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Mount Whitney 14,505 - 20 members in 47 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jul 18 2020
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,634

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 18 2020
John9L
Hiking22.22 Miles 7,204 AEG
Hiking22.22 Miles   11 Hrs   6 Mns   2.15 mph
7,204 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
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Back in early March I decided to apply for a day hiking permit and I was surprised to see I was successful. Then Covid hit and I didn't think the trip would happen. Months passed and the date got closer & I was still skeptical. Finally the week of the trip hit and I decided to go for it & I'm glad I did.

I took PTO on Friday and left Phoenix around mid-morning and took my time driving to Lone Pine. I arrived in the evening and grabbed some dinner to go and drove up to Whitney Portal. I ate dinner as night set in & then organized my gear. I'm sleeping in my jeep and I'm going with an alpine start.

After a relatively restless night I got up at 4:10am and I was on trail at 4:30am. The Mount Whitney Trail makes a steady climb right from the start. I was using my headlamp and could see about a dozen headlamps further up trail. I kept at it as light appeared on the horizon. A few minutes later I shut off my light and continued up. I set a steady pace and passed a few small groups. The sun rose and I would pass Outpost Camp and then climbed to Trail Camp. From there it was time for the 99 switchbacks which were relentless. I set a steady pace that slowed as I neared the top.

I eventually arrived at Trail Crest and took a short break. From here it's 1.9 miles and 1,000ft to the summit. This section sound easy but is tough because of the elevation. I would go a few hundred yards and take a short break. I kept at it and played hop scotch with a few group. With much effort I topped off to a relatively crowded summit at 10:30am. Once there I signed the register and took a nice break & admired the views. This is my second time on the summit but first from the Portal side.

After I had my fill I started the return. The top section was a chore but I made steady progress. There are a few short uphill spots near Trail Crest. They are very short but took their toll & felt like a huge climb. I was spent from the hike up and the elevation. I hit the 99 switchbacks and headed down. Most of them are short and easy going. I cruised down and passed Trail Camp and kept heading down. With much effort I detoured over to Lone Pine Lake and took a short break to eat.

The last few miles to the trailhead were work. My legs were spent I wanted to be done. I kept heading down and was delighted to return to the trailhead and then back to the jeep. I was finally done! It was about 3:30pm and I decided to head home. I would spend the next 8+ hours driving and I pulled into home right at midnight. It was a good trip! Mount Whitney is a beast of the hike and took a lot of effort but was worth it!
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1 archive
Aug 01 2019
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 45
 Routes 426
 Photos 5,682
 Triplogs 386

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking23.50 Miles 6,634 AEG
Hiking23.50 Miles   15 Hrs   25 Mns   2.10 mph
6,634 ft AEG   4 Hrs   13 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Being how Mount Whitney is the highest point in the continental US, hiking it had been on my radar screen for a while. I was able to get some permits, so 4 of us got a 1:00 AM start from the trailhead at the Whitney Portal.

It took us 4 hours to get to trail camp, and we stopped there for a break and to filter some water. We got off trail in the dark a couple of times, but we got back on course without too much trouble. By the time we finished our break, the sun was coming up, so headlamps were not needed the rest of the way.

I started slowing down a bit going up the 97 switchbacks from Trail Camp up to Trail Crest. By that time we were at about 13,700' of elevation. The section from Trail Crest to the summit was a fairly rocky, and I was slowing down both due to the terrain and the elevation -- but I persevered and made it to the summit.

There was a snow field not too far below the summit -- I did not use microspikes on the way up, but I did put my microspikes on for the descent. I would guess that the snowfield was about 100 yards long, and most people seemed not to be using any traction devices.

The weather was near perfect for the hike -- it was a sunny, cloudless day. It was a bit breezy at times, and I put on a jacket and gloves for a while....but at the summit I had on a couple of shirt layers, but no jacket or gloves.

On the way back I made a short detour to go to Lone Pine Lake.

This was probably the most strenuous dayhike that I have done, but it was definitely worthwhile to do. The views along the way and at the summit were awesome!
Fauna
Fauna
Dusky Grouse
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lone Pine Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mirror Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max North Fork Lone Pine Creek Medium flow Medium flow
_____________________
I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
2 archives
Jun 19 2017
syoung
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 Guides 6
 Routes 23
 Photos 1,125
 Triplogs 593

41 male
 Joined May 23 2012
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 19 2017
syoung
Hiking20.84 Miles 7,162 AEG
Hiking20.84 Miles   10 Hrs   11 Mns   2.71 mph
7,162 ft AEG   2 Hrs   30 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
With Kilimanjaro coming in a few short weeks I really needed to get some more mental prep work done. Whitney is something that is great at being a test of your mental mettle.

On the journey out we stayed in Anaheim for a couple days prior to visit some friends. I really didn’t think much about it until the drive to Lone Pine when I was thinking about the ocean. And now the first doubts started to creep in. I had been scouring the various message boards and groups to get as much info about the trail conditions for several weeks. WIth the record snow in the Sierra’s now melting, that alone had planted the seed of doubt into my mind.

I started up the trail around 1:30AM. Instantly I had to backtrack as I left my camera back in the car. I snatched that and started to head back up again. A few minutes later I noticed that my backside was wet. My Camelbak was leaking. It was a good thing I was dropped off at the trailhead otherwise I might have packed it in. (Ok, not really) Turns out, I think at least, the connection with the tube and bladder came loose. All I know is that it didn’t present any issues for the rest of the day.

With the amount of snow the mountains received this winter the stream crossings were going to be their own mini games. The first crossing was crazy! It was pretty unsettling starting across a stream and not being able to see the bottom, nor the other side, due to the darkness. The really creepy part is the sound. It sounds angry, powerful, and downright hateful. One mistake and it is ready to send you rushing down, down, down.

I was shocked that I passed two separate groups on their way down. I made small talk with the first group, about trail conditions and the alpine start; but the second group was an Asian collection who didn’t say much.

The log bridge crossing was hairy. One of the logs broke and is angled weirdly, necessitating a leap. The water underneath the logs (just barely) is rushing by in a low rumble as well.

I had read that the snow abruptly starts right past Lone Pine lake and that was spot on. The sign stating that you need a permit to proceed was buried. I grew up on the east coast, in the lake effect snow belt of upstate NY, but was still in awe. The snow, at times, caused the trail to disappear into the night. It made for quite an ordeal in trying to follow it. There is quite a well trodden path in the snow but it can easily be missed in a few spots that transition from dirt to snow.

The waterfall by Outpost Camp was monstrous. The sound literally shook the ground as you ascended around it. I was making decent time at this point. I took the approach of just going but not overly fast. I wanted to try to maintain a decent clip but able to breath and talk.

Approaching Trailside Meadow the trail is submerged under ankle deep water for the majority of it, with some points being at mid-calf. Thankfully the gore-tex boots I have, along with the gaiters, kept my feet dry throughout this trip.
Much of the route past this point is directly over snowfields. This presented a whole new set of issues. The day before I read a triplog about how a guy fell through into waist deep water. Well, with that vision in my mind I stumbled upon the first of many cavities in the snow fields that harbored raging water. Now, not only would a spill into one of these end your summit attempt it very well could end you. If you were sucked down under the snow I can’t imagine any sort of positive outcome to that situation.

I reached Trail Camp a little before sunrise. I strapped on my crampons, pulled out my axe, and started weaving my way up the chute. The sunrise was breathtaking; just like the climb. The snow was crisp and firm making the traction easy to be had. Oxygen was the rare commodity and I fell into a routine of a few steps followed by a rest period and a few breaths. The chute took forever and a day. I managed to catch up to a couple groups, who had mercilessly been sending chunks of snow down on me throughout, right near the top. We chatted a bit about the conditions and then parted ways.

From Trail Crest to the summit the trail is basically clear. I really had to mentally force myself through this section. The altitude hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t in a headache or nausea kind of way; just in a way that sapped all energy and desire to continue. This is what I came for, although I didn’t want to deal with it. I just focused on the summit hut. I went when I could, I stopped when I had to. It was slow going, but eventually I reached the base of the plateau. Typically, the main trail sweeps around the western side of the plateau but with the snow the chosen way was climbing the boulder field of the southern face (I hope my sense of direction is accurate).

The summit hut had its door blown off this winter. Inside, from the ground to the roof, was snow. I am pretty amazed that a couple people were able to survive in there, overnight, a few weeks back.

I made it back down to Trail Crest and had a decision to make; either glissade down the chute or plunge step. I decided to plunge step to play it safe. It is remarkable how fast the descent is compared to the ascent.

Upon reaching Trail Camp I ran out of water. I had brought up a full Camelbak of 100oz. I pulled up the lake and got out my filter. Turns out (and I should have tested this beforehand) that my filter was busted. So I was left with either no water or drinking unfiltered water. I chose the unfiltered water approach on the assumption that I could make 6 miles before my intestines exploded. With all the water out there I figured my odds were good. Going on a day and a half later and my stomach still doesn’t hate me.

Just below Trail Camp I bumped into a solo SAR member from Inyo County SAR. We chatted for a good amount of time about what I saw, how far I made it, my gear, etc. Apparently with all of the tragedies that have already transpired this year on Whitney they are out trying to do preventative work.
The stream crossings that were troublesome in the early morning hours were downright terrifying during the midday melt period. Thankfully I made it through them all but I am not so sure it isn’t just dumb luck.

Overall, my 4th ascent of Whitney was my most challenging to date. The conditions out there were no joke, but more importantly, the mental aspect of it was tough. It is really easy to keep going when it is a new peak, trail, etc; but when it is something you’ve seen before, it can become easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. The lessons and experience garnered from this adventure will last me a lifetime.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lone Pine Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mirror Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 North Fork Lone Pine Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
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3 archives
Jul 23 2016
Lucyan
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 Routes 1
 Photos 17,744
 Triplogs 920

40 female
 Joined Jan 18 2011
 In the Wild
High Sierra Trail, CA 
High Sierra Trail, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jul 23 2016
Lucyan
Backpack76.00 Miles 17,490 AEG
Backpack76.00 Miles5 Days         
17,490 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
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.
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Jun 28 2016
Lucyan
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 Routes 1
 Photos 17,744
 Triplogs 920

40 female
 Joined Jan 18 2011
 In the Wild
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Backpack avatar Jun 28 2016
Lucyan
Backpack21.40 Miles 6,700 AEG
Backpack21.40 Miles
6,700 ft AEG18 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 4 of backpacking trip:
Guitar Lake to Whitney Portal via Mt. Whitney
Total: 21.4 miles
Named place
Named place
Guitar Lake
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1 archive
Jun 19 2016
syoung
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 23
 Photos 1,125
 Triplogs 593

41 male
 Joined May 23 2012
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 19 2016
syoung
Hiking23.20 Miles 7,966 AEG
Hiking23.20 Miles   10 Hrs   11 Mns   2.68 mph
7,966 ft AEG   1 Hour   32 Mns Break26 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Well, I won an overnight pass (finally) and still didn't manage to sleep on the mountain. Let me tell you, that drive out there sucks. So much so that by the time I got there I had used all of my "lets be alone on a mountain" energy in keeping myself company on the 8 hour car ride. When I picked up my permits I started questioning what to do. After a few back and forths I decided that I'd just try to take a nap and hit the mountain as a day hike as I have previously done. I set my alarm for 12:30 and eventually passed out sometime around 8 or so.

Rise and shine! It is 1:38AM. Crap. I hurriedly got everything in order and made my way up to the portal. Thankfully parking wasn't an issue. If you aren't aware, CA DOT is redoing the road up to Whitney Portal. As such, they give you one parking pass per group and there is no on road parking during construction.

Upon starting up the trail I wasn't feeling the most confident. Teaching summer school has really put a clamp on my hiking. Generally, I don't teach summer school and that allows me to hike every morning early. But with a wedding to pay for I figured the extra cash would be nice. However, the tradeoff is that I have to motivate myself to hike at night. It doesn't work very well for me. I like being physically active early. Lateness is time for sleep. And that is what makes this day hike so hard for me. I was on the trail at 2:25.

I breezed through the first 3 miles to Lone Pine lake. This is where self doubt came to the physical world. I started to get a slight headache. It wasn't from the elevation but more a combination of not sleeping more than 9 hours combined the past two days. The self doubt began to creep into my mind. I tried to shrug it off but resigned myself that a more plausible goal would be just to reach Trail Crest. I know my body pretty well and how it reacts to elevation. It doesn’t typically discomfort me until around 12,000 feet. Sure, I feel short of breath and such but I don’t display any other symptoms generally. I felt the headache was going to exacerbate that, however. Thankfully, it didn’t really ever become anything too overwhelming.

There really weren’t any navigational blunders except somewhere past mirror lake (I think, it was still night) where I ran into a group of 3 guys. They had no idea where the trail was. In stopping and chatting with them, I lost the trail too. It took us several minutes of poking around to find that the trail was covered in snow but it was to our right.

My first time doing Whitney in 2013 I hit a proverbial wall right before sunrise. I think now, almost 3 years later, I have a better understanding of how I react and thus aren’t surprised (and needing to take a short nap like I did in 2013) I hit Trail Camp right around the time that the sun was making is daily appearance over the peaks in the east. It was heavenly. I am not much of a spiritual person but watching the sun crest and then the alpenglow is the closest thing to any spirituality that can be found for me.

Making my way up to Trail Crest I just focused on my breathing. It is something I do at elevation now and it helps immensely. Just deep, consistent, breaths no matter my exertion level - and it expunged the CO2 from my system; thus mitigating the symptoms. Or at least that is how I think it works. I just know it works for me.

I spent a lot of time on the summit (for me anyways). I usually do a quick turn and burn but I lingered for roughly 15 or so minutes just taking it all in. It was beyond windy. It was the strongest winds I have ever felt on a mountain before. I was being tossed around by the gusts and it flat out got dangerous at a few times as I was walking around.

The descent down is gorgeous at times but more often than not, mind numbingly long and boring. Those last 4 or 5 miles were just a blur of “when will this trail end” and “holy hell, I still have to drive 8 hours home after this”.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience. It is nice to push yourself to your limits and see how your body responds. It was my third trip to the top but my first completely solo.
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Sep 04 2015
iborrego
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 Triplogs 348

27 male
 Joined Oct 13 2012
 Tucson, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2015
iborrego
Hiking22.00 Miles 6,150 AEG
Hiking22.00 Miles
6,150 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 23 2015
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,634

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
JMT - Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA 
JMT - Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jul 23 2015
John9L
Backpack68.12 Miles 15,858 AEG
Backpack68.12 Miles5 Days         
15,858 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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.
Flora
Flora
Foxtail Pine
_____________________
2 archives
Jul 23 2015
chumley
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 Guides 80
 Routes 681
 Photos 15,084
 Triplogs 1,551

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA 
Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jul 23 2015
chumley
Backpack71.45 Miles 16,439 AEG
Backpack71.45 Miles5 Days         
16,439 ft AEG37 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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 :)
Flora
Flora
Foxtail Pine
Meteorology
Meteorology
Ice

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Crabtree Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Plenty of water for filtering

dry Guyot Creek Dry Dry
Unexpectedly dry at trail crossing at 10,400. Ranger's note on bear locker at Rock Creek advises against using it as a reliable source for water - dated 2015. That said, there were some stagnant pools that could be filtered if absolutely needed.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Perrin Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Perrin drains into Rock Creek at a nice meadow area with ample camping opportunities and good clean water flow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Fork Cottonwood Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Healthy flow on Cottonwood Creek along the entire length of trail
_____________________
33s over 45s
Jul 09 2015
azdesertfather
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 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,201
 Triplogs 808

47 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 09 2015
azdesertfather
Hiking21.05 Miles 6,900 AEG
Hiking21.05 Miles   13 Hrs   18 Mns   1.96 mph
6,900 ft AEG   2 Hrs   33 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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.
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Consultation Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lone Pine Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mirror Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max North Fork Lone Pine Creek Medium flow Medium flow
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
3 archives
Jul 08 2015
azdesertfather
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,201
 Triplogs 808

47 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2015
azdesertfather
Hiking3.50 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A warmup, acclimatization hike just before dinner and before the big hike.
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
1 archive
Jun 15 2015
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 24
 Routes 301
 Photos 8,655
 Triplogs 815

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
JMT-Tuolumne Meadows to Mount Whitney, CA 
JMT-Tuolumne Meadows to Mount Whitney, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jun 15 2015
friendofThundergod
Backpack202.87 Miles 40,561 AEG
Backpack202.87 Miles10 Days         
40,561 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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.
Meteorology
Meteorology
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7 archives
Oct 06 2014
syoung
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 Guides 6
 Routes 23
 Photos 1,125
 Triplogs 593

41 male
 Joined May 23 2012
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Oct 06 2014
syoung
Hiking21.40 Miles 6,700 AEG
Hiking21.40 Miles   10 Hrs   45 Mns   1.99 mph
6,700 ft AEG23 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After being denied the opportunity to use my overnight permits back in July due to an unfortunate kickball injury I was really looking forward to getting to Whitney again. I managed to successfully summit Whitney in 2013 on my first attempt. That trip was quite an experience with dealing the altitude and just the majestic beauty of the place. I wanted to spend more time enjoying the scenery and was looking forward to an overnight trip in the wilderness. With those plans dashed this trip was more about getting ready for Kilimanjaro.

Previously I had used diamox on Whitney and it minimized my symptoms but did not completely erase them. A random conversation with an orthopedic surgeon, who was treating me for my leg injury this summer, led to him recommending to me that I focus on my breathing to minimize symptoms of the altitude. I had read that before, obviously, but really wanted to put it to practice at this altitude. I had been employing it on Humphrey’s my past two trips and had stemmed the flow of my traditional 12k headache. I am glad to say that it worked on the way up and my headache was easily controlled by basic ibuprofen.
We made the long drive out to Lone Pine and car camped at the portal. Around 8pm I was opening the car door, after having already set up camp in the back, to get something from the bear bins. Low and behold there was a black bear literally staring at me from about 3 feet away. It looked to be a year or two old and it had the same expression I wore on my face; one of shock. When I switched my headlamp from the red light to white it scampered off underneath a pickup truck.

At 3:30am we started up the trail. The journey through the darkness is always the hardest for me. There is something about hiking when I should be sleeping, regardless of how tired I am, that makes me want to sleep. On my ascent last year I ended up taking a 30 minute nap right before sunrise just below Trail Camp. This year, I felt the same urge again but thanks to our later start I was able to power through it to sunrise. It is quite amazing to me how much better I feel after the sun comes up. I felt re-energized and ready for the task at hand; compared to dreading each step forward.
Approaching Trail Camp we decided to have a late breakfast/early lunch. We broke out the stoves and boiled up some water. It was cold at 12k, especially with the sun just poking its head out, so the cup ‘o soup and tuna was definitely a great treat. I was able to scarf down around 1k in calories, which was one of my pitfalls last year on Whitney.

After the food we pushed through the switchbacks to Trail Crest. Upon reaching Trail Crest we both felt good but tired. Upon sitting down to rest, however, the elevation really hit me. I have come to realize that if I sit down at elevation I feel magnitudes worse than if I just keep on keeping on; not really sure why however. Upon sitting and talking with my partner in crime I found out that she really wasn’t dealing well with the altitude. She had previously reached the top 2 other times and was debating on turning back. As the altitude began to take a toll on me I was thinking about turning back as well. We both decided to continue forth.

The next 2.5 miles are definitely the hardest due to the elevation. We made it to the needles right below the summit plateau and my partner in crime decided she had enough. She wasn’t feeling the best and took off back to Trail Crest with another group. I pushed the final ¼ mile to the summit without issue. I was shocked with how well I felt overall and whether or not it is the placebo effect the breathing helped me in comparison to last year.

Overall I feel better about the upcoming trip to Kilimanjaro. The slower ascent, coupled with the breathing techniques and diamox, and I think I will be able to make the altitude more manageable. Now if my knees will only hold up!
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Aug 18 2014
MikeS
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 Photos 99
 Triplogs 866

male
 Joined Mar 18 2012
 Goodyear, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2014
MikeS
Hiking24.50 Miles 7,469 AEG
Hiking24.50 Miles   13 Hrs   20 Mns   2.56 mph
7,469 ft AEG   3 Hrs   45 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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.
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2 archives
Jul 23 2014
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 215
 Photos 4,073
 Triplogs 336

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2014
ddgrunning
Hiking22.38 Miles 7,492 AEG
Hiking22.38 Miles   13 Hrs   9 Mns   2.23 mph
7,492 ft AEG   3 Hrs   8 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Mission accomplished! :y:

A one-day Mt. Whitney summit was the culminating event of the one-on-one, "coming of age" trip with my son, Kent, who turns 12 next week. Although we had initially wanted to make this a multi-day backpack trip, the Whitney permit gods saw fit to only issue us a day permit, so ... Whitney-in-a-day became the plan. Months in the making, our trip was preceded by nearly a dozen lead-up, training hikes that were, in themselves, fun and memory-building experiences.

Our adventure began the prior Saturday, when we left Phoenix, overnighted in Bakersfield, and then spent Sunday-Tuesday exploring the beauties of Yosemite, including hikes to Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls, Tuolumne Grove, and Lembert Dome (more triplogs on these adventures to follow). We hit the Tuolomne Grove and Lembert Dome hikes as "pit stops" on Tuesday as we wound our way over Tioga Pass (9,945 elev.) to highway 395 and then down to Lone Pine.

Just to make things interesting, on Monday night in Yosemite, my car gave some hints that the battery was on the fritz, and for awhile, I was afraid we were going to get stranded in some remote part of the park :doh: --or worse--that our Whitney attempt might be in jeopardy due to car troubles. Every time we turned off the engine, we followed that with a prayer that it would fire up again when we next turned the key. :pray: Thankfully, our prayers were answered throughout the rest of our Yosemite tour. As we finished off Tioga Road and headed down highway 395, the only significant civilization was Bishop, CA. I hoped there was an Autozone or O'Reilly's in town where we could get the battery checked. Wouldn't you know it, just as we were coming into Bishop, there was an O'Reilley's just on the edge of town! They checked the battery and confirmed that it needed to be replaced. The best news was that we had purchased the current battery at O'Reilley's in Phoenix--and it was still (barely) within the 3 year warranty. So, they replaced it for free! :y:

With our car fears now quelled, but daylight waning, we stopped at the Pizza Factory in Bishop to throw down some carbs in the form of lasagna and spaghetti & meatballs. By the time we hit Lone Pine, it was 9:30 pm. We stopped by the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center and picked up our permits and WAG bags, which we had arranged to be put in the Night Box. Then headed back up the road a 1/2 mile or so to the Frontier Lodge, Best Western.

By the time we checked in and got our day packs stocked and ready for the following morning's hike, it was 10:45 pm. Not an ideal night's sleep, as we planned to make an early start the next morning and obviously had some hard work ahead of us. :zzz:

The alarm went off at 3:30 am--the day had finally arrived.

The gal at the front desk was kind enough the night before to invite us to drop by the breakfast area and pick up bagels, muffin, juice, and whatever else we wanted to fuel up for the hike. With a full stomach and the adrenaline starting to flow, we headed up to Whitney Portal.

Along the way, we saw runners jogging/walking up the road, in reflective vests and headlamps, with support vehicles. I figured out quickly that our trip happened to coincide with the Badwater Ultramarathon. Known as the toughest ultramarathon in the US, Badwater traditionally starts in Death Valley and finishes at Whitney Portal. That explained why there was no vacancy in any of the motels in the area. After parking at the portal and making our way over to the trailhead/finish line. We saw one of the 100-mile finishers cross the finish line. Pretty epic.

After snapping a photo or two at the darkened TH structure, we hit the trail at 4:59 a.m. We hiked by headlamp and a sliver moon for about 30 minutes until the dawn overtook us. Watching the sunrise over the eastern mountains was the first of many inspirational sight along the trail.

We saw not a soul for the first three miles up to Lone Pine Lake (10,000 elev.), where we finally encountered a couple of small groups camping on its shores. After that, we began to run into a trickle of hikers descending, as well as hot-dog trail runner who cruised right by us on his way up. We asked each of the descending parties if they had summitted, but the responses were not positive--most were heading down due to altitude sickness. So, I stopped asking ....

Bighorn Park was a beautiful sight, as was Outpost Camp (3.8 mi.; 10,500 elev.), Mirror Lake, and Trailside Meadow. If I ever do an overnight trip on Whitney, I would definitely camp at Outpost Camp--which is next to a beautiful waterfall, babbling stream, gorgeous alpine meadow (Bighorn Park), and surrounded by plenty of trees. In contrast, Trail Camp is above the tree line (6.0 mi.; 12,000 elev.), barren, and exposed. Other than being another 2.2 miles closer to the top, I can't see why anyone would choose Trail Camp over Outpost Camp. :M2C:

As we reached Trail Camp, the wind picked up, but that was fine with me--as it helped keep the core body temps down. We watched the backpackers at their overnight camping spots in various stages of preparation for their apparent summit attempts. We also enjoyed the views of Consultation Lake, which was a beautiful, deep blue color.

At the far end of Trail Camp, we approached the bottom of the 97 switchbacks. In 2+ miles, we ascended another 1,600 ft. to Trail Crest. Although we were 1,000 ft above our previous altitude record (Humphreys--12,633 elev.), we both were still feeling relatively good and pleased that our altitude strategy seemed to be working (i.e., hydrate well, eat most of our calories at lower altitude, and pop some Excedrin [me] or Aspirin/Ibuprofen [Kent]).

The views on the other side of Trail Crest were fabulous. The wind picked up at that point and it was finally time to pull out the windbreakers for the last 2 miles or so across the back side of the "needles" and up to the summit (which you can see from Trail Crest). As others have mentioned, those last 2+ miles are taxing both physically and mentally. For me, the mentally taxing part was that there is a good mile or so where the elevation changes little (you stay right around 13,800). Although you are moving forward, you are not moving upward, so progress seems extra slow.

Somewhere along this stretch, my son lost one of his gloves. When he realized it, he started backtracking down the trail to look for it. I stopped him after about .1 mi, and went back another 1/4 mile or so before deciding that it wasn't worth the effort/energy expenditure to continue looking for it. Hopefully, we would find it on the way down (we didn't), but for now, the focus would be solely on getting to the summit.

As we got closer to the summit, we both began to feel the fatigue/altitude effects a bit more, but had not reached "zombie hiker" stage (which we saw a lot of in the hikers we passed on our way down).

With about 200 ft of elevation to climb and the summit hut still out of sight, we stopped for a breather and wondered if the summit would ever come. At that point, my son stood up, looked me in the eye and said: "Let's finish this!" : rambo : I couldn't have been prouder, as he led the rest of the way to the summit, which we reached at 12:15pm, to beautiful, clear blue skies and panoramic vistas all around.

A group of hikers/ultramarathoners that we had tag-teamed with on the way up and who had semi-adopted us gave us a rousing cheer/applause as we reached the highest point in the lower 48.

We spent a 1/2 hour or so on the summit and took some victory photos before starting our descent.

That short climb from the John Muir trail junction to Trail Crest was one of the most difficult parts of the trail. Interestingly, it was at that point (after descending 900 ft. from the summit) that I began feeling the worst effects of the altitude (splitting headache/nausea). Kent wasn't feeling great either, but seemed to be doing better than me at that point. In any event, we knew that the only way to get feeling better was to descend quickly, so we were happy to tackle those 97 switchbacks and the welcome elevation loss that came with them.

Once below 11,000 elev., we both began to feel better and were able to stomach a few calories.

The rest of the descent was uneventful, though the afternoon light on the mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and alpine meadows provided another fresh perspective on the beauty of this trail.

As we neared the trailhead, Kent (who led most of the way) kicked it into high gear, with at 17 minute-mile pace for a our 22nd mile. :wlift: I hung onto his coat-tails and we reached the TH shortly after 6 pm. After some souvenir shopping at the portal store, we headed back to Lone Pine for dinner and a well-earned good night sleep at the Frontier Motel.

A very satisfying experience! :y:

Some lessons learned/shared on the trail:
-You can do hard things
-Any worthy goal is worth working hard to achieve
-Achievements that are attained through an investment of time and effort are more valuable than those achieved with little effort
-People who never test their limits never reach their full potential
-Success is most likely to be achieved through careful planning and preparation
-Taking time to encourage, help, and cheer on fellow travelers in life is important
-Getting out in nature is valuable way to find inspiration and put the daily challenges of life in perspective
-[Still working on other good analogies .... ;) ]

Other info:
-I found the following trail guide very helpful in preparing for this hike, with photos, maps, diagrams, and descriptions: http://timberlinetrails.net/WhitneyTrail.html

-Another great resource for tips/info, triplogs, current conditions, etc. was: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/
Culture
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HAZ Food
Meteorology
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Jun 06 2014
BobP
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 Guides 2
 Routes 183
 Photos 3,861
 Triplogs 2,304

59 male
 Joined Feb 26 2008
 Scottsdale, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2014
BobP
Hiking20.40 Miles 6,938 AEG
Hiking20.40 Miles
6,938 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
PrestonSands
Tortoise_Hiker
wallyfrack
I wish BrunoP was awake to help me write this trip log. But he is a little mad because dogs aren't allowed on this trail. Anyways, it was a new peak for me and the company was awesome and Wally and Denny almost started throwing haymakers at each other. I think it had something to do with Coldcock whiskey. Great time with a fun group. I already want to go back even though I almost got sick a few times. :yuck: The extra 12 pounds of cruise weight slowed me as did the altitude. I saw a few guys that got high on the highest point in the continental 48 but not any of us. I saw marmots,pikas,mice,stellas, but no big wildlife.
Flora
Flora
Foxtail Pine
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
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If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP
Jun 06 2014
wallyfrack
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 Routes 91
 Photos 4,792
 Triplogs 1,338

60 male
 Joined Mar 11 2003
 AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2014
wallyfrack
Hiking18.30 Miles 6,868 AEG
Hiking18.30 Miles   12 Hrs   40 Mns   1.44 mph
6,868 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners partners
BobP
PrestonSands
Tortoise_Hiker
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.
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2 archives
Jun 06 2014
PrestonSands
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 Guides 168
 Routes 148
 Photos 5,574
 Triplogs 1,381

43 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2014
PrestonSands
Hiking21.00 Miles 6,977 AEG
Hiking21.00 Miles
6,977 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
BobP
Tortoise_Hiker
wallyfrack
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
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"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
1 archive
Jun 06 2014
Tortoise_Hiker
avatar

 Routes 78
 Photos 7,395
 Triplogs 2,793

59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2014
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking18.30 Miles 6,868 AEG
Hiking18.30 Miles   12 Hrs   40 Mns   1.44 mph
6,868 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
BobP
PrestonSands
wallyfrack
A big thanks goes out to Wally for sitting this whole thing up! :thanx: Throw in Bob and Preston and it made for an awesome road trip. We hit the road Thursday in the am. Wally gave us a break every couple hours to break up the looong drive. We went straight to the Portal campground and sit up camp. From there it was an eleven mile drive or so back to Lone Pine. we ate a Pizza and headed back to camp. We did some exploring and found it to be a cool little campground. Watching the two little boys next to us run around and explore reminded me of my kids and some of our camping trips(Good times). I was in bed early as we were getting up at 4:00am.
We hit the trail around 5:15 and were on our way to the Whitney summit. Yeah! Bob feels better at a fast pace and he took off and would see us at the top. Wally set the pace for Preston and I and it worked out to be a great pace for me. There were great views and cool things to see around every corner. Lakes, waterfalls, creeks, pines, foxtail pines, ridgelines, snow, ice, views, more views, and The Summit! Awesome! Bob had waited for us and we hung out for a little while. We didn't stay to long as we wanted to lose some elevation and get into some thicker air. Bob and Preston did some extra exploring and Wally and I headed on down. One other guy had joined us about half way up and stayed with Wally and I most of the way done. He wasn't sure of the route and liked Wally as a guide. All the cool stuff was cool on the way down too :D . Bob and Preston meet up with us around Mirror Lake and we stayed together the rest of the way down.
This was an awesome trip! Our campground had our own Bear locker and the Outhouse was not to far away. The weather was awesome. We all had yaktrax and such but really didn't need them. The hiking poles were really helpful. One little spot in the switchbacks were you needed your hands and one at the saddle and the rest was pretty good. Great Hike!
Wally had us a room in Lone Pine. We grabbed burgers and headed to the room. We were up early for the hotel breakfast and on the road by 6am. One stop for a lady Preston looked up to then a break every couple hours and home by Saturday afternoon. Plenty of car time to start talking about future adventures.
Thanks to Wally, Preston, and Bob for making this such an awesome fun trip! You all rock! :y:
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Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
Aug 27 2013
parkrunner
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 Guides 1
 Routes 8
 Triplogs 3

67 male
 Joined Dec 20 2011
 Saddlebrooke, AZ
Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Aug 27 2013
parkrunner
Hiking21.40 Miles 6,700 AEG
Hiking21.40 Miles
6,700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Sorry about the delay in posting this hike log. Woke up at 4:30am in the campground 6 miles from Whitney Portal. Drove to the Trail Head and started the hike at 5:15am with headlamp on. It was well over an hour before Sunrise, shortly after passing by Lone Pine Lake. Sunrise was incredible. Only encountered 3 or 4 hikers that first hour. The trail was very good and fast for the first 3 to 4 miles. After than it was slower, not really a pathway, mostly bare rock. Had to look for a lot of cairns. Started seeing more people along the trail. Very few had day pack, most were camping along the way. Stopped for a break at Trail camp. My water supply was very good so no need to filter any. Clouds are moving in pretty good now. The switchbacks were kinda slow with puddles in a few places. Starting to get a few sprinkles of rain now and then. Reached the saddle point and got a cell signal, but couldn't keep it long enough to call my wife. Sent a text instead. Those last two miles were really quite slow. I'd been hiking pretty fast and had to stop to rest 3 or 4 times. The trail itself was rocky and slow. Some guy passed me with wearing a pack, just carrying a bottle of water. He's the only one to pass me so far. The temperature is really dropping too. About 1/2 mile from the summit I see patches of fresh snow in the rocks. Reached the summit hut at about 11am. Stayed for 20 minutes to eat some snacks. It's pretty darn cold now. Visibility is less than 1/2 mile. I tried to go as quick as I could on the way down but the first two miles were really slow. Hiking poles were slowing me down. I had to put my rain poncho on and off three or four times. It was cold enough that I didn't need to get any water. Finally got a phone call from my wife. She thought I might abandon the hike, because everyone else was due to the rain. She met me a couple of miles from the finish. Reached Whitney Portal at 4:14pm. 10 hours 59 minutes total time. Not too bad for age 59. I think I'm about the 10th person from my retirement community, Saddlebrooke to hike Whitney in one day.
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average hiking speed 2.13 mph
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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.

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