Now I'm tempted to haul up Green Flash Brewery Palate Wrecker or Alpine Brewing Duet IPA. :whistle:
I went to a really good lecture last night at Adventure 16 (a store like REI) given by Jack and Betsy Northam. Jack has been up Whitney 106 times (6 times double-peaked) and Betsy 50 times. These notes are my interpretation
of what he said, so take with a grain of salt. And I was swype-typing these on my smartphone. They had awesome photos of the trail, potential snow/ice conditions, weather, all the beautiful flowers that grow at 12,000 feet only.
Here are my notes:
- Very important to hydrate well the DAY BEFORE, drink water with electrolytes the day before you hike. (I knew this from trail races.)
- Drink electrolytes during hike, then day after (helps with recovery.)
- Steri-pen for water, don't need filter.
- They drink without steri-pen from running springs, so do the rangers.
- IF YOU ARE NOT URINATING DURING THE HIKE, YOU ARE DEHYDRATED.
- DO NOT DEHYDRATE.
- Force yourself to drink and eat on trail.
- Only carry enough water to get to the next water!! Don't need to carry all your water for the whole 22 miles or 11 miles.
- Mile 3.5 has good water.
- Switchback #24 has water usually, but might be dried up.
- Trailside meadow (mile 5) is the last flowing springwater if switchback #24 is dry.
- Trail Camp Lake has water, steri-pen it.
- Jack doesn't like using camelbak for water, hard to tell how much water in camelbak and hard to fill and steri-pen. Uses 2 nalgene-type bottles.
- Food: keep as close to your normal food habits as possible.
- They bring food they normally eat (e.g., Betsy brings yogurt.) Don't need special food/nutrition. Jack uses goo, but he does that regularly.
- Don't eat at 3am if you don't normally eat at 3am.
- Cut sandwich in quarters, better to eat quarters as you go rather than a whole, so as to not overwhelm your digestive track.
- Eat regular meals the day before.
- First aid kit a must
- Absolute must: space blanket
- Bring both small flashlight and headlamp. Sometimes if just using headlamp the movement is disorienting.
- Bring extra toilet paper (beyond what is in WAG bag)
- Get good sunglasses! (I need to do this)
- Icebreaker as inner layer, doesn't stink, stays cool or warm as needed
- Shorts should be fine (for me)
- Trail shoes or boots, whatever works for YOU but spend a lot of time training in them.
- 1 or 2 pair of socks (2nd pair wicking), again whatever works for you, spend lots of time training in them.
- EDITED TO ADD: MOSQUITO REPELLENT
- Training hikes essential. Very few people can just wing it.
- Find stairs to train to go DOWN!! (I already do stepmill up)
- Walk everywhere, carry stuff to train (e.g., walk home from grocery store)
- Check with your doctor to make sure you really are good to go.
- Even though the main trail is obvious, get a map and really familiarize yourself so that when you get there you will be oriented and know where things are.
- Do not hike the day before!! It can exhaust you because of the lack of sleep and adrenalin from the night before. Two days before, 5 miles max hike. (this is for normal people).
- Horseshoe meadow, camp there at 10,000 the days prior (not at Lone Pine Campground like I planned at 6,700) or other high alt at Mammoth, Portal.
- Recommended 4-day acclimation optimal if you can spare the time. 3-day okay. 2-day = good chance you're going to suffer.
Day 1: drive to Lone Pine, camp at altitude
Day 2: acclimation hike no more than 5 miles (Whitney portal to Lone Pine Lake is a good acclimation hike, does NOT require permit, plus you won't see it in the dark at 3am on big-hike day, too tired to enjoy it at end of big-hike day), camp at altitude
Day 3 (day before big hike):
- Get permit (NLT noon!)
- Sit, relax and hydrate
- Go up to the portal to familiarize so you're not stumbling around in the dark. Check out hiker parking lots, restroom location, bear boxes, the trailhead.
- Talk with returning hikers, they'll be exhausted but just ask if there is water in the switchbacks (#24)
- Night before (so you're not doing this at 2am in dark):
Organize all equipment
Pack your backpack
Bag your food
Lay out your clothes
Decide on a start time
Aim to be on summit to by noon
- Sleep if possible (they even still get excited and don't sleep much)
Day 4: 22 miles
- Big Groups, figure out in advance who is hiking with who and car keys (how many sets, who has them?). Car keys big issue if you separate on trail.
- Do not even turn your back on your pack at Portal, bears will walk right up and grab it.
- Portal bears recognize anything associated with food as potential food, even empty water bottle in your vehicle.
- Mentally break the hike into sections. Get to next 3 miles, 2 miles, etc.
- Watch the weather! Closely!
- When you start you will be cold, some people are okay to start a bit cold (like me with running, I warm up fast.)
- Take time to shed layers so you don't overheat.
- Keep stops to 5 minutes (not longer) so you don't cool down or get stiff muscles.
- Trail etiquette: person going up has right of way, or massive backpack has right of way.
- Don't keep looking up at the switchbacks, you'll bum yourself out.
- Remember the summit is only half way, now comes the hard part! That's when most injuries happen, on way down.
- Use poles, they'll alleviate suffering on trip down the mountain.
- Don't go to Lone Pine Lake on 22-mile hike day (out of way), only on hike there for your short hike 2 days prior
- Not well known, but Cottonwood pass no permit needed to summit Whitney. (I didn't get all the info on this, but I think he said it is a western-side trail, I was confused about this.) If you are absolutely determined to summit Whitney and don't have a permit.
- Jack talked about the story of the girl who got lost at the Muir trail split (same story here on WZ). Said you're supposed to be looking out for each other up there. He showed sort of an aerial view photo of the trail junction. It can be confusing with people standing around the sign, the uphill is misleads people.
- If you've got the energy, you can double peak Muir Peak. (bouldering, rope not exactly necessary.)