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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Mt. Whitney Alternative Challenge Anton 07/03/20 03:08 AM
The list of alternatives for an average MWMT hiker is short: White Mountain, Mount Langley and maybe Shasta. The rest is a different league in terms of approaches and actual routes. That being said, Mt. Whitney also offers a few exciting options, especially if you pursue them in the middle of winter smile Also, I love the views of the West side from the summit ... when the moon is full and the night sky is clear and full of stars, it looks magnificent smile
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Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup? MuffenMan 07/02/20 10:19 PM
Calling does take forever. I think they only have 3 phone lines managed by one Ranger. I was able to get through earlier this week after about 45 minutes of calling and pressing Zero. The Ranger (Tim) asked me a few questions and emailed my permit to me later that day for my Whitney hike on July 4th. However, I did receive another email today (July 2) from another Ranger with my permit again. So it looks like they are automatically emailing out the permits a few days before your date. It did also say that wag bags will be available at the trailhead.
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Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail Steve C 07/02/20 10:10 PM
Originally Posted by JasonDeFay
I was also told that they are not issuing tags for each party member, so the leader is responsible for printing out the emailed permit, signing it and keeping in on them at all times. So there is no need to give copies to other members of the party.
Well, what if the party splits up? Leaders should make copies of their signed permit, and give each person in the group a copy!

By the way, it is NOT a good idea for groups to split up, especially if that means leaving a slower member behind. Many emergencies and rescues start out that way.
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Trip Reports Jump to new posts
White Mountain Peak, Almost Goose 07/02/20 03:07 AM
Monday, June 29th, 2020 - Dayhike of White Mountain Peak

First, a note about the drive up to the locked gate, which is almost the entire reason for this post. Yes, the unpaved portion of the drive is indeed long, and would certainly be best experienced in a vehicle with plenty of clearance and sturdy, off-road tires. That said, employing zen-like patience and some real experiencing off-roading in a variety of conditions, I succeeded in driving to the locked gate and back in a 2017 Prius without sustaining any damage. And I travelled so slowly, that the gas needle did not even budge. Can I recommend it? No. But I do not think that your choice of vehicle should necessarily deter you from the trip.

Second, it was seriously windy. I was not alone in thinking that it was a beautiful day for this as there were two other cars when I arrived at the end. I caught a glimpse of a pair heading up just before they disappeared around a bend and I followed about ten minutes after they took off. I had no problem making it to the weather station just above the Barcroft research station, and once there I could see that there was no snow save a small patch off the trail below the summit. I continued on across the flatter, more exposed plateau and ultimately turned around because of the wind. In milder conditions, I am sure that it would have made a great day hike.

On a side note, I would love to know the rationale for the random quarter mile or so of paved road near the entrance to Patriarch Grove. Bizarre.

Safe travels.
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Trip Reports Jump to new posts
Mt. Shasta - Avalanche Gulch Goose 07/02/20 02:49 AM
Saturday, June 27th, 2020 - Arrived Mt. Shasta, CA/Ascended to Horse Camp.

I stopped at The Fifth Season right as it opened at 9:00 in order to buy fuel and a hat. The rental counter was busy and there were several customers, but it did feel a little light for a Saturday morning. Everyone wore masks and did their best to spread apart. The same was true down the street at Yak’s where I grabbed a breakfast burrito.

After a poor snow year, the snow line in Avalanche Gulch reached below Helen Lake, but only by a few hundred feet, if that. 50/50 and below were completely clear of snow. Due to the one-two punch of a cold front and high winds in the forecast, I chose to hike only as far as the Sierra Club cabin at Horse Camp and spent the night there. And I was in good company, my tent flanked by two or three guided groups and a pair of climber-rangers. I did take advantage of the late sunset to hike up to 50/50 before dinner.

Sunday, June 28th, 2020 - Ascended Avalanche Gulch to Summit

As planned, I headed out at 2:00 AM for the summit. The pre-dawn forecast for the summit was a low of 17 F with winds 29-39, gusting to 85. Climbing to Helen Lake was uneventful, but that changed as soon as I started up the “bowling alley” of the lower Gulch. A repeated cycle of gust, face full of gravel, and rockfall began in what felt like 5-10 minute increments. I kept to the edge of the snow, out of the trough, and watched small groups turn back at the base of the Heart. I stopped every ten minutes or so to reassess, and only proceeded when I was sure that both my traction remained solid and I was out of the line of fire. No one attempted to head all the way right to the Thumb, and the few moving on all chose a route through about the center of Red Banks. Ironically, Misery Hill felt better due to the lack of rockfall and the higher, but generally more sustained winds. Although I kept my crampons on and sought a path on the snow, it was technically possible to reach the summit from above Red Banks without them as dirt and rocks were exposed almost the whole way. The winds absolutely roared at the top.

The descent was a laborious walk through deteriorating conditions. The snow did not soften nearly enough for anyone that I saw to even attempt a glissade, also somewhat unusual for the Gulch at this time of year. I encountered a climber-ranger just below the heart who was almost surprised when I offered to show him my permit. I continued my walk back down and was back at Horse Camp by 9:30 or so where I packed up and hiked down to my car. As I reached the last half mile, I crossed paths with a climber-ranger rushing uphill in response to either a fall or a rock strike. There was zero prospect of helicopter rescue.

For anyone considering Avalanche gulch as a break from the pandemic, I would say that it would really be best to way for a better snow year to go all the way up. The mountain is beautiful, however, and I did very much enjoy both of my ascents to 50/50 and my night near the cabin and its delicious spring water.

Stay safe and stay sane.
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Trail Conditions? Micro Spikes? Summitseeker24 07/01/20 03:52 PM
I have a permit for July 6th, From what I hear there isn't much snow, so I don't plan on bringing microspikes. Anyone know how hard it is to get a campsite at the whitney portal campground that is First come first serve? Arrive early I assume?

Thanks for the info!
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Whitney Current Conditions/Reopening MuffenMan 07/01/20 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by whodunnit27
Any thoughts on how safe the area is (aftershocks?) and the stability of the mountaineer's route even once it opens? Have a permit for July 4 and wondering how unstable the ledges or the gully/chute might be?

Hey Whodunnit27.... I was on Whitney last year when the 7.1 earthquake hit Ridgecrest. I too had the same concerns, especially on the section between the switchbacks and the summit, but as it turned out everything was safe. Hardly felt any of the aftershocks. It is after all a giant granite rock (with some loose stuff). One thing I have learned from mountaineering is never to linger in an area where hazards such as rock falls can occur, move quickly and pay attention to your surroundings. If you see a rock falling, warn other hikers on the trail. We all gotta watch out for one another.

I too have a Whitney permit for July 4th. Ill see you on the trail. Be Safe!
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Horseshoe Meadows Road Big Pine 07/01/20 01:42 AM
Horseshoe Meadows Road and the Cottonwood Lakes Campground will be fully open tomorrow (July 1):
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Re: Long term parking in lone pine ? Steve C 07/01/20 12:54 AM
Not sure, but call and ask at the Lone Pine Film History museum.
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Re: What if our leader can't go on the Whitney hike Team Dirty Boots 06/30/20 11:21 PM
Wait! I didn't know you could do that. I've only read that while applying for the permit is when you can add alternates.
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Re: High Sierra Trail condition/uncertainty PartyBus 06/30/20 04:05 PM
We're heading out this Wednesday. I thought of an exit through Cottonwood Lakes to Horseshoe Meadow even though the trailhead is closed and the Horseshoe Meadow road is blocked a mile or so before the campsites at the forest boundary. We're going to check in at Crabtree and either continue on or head south. Good luck!
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: If permit holder can't complete the hike bobpickering 06/30/20 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by RichardK
Do the permits still allow naming several co-leaders? That would be a solution.
Yes, but you have to do it early in the process. Scalpers would have a heyday if they allowed adding leaders at the last minute.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Tracking Historical Weather Info?? Dave F 06/29/20 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by Bob West
....Several years ago the Labor Day forecast indicated rain, but then the temperature dropped and the Sierra were blasted with blizzard conditions for four days over that weekend...Cold without much snow can still be deadly.

Yes, even clear skies in September doesn't mean safe weather. We last spent the night at Trail Camp on 9/22/16. Perfectly clear skies, but the temperature that night was somewhere below 15. I found the Cottonwood Lakes temperature link while trying to answer the question: "How cold was it?" (17 was reported). I know that wasn't normal, but be prepared for life-threatening cold, even before 10/1.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Looking for a Whitney partner/group kkdavis 06/29/20 06:45 PM
It'll be my first time summiting Whitney this year if all goes well. I'm doing a ton of training (halfway through the socal 6 pack of peaks), research and preparation.

Permit is for September 5, Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I'm planning two nights ahead of time to camp/do some light hiking at a high elevation campground (Cottonwood or Onion Valley to avoid potential crowds at Whitney Portal), then coming up 9/4 to Whitney Portal and sleeping in my car for a few hours. Leaving around 2:30-3 am (I don't expect to move fast and I want to summit before the afternoon storms roll in).

Is anyone else planning a summit bid that day (9/5)? If you're solo, any interest in teaming up with a moderately experienced, slow but steady hiker? I think the extra motivation and support of being with others would be really helpful for my first try.

I'm down to join a group or any other solo hiker or similar abilities. I expect the r/t to take me like...14-16 hours and to be back to TH by early evening. I don't have Facebook so I can't/won't post to any groups there, but would appreciate if you're involved in any, pass this along. If there's any other forums I should check out, I'd appreciate that too.

Obviously all depends on COVID and earthquakes! Fingers crossed for a less stressful rest of the summer...

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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Water sources - safe to drink without filtering? Ian B 06/29/20 04:15 AM
I use a Katadyn BeFree filter. For $40 and 2oz, you don't have to even think about it.

It's small enough to put in a pocket empty and bust out at each lake or spring whenever you get thirsty. My water-carry weight for most sierra hikes or runs is 0.
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Re: First-come, First-served Campsites retrofan 06/28/20 11:19 PM
Great. Thank you both for the info.
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Re: What are you wearing: Hiking boots or good tennis shoes? StorminMatt 06/28/20 09:29 AM
Originally Posted by futbol
I can't think of a single army in the world that has its soldiers not wearing boots. In the US Army I never had a rolled ankle, but most certainly would have had I worn trail runners.

Light pack or day pack and well established trail? Maybe trail runners are superior.

Then again, there are not a whole lot of through hikers on the PCT that hike in boots. Given the fact that these folks can make that choice (vs people in the armed forces), this says something. Let’s face it. Most people find that hiking miles and miles in boots just, well, sucks. Especially if you have to do it day after day. Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Alititude Acclimatization StorminMatt 06/27/20 11:05 PM
Originally Posted by Big Pine
If you live at sea level but hike or drive to 10,000' every weekend for a few hours, will that help? If so, will that enable most people to go from sea level to 14,500' in less than 24 hours without experiencing moderate or severe AMS symptoms?

I find that this DEFINITELY helps. If you like in Northern California, try to do a climb or two to the summit of Mount Dana (13000ft) in the week or two before your climb up Whitney. Better yet, spend some time at the summit rather than just heading down ten minutes after you summit.
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Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation? JMH 06/27/20 10:06 PM
Yes Steve we will stop for supplies west of Vegas while driving. The National Forrest web page lists right now that there is no camping or overnight parking in the Bristlecone Forrest but I'm not exactly 100% sure what the BF covers.
Thanks for ideas.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Earthquake Pictures 6-24-2020 Steve C 06/27/20 06:41 AM
Here are pictures I saved from various sources showing the effects of the earthquake that occurred June 24, 2020 at 10:40 AM.

The overflow parking lot.

Huge rock in the backpacker campsites.

Rocks came down from up there.

Gouged asphalt, main hiker parking lot.

After the dust settled.

Horseshoe Meadows Road

From a video taken between Trail Crest and the Mt Whitney summit. Southeast of Hitchcock Lakes, near Mt Hitchcock

From the grocery store in Lone Pine
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Whitney closed until further notice retrofan 06/26/20 09:11 PM
Originally Posted by jaym
Contemplating a ninja run... but manned roadblocks and barriers
on possibly every (even dirt) road miles from even the bottom
of the Portal Road hill makes me want to instead lay in my bed and eat
junk food and gain even more weight.

Haha, the struggle is real. Just when things were starting to look up, it all comes crashing down (pun intended). Guess my June 30th permit is out as well.

They're hammering the "substantial damage to the National Recreation Trail" pretty hard. Impossible to know if that's true, or if they just don't want people attempting to use it to bypass the Whitney Portal blockade. Either way, it's probably not a good idea. I'm just hoping that the Portal Campground actually opens on the 29th, but I'm guessing Mothra will probably show up and destroy it by that point.
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Re: Pics of the quake from above the Whitney Zone SierraNevada 06/26/20 08:34 PM
Nice photos. All these slides from relatively low acceleration ground motion, roughly 0.05g in the mountains. Imagine what a larger quake would produce.
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