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#26698 - 08/08/12 03:25 PM Acclimation plan using hotel
mountainhiker Offline


Registered: 03/29/12
Posts: 4
Loc: Mobile, AL
My son and I recently completed a fantastic dayhike to Mt Whitney. We did not acclimate the conventional way by camping at the Portal or Horseshoe Meadow, but, chose to stay in a hotel. We live at sea level in Mobile, AL so were were very concerned about properly acclimating. We arrived 5 days prior to our summit day and drove to the Mammoth area. We stayed the first four nights at the Mammoth Mountain Inn at 9000 feet. (This is in the ski area above Mammoth Lakes). Admittedly, we were 100 + miles from Lone Pine and the Portal, but were in the midst of some amazing places to acclimatize. The first day we drove 45 minutes to the east gate of Yosemite and hiked up Gaylor Peak and all around that area--approximately 5 - 6 miles. That allowed us to spend a fair amount of time between 9950 - 11,000 feet. On day two, we drove to the Mosquito Flats trailhead, approximately 30 minutes away, and hiked to Mono Pass and back--somewhere around 8 - 9 miles and between 10,300 and 12,000 feet. On day three, we drove to White Mountain, about an hour and 45 minutes away, and went to the Barcroft Research Facility gate where we then proceeded to the Observatory and back--approximately 7 miles and between 11,700 and 12,700 feet. Also managed to see the ancient bristlecone pine trees. All three of these hikes were beautiful. The drive to the White Mountains was long, however the hiking and the landscape were worth it. On day 4, we took our time packing up and proceeded down to the Interagency Center in Lone Pine, picked up our permits and then checked out the parking and trailhead logistics at the Portal. We stayed down in Lone Pine that night, set the alarm for 11:00 PM and hit the trail at 12:30 AM. We had an amazing hike and had absolutely no problems with the altitude...no headaches, no nausea and no loss of appetite. We even ate at the top!

As for the hike, we were pretty lucky. The weather was perfect. A virtually clear full moon night with no wind. The breeze at Trail Crest to the Summit was about 5 mph and the sun was warm. On the way down, once we reached Trail Camp, the wind picked up a little and compensated nicely for the increasing temperature on the way down.

I realize that our method of acclimation is not for everyone, but for those that don't want to camp, this plan worked perfectly for us. I hope that it is helpful to some of you.

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#26707 - 08/08/12 05:37 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: mountainhiker]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Certainly a textbook way of avoiding problems!

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#26710 - 08/08/12 05:53 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: mountainhiker]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Exactly what my family and I did the past two summers - a condo at Mammoth for 5 nights, dayhiking to 12-13K', then shoot down to Whitney. Worked like a charm.


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#26712 - 08/08/12 06:52 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Rock Creek Lodge, at over 9000', near mosquito flat trailhead, south of Mammoth rocks for the same reason! Great day hikes from that TH...

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#26714 - 08/08/12 07:01 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Love Little Lakes Valley!

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#26720 - 08/08/12 08:44 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: Bulldog34]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Were you able to get any sleep at the Portal? Did you stay in your cars or sleep on the ground?

I'm thinking about driving up on a Saturday (hike is the following Monday) to do part of the White Mtn hike. How's the 'trail'? I'm not sure how much we'll do, I just don't want to overdo it.


Edited by 63ChevyII.com (08/08/12 08:54 PM)
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#26726 - 08/08/12 10:47 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
The hike is technically easy, except for the challenge of altitude, on a rutted jeep road (that is closed to traffic) the whole way. The drive to the hike is another matter, mostly asphalt on the way up, but then some miles of dirt road. Very moonscapey. Nice to have higher clearance, though we did it with a Volvo station wagon and saw a Honda civic succeed too. Also great hike among the ancient bristlecones at the forest right before the asphalt ends and dirt road starts, ~ 10,000'

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#26731 - 08/08/12 11:37 PM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: mountainhiker]
pBerg Offline


Registered: 05/04/12
Posts: 10
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I like your style, sir. It sounds like a perfectly executed itinerary. Well done, congrats!

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#26733 - 08/09/12 07:14 AM Re: Acclimation plan using hotel [Re: pBerg]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1553
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Now that is one deluxe acclimatization and conditioning program. It raises the question, however, of how it would compare with a shorter program that includes sleeping higher. One school of thought is "climb high, sleep low"; another says that you acclimatize primarily at the level you sleep at. I tend to the latter.

In my training, climb-high-sleep-low is not an alpine acclimatization strategy but a himalayan assault survival strategy, based on the idea that the safest way to establish the next higher camp -- often in the death zone -- is to spend as little time there as possible, hence, descending one or even two camps to sleep after establishing the higher camp, except on summit attempt.

Where an alpine assault does not approach the death zone such as Whitney, I tend to think that acclimatization is better accomplished by sleeping higher than CHSL would suggest. In your case that would be first night at Mammoth (or the Portal), second night at Horseshoe Meadow.

Shorter program, but it sure doesn't beat your all-day-hike strategy for variety and light packing!


Edited by saltydog (08/09/12 07:17 AM)
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