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#20820 - 01/20/12 06:31 AM MMWT January19, 2012
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
I got a bit of a late start...not unusual for me. My plan was to go to Trail Camp, but I only made it as far as Outpost.

When I got to the portal there were two other cars parked there. I got ready and hit the trail at 9:30am. First meaningful ice was at the north fork crossing. I decided to go ahead without the microspikes since the actual crossing itself was on bare rocks. My boots were doing fine in the snow/ice as long as it was white. I didn't slip once. Finally about 1/3mi from the log crossing the trail turned into a solid block of ice for a good 75'....time for the microspikes. I ended up keeping the microspikes on for the majority of the remainder of the hike.

It was a blustery day. The wind made it sound like I was next to a waterfall the whole time. But then when I got past LPL the wind really picked up. Going through the sandy part there was absolutely miserable. I had to put on my sunglasses to protect my eyes from the gravel being launched at me. I actually dug out a bit of gravel from my eye this morning. The switchbacks before Bighorn park were a reprieve for the most part, but once I got to Bighorn park the wind was even stronger.

I have never done a winter hike on Whitney and knowing that there was a storm brewing, I decided to err on the side of safety. I packed some light waterproof snow pants, a couple of extra fleece jackets, extra socks, extra gloves. In short, I had waaaaay too much stuff. Until LPL I was wearing regular light summer hiking pants with thermal tights underneath. On top I had a thermal long sleeve shirt and a light fleece lined windbreaker (with hood). I was plenty warm with that get-up until LPL where I added a light fleece shirt. (I still had two more thicker fleece jackets in my pack). I was using regular ski gloves and my fingers did get a bit chilly at times. However, the worst was when I stopped to eat and had to take my gloves off. My hands got painfully cold within minutes. And the one thing that I left on the table by the front door was my beloved balaklava. So the hood stayed up to keep my ears warm, but my chin and nose were uncomfortably cold from LPL to outpost (where I turned around).

With the late start, I decided that outpost was a good enough hike and turned around after noshing on a frozen snickers bar.

I saw exactly zero humans on the hike. In fact, I didn't see any birds or any type of mammals either. I took my time on the hike and really enjoyed occassionally sitting down to just take in the view with the wind whipping around me. It was really peaceful. I really enjoyed the solitude.

Was pondering going down the old trail, but decided to just stick to the main trail the whole way.

As I got to the bottom I saw a red SUV pull up and 5 guys rolled out and started unpacking. They were going to spend the night at the portal but were afraid that it was going to rain at the portal. So they decided to hike up to outpost where it would likely snow instead of rain.

Heard Dennis Mattinson's weather report as I was driving down the mountain....he basically called for 100% chance of snow today....at Mammoth at least.

It was a great day. The only thing that I would change would be to pack less stuff. But I always overpack, so I should get used to it.

I stopped at Seasons for dinner...had a great peppersteak and then headed home.

Looking at the webcam, I probably could have spent the night up there and got back before the weather kicked in...oh well...

I have a couple of photos that I'll post later.

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#20824 - 01/20/12 07:49 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
GandC Offline


Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 240
Loc: SoCal
I am really jealous that you got to spend the day on the MMWT. Sounds like it was a good experience overall.
_________________________
One day I'd like to hike the entire John Muir Trail and not leave a single footprint. -Randy Morgenson

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#20829 - 01/20/12 09:00 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1052
Loc: NorCal
Nice adventure. Right call on coming back down, given the storm approaching. Personally, I dread coming downhill with a backpack in fresh deep powder unless I'm on snowshoes - I hyper-extended a knee doing that and it was painful. Then there's the possibility of whiteout conditions - seems likely given the winds you describe.

Your trip report gets me excited about snowshoeing in the local Tahoe mountains very soon. It's been a long wait but we're getting good precip right now.

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#20830 - 01/20/12 09:03 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: GandC]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
it was a really great day on the trail. Obviously it was more like in late october hike than a normal January hike on the whitney trail.

Even though I didn't go too far, it may be one of my favorite whitney trail experiences.

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#20832 - 01/20/12 09:08 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: SierraNevada]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hey SierraNevada,
I don't know if I mentioned before, I grew up in Tahoe (south shore). The winds reminded me of the kind we would get when a big storm front was blowing in. When I was a kid we would all get excited when it got windy like that as it meant that we might have a snow day the next day.

The hike wouldn't have been as special without the wind howling through the trees.

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#20842 - 01/20/12 02:19 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA

Coming up to the John Muir Wilderness sign


Solid ice about 1/3mi from the log crossing. Time to break out the microspikes


Log Crossing


LPL from the switchbacks below Bighorn Park


Bighorn Park looking at Outpost Camp


Moi


and the rest here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105800731492356952460/MMWTJanuary202012#

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#20847 - 01/20/12 03:43 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Love it..... great job Tom. Kept my eye "Spotted" on you the whole time :-) Joe
_________________________
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twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#20851 - 01/20/12 04:28 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: quillansculpture]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hey Joe,
well, if this storm turns out to be an orphan, we might have to try again in a couple of weeks.

Would have been great to have you up there!
Tom

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#20852 - 01/20/12 04:31 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Atlanta
Sounds like a nice day Tom. Geez, what would it be like to hike the MMWT and not see a soul all day? Not many people get that experience. I envy that!

Presumably no sheriffs on the hunt for you when you finished up?

Thanks for sharing.

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#20859 - 01/20/12 06:19 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: Bulldog34]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Yea.... Tom, maybe so.... I guess I didn't tell you, Gary dumped on us for Death Valley..... something about him being in a wedding???? WTF!!!
I mean really, a wedding?

Lemme see..... Death Valley: desert, hard climbs, sand, dirt, hiking shorts and blazing sun on your face, sleeping in a tent in the freezing cold.... or a wedding: pretty girls, alcoholic beverages, dancing, more girls and alcohol, air conditioning, sleeping in a 5 star hotel.....

I really don't think Gary has his priorities straight.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#20862 - 01/20/12 07:06 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7075
Loc: Fresno, CA
Nice report, Tom. Amazing how windy it was. I can't imagine sand blowing that hard on the Mt Whitney trail.

(Your album displays just fine now. Thanks.)


Edited by Steve C (01/20/12 09:28 PM)

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#20867 - 01/20/12 09:05 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: Bulldog34]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Gary,
it was pretty special....and it's probably easier on my poor mother's heart if she doesn't know when I take these little treks. She was not informed of my little jaunt.

And what's this about a wedding?!?!?

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#20868 - 01/20/12 09:08 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: quillansculpture]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
"Yea.... Tom, maybe so.... I guess I didn't tell you, Gary dumped on us for Death Valley..... "
Well...the nerve! We'll just have to fly out to Georgia and move into his house for a couple of weeks and climb a couple of his hills!

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#20869 - 01/20/12 09:13 PM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hey Steve,
it was only in that one sandy spot right after LPL.

And apparently this wind was nothing compared to the wind a few weeks ago. There are two trees down across the trail below LPL and two on the switches above LPL before Bighorn Park. The lower trees have already been worked on so that the trail is very passable. The trees above LPL haven't been worked on. There is enough clearance to go under the first one, though I did catch my pack on it. It is just easier to go up and around the second tree.

I think that this link address should work (I had the album set on limited visibility)
https://picasaweb.google.com/105800731492356952460/MMWTJanuary202012

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#20870 - 01/21/12 03:12 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Atlanta
Tom, I have a nephew getting married in Minnesota at absolutely the wrong time (for me). He was the ring-bearer in our wedding 19 years ago, so I couldn't decline being a groomsman in his even though it screws up DV plans for John and I. Let me be clear, though, Joe: I only postponed DV (till possibly Oct/Nov), not canceled.

I hated telling John that I wouldn't be going to DV in March. We both had a great time last year and have been looking forward to bagging some peaks this year with old friends and new out there. John's big priority in 2012 though is Rainier, so the change of plans really gave him a little more latitude to possibly come to the Sierra with Barb, Bri and I this summer as a tune-up (or cool-down) for Rainier. We'll see when he decides to pull the trigger on a guide service. Either way, the fam and I will definitely be out there for our ritual summer adventures. I couldn't back off of that even if I wanted to - Laura and Bri have been brewing up some scheme the past few weeks to head off into the Sierra together for a "girl's" trip. That should be quite interesting.

And yeah - anybody wants to come east and hike our Blue Ridge molehills, we'd be excellent hosts. Hypoxia wouldn't be an issue, but you might be surprised at the thigh-burn some of these slopes can throw at you. Trail builders out here weren't particularly big on switchbacks.

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#20871 - 01/21/12 03:53 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: tdtz

I have never done a winter hike on Whitney and knowing that there was a storm brewing, I decided to err on the side of safety. I packed some light waterproof snow pants, a couple of extra fleece jackets, extra socks, extra gloves. In short, I had waaaaay too much stuff. Until LPL I was wearing regular light summer hiking pants with thermal tights underneath. On top I had a thermal long sleeve shirt and a light fleece lined windbreaker (with hood). I was plenty warm with that get-up until LPL where I added a light fleece shirt. (I still had two more thicker fleece jackets in my pack). I was using regular ski gloves and my fingers did get a bit chilly at times. However, the worst was when I stopped to eat and had to take my gloves off. My hands got painfully cold within minutes. And the one thing that I left on the table by the front door was my beloved balaklava. So the hood stayed up to keep my ears warm, but my chin and nose were uncomfortably cold from LPL to outpost (where I turned around).

With the late start, I decided that outpost was a good enough hike and turned around after noshing on a frozen snickers bar.

I saw exactly zero humans on the hike. In fact, I didn't see any birds or any type of mammals either. I took my time on the hike and really enjoyed occassionally sitting down to just take in the view with the wind whipping around me. It was really peaceful. I really enjoyed the solitude.


Great job, Tom! Some good decision making and you got to see part of why I like going out in winter so much. Having too much stuff is kinda part of winter hiking, but it just takes time to figure out which items of which to have too much! For example, I always have at least three pairs of gloves, two of which are "cooking" with chemical hand warmers in my pack during the hike. I also hike up in as few layers as possible, because I sweat like a fiend, then make sure to change into dry clothing as soon as I stop for any amount of time.

Sounds like you had a wonderful day out there exploring! Here's to more winter fun, and more snow!

And as for Gary, he's getting the silent treatment from me right now... mad
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#20872 - 01/21/12 04:08 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: MooseTracks]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks
And as for Gary, he's getting the silent treatment from me right now... mad


I'm setting aside a fund to buy you as many Moose Drools and/or scotch shots as you can drink when we do get out there. Looking for Bri's piggy bank now . . .

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#20875 - 01/21/12 06:12 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: MooseTracks]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hi Laura,
yup, I could get addicted to winter hiking. I'd love to do a hike after a recent snow where all of the sounds are muffled.

I can see a snowshoe purchase in my near future. Along with a 4-season tent and a 0deg bag.

I really like the hand warmer things in the spare gloves...that will definitely be on my list for the next trip.

As for Gary...I guess that I have to cut him some slack. I was going to be a party crasher anyway. And it is for the ringbearer's wedding...(that sounds kinda Frodo-ish, doesn't it?). But I will definitely find a way to be in the area when he is out this summer.

Yea Snow!!!

Tom

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#20877 - 01/21/12 07:00 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Gary, You're forgiven, I mean, I dragged tdtz out to the very end on this one, and missed DV last year. The good news is that Tom looks like he may be on board for July with the gang!!!! I'm hoping he brings his son, heck possibly family.

Gary.... thanks for being the kinda guy you are. Have a great time at the wedding. I look forward to July with you, Barb, Bri, Laura, John, Chris, Tom, Doc, etc, etc, etc. You guys have really brought some fun to my life.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#20910 - 01/22/12 02:57 AM Re: MMWT January19, 2012 [Re: tdtz]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Careful, Tom, winter hiking is a slippery slope... wink

I mean before you know it, you're snowshoeing, then following random tracks into the wilderness, then snow camping, then ice climbing, the skiing at the resort, then backcountry skiing, then ski touring, then...

Oh... wait... shocked

Speaking of which: POW DAY!!! grin
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