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#12345 - 04/02/11 08:46 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Charged up, yes; but exhausted, very yes!
U.S. 395 heading either direction is a long, dark, mostly straight-for-miles it-all-looks-alike hypnotic road at night, esp. when you're exhausted. Like others above, I don't know how I ever made it to where I was staying (in the Palmdale area) from Lone Pine when driving there the same night as my hike day. I would seriously consider staying in Lone Pine, clean up, sleep, relax, eat, etc. and then head home the following morning refreshed and with the sunlight on the road (395 is a very beautiful drive along the mountains, which beauty is wasted by driving at night when you can't see it).

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#12346 - 04/02/11 08:56 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I've returned home the same day most of the time but I summit at on near dawn on my trips so, I'm in the Portal early, showered, pigged out, on road and back in SoCal at a reasonable hour.

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#12351 - 04/03/11 06:45 AM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Chickadee]
lawnerd Offline


Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Exeter, California
Originally Posted By: Chickadee
Lawnerd,
I am going to be on the trail Oct 1st with 10 of my friends as well. Are you doing a day hike or camping? I attempted a day hike 9 years ago with 3 other people and 3/4 of us didn't make it due to AMS. We went in late Sept and had beautiful weather. I am hoping for the same luck in weather. I figured we would have better luck this time if we camped on the trail. Maybe our paths will cross.


Chickadee,

I will be camping. I have reserved a site at Whitney Portal Campground for Sept. 30th. I plan to get to Trail Camp or C. Lake on the 1st, Summit on the 2nd and it looks like I will be staying in Lone Pine and leaving on the 3rd. I too am hoping for good weather. I'm not afraid of the snow, I just don't want any problems.

I want to do an overnight trip for both acclimation and just because I want to be away from the valley for more than a day! I think the trip will be more pleasant this way. Have you thought much about your plans for the mountain? I would be interested to hear how far you plan to get the first day, etc. This is my first trip to Whitney. Thanks!

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#12354 - 04/03/11 12:00 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Chickadee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Chickadee
Lawnerd,
I am going to be on the trail Oct 1st with 10 of my friends as well. Are you doing a day hike or camping? I attempted a day hike 9 years ago with 3 other people and 3/4 of us didn't make it due to AMS. We went in late Sept and had beautiful weather. I am hoping for the same luck in weather. I figured we would have better luck this time if we camped on the trail. Maybe our paths will cross.
(emphasis mine)

Chickadee and lawnerd:

Acclimation is about the most important factor ensuring a successful summit. Lawnerd's plan to camp one night at the Portal, and a second on the trail is about the minimum required for any sort of acclimation.

If you start up the trail first day, and camp one night, that isn't enough time for most people.

A good acclimatization plan would be to spend one or two nights at Horseshoe Meadows campground -- elev 10,000 -- and maybe doing an easy dayhike for fun, to either Trail Peak or Cottonwood Lakes.  Here's a Trail Peak writeup:  Trail Peak: Warmup / acclimatization hike.  I can assure you, at the end of September, there will be plenty of available space in that campground.

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#12355 - 04/03/11 12:32 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
"I can assure you, at the end of September, there will be plenty of available space in that campground."

There were plenty of campsites labor day weekend last year when I was there.

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#12356 - 04/03/11 01:56 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Steve C]
Chickadee Offline


Registered: 04/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
I plan on one or two nights at Whitney portal, I have to reserve them still.
We stayed there two nights last time as well. I am very aware of the effects of
altitude and plan to camp at 12,000' on the trail.
My husband and I are very sensitive to altitude and did well
on Kilimanjaro this past fall. We used Diamox, which we plan to use again
for Whitney.

If I can take more time off, I would love to spend more time in the Sierra's,
but that may not happen.

Altitude sickness is crazy and you just never know how it will effect you.

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#12365 - 04/04/11 06:30 AM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Originally Posted By: Chickadee
Lawnerd,
I am going to be on the trail Oct 1st with 10 of my friends as well. Are you doing a day hike or camping? I attempted a day hike 9 years ago with 3 other people and 3/4 of us didn't make it due to AMS. We went in late Sept and had beautiful weather. I am hoping for the same luck in weather. I figured we would have better luck this time if we camped on the trail. Maybe our paths will cross.
(emphasis mine)

Chickadee and lawnerd:

Acclimation is about the most important factor ensuring a successful summit. Lawnerd's plan to camp one night at the Portal, and a second on the trail is about the minimum required for any sort of acclimation.

If you start up the trail first day, and camp one night, that isn't enough time for most people.

A good acclimatization plan would be to spend one or two nights at Horseshoe Meadows campground -- elev 10,000 -- and maybe doing an easy dayhike for fun, to either Trail Peak or Cottonwood Lakes.  Here's a Trail Peak writeup:  Trail Peak: Warmup / acclimatization hike.  I can assure you, at the end of September, there will be plenty of available space in that campground.


Steve,

I've come to believe if you have a problem with AMS you are liable to have problems, with any "short" program. I spent a day 2 days near 10,000' with absolutely no problems then did White Mtn. I was fine until I started to eat on the summit and came down my worse case of AMS I have ever had. The symptoms did not go away until I was in Big Pine for an hour.

As you know, I am a Diamox user but I know if I push it the first couple of days out I am going to have problems, sleep, lack of appetite and headache being the usual symptoms.

It is my belief, you have to come up to the Sierra to play to find out if you have these problems prior to your day with destiny. Most folks don't mind missing Langley or White because of AMS but Whitney is another matter entirely. By coming up a month to six weeks before your trip, you can address these problems before you big day/multi-day.This is an inexpensive insurance policy because the next opportunity for many is a year and another lottery drawing away.

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#12368 - 04/04/11 07:20 AM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
wbtravis wrote:
I've come to believe if you have a problem with AMS you are liable to have problems, with any "short" program. I spent a day 2 days near 10,000' with absolutely no problems then did White Mtn. I was fine until I started to eat on the summit and came down my worse case of AMS I have ever had.

WB, I still experience some symptoms after several days, too. But what I am trying to suggest for Chickadee and lawnerd is to spend enough time acclimating to mitigate the worst symptoms, so they will at least succeed in making the summit.

They may not be dancing on the summit but at least they have a much better chance of making it.

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#12388 - 04/04/11 03:44 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I'm basically saying the same thing but I have a slight different method. This is based on most folks who do Mt. Whitney come from SoCal. If they can get to Mt. Whitney, they can also get to White Mtn. or Langley to find out if elevation is going to be a problem and if it is they can do something about it.

To me and you, this is just another mountain. If we miss it for any reason, we know it will be there the next time we want to do it. However, for many of this is year's worth of planning, a ton of bucks and if they don't summit another year of disappointment. Wifey got really depressed after doing what is still her longest hike with the most gain but her day ended at Trail Crest.

After coming to the Sierra year after year and playing at these higher elevations, I know what to expect. I believe this to be as important as being acclimatized. Of course, I come after taking Diamox for 3 days and know enough not to push too hard the first couple of days in these mountains. I know if I do, I will not be able to eat and most likely sleep well that night but I know in the morning I'm going to be ok. That come from experience, experience most every SoCal noob can pick up just by visiting High Sierra or Whites a month to six weeks before their trip.

I love the Sierra in October. The peeps are semi-gone and it's cool to cold, which makes for great hiking in my mind. But, I have a ton of gear and clothes and prepared for most of what Mother Nature throws at me.

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#12393 - 04/04/11 05:15 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: wbtravis]
lawnerd Offline


Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Exeter, California
I live very near Sequoia National Park, so I plan to get up there to do some training hikes before October rolls around. I will be on Mt. Shasta for the first week of September so that should give me a good idea of how I do at altitude. However, I will have more time on Shasta to acclimate.

I will be running short of vacation days and time on Mt. Whitney. I only have three days time to get it done. Hopefully I will be able to acclimate in that time frame. If I had more time I would surely use it.

Would it help to take Diamox before the trip, even if I am not at altitude?

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#12398 - 04/04/11 06:59 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
Chickadee Offline


Registered: 04/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Lawnerd,
We took 125 mg Diamox twice a day starting the first day in altitude and continued until we had descended on Kilimanjaro. It worked well. Check with your MD. It's really important to drink lots of fluids and eat! Diamox is a diuretic and it will make you urinate. It also has a side effect of pins and needles. Also, take your time on the trail. A slower hike helps you acclimate. We too only have Friday - Sunday. My boss wouldn't give me any more days off. We plan on heading to Whitney Portal on Thursday night. Hope that helps.
Chickadee

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#12399 - 04/04/11 07:01 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
Chickadee Offline


Registered: 04/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Sorry, I didn't answer your question. It's good to try it before your trip just to see how your body reacts to it.

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#12405 - 04/04/11 09:25 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Chickadee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
lawnerd, the weekend before Whitney, day hike Sawtooth peak out of Mineral King (if they haven't locked the gate by then).

It will get you over 12k elevation, and if you go just a week before, will give you a start on the acclimatization.

And a bonus-- it has great views of Mt. Whitney from the west.

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#12414 - 04/05/11 06:09 AM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: lawnerd
I live very near Sequoia National Park, so I plan to get up there to do some training hikes before October rolls around. I will be on Mt. Shasta for the first week of September so that should give me a good idea of how I do at altitude. However, I will have more time on Shasta to acclimate.

I will be running short of vacation days and time on Mt. Whitney. I only have three days time to get it done. Hopefully I will be able to acclimate in that time frame. If I had more time I would surely use it.

Would it help to take Diamox before the trip, even if I am not at altitude?


I'm not big on Diamox unless you have experienced AMS. It is a drug that does have some, let's say, interesting side effects. Also, it takes a while to get a dosing regiment that works for you. For me, it was a process that I figured out in 3 or 4 years of using the drug 3 or 4 times a year, since I am only affected by AMS on day hikes like Whitney and multi-day trips over 10,000'.

Time is an issue for most of us who spend time in the Sierra, mine is usually Friday night up, Saturday out and Sunday home. This limits the trips I can do. I don't have time to acclimatize properly. So, I put up with the AMS symptoms and the Diamox side effects. I usually feel great as I am walking out of the forest.


Edited by wbtravis (04/05/11 06:10 AM)

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#12417 - 04/05/11 06:51 AM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 592
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: lawnerd
...Would it help to take Diamox before the trip, even if I am not at altitude?


See this thread for informed dosage for Diamox. Both Ken and Harvey Langford are MD's with lots of experience hiking and climbing.

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#12452 - 04/05/11 06:59 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: Steve C]
lawnerd Offline


Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 14
Loc: Exeter, California
Steve C,

Thanks for all of your valuable info. I was planning on using Sawtooth for training and just because it looks cool and i've always wanted to climb it. Any other good hikes in the area you would recommend for training?

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#12455 - 04/05/11 07:32 PM Re: Mt. Whitney Trail in October [Re: lawnerd]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Any other good hikes in the area you would recommend for training?

Alta Peak in Sequoia comes to mind. Make a loop out of it by taking the trail to the summit, then head east and north off the summit, descending to Pear Lake. Return to Wolverton parking area via the Pear Lake trail. That hike gave me a good day's workout!

And you can barely see Whitney's summit from Alta, too.

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