahead to the glaciated peaks of the Great Western Divide from the trail. You will pass junction that connects the High Sierra and Alta Trails (hiked in June).
    The final destination for today is Bearpaw Meadow area 11.4 miles from the trailhead. In addition to camp sites, this is the location of the Bearpaw Meadow Camp, a simple tent hotel run by the park concessionaire (reservations required).

    Day 2 - to Big Arroyo Junction (13 miles) - East of Bearpaw, you begin your ascent into the Great Western Divide. Hamilton Lake is a popular site for camping and fishing. After Hamilton Lake you go up and up and soon reach the alpine zone of the Sierras. Precipice Lake is your next goal and after that Kaweah Gap! From the pass you descent to Big Arroyo Junction.

    Day 3 - to Junction Meadow (18 miles) - the trail follows the Kern river trail all the way to Kern Hot Springs and further to Junction Meadow.

    Day 4 - to Crabtree Meadow and Guitar Lake(15 miles) - the trail rejoins with JMT and you will pass several campsites near Crabtree Meadow and the ranger station. We decided to camp by Guitar lake again as we really liked it last time. Guitar Lake is the last campsite before Whitney.

    Day 5 - to the summit of Mt. Whitney and Whitney Portal (18 miles) - we already know the drill!! Getting up really early and hiking up to the Whitney junction, leave our packs and day hike to the summit. We enjoyed summit meal and then made our way back. Picked up the bags and followed the switchbacks down to Whitney Portal.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow
    About two weeks ago, 9L told me that by way of cancellation he had scored a last minute permit to finish his quest to complete the JMT via Onion Valley. I am fortunate enough to have a job with enough flexibility that planning a weeklong vacation only a week ahead of time isn't that big of a deal. With no other "major" hikes planned for the summer, I decided to take him up on the offer to join him on this trip in the Sierra -- a destination that is really tough for me to say no to.

    Despite the excitement and anticipation, I was somewhat apprehensive about this trip. John had estimated about 65 miles and set aside 6 days, but wanted to finish in 4 or 5. All of those numbers are way out of my comfort zone. But I got all my gear together and did my best to keep my pack weight down and plan meals smartly.

    It all turned out ok in the end. The 36 miles in the last 2 days wore on me and isn't something I would choose to repeat on purpose. I prefer some more downtime between destinations rather than just getting from point a to point b, sleep, repeat. An extra day in there would have helped me a lot.

    All I can say is I have newfound appreciation for those who have done the JMT or similar through hikes. Especially Dave1 and Fotg who plowed through this in 8 and 10 days respectively. You have my utmost respect. :worthy:

    Completing a hike like the JMT is not something I see myself ever doing. But I am truly impressed by those who make it a part of their life accomplishments, and I was honored to share a paltry few of those miles and stand atop Mt. Whitney and congratulate John for his personal feat. Bravo my friend. Bravo! : app :

    OVERVIEW
    Day 1: Onion Valley to Vidette Meadow
    8.8 miles / 2,692 aeg / 4h2m / 23m stopped (2.18 overall / 2.41 moving)
    Stunning scenery. Great weather. I would love to come back to this area again.

    Day 2a: Vidette Meadow to Tyndall Frog Tanks
    13.2 miles / 3,768 aeg / 7h38m / 1h43m stopped (1.73 overall / 2.23 moving)
    Forester pass is a grind. But a fantastic area with great views in all directions.

    Day 2b: Camp Wander
    2.9 miles / 426 aeg / 1h28m (1.98 overall)
    Happy to have no pack on my back. Nice wander down Tyndall Creek to the ranger station. Nobody home.

    Day 3: Tyndall Frog Tanks to Guitar Lake
    11.0 miles / 2,223 aeg / 5h26m / 1h 6m stopped (2.02 overall / 2.56 moving)
    Hiked with Heather, a nice girl finishing her solo through-hike who convinced us to camp at Guitar Lake.

    Day 4a: Whitney Summit from Guitar Lake
    9.5 miles / 3,166 aeg / 5h18m / 55m stopped (1.79 overall / 2.17 moving)
    Guitar Lake is great place to make summiting Whitney a more reasonable endeavor. Slow but steady and you're there in no time!

    Day 4b: Guitar Lake to Rock Creek
    9.9 miles / 1,102 aeg / 4h9m / 25m stopped (2.37 overall / 2.65 moving)
    This was a grind after Whitney in the morning. Foxtail pines were the only real highlight on this otherwise hot and dry stretch of trail.

    Day 5: Rock Creek to Horseshoe Meadow
    16.2 miles / 3,046 aeg / 7h15m / 51m stopped (2.23 overall / 2.53 moving)
    This was quite simply a death march with the car as the goal. Beautiful scenery though. Army Pass was tough and the final 8 miles down dragged on and on. The cooler still had ice in it and the beer was delicious!

    Despite the heavy stats, I really enjoyed this trip and love spending time in this area. The Sierra truly are a wonderful range and I will be back to explore more. Thanks John for doing all the planning so all I had to do was show up and put one foot in front of the other! Another great trip that I'll always remember :)
    Mount Whitney 14,505
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    JMT - Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow
    The John Muir Trail is finally complete! This was one of the hardest & most satisfying accomplishments of my life! The following is a day by day triplog of the southern section of trail followed by my final thoughts.

    7-23-2015 - 8.8 miles, 2,691 AEG - Onion Valley to Bubbs Creek
    After spending the night in a hotel in Barstow we drove to Lone Pine and picked up our permits and then drove up to Horseshoe Meadow where we were to meet our shuttle driver at 11am. To make a long story short he was over two hours late! He ultimately got us to Onion Valley and we started hiking around 2:40pm which was much later than originally planned.

    The hike up to Kearsarge Pass took a lot of effort. We had no time to acclimate ahead of time and my stomach was upset after the long shuttle ride. We hiked up the trail at a steady pace and took several breaks and ultimately reached the pass. The weather was cool and pleasant with overcast but little chance of rain. From Kearsarge Pass we quickly dropped down and connected onto the John Muir Trail above Bubbs Creek. We hiked southbound and selected a campsite in Vidette Meadow (9,600 ft) that included a fire ring and a bear locker. We had a fire and enjoyed dinner and then turned in for the night. I slept poorly that night. I assumed it was from the elevation. I'll have a hard time sleeping the next two nights as well.

    7-24-2015 - 13.2 miles, 3,768 AEG - Bubbs Creek to Tyndall Creek
    We started hiking around 8:30am and knew we were in for a big day. We had to cross Forester Pass at 13,200 ft. The trail is in great condition and made steady progress up hill. We took our time and enjoyed the views along the way. It's so beautiful here we caught ourselves oohing and awing! We also chatted it up with a few other backpackers and met a couple from Mesa and a solo hiker from Tucson.

    We continued the hike as we neared Forester Pass. You can't see it until you're about a mile below. The final stretch to the pass was a real grind especially from my lack of sleep. We took a break at the top and talked to more hikers. I've always enjoyed the camaraderie along the JMT. After our break we made the steep descent down the south side. The trail eventually leveled off and we cruised the next few miles to Tyndall Creek where we selected a site next to a small stream that included another bear locker nearby. Tonight we'll be camping at 11,000 ft so no fires. We both turned in around 9am. I had another night of poor sleep due to the elevation.

    7-25-2015 - 11 miles, 2,223 AEG - Tyndall Creek to Guitar Lake
    We have a relatively mild day planned. We took our time getting ready in the morning and hit the trail somewhat late for us. The going was fairly easy as we climbed to Bighorn Plateau. This is another sweet area with epic views! We caught a few glimpses of Mount Whitney and it looked intimidating and far away.

    We continued hiking and saw several other groups. Some of them we saw the day before. Before long we arrived at Crabtree Meadow and headed east towards Mount Whitney. We took a break near FOTG's campsite where we ate lunch and filtered water. We were going to camp here but it was early in the day so we continued an additional two miles to Guitar Lake. This put us closer to Whitney and at a higher elevation of 11,500 ft. The negative is we're above tree line so no shade. We both turned in fairly early. Our plan was to day hike Mount Whitney starting at 6:30am the following morning. I had another night of lack of sleep. The summit was going to be tough!

    7-26-2015 - 19.1 miles, 4,067 AEG - Guitar Lake to Rock Creek with Mount Whitney
    I slogged out of my tent a little before 6am and felt crummy from not sleeping. I know it's the elevation. We both organized our day pack and started hiking around 6:15am. The skies were clear and it was chilly. I wore a mid layer and a beanie. I wish I had gloves.

    We made steady progress as we hiked up the trail. Our day packs felt so light it was like hiking with nothing. This made a big difference as we ascended towards Trails Crest at 13,500 ft. We much effort we reached the pass. From there we had 1.9 miles and 1,000 ft of gain. Our pace was slow but consistent and we caught glimpses of the summit. It looked so far away as it teased us. My journey here has taken over two years and my goal was in sight. I had to exit the trail early the past two years due to injury. There is no way I'm turning around even though I feel crummy. I continued on and made the final push to the summit. Suddenly the summit hut was right in front of me and I knew I finally completed my journey! My eyes swelled and tears of joy ran down my face. I was elated to have finally completed the John Muir Trail! I composed myself and met Chumley on the summit. He greeted me with a handshake and congratulations. I was a bit groggy from lack of sleep and the elevation of 14,500 ft. We enjoyed the views, took pics and signed the register. After about 30 minutes we started our return to Guitar Lake. We flew down the trail and were back to camp around noon.

    We both tried to nap but it didn't go well. The sun was beating down on us and it was way too hot to sleep. We decided to pack up and head back to Crabtree where we would be leaving the JMT and heading south on the PCT for a few miles. We took a break at the junction and then continued south. We crossed Goyut Pass and then dropped down to Rock Creek where we selected a wonderful campsite next to a creek. We had another bear locker and were camping at 9,600 ft so we could have a fire.

    We got camp set up and started our fire. A few minutes later we were visited by the ranger. She was really nice and we chatted for a few minutes. She asked to see our permit just before heading out. I'm honestly glad to have my permit checked. Afterward we ate dinner and turned in around 9pm. I'm in for a good nights rest. The lower elevation helped a lot!

    7-27-2015 - 16 miles, 2,888 AEG - Rock Creek to Horseshoe Meadow
    We discussed our options and decided to hike all the way out back to the jeep. We had about 16 miles and had to go over New Army Pass. The first few miles had a mild gain as we climbed out of Rock Creek and left the PCT and continued east for the pass. We passed a meadow with a stunning view of Mount Langley and Cirque Peak. The Sierras are just breathtaking and never get old!

    The climb over New Army Pass took a lot of work! We talked about going over Army Pass but I opted to take New Army Pass because that's the route I had loaded. The climb was a real grind but was worth it! The views are stunning of Cottonwood Lakes! After our break we made the very steep descent down New Army Pass. The trail eventually levels off as you pass High Lake then Long Lake then Cottonwood Lakes 2 and then 1. The last few miles to the jeep were exhausting and thankfully downhill for the most part.

    We arrived to the jeep around 4pm and I was so happy taking off my backpack. I then go to open the jeep and find the battery is dead. I was so exhausted I wanted to freak out! Chumley kept his cool and asked some campers for a jump. It took a few minutes but ultimately we got the jeep started and were fine thereafter. We stopped in Lone Pine for Mexican food and then returned to Phoenix arriving home a little after 1am. The trip was over what an experience!


    Final Notes
    I took way too much food on all three of my treks. I could have saved several pounds of weight.

    Hiking the trail solo on my first trek was nice but I enjoyed having company on my next two trips. Having someone along for the ride helped keep things fun and fresh. It also helped on all the climbing up difficult passes.

    The best way to hike the JMT is to just wing it. Don't come up with a specific itinerary. Try to figure out how many miles you need to average each day and then go for it. Ideally camp low and cross the passes in the morning. Line yourself up each day.

    The JMT is a picturesque place and has a romantic appeal to many people. It's important to realize you are going to work your ass off on this trek! The passes are no joke and they keep coming at you. There is no way to cheat this trail. You earn every mile and every foot of elevation gain.

    I owe thanks to many people on this. Thanks to Keepmoving for originally inspiring me to complete this based on his triplog from August 2012. [ photoset ] . He also answered several PMs with my numerous questions about the trek. Thanks to BiFrost for going with me last year. I'm sorry Karl you didn't join me this year. This trek came together the last few weeks. Thanks to FOTG for answering questions on the south side of the trail. You're triplog also inspired me [ photoset ] . It was comforting knowing we were following your footsteps. Special thanks to Chumley. He shuttled me two years ago on my initial trek. He also completed the final stretch and greeted me on the summit with a congratulations! It was a special moment for me and I'm glad you were there to share the experience with.

    Completing the John Muir Trail is the highlight of my life! I faced much adversity after leaving the trail injured the two previous summers. I persevered and ultimately completed it! Now I need to pick my next obsession.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    EPIC day! And epic hike. I drove to California with a couple of friends the day before, and we arrived in Lone Pine just before the visitor center closed. We picked up our permit and came to find out that there was an 80% chance of snow and thunderstorms, mainly after 11am the next morning. Well, that changed things. We drove to our campsite at Whitney Portal, did about a 3-mile acclimatization hike up the Whitney Trail, then grabbed dinner at the store (burger & fries pretty decent). While hiking a little earlier we found out from some of the hikers coming down the trail that there was a good bit of ice above 13,000 feet, and we had no crampons. The owner of the Whitney Portal store was out of them, but he let all three of us borrow hiking poles. With the ice and snow we encountered, it was totally necessary!

    With the weather forecast, I convinced our group to move our start time up from 5am to 1:20am. You might think we'd be hiking alone, but turned out, we weren't the only ones who had seen the forecast and had this idea. Beautiful night, the sky was clear and stars were just everywhere. As we climbed up the canyon we admired our view of Lone Pine below. By 4am, we could see clouds already starting to form. Around Trail Camp we found a little trouble trying to navigate the trail, this is the one area that it's not the greatest...so it was a little hard in the dark, but certainly doable still. By sunrise we were on our way up the 99 switchbacks, thankfully it hadn't been daylight to see what we were going up! WOW.

    We made it up the switchbacks, stepping in some frozen water in places, but once we were up on the ridgeline over 13,000 feet, the snow and ice was plentiful. The trail was narrow at times with steep dropoffs, so ice in those areas made the hiking poles a lifesaver. Never used them before, but today I was grateful for them. The two friends I was with were having to stop a lot by this point due to the elevation, but because of the elevation I wasn't able to keep stopping and taking breaks, I needed to keep up a slow but steady pace. That worked for them and totally helped make getting to the top doable for them, but it was making it harder for me to stop. So I made it up to the summit at 8:23am, they were up about 20 minutes later.

    By this point up on top, the weather was really starting to roll in. The views were fairly poor, clouds were everywhere below and above us. The first snowflakes started falling, and we heard the first distant rumble of thunder, and took that as our cue a couple of minutes past 9am to get out of Dodge. I started getting ahead (they were still struggling a bit by the elevation), and I would hang out and wait for them to catch up. On the ridgeline some random person came up to me and asked us if we had made it, and when we did, he handed us a sew-on patch that said "MAN PATCH -- I CLIMBED MT WHITNEY 13,500 FT". Odd, in a snowstorm for some random guy to hand us these, but oh well!

    By the time we started heading down the 99 switchbacks, the snow was falling hard and heavy. I wasn't able to stop and wait for them, open and exposed with it coming down so heavy, so I stopped waiting for them to catch up and barreled down into the valley by Consultation Lake. I kept looking for a place to hide from the storm and allow them to catch up, but everything was really exposed. I wasn't able to find a decent place to stop until I was into the treeline, around 10500 feet. I found a big tree to hide behind as the wind blew snow against the tree, and I decided to just hunker down on the ground next to the tree and wait for my friends to pass by.

    You'll never guess what happened next. I WOKE UP. :whistle: Apparently, even in a heavy snowstorm with lightning popping in the distance, I have the ability to sit down and fall asleep. Seriously? How does that happen? I woke up with ants crawling on me; the snowstorm had stopped, and I had no idea how long I had been asleep (once I returned home and looked at my track, I realized it was almost a half hour :-$ :oplz: ). Problem was, when I came to, I had no idea how long I had been asleep or if my friends were now ahead of me or behind me (the big tree I was hiding behind to avoid the snow also blocked me from view of people coming down the trail ](*,) ). At that point I had no choice but to just head down to Whitney Portal; I was hoping they were still behind me so that they wouldn't get there, not find me and worry that something had happened to me.

    WOW that meadow was beautiful!! I hadn't been able to see it hiking in, but coming back out I could hardly believe my eyes. As I came really near the trailhead, I saw this family coming up and I just KNEW they were in trouble; none of them were fit, and they all had these super heavy and top heavy backpacks, every piece of gear they had was brand new. They were trying to cross the creek and were falling in because they couldn't balance themselves on the rocks.

    Once I reached the bottom (just after 2:30pm) the precip had stared back up again in full force (rain not snow at the trailhead). I looked around and about 5 minutes later, there they were. If I had just waited a bit longer... We went in the store and enjoyed a brewski with some Double Stuf Oreos. :DANCE:

    We made it back into Lone Pine, found a hostel with space still available, then took some BADLY needed showers. We walked down to the Merry Go Round for a Chinese dinner, milled around the Elevation hiking store there, walked further down to the ice cream shop for dessert, then headed back to the hostel and CRASHED :zzz: . Staying at the hostel overnight was totally worth the money, nice sleep and were able to drive back to Arizona refreshed.

    After 20 years of hiking, I can honestly say this trip brought a first for me ... the first time I have ever fallen asleep on the trail. And in a snowstorm to boot. :doh: Although the distance and elevation by themselves weren't too incredibly difficult, that combined with the crazy weather and some serious heartburn I had the whole day (from just after I woke up), it was a pretty challenging day. I tried even drinking just plain water, but the heartburn was so bad I couldn't even get water down :oops: , so on the trip up and down I ate nothing and drank a total of about 3-4 oz of water, that was it. : rambo : I kept taking Tums but no dice; when I finished the hike I went in the Whitney Portal store, found Zantac for sale that expired in 2014, but I took one and finally, RELIEF!! :worthy: Small miracles!

    It'll be a day I'll never forget ... in more ways than one.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    JMT-Tuolumne Meadows to Mount Whitney
    Inspired by the trips of Dave1 and 9L, I decided to give the John Muir Trail a shot this summer. Yosemite is very tough to get an entry permit from, so I started at Tuolumne. Therefore, we can call this a JMT light or a segment hike and I will go back and suffer through the crowds of Yosemite valley another time to complete the final segment.

    I dropped the dogs off late Sunday morning on June 14 and headed for California. Having never been to California before, that turned out to be a minor adventure in itself. I missed the first turn for Yosemite and google rerouted me up the west coast. I toured Pasadena drove on a road I think they call the grape vine and was nearing Fresno when I realized it was not the way I wanted to go. I then took highway 58 across the bottom of the Sierra Nevada range and made my way back to the eastern side via a series of state roads. My detour only cost me about three and a half extra hours and 200 plus miles. I ended up seeing some more of California, but did not make Yosemite on the 14.

    I finally arrived at the permits office around nine the next morning. The ranger informed me that if I wanted I could start a day early. Initially, I had planned to day hike Yosemite on the 15 and start my trek on the 16. However, the previous day's driving fiasco had me extra annoyed, I did not want to spend anymore money and the thought of hiking the sidewalks of Yosemite on a Sunday afternoon made me cringe. Consequently, after about a five minute deliberation in my head, I said let's start now! There would only be one small issue, I really only had four days worth of food until my resupply and this would be adding in an extra day, but I had some extra snacks in the car and I knew I would be fine splitting a Mountain House.

    Day 1: Tuolumne Meadows to Lyell Fork Bridge (11.3 miles)

    No reason to rush at all on this day one, as with an early entry date, any miles I gained would just be a nice little head start on the miles I would need to cover to complete the trail in my original permit dates of the 16-30. Not rush is exactly what I did on day one. I spent my late morning and early afternoon just absolute awestruck at the beauty of Lyell Canyon and the picturesque Tuolumne River. I stayed near where John camped in 2013. A great spot along the Lyell fork of Tuolomne, near the forks bridge. I set up camp and took a signature FOTG nap, woke up, ate half a mountain house and went back to bed. Perfect site, perfect day, perfect start to trek.

    Day 2: Lyell Fork Bridge to Gladys Lake (20 miles)

    I hit the trail at 0630 on day two. This would be my latest start time of the entire trek. I quickly developed a pretty efficient morning routine that had me leaving camp usually on or just before six the rest of the way. The climb up Donohue Pass was nothing short of majestic with: partially frozen basins, a snowy backdrop, water gushing from every drainage and amazing views. Speaking of views, they only got better as I crested the pass and gazed south. From there I headed down down Rush Creek and up Island Pass. Island Pass is where things simply got breathtaking. I can't put into words the beauty of Thousand Island Lake and the several other crystal clear lakes the trail drops into and out of during this simply amazing stretch of JMT. I kept with John's 2013 itinerary and stayed at Gladys Lake, but at the south end. Another perfect campsite another perfect day.

    Day 3: Gladys Lake to Purple Lake (22.7 miles)

    Even though it was only day three, I woke up eager to get to Red's Meadow. I thought a quick bite to eat would not hurt and I had a few things I could trow away as well. However, as I was making my way down to the Devil's Postpile area, I decided I did not really need to go to Red's Meadow. I was afraid it would undo my two days in the wilderness and make me soft or yearn for things I could not have, besides I was getting resupplied in potentially another day anyways. From Devils Postpile it was through the eerie Ansel Adams Wilderness that has been recently impacted by a forest fire and a tremendous wind storm that took out several thousand trees. The next stretch of trail many find mundane and boring according to the Wenk book, however, I had no problem with it and enjoyed the views along with the very well-maintained trail. I was still keeping with John's old itinerary when I finally deviated at Duck Creek. He had selected an awesome and relatively popular site in 2013 from the looks of it. However, I did not stop at Reds and had hit Duck Creek a little early in the afternoon. I decided I would push up the trail to Purple Lake a lake formed by thousands of years of purple rain according to the guide book. Reaching Purple Lake included a pretty nasty little climb out of the Duck Creek drainage, but it proved to be worth it. I got a great spot nestled just inside the tree line and among some large slabs with a nicely flowing creek to avoid long walks to the lake for water. Ate well, slept well and enjoyed a cool but not cold evening.

    Day 4: Purple Lake to the Junction with Bear Creek (24.2 miles)

    Silver was another superb pass. It was preceded by a knee rattling drop down into the beautiful and robust flowing Fish Creek drainage and then followed by an even more aggressive drop into Tully Hole then a 2100 foot climb up Bear Ridge and another 1000 foot plus drop back down into Bear Creek. I took advantage of the tremendous downhills, the relative ease of the Bear Ridge Climb along with the great trail conditions and knocked out a 24 mile day that was not overly strenuous. Bear Creek is a powerful little creek pushing a lot of water. I enjoyed a pretty built up site near the trail, but not as close to the water as some of the nicer sites that I came across the next morning.

    Day 5: Bear Creek Junction to Muir Trail Ranch, Hot Springs and finally Piute Creek Junction (16 miles, 1.6 miles, 4 miles)

    I arrived at Muir Trail Ranch early in every way. I arrived just before noon and a day early. I was gambling that I could pick up my food bucket a day early and either push up the trail more, or get an earlier start on the following day. The worker at ranch had no problem grabbing my bucket a day early, however, immediately there was an issue. My bucket was not there, however, she was very confident it would be arriving on the five o'clock truck and told me I could come back and check later to ease my worries. Although slightly worried, it was tough to be too down. The hot springs were great and I was having a pretty good time socializing with the several backpackers that were slowly trickling in. Although, I was nearly swept down stream fording the very fast moving San Joaquin River not once, but twice. its amazing what a little quality time around the hot springs will drive one to do. Then the wheels came off my little vacation day at the ranch. My bucket never arrived. Under normal circumstances this is not that big of an issue, as M.T.R. is known for its great "community" bin. However, this was the day before the ranch opened officially and the only food they had available was left over from last year. I had no problem finding four days worth of Mountain Houses, however, there was nothing to take for a breakfast, nothing with electrolytes and no nice quick burning sugary snacks. I went from expecting to receive six days worth of my own hand selected dinners, snacks, breakfasts and comfort foods to four mountain houses of which only three I really liked and about 4.5 days worth of expired cliff bars and Kind bars. Oh when I say expired I mean expired with dates ranging from as early as April 2015 to as far back as August 2014. At this point I almost convinced myself to grab enough food to make it to Bishop and call the trek off for events that were obviously out of my control.

    As I am mulling over what to do, one of the workers comes out and says, "Now I remember why your name sounded familiar!" I eagerly say, "yes?" as if he is going to pull my bucket out of his pocket. He then says, " A letter arrived for you today." I was completely perplexed, I took the letter and it was from my sister. My sister obviously realized that I could survive ten days without a correspondence from her, but she wanted to surprise me with something fun I guess. The letter was very nice. It had some personal things about my father, some words of encouragement about my new job and gave me way too much credit for undertaking a pretty modest 200 mile trek. Anyways, how does a guy say he is quitting the J.M.T after that? I said to myself quit being a little bitch grab what food you can, shorten the hike to five days and make do. I made a quick appeal to my new found friends at the river and collected some granola and homemade trail mix. Great! I went from coffee in the morning, circus peanuts, chips and my hand picked favorites to bird food and 12 expired cliff bars. At least now my greatest threat was a bird attacking me for my food and not a bear. Can't wait to see how 0500 goes now without a little instant coffee in the system.

    Everyone was sympathetic to my situation, but they were all waiting on resupply as well. A couple cool girls I had met in passing the day before offered some breakfast the following morning, but by this point I was tired of being social and slightly annoyed by the situation, so I decided to get a few miles head start on Muir Pass and left M.T.R. sometime after six. I certainly had some anxiety about my food situation and had a feeling those hot springs may have been the place to be in the Sierras that night, but I left anyways and committed to completing the trail. Ended up staying near Karl and John's site from the year before. I shared a site with a PCT guy. Very cool kid, 24 years old, was living off fresh trout and wild onion as he slowly made his way through the Sierras. His name was Breaks and he was tackling the PCT after only one trip to Glacier national park! He was doing well though when I met up with him and was confident he would reach Canada before winter. We had a few pretty good conversations and he helped ease my anxiety over my very modest rations, saying something to the extent of, "don't worry the trail will take care of you."

    Day 6: Piute Creek Junction to Big Pete's Meadow Crossing (24 miles)

    I got a nice early start just before six. All of a sudden my morning routine had become considerably shorter with no oatmeal to cook or coffee to drink. Day six was also my first day where I felt I should start covering some ground. Muir Pass was beautiful but a tough climb for me with my newly albeit partially stocked five day pack. What compounded matters was that even with my head start from the night before, I was reached the pass at around mile 19 when I was not exactly at my most spry. Luckily, the beauty of Evolution Creek, valley and the basin area more than made up for the tough climb. The descent down the south side was amazing, more cascades, partially frozen lakes and quick trail with some amazing views of what lies ahead; the second of the M&M brothers, Mather Pass.

    Day 7: Big Pete's Meadow to three miles before Pinchot Pass (24.7 miles)

    If Muir Pass broke me off, than Mather Pass got medieval on my #$%. I cursed and crawled my way up the 12,000 foot plus devil pass, but was then able to enjoy a relative highway of a trail down the other side up a quick 800 feet to my campsite on an unnamed lake, just north of Lake Marjorie and just below 11,000 feet. Today, I realized after I dipped into some snacks reserved for another day, that my food rationing system may been a little optimistic. I was simply not getting what I needed, I am not saying my sugary snacks would have saved the day, but the old school year old Cliff Bars were certainly not meeting my nutritional needs on the trail.

    Day 8: 3 miles before Pinchot Pass to Bubbs Creek Junction Area (23.8 miles)

    My results of a lack of quality snacks, or at least quality snacks and food in my opinion came to fruition today. Day 8 was a big day. I had to start the day off with a three mile 1500 or so feet climb up Pinchot than a drop down to 8500 feet only to climb back up to just under 12,000 in order to get over Glen Pass. Day eight marked the first time during my entire trek that I was passed by hikers. It was by a considerably fresher group on day 12 of the same south bound hike, so I naturally passed them later and never saw them again, but they went by me like I was standing still on the way up to Pinchot. I literally took nearly two hours to cover those three hours and was feeling very worried about my overall level of energy all of a sudden. My boots felt like cement, hard to describe, but I could barely lift my feet during those first few hours of day light. Day 8 was kind of zero day for snacks, not a lot to go around, nothing at all for breakfast and three bars for the whole day, not counting dinner. I started to pick up some energy and speed with the downhill, but I was absolutely dreading Glen Pass. Then I met a pretty knowledgeable local hiker and fisherman named Mike. After filtering some water, several conversations about trout fishing and a couple miles of hiking we parted ways. However, before he left he gave me a packet of almond butter mixed with a touch of maple syrup and promised me that it would get me up Glen. I don't know if it was psychological, but that almond butter hit that spot and provided the energy he said it would. I cleared the first 2500 feet of the climb in two plus mile an hour fashion. I guess the trail does find away of taking care of one. With about a little less than half the ascent complete, I passed a few sites with stationary bear boxes provided by the forest service. For some crazy reason I stopped and went over and opened one. It was packed with food! It was an illegal, but definitely a community cache of supplies and food. There were several bags of food inside, some trash and a lot of basic trail supplies. I started going through the bags and this was my take: one row of Ritz crackers, one row of Oreos (not crushed amazingly), four granola bars, (you know the unhealthy kind that taste like candy) three small packages of peanut butter and get this a package of Lifesavers and four prepackaged Gatorade mixes! Not wanting to be greedy, but positive I had not raided some poor hikers supplies, I shut up the storage bin and headed for the pass grinning ear to ear. I told myself the Lifesavers would have to wait until after Glen, but I immediately had a Gatorade mix. The allure of new snacks quickly wore off and I had perhaps what I think is one of the steepest and toughest passes of the JMT ahead. It broke me off, but mentally all was good and I pushed all the way back down to 9500 feet after clearing the pass. I was now in a pretty good spot to tackle Forester and I was feeling so much better about my food situation. The trail had taken care of me. I got an awesome spot, but then the Bad Scouts of America showed up and ruined my night, but not worth the cliche rant about unruly scouts and poor scout masters.

    Day 9: Bubbs Creek to Crabtree Creek south of the ranger station (23.4)

    My food was not as big of an issue now and I really only had to have a decent day to set myself up for a Whitney Summit and Whitney Portal exit. But first loomed Forester a legitimate 13,000 plus foot pass to clear within the first eight miles of my hike. Surprisingly, Forester was a breeze! Imagine that hit a pass with a little food in your belly and hit the pass before mile 18 and all is well. Not to mention the grade and trail up to the pass from the north side were probably the best out of all of the other passes. Some talus to navigate, but not like Mather and Muir, generally long sandy or gravel switchbacks most of the way. A race track down Forester, but I will say the final 8-10 miles to Crabtree were my least favorite of the JMT, just dry and not a lot going on in the scenery department along with some annoying little 400 and 600 foot climbs mixed in there.

    Day 10: Crabtree Creek to Whitney Portal (19.3 miles)

    Final food count for the last day was two expired cliff bars for the climb and exit. However, for breakfast three Oreos, a left over chicken breast from the previous night's Mountain House and a cup of hot cocoa. My largest and most filling breakfast since about day four I think. The breakfast did not help, nor did the last day mentality, climbing Whitney with a full pack just hurt! Although, I should note there is a convenient spot at 13,000 feet where you can leave your pack, so that leaves you only a 3000 foot climb with your full pack. The other 1400 you get to do like a rock star pack free with a nalgene bottle and puffy coat. I met a group of cool guys on the top, relished my moment a little, reflected on what I had done and then started down. However, during conversation the group I met, not only insisted that I accompany them to Lone Pine for celebratory brew and food after, but they also offered a ride back to Yosemite, as they were going that way. My problem of getting back to Yosemite was all of a sudden solved in five minutes, and believe me I had no real plan to get back, so it was a tremendous break for me. The summit of Whitney to the trail head can be summed up with one word switchback. I hiked out with my new friends after they packed up at base camp. They were all super cool guys a surfer, a lawyer and a couple of green thumbs from Santa Cruz, who could go wrong with that company? I confidently ordered a Stone IPA like I knew what I was doing, chugged it down and ate my food quicker than the entire table. I hopped in a car with Charlie the surfer and we had a nice safe, relaxing pleasant ride back to Yosemite. Next, I hopped in my car and drove straight through the night to get back to Cup and Blanco, I passed out for about an hour or two outside of Vegas and somehow arrived at Chumleys by about nine in the morning for my long awaited reunion with Cup and Blanco. A much quicker and efficient route home than the one there!

    Final Notes

    Had my food arrived this would have been a longer trek and less taxing on the body, but when the food situation became sketchy I had to turn it on a little. The only problem with this strategy was, I was now completing nearly an ultra light weight style hike with miles and AEG, but I was carrying nearly a 40 pound pack. I can do 12-15 miles all day with 35 plus pounds on the back, but once you start going over 20 the days can drag a tad out there.

    A special thanks to John for help with the planning/logistics from the very first day I secured a permit and his other guidance along the way. Some more HAZ appreciation Dave1's way of course, he seems to be the inspiration behind most of my more ambitious hikes lately and he always remains a good source of info. Both Dave and John wrote great triplogs for JMT, must reads if doing trail in future. Finally, a very grateful thanks to Chumley for taking the pups on for ten days! Oh and I almost forgot, thank you Oregonhiker for sharing your California topo on Garmin and downloading the first 78 miles of the track for me, it certainly made the other 120 miles more interesting.

    On the night I left M.T.R. I ran into two PCT guys that were in pretty rough shape, down to nothing for food and they had not ate much in the last few days. They still needed to make it to V.V.R. to resupply, so I went back to M.T.R grabbed two Mountain Houses for them and gave them two of the packages of trail mix that the girls had just given me. Two days later I found a ton of food and snacks, maybe in some weird way trail karma had came around to me for my good deed. I mean after all I did get a ride back to Tuolumne after only about five minutes on the top of Whitney.

    I am not sure how I will go back to hiking in Arizona after spending ten days in an area I am now classifying as one of our nation's natural wonders, but I think I will manage. Similarly, I am now very intrigued by this PCT thing, I guess its that or the AZT up next ;)

    I know the triplog is long and the photo-set will be excessive, however, no apologies. It was an amazing trip every step of the way and while its certainly not the feat of the century, I do have a strong sense of accomplishment after this one. The miles and days were modest, but I think I accomplished it under some less than ideal situations and with some trials and tribulations along the way.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
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    We did a guys trip to hike Mt. Whitney with 9 other friends. Left on Saturday afternoon and hiked around cottonwood pass at 10,000 ft on Sunday to get used to elevation. Had a great Dutch Oven dinner that night and camped at the Whitney Portal. The ranger at the portal told us that since we where from Phoenix, had never been to that elevation and had only been there a day that most of us would not make it to the top. Got up a little after 3 and hit the trail head by 4. We had one guy that was really struggling so we had to leave him. The rest of the group made it up in 6-7 hours. On the way down the one guy that had struggled made it to a mile from the top when we ran into him. We had figured he had turned around. He is a big Cross fitter but not a hiker. He wasn't in the best condition because he had not been eating or drinking. We filled him full of water, Gatorade, gels and salt tablets then me and other guy hiked back up to the top with him. We all made it down safely.

    So our group went 10 for 10 making it to the top so take that Mr. Ranger know it all. Great trip with friends and a great hill to climb. I would like to do it again sometime but with my bucket list so full of other trips I want to do not sure will ever make it back but it is a must do for every serious hiker.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
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    Wally and Bob picked up Denny and I just before sunrise and were off on a California road trip. A brush with LA and many miles of desert nowhere brought us to the little town of Lone Pine, at the eastern foot of the impossibly rugged Sierra Nevada. Many treeless summits loomed in the distance, but which one was Mount Whitney? Up the side of the escarpment we drove to Whitney Portal to claim and set up our camp among towering trees. A quick trip back to Lone Pine for dinner and then we returned to camp, where a light rain shower danced over us. Denny found a waterfall and I found a shirt at the little store. The other guys were in their tents shortly after dark, while I walked the road taking star photos for a bit.

    Stars were shining brightly when 4 am rolled around and we were packed and on the trail shortly after 5 as dawn arrived. We were soon high on the wall of a glacially sculpted, forested valley on an endless climb. The rising sun set the high peaks above ablaze. Bob rapidly forged ahead while Denny, Wally and I continued up together. Each stairstep of Lone Pine Canyon would bring us to another scenic valley hemmed in by tall trees and vertical walls of pale granite. The stout, reddish trunks of ancient foxtail pines eventually gave way to alpine slopes and lingering snowdrifts.

    A shy marmot greeted us as we arrived at the highest lake. Above us rose the imposing, jagged cliff face of Mount Muir, Keeler Needle and Mount Whitney itself. We left the lake and began trudging up the slopes of Discovery Pinnacle via scores of switchbacks. A bottleneck at an icy step and a snowdrift over a tricky spot were only minor obstacles to the Ridge Crest saddle, where we crossed over to the mountain's western slope.

    The final two miles to the summit along the ridge crest were definitely tiring in the oxygen starved atmosphere, but the necessary frequent rest stops were also an excuse to enjoy the amazing views of endless mountain peaks to the west. Following an icy butt slide and a couple of snow trenches, we reached the top, victorious after nearly seven hours of climbing. After many photos I caught up with the rest of the guys, who had already started down. Bob and I attempted to summit Muir Peak along the way, but the exposed climb up the final rock face wasn't to our liking, so we headed down.

    Bob talked me into a short glissade near the bottom of the switchbacks which we both enjoyed. We caught up to Wally and Denny at Mirror Lake and continued down together, stopping to see Lone Pine Lake along the way. By late afternoon we were back at the trailhead and driving down the mountain to the town of Lone Pine. We enjoyed burgers at the Mount Whitney Cafe and then checked into Best Western for the night.

    The next morning we started the long drive home. Watching the new Godzilla with the family that night, the town of Lone Pine was featured in a scene. How timely. :lol:

    Had a great time with great friends on one of the best hikes of my life. Thanks guys! And thank you, Wally, for
    putting this all together! :thanx:

    The video: http://youtu.be/6tzktLfT2JY
    Mount Whitney 14,505
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    What do you talk about a on four hour drive to the Grand Canyon in March? Hey if I get permits you wanna hike Mt Whitney? Well the permit lottery passed me by but I grabbed 4 leftover permits for June. I knew we may not be able to summit because of snow but I also thought the low snow levels this year may give us a chance. Sure enough about one week ago hikers started using the switchbacks and we were good to go. There were 2 spots that were tricky but that was it. We started up just after 5am with no need for headlamps. Bob ran free while Denny, Preston and I took a steady pace up the trail. There is a lot to see along the way and short stops for photos or just catch your breath were frequent. We lost the trail for a short time hiking through the snow but were soon back on trail. About half way up we passed the two guys camped near us who started at 4am. Once on the switchbacks there was a bottleneck near a tricky spot but after that we passed several hikers and picked up a lone hiker from LA who hiked up and back down with us. The trail behind the ridgeline was about 2 miles long but seemed to take forever as it's at 14,000 feet. After Denny poked me with his hiking pole a few times I realized I was going too slow and told Preston and he to go on up and I would follow. We met Bob who was waiting... at the summit and took a few photos before starting back down. We saw most of the hikers we passed on the switchbacks still going up as we were breathing easy heading down he trail. Bob & Preston stopped to try Mount Muir while Denny, LA and I pressed on. The hike down was uneventful. There was some confusion near Mirror Lake as I was lost in plain sight but that gave Preston & Bob a chance to catch up. Preston, Denny and I stopped by Lone Pine Lake for a look and then all of us cruised down the trail to the portal. The weather was perfect for this hike but sunscreen is recommended because you are in the sun most of the day. Thanks Bob, Denny & Preston for an excellent adventure.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
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    Arrived at Whitney portal at around midnight on Friday night and met up with some friends from California. The next morning our group of 7 with 5 first timers started our ascent at around 9am. This has to be one of the most scenic places I have ever been. Every turn i took there seemed to be creeks, waterfalls, lakes, trees,and enormous mountains everywhere. We arrived at Trail and set up our camp at around 2 pm and settled in for the rest of the day. On Sunday morning around 6am we made our attempt at the summit. The switchbacks seemed never ending. from what i hear there are around 100 switch backs from trail camp to trail crest. the views from trail crest and the rest of the trail to the summit are unbelievable. 6 of the 7 made it to the summit at around 9 30 am. the only person that did not make it suffered from some severe altitude sickness although he did make it about a half mile from the summit. spent about an hour at the top checking out the views, eating, and taking pictures. On the way down from the summit back to camp we ran into a steady rain. packed up camp and headed for the trail head as quick as we could to avoid being stuck in a storm. We ended up making it down to the trail head, 6.5 miles, in about an hour and 35 minutes. Luckily, I did not suffer from altitude sickness at all and was able to make it to the summit pretty easily. Overall an amazing trip.
    Mount Whitney 14,505
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    Mt. Whitney, the mountains of my heart!! After summiting last year I didn't think I would be back for awhile but then my roommate got permits and one thing lead to another... before I knew it I was back in Lone Pine this weekend marveling at the majestic mountains looming ahead.

    Half of the group was going to do the Mountaineer's Route this time around but then the plan got switched to a super crazy 4-peak 18 mile loop with 8k elevation gain: Carillon (13,549'), Russell (14,088'), Whitney (14,494') and Muir (14,012'). When the alarm went off at 2 a.m. I just could not shake the feeling that I should NOT do the loop that day. So going with my gut feelings, I decided to go with the rest of the group who were all doing the regular Whitney trail.

    Man o man it is SO beautiful there! I love that mountain so much. I loved starting before dawn and hiking through the darkness with just a tiny sliver of moon to guide the way. We stopped to take a snack break just as a gorgeous alpenglow began to light up the mountains ahead, one of my most favorite phenomena in the natural world!! The reflection of the sunrise upon Lone Pine lake as viewed from far above is just incredible. We made good time, everyone was in good spirits and that last stretch to the summit was not as bad as it was last time. I was definitely feeling altitude at the top but much less than last year, I attribute this to camping at the portal this year instead of down at Lone Pine.

    At the summit, I made radio contact with Ben who was just submitting Mt. Russell. Our groups could barely see each other so far away but it was so fun to see them up there. At the same time, a glider plane came swooshing by, swirling round and round the mountain, getting so close that I could see the pilot smiling and waving from inside. Maybe it was the altitude affecting my brain but I thought this was the COOLEST thing I had ever seen, I stood there absolutely dumbfounded watching the glider do graceful flips through the air before starting the long trek back down.

    The way down always seems to take longer, I think because the hike up goes so quickly in the dark when you can't really see what's going on. I wasn't feeling so hot for most of the hike down, my body was rebelling from the altitude (unhappy stomach, pounding head, foggy contact lenses!) plus I was getting increasingly worried about group #2. Things were not going as planned for them and I knew they still had a long difficult exposed route to complete at high altitude. My mantra on the way down was just "please let them get down safely..." over and over as I hiked. I realized that my gut instinct that morning had been 100% accurate, there is no way I could have safely done their route with the affect the altitude was having on my body.

    In the end we all made it down safely, some much later than others, but everyone with a story to share of their adventure. Mt. Whitney is such an incredible place, I don't think anyone can go there and not be inspired by the grandiosity of the beauty. I am in no hurry to summit again, but still I look forward to my next adventure in the beautiful Sierra Nevada!! :)

    Permit $$
    Special Use

    Special
    Check out the Inyo FS Whitney page for more information.


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The town nearest the trailhead is Lone Pine, CA. From Phoenix to I-10 West for about 300 miles to I-215. Head North towards Barstow, Take that about 20 miles and merge onto I-15 North for another 15 miles. Take 395 North for 160 miles to the town of Line Pine. Turn left at the stoplight which is Whitney Portal Road. Continue up the road for 11 miles to the trailhead. The drive takes about 8 hours to Lone Pine with little traffic, add more time if your near Los Angeles area around rush hour.
    page created by joebartels on Jun 16 2008 8:57 pm
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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