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#19889 - 11/16/11 12:19 PM November 2012 feasibility study
torpified Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 22
Loc: midwest
This past July, I joined a friend on a trip from Horseshoe Meadow to Whitney Portal during which I made a number of discoveries, including: I REALLY LIKE WALKING AROUND IN THE MOUNTAINS. The catch is that I live in SE Michigan, which I would think was the flattest place on earth, if I hadn't grown up in even flatter suburban Chicago, where local runners classify highway overpasses as hills.

I'll be in Southern CA about a year from now, and I'm thinking about whether it would make sense to make my way to Lone Pine after my duties in San Diego are done. Some questions:

1) Obviously, weather and route conditions in November are going to tend to differ from those in July. And it hasn't escaped my notice that trip reports have dwindled to a trickle. Is this just a flat-out bad time to be hiking? How much weather/condition luck would it take for a trip to Trail Camp (or Trail Crest or the summit) to be doable? [Relevant facts about me:
a) Due to my biography, I'd be satisfied with an overnight trip to Lone Pine Lake. But I wouldn't mind doing more than that, if it was safe to.
b) Also due to my biography, I don't at present have significant winter mountain travel skills. I am not an idiot and would not venture beyond sight of the parking lot unless I was with someone experienced. And I have a year to develop some skills.]

b) indicates that I could use some advice---and this is whether or not the Nov. 2012 trip is a go---about how to acquire winter travel skills. I'll be in Seattle in April---are there good places to look for training around there and around then? Are there any non-ridiculous training options in the midwest? (I'm picturing myself furtively waiting for local children to evacuate the toboggan slide, so that I can practice self-arrests.) As for the experienced companion, I'm figuring SMI is a good resource, but I'm happy to be advised here too.

Thanks!

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#19890 - 11/16/11 01:20 PM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: torpified]
SaraC_UK Offline


Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 127
Loc: Sussex UK
Hey if you are in Seattle you really really should check out Olympic national park. It's my favourite place. Have a look at the hike from third beach south to Toleack, or the ho river trail to mt Olympus. Seriously look at Olympic it's fabulous. And I'm a good way from Yosemite too, Brighton UK

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#19891 - 11/16/11 02:30 PM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: torpified]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1100
Loc: NorCal
The access roads to the trailheads on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada could be snowed in by November, maybe not. But hiking up Whitney in November would not be advisable without winter mountaineering skills and gear, or really good luck. Hard to tell what the weather will bring 1 yr out - could be dry, could be a blizzard, but it won't be warm.

For your situation, I recommend the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada for November. It's about 5-6 hrs from San Diego to Sequoia NP. Nice hiking in the Sequoia groves. More challenging hikes in the area. They keep the roads plowed if it does snow, but you might need chains or 4WD if there is a storm. Check out the John Muir Lodge for comfortable accommodations.

You might also like the Anza Borrego desert east of San Diego - check out Cougar Canyon. Or Death Valley - longer drive but great stuff to see. Should still be pleasant in the desert in November but nights might be chilly.

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#19896 - 11/16/11 09:41 PM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
I was going to suggest Death Valley, too, but I see SN did already.

Sometimes the Whitney area stays dry until December, so you won't know for sure until next November.

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#19899 - 11/17/11 02:17 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: torpified]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Second the Death Valley recommendation - great winter hiking. Depending on when the snows come, Wildrose (9K') or Telescope (11K') peaks may very well be accessible without spikes. There are plenty of strenuous canyon hikes as well. DV is my favorite winter playground since I don't do snow/ice particularly well.

Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks are driving distance from Seattle, but count on a long day - 2-3 hours drive time each way. You can add Mt. St. Helens to that group as well. Plenty of good, hard hikes in these parks. The snowline is very, very low in coastal Washington, some years as low as 4000 feet elevation. If they're accessible, I'd recommend Hurricane Ridge in Olympic, and the Fremont or Rampart Ridge trails in Rainier.

Then there's always the Stairmaster . . .

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#19905 - 11/17/11 05:21 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: Bulldog34]
SaraC_UK Offline


Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 127
Loc: Sussex UK
Ok BUT dont miss the chance to nip over to The olympic Peninsula when you are in Seattle, its just a short ferry ride.
there are all sorts of options, Beach hikes, and let me tell you these are very strenuous hikes up rope ladders etc, and fabulous beaches

Mountain Hikes Seven lakes Basin etc

Hoh river trail with the Blue Glacier 18 miles from the ranger station

waterfalls and hot springs at sol Duc

not many people there either
Check it out

Oh and re Hurricane ridge, you can pretty much drive up there to the view point to start a hike, nice camp ground at Heart of the Hills


Edited by SaraC_UK (11/17/11 05:22 AM)

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#19907 - 11/17/11 07:19 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SaraC_UK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
I'd be wary of high places in the Pacific Northwest in April. While it will be springtime, they get so much precipitation during the winter, that anything at elevation will likely be under snow.

For your April trip, I'd start a thread in the Cascade Climbers forum, and ask for suggestions.

Olympic National Park -- Hurricane Ridge Parking Lot Webcam:


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#19927 - 11/18/11 08:37 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SaraC_UK]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Echo the plug for the Olympics. Incredible place and you typically have the trails all to yourself.

Brent

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#19930 - 11/18/11 09:02 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: Brent N]
SaraC_UK Offline


Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 127
Loc: Sussex UK
Originally Posted By: Brent N
Echo the plug for the Olympics. Incredible place and you typically have the trails all to yourself.

Brent


Definitely you will hardly see anyone, and the beach hikes won't be snowed in and there are lots of climbs on the beach also check out enchanted valley in spring I think that's the name of it

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#19931 - 11/18/11 09:08 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SaraC_UK]
SaraC_UK Offline


Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 127
Loc: Sussex UK
Originally Posted By: SaraC_UK
Originally Posted By: Brent N
Echo the plug for the Olympics. Incredible place and you typically have the trails all to yourself.

Brent


Definitely you will hardly see anyone, and the beach hikes won't be snowed in and there are lots of climbs on the beach also check out enchanted valley in spring I think that's the name of it



Olympic Beaches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObNn5vdt5LM

Blue Glacier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Gh5bYnJ-A


Amazing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWIc5W5DKgg&feature=related


Edited by SaraC_UK (11/18/11 09:38 AM)

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#19933 - 11/18/11 11:21 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SaraC_UK]
torpified Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 22
Loc: midwest
Thanks, everyone, for all the pointers! (But where are the suggestions about credible midwest mountaineering schools?) I'll do my best to do something fun on each of these trips, and report back.

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#19936 - 11/18/11 01:32 PM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: SaraC_UK]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: SaraC_UK
Ok BUT dont miss the chance to nip over to The olympic Peninsula when you are in Seattle, its just a short ferry ride.


Yes, if you're staying in Seattle and heading to Olympic NP, this is the way to go. It cuts off significant time compared to driving around Puget Sound, and the auto-ferry ride back to Seattle is an experience you don't want to leave the PNW without!

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#19937 - 11/18/11 02:52 PM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: torpified]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
Might give these folks a try.

http://www.abc-of-rockclimbing.com/north-america/usa/michigan/higher-ground-guide-service.asp

Where the hell is Grand Ledge?

John

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#19943 - 11/19/11 02:56 AM Re: November 2012 feasibility study [Re: catpappy]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: catpappy
Might give these folks a try.

http://www.abc-of-rockclimbing.com/north-america/usa/michigan/higher-ground-guide-service.asp

Where the hell is Grand Ledge?

John


being in Michigan, it's not quite that "grand" after all grin
Rock climbing in the midwest is usually a one pitch affair.

Oak Park is a small public park owned by the city of Grand Ledge, MI. The park contains a long cliff that lines the Grand River. The cliff is 20-30 ft tall and contains well over 100 routes. Rappelling and lead climbing are not allowed, but there are plenty of top rope routes and boulder problems to keep you busy.

nothing like the rocks I grew up climbing at - we at least had about 60-80 feet on the "big wall climbs"
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