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#18223 - 09/11/11 07:35 AM Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hello,

My dad and I are planning to hike Whitney October 8 trying to get an unused permit the day prior. I've read a few things that say camping by Lone Pine Lake (far enough away from the water, etc.) is a great way to do Whitney. My question is can you do this with a dayhike permit (ie: hike to LPL the previous afternoon, set up camp and sleep until 3-4am. Then wake up and leave the tent and sleeping bags and everything except a daypack there, and hike to the summit and back that day. Is this a legal/feasible option? Do I need to worry about people stealing gear from the campsite? etc. Thanks for all the help! I've been reading this board and the Whitney Portal Store board and all the advice has been so helpful with my preparation.

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#18224 - 09/11/11 08:02 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: billy22g
Hello,

My question is can you do this with a dayhike permit (ie: hike to LPL the previous afternoon, set up camp and sleep until 3-4am. Then wake up and leave the tent and sleeping bags and everything except a daypack there, and hike to the summit and back that day. Is this a legal/feasible option? Do I need to worry about people stealing gear from the campsite? etc. Thanks for all the help! I've been reading this board and the Whitney Portal Store board and all the advice has been so helpful with my preparation.


Unfortunately, you need an overnight permit to camp at Lone Pine Lake, even though it is just before the Whitney Zone. However, at this time of year, you can probably get one as a walk-in.

I haven't camped at Lone Pine Lake (though I have often thought of doing so because it is one of the most beautiful places on the trail) so I cannot vouch for safety from theft. However, I have never had any problems with theft of gear at any other campsites (I have camped at both Outpost and Trail Camp). Of course, Lone Pine Lake is more accessible to day hikers. If it were me, I'd probably go for it (i.e., leave basic gear there).

If you do this, after you set up your camp, you might think of doing a little day hike to perhaps a quarter mile or so just past Mirror Lake to see the terrain. That's where people have been saying the trail may get a little confusing this year. That way, when you go back in the morning when it is dark, it will be familiar, plus you'll have the benefit of an acclimatizing hike to slightly higher elevation. Plus, you'll get a great view if you climb up the section past Mirror Lake.


Edited by Akichow (09/11/11 08:08 AM)

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#18226 - 09/11/11 09:22 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: Akichow]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Wow, thanks for the info. That's great to know. If we show up the day prior to a no-show permit, can we get an overnight permit for THAT night, or is it always starting the following day/night? We want to do the summit and get off the mountain Saturday Oct. 8, so the decision is between camping Friday at the portal and dayhiking the whole thing, or camping out LPL or Outpost if we can get an overnight permit for that night. If you can get a same day overnight permit, is there a best way to do that. For next day no-show permits, I've read you just show up at the Lone Pine Ranger Station at 2:00pm, but haven't heard anything about whether same day is possible. Thanks again for the help. It's really appreciated.

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#18229 - 09/11/11 09:27 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Wayne Offline
deceased

Registered: 11/01/09
Posts: 45
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Billy,

I've taken my entire family (wife, son and two daughters) to Lone Pine Lake for a Whitney Climb over a few days. It is a great camping spot, as long as you don't mind the extra miles to and from the summit. We experienced no incidents of any kind. I've also taken a number of groups to Outpost Camp without any incidents. But, of course, you need an overnight permit for camping. I wish you and your dad the best on your Whitney hike.

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#18230 - 09/11/11 09:34 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: Wayne]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hi Wayne, thanks for the thoughts. Sounds like a great option if we can secure an overnight permit and if we can get one day of or get a cancellation the week prior or something.

One question, what did you mean by the extra miles? Isn't Lone Pine Lake around 3 miles up the trail from the Portal? So wouldn't it make the dayhike 19 miles round trip (assuming we tear down camp at the end and head back to the Portal Saturday after summitting) instead of 22? I assume you it's longer compared to camping at Outpost or Trail?

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#18234 - 09/11/11 10:55 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
1. Yes, I think he is referring to extra miles compared to camping at Outpost or Trail Camp. Without a doubt, you shave a few miles off the total 22-mile roundtrip by camping at LPL rather than at the portal.

2. Yes, you show up at the permit office before 10 a.m. to enter the lottery get an overnight permit to enter that very day. So, in July 2010, I showed up at 9 a.m. on a Friday, got a permit at 10 a.m, and was at Outpost Camp by 2 p.m. that same day, where I spent the night. I got lucky -- it is much easier to score such a permit in October rather than July!

Good luck, and look forward to the trip report. We are currently in a sketchy time, weatherwise, so you may want to read Doug Sr.'s post about proper preparation on the other board. You need to be prepared for thunderstorms and snow at the higher elevations, and prepared to turn around. (It looks like the weather may get better over the next few days, but check Dennis Mattinson's forecast and talk to the folks at the Portal store...).

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#18235 - 09/11/11 11:16 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: Akichow]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Awesome, thanks! We'll be camping either at the Portal (backpacker campground) or Horseshoe Meadows Thursday night I think, so it should be fairly easy to make it to the Ranger Station in the morning to see about a same day overnight permit or a Saturday dayhike (if dayhike is the only thing we can get, that's no big deal, we'll just leave from the Portal). I'm nervous about the weather, as we will not be bringing mountaineering gear. If we have to turn back or can't go at all because of weather, we'll just do Bryce/Zion instead (moving cross country). Not planning on taking any serious risks up there, given that neither of us have ever been above 13k.

I'm debating between trail runners and slightly more robust Columbia boots. Any recommendations on that for early October? Are there still streams you actually need to walk through to cross, and if so, would you recommend wearing gaiters? Wet feet on Whitney in October does NOT sound appealing (more like a recipe for disaster).

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#18236 - 09/11/11 11:33 AM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
There is always Death Valley....

I don't have a recommendation on footwear because I have not climbed in October. I use a lightweight, goretex/waterproof, hiking boot for non-mountaineering hikes, and have used that footwear on all my Whitney hikes.

With or without snow, some find the footing between Trail Crest and the summit to be exhausting, as it is very rocky and uneven (I found the footing challenging the first time I hiked to the summit, and I have heard this from others, too, though this year I found it easier for some reason). Me, I think I'd get serious foot fatigue using lightweight trailrunners. Given that issue, plus the possibility of weather ... I'd be going for the hardier boots. But folks are different on this.

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#18239 - 09/11/11 12:58 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
"We'll be camping either at the Portal (backpacker campground) or Horseshoe Meadows Thursday night I think, so it should be fairly easy to make it to the Ranger Station in the morning to see about a same day overnight permit or a Saturday dayhike"

Hi Billy,
as others will indicate, it would be highly unlikely that you wouldn't get a walk-in overnight permit for pretty much any day in October.

If you are going up Thursday, why not acclimatize on the way up? Why not get the permit starting Thursday and camp at Lone Pine lake the first night(I've camped there a couple of times and love it). Then go to outpost or trail camp the second night and then summit and descend on the 8th.


Edited by tdtz (09/11/11 01:07 PM)

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#18241 - 09/11/11 01:31 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: billy22g
...I'm debating between trail runners and slightly more robust Columbia boots. Any recommendations on that for early October? Are there still streams you actually need to walk through to cross, and if so, would you recommend wearing gaiters? Wet feet on Whitney in October does NOT sound appealing (more like a recipe for disaster).


Since snow has already started to accumulate up high, go with the Columbias, and include gaiters. You won't be walking in streams - plenty of logs and strategic rocks, but wear a warmer boot.

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#18246 - 09/11/11 03:42 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: KevinR]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Kevin, thanks. I decided to do that. The guy at REI today was adamant that I should have an even more robust boot. My Columbias are low hiking boots (at ankle, not much ankle support) and not waterproof, but dry very quickly. I decided against it, unless people here think it's worth shelling out $160 for a good waterproof mid hiking boot.

As far as getting the permit for Thursday night, we're not leaving Yosemite until Thursday morning (staying at either Porcupine Flat or Crane Flat, probably the former because of the higher elevation), so getting there to get a same day overnight permit in time is probably not possible. Unless I'm missing something. If we pack up and leave Yosemite by 10-ish, we'll get to Lone Pine around 2 so it'll be well past the 10 am same day overnight permit pick up. Unless you can still obtain one later?

If we add a couple extra days away from the car/portal, my pack (Osprey Talon 44) may not be sufficient with all the gear, bear canisters, and 3 days worth of food. My dad is just carrying a light daypack (water and a bit of food).

Thanks so much for all the input everyone. I've been reading these forums and Doug's book religiously trying to make sure I'm prepared. Hoping for the best on the weather, but don't plan on taking any chances.

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#18249 - 09/11/11 04:52 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: billy22g
... If we pack up and leave Yosemite by 10-ish, we'll get to Lone Pine around 2 so it'll be well past the 10 am same day overnight permit pick up. Unless you can still obtain one later?
Yes, you can obtain one (assuming one is available) anytime AFTER 10. More are released at 2, so between the two release points during the day, you stand a reasonably good chance.

The more snow accumulates, the better your chance of getting a permit. People tend to bail when there's whitestuff underfoot.

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#18250 - 09/11/11 04:59 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: KevinR]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Unfortunately, given our lack of experience, that's probably a catch 22 for us. More people will bail as you suggested, but we probably have no business on the mountain if there's significant accumulation and/or impending storms. So we'll just hope for good weather and try to snag a permit Thursday mid-afternoon and Friday morning if not. Thanks a lot.

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#18262 - 09/11/11 08:19 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Is the Tioga Pass resort still open then? You might check ... easy way to sleep at almost 10,000 feet at the East entrance to Yosemite (off Rt. 120) on the way to Whitney....

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#18264 - 09/11/11 08:30 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
Billy, check last year's unused permits numbers: Unused Whitney Permits - 2010   It shows the first snow occurred on Oct 2, with more on 10/5. Hiking pretty much ended on the 16th.

If you walk in on a Thursday or Friday, you will get a permit. It is entirely feasible to leave Yosemite and be at the IAVC (south of Lone Pine on Hwy 136 to Death Valley, not the ranger station in Lone Pine) in time for a current day's overnight permit. I suppose you might be arriving at Lone Pine Lake in the dark, though.

You are going particularly late in the year, so you will likely encounter some snow higher on the trail. Unless there is a heavy storm, though, it should be ok to just tramp through it -- there will be lots of others leaving tracks for you to follow.

Since you haven't been that high before, just go with the idea of hiking as far as you feel comfortable. You will no doubt have a good time and a great experience. If the weather is good and not much snow, the summit can be your bonus. On the other hand, if there is a storm brewing, go to Death Valley; it is a rewarding place to visit, too.

Have fun!

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#18266 - 09/11/11 08:37 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 453
Loc: San Diego
Billy,
You don't need $160 for a decent pair of backpacking boots. I buy all my boots from here:
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/s/asolo-tps/

They always have some coupon for you to take an extra 20%-35% off. Throw in some Sno-Seal and you should be fine for anything in early October. I was up there last November and forgot my gaiters in the car. It was not fun literally hearing the water sloshing around inside your boot.

The light dusting of snow SHOULD (emphasis on the should) not hinder your summit attempt. I doubt you'll be postholing in early October. You might need some Microspikes for traction on compressed snow/ice, but as a dayhike, the most important thing would be for you to have the proper (and extra) clothing as the wet, sweaty clothes and glove may freeze, be very uncomfortable.

Becareful, but don't sell yourself short.

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#18302 - 09/12/11 07:32 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: 2600fromatari]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
From the unused permit numbers, it looks like without exception, every year for the past 4 years it's guaranteed to get a walk in permit for both overnight or dayhike in October. That's encouraging, unless I'm reading something wrong on the chart.

We'd prefer to camp and it doesn't look like Tioga Pass has a campground, so we'll probably just stay at Porcupine Flat (>8000 feet) in Yosemite and drive to Lone Pine for a permit Thursday. Looks like Lone Pine Lake is a good camping spot for Thursday and Friday (or maybe move up to Outpost on Friday) for a Saturday summit day.

For the summit day, I'm planning to bring trekking poles, headlamp, Osprey Talon 44 pack with 3L water reservoir, gravity water filter, 1 bottle of Vitalyte/Water mix (and replacement package), First Aid Kit, Emergency Space Blankets, Food (Probars, Trader Joes items galore, etc.), Compass, Cell Phone, Camera, TP (and WAG bag), and extra socks.

Any other suggestions are welcome, and very much appreciated. I've pretty much read every post on this and the other board in addition to Doug's book, so hopefully we'll be prepared and it'll just be a matter of getting a bit lucky with weather cooperating. Thanks again for everything guys.

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#18304 - 09/12/11 07:56 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
There are camp sites just over Tioga Pass at several lakes right on the highway, and also north towards Saddlebag Lake. There should be space mid-week in September, but not sure.

As for the summit climb, watch the weather: Mt Whitney Weather The NOAA Whitney summit weather link shows highs of 36 - 39 all week, with a chance of snow! With those temps, you definitely need to take extra layers of clothing.

I personally skip the water filter, but most carry one. And carry very little water until you reach Trail Camp.

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#18330 - 09/13/11 01:47 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: Steve C]
billy22g Offline


Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego, CA
Thanks Steve, really appreciate the advice on the possible campgrounds. I've been checking the weather religiously. I think we can deal with a bit of snow and freezing conditions (I've got a ton of lightweight winter gear), but anything with significant ice or deeper snow will probably nix the attempt.

Any other advice from others is appreciated in terms of if I'm missing something to bring along or just in general. Thanks so much everyone, really looking forward to it.

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#18345 - 09/13/11 08:10 PM Re: Dayhike Permit and Camping at Lone Pine Lake [Re: billy22g]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Sunglasses, sun lotion, windproof/waterproof shells (top and bottom), gloves, warm hat, sun hat. I am a huge fan of softshell pants now; if no rain in forecast, may be able to use those instead of carrying waterproof shell bottoms. Me, I'd tuck a down sweater or heavy fleece in my daypack, along with a rain shell top, for rest stops or emergency overnights.... Some folks are talking miscrospikes already....

Can't rely on cell reception at all, but the folks last year who got stranded at the summit in October were able to summon help (a helicopter rescue no less) by texting on their phones. Texting may be more of an option than voice service...depending on your phone service and other factors.


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