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#24321 - 05/25/12 09:30 AM Whitney hike today
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6959
Loc: Fresno, CA
I have my permit in hand, I'll be on the trail in an hour.

I should have my SPOT working, if anyone wants to follow along.

Steve's SPOT shared page.

Wish me luck, it's supposed to be really cold the next couple of nights.

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#24322 - 05/25/12 09:37 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
carrielou Offline


Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 5
Loc: SoCal
Good luck Steve - have a great hike! Don't forget to say hi to the marmots for me smile Never followed a SPOT thing before, I'll try to check it out - very cool. Can't wait to hear your report. My group and I are already making plans for our next Whitney trip, by the way!
-Caroline

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#24323 - 05/25/12 10:39 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
like!

BEST OF LUCK!!! May you have good weather and a great hike!

_________________________
The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#24328 - 05/25/12 11:27 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 730
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Guess you won't need my ice axe! grin

Be safe, Steve!

Say hi to Bob R. fer me....
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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#24330 - 05/25/12 12:09 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
lastadventurer Offline


Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 11
Loc: Southern California
Good luck; stay warm!
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Twitter: @last_adventurer

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#24332 - 05/25/12 01:07 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Happy trails.

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#24334 - 05/25/12 05:20 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 498
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Huuummmmm, seems lost on spot tracker.

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#24336 - 05/25/12 05:31 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: John Sims]
carrielou Offline


Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 5
Loc: SoCal
Looks to me like he headed back...? I do see the pic from the webcam - could that be why?

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#24338 - 05/25/12 06:08 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: carrielou]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Valley was completely socked in today due to wind and blow-off from Owens Lake (ew). Up high was still clear, however. No worries...
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#24341 - 05/25/12 06:37 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: MooseTracks]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2183
Loc: (3 ˙dod) ɥɔ;...
Steve seems to be back at the Store. Burgeritis.
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#24347 - 05/25/12 09:50 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Alana Offline


Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 28
Loc: California
Goodluck Steve! Stay warm and take care man. This SPOT is pretty amazing. Can't wait for your report.

Cya soon.

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#24349 - 05/25/12 10:06 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Thin Air Offline


Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 1
Loc: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hey Dad, looks like your back at the trail head tonight, good call. Hope you're still having fun regardless of the weather.


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#24358 - 05/26/12 10:06 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Thin Air]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6959
Loc: Fresno, CA
Well, that trip took some interesting turns...

Due to impending foul and cold weather, and our slow progress, we turned back at Mirror Lake.

And then it turned into a rescue effort helping a fellow on an epic 43-hour "day hike" -- he spent the night at trail camp, outside until 5 am until some hikers let him use their tent a few hours while they went to the summit. He was hiking incredibly slowly because his back wrenched as he was getting ready to return. ...but he was hiking terribly slowly already. So add the two together, and you get a 43-hour epic day hike. He had started at 1 AM, summited at 5 PM. (and there is a lesson in there.)

Anyway, at 9 PM last night, filling the tank in Lone Pine at the Mobile, with 50 MPH winds, 1. I was glad I wasn't anywhere on the mountain, and 2. decided to drive home. Made it to Bakersfield, where I stopped and slept an hour, and then got home at 2 AM.

Today, I am driving up to Sequoia with family, to see the Sierra west side. grin That was a crazy trip! Definitely memorable.

I'll post more of a write-up later.

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#24360 - 05/26/12 03:23 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Alana Offline


Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 28
Loc: California
Wow!!! that was some crazy trip. Glad your okay. Is there alot of snow ? how's the switchback? chute?

Have a good Memorial weekend.

Thanks

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#24367 - 05/26/12 06:02 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
I rarely do this, but because I think it's an interesting story, a trip report. And, as Steve wrote, there are lessons to be learned. My pictures are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockwellb/sets/72157629910183080/

Steve and I started up from the Portal around 10 AM on Friday May 25. Jay was delayed, and would start at 12:30. Our plan was to make Trail Camp that day, go to the summit and stay there, and come out the third. But a cold storm was coming through, with highs in the 20s at Trail Camp Friday and Saturday, and NNW wind gusting to 60 mph.

For a couple of reasons I had decided to not play Ranger Bob this time, so picked up a permit from the Visitor Center. Steve and Jay had their own.

I was hiking slowly, and at 2:30 we were only halfway between Bighorn Park and Mirror Lake. We met up with Stephan, age 60, an investment banker from the Bay Area. He was walking slowly, bent over to his right side. He had quite a story to tell.

Stephan had left Whitney Portal at 1:30 the previous morning (Thursday) on a day hike of Mt. Whitney. He said he got to the summit at 5:00 PM (15.5 hours later!). It was very cold (probably around zero) and windy, and we wondered why he had not turned back much earlier. On the summit, he made a twisting motion, and felt immediate pain in his back, left side. He started down.

At 5:00 AM (12 hours later) he arrived at Trail Camp. He had descended in pitch darkness (with headlamp), negotiated hard icy snow on the switchbacks, and with his painful back injury and the cold and the wind. He went to the first tent he saw, woke the two guys up, and said he had a medical emergency and was freezing cold. Could he go inside? They said they had no room. He went to the next tent and got the same response from two females. Now he figured he was going to die of hypothermia and pleaded with them. They finally said OK; they were going to leave for the summit and he could get in their sleeping bags. They did, and he did.

At 8:30 AM, after 3.5 hours of "sleep," he got out and starting hiking down. Six hours later, he met us below Mirror Lake: a distance of 2.5 miles.

We asked about his pain and he said it was severe and constant. A couple of people had given him Motrin and Aleve, but they had made his stomach upset. Steve offered him a different kind, and he eagerly accepted. We asked if he were able to continue down by himself, and he said no problem; he was just going slowly. His spirits were very good. There being six hours of daylight left to travel less than 4 miles, we wished him luck and continued up.

By 3:00 PM, we reached Mirror Lake and decided to turn around. The impending two more days—and nights—of uncomfortable conditions were encouragement to come back another time.

Passing through Bighorn Park, we picked up Jay, and he was happy to turn around as well. Just below Bighorn Park, at 4:30, we met Stephan again. He had managed to descend less than a mile in two hours. He was off trail to the downside, having started to cross a small snowfield, and did not see the continuation of the trail on the other side. We told him to come back up, and he asked for help with his pack. His poles were of little help, one having broken and the other was bent. He said it was a lot better with his pack off!

So Steve offered to carry his pack down to the Portal for him and leave it by the store. Of course that meant if he was not able to make it out, he would spend a second night--with temperatures in the teens--and now without the contents of his pack. At that point I realized we could not leave him to descend alone. At his rate, I estimated he would reach the Portal between 9 and 10 PM—if he were able to keep walking.

I decided that Steve should go on, with Stephan's pack, to get to the Portal and turn off any impending search. He was now a full day overdue, and he said his daughter would be panicking. Steve would call his daughter and tell her her father was OK. Jay and I would assist him, and if at some point he were not able to continue, we had the contents of our overnight packs to make do. One of us could go for help the next morning if necessary.

44 Steve figured out a system

The next four hours were slow, but uneventful. I stayed somewhat ahead, providing a carrot to keep him moving, while Jay engaged him in investment banker banter to hopefully keep his mind on something other than the pain. I knew he would not have eaten or drunk nearly enough, which would contribute to weakness and slowness. He complained of being dizzy a little. We managed to get a few bites down him, and a few sips of water, but only now and then.

Initially it seemed he could walk a couple of minutes before stopping to rest, but toward the end it was about 45 seconds of walking and 15 seconds of rest. We arrived at the Portal at 8:30 PM. Stephan had managed a day climb of Mt. Whitney in almost exactly 43 hours.

He said he would get in his car and drive home; it would be a seven-hour drive. We strongly encouraged him to spend the night at the Dow Villa but he didn't seem convinced. He was most interested in finding a mini-mart where he could charge his cell phone and call his daughter. Jay, Steve, and I got our gear organized and loaded, and started down the hill, fifteen minutes or so after we parted company. We passed him, driving slowly, about three miles down from the Portal.

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#24378 - 05/27/12 09:23 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Bob R]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 730
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Wow...

Jay, Bob and Steve, I salute you.

_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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#24381 - 05/27/12 11:12 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Bob R]
1982jeep Offline


Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 41
Loc: southern California
You three are the type of people I would love to hike with. Way to go.
_________________________
Tina - A REAL Orange County Housewife (Okay so I don't stay home)

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#24382 - 05/27/12 11:18 AM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Bob R]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 625
Loc: OrangeCounty
Stephan is so unlucky and so very lucky too. Too bad about his injury but how fortunate he was to run into you three guys...if I were in trouble on a mountain trail I can't think of three better people to run into than you three.

I do not know who the girls are that gave him shelter but if they are reading this I want to say THANK YOU FOR DOING THE HUMANE THING YOU DID and to those guys who did not help him I do not have anything nice to say. I have seen people in bad shape or just cold and I always offer them to share my tent...rest for a while...share my food or water or give them a spare headlamp etc. If you are going to hike mountain trails you need to be ready and willing to help others in need just like the captain of a ship would offer to another ship in trouble.

I like to go to Harbor Freight and Tool to pick up inexpensive headlamps and flashlights so I can carry an extra in case of an emergency. I have had to give my extra headlamp ...extra water and extra food to a young man near the summit of El Capitan because he wasn't smart enough to bring his own supplies plus it was late afternoon and it got dark early.

Thank you for sharing your trip report. You guys were smart to turn around since the weather was not the best for an enjoyable time. I love mid September for hiking Mt. Whitney.


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#24397 - 05/27/12 07:59 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Bob R]
Davey McCoy Offline


Registered: 05/26/12
Posts: 72
Loc: Bishop CA
Wow..now this is a crazy story and the hair on our backs is standing up! Why? Well when we arrived on the Whitney summit on Thursday - at 5PM! - we were really shocked to find another hiker STILL there. Yes it was Stephan. We chatted with him for most of our time there. We all agreed we were tired and all chuckled a little about how we had all left a trailhead at about the same time and he was just at the summit...and we had come from Horseshoe Meadows summiting Langley along the way. He was playful about this and simply stated that he hikes really slowly and was tired and knew he would return to the portal well after dark.
He left the summit about ten minutes before us in good spirits...but not having great luck getting ON the trail. We directed him appropriately and off he went. He did not appear to be having any pain at that time. We caught Stephan quickly and stalled...we stopped and asked "do you have absolutely EVERYTHING you need for a safe return?" and he assured us that he had everything and was totally fine. Reluctantly we pulled ahead, discussed whether we had heard his trailhead departure time correctly, hoped he was okay, looked back to see if we could see him, looked back and felt worried after getting across the totally glazed rock and snow at the cable, looked back for the light of a headlamp, wondered and hoped repeatedly into the next day that he had made it back safely.
Then we read your account...
We are SO glad that Stephan is okay now, and wish we had known that he was in distress!!!!!! We were suspicious at the time, but he was adamant about being fine.
I am so glad you were willing and able to help, as we would have done the same!

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#24398 - 05/27/12 08:15 PM Re: Whitney hike today [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: Atlanta
Steve & Bob, sorry that your summit plans got blown up, but it sounds like you still had an adventurous day. It was a great read, and it's always refreshing to know there are still plenty of Good Guys out on the trail willing to lend a hand. Kudos to Stephan also for persevering in a tough situation. Nice job, guys.


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