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#30725 - 04/02/13 08:44 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Whitney Fan]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2247
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
If you don't gamble, the food & lodging in LV is subsidized, if you do gamble, then you are subsidizing everybody else...
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#30731 - 04/03/13 03:29 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Whitney Fan]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Gary - No need to convince me of the beauty of DV, as I used to like in Inyokern for several years. If I told you how many times I've climbed Telescope, Wildrose, Corkscrew, Malpais Mesa and other locations it would sound like I'm bragging. It's a wonderful place to explore from the late fall thru early spring. And, I flown scores of times from LAS, ONT, and LAX. In evaluating a trip, I look at the total travel time - portal to portal - which includes travel to airport, flights/layovers, and travel to destination - and weigh that against the cost and convenience of certain connections. And yes - I'm familiar with the shortcuts you mention. There are other ways as well, but that's another thread.

The OP indicates he has a limited amount of time to climb Whitney, so keep the focus on that objective - climbing Whitney. The Eastern Sierra has wonderful places to visit, including historical ones like Manzanar, Bodie and countless mining camps, as well as more hiking/climbing than most can do in a lifetime - but right now the objective is Whitney.

My preference for airlines is clearly SouthWest, and they now service Boston, although I've not flown from there. SouthWest used to have at least one non-stop from MHT to LAS, sometimes two, but stopped that about a year ago, so there's a minimum of one layover, usually Midway or Denver. So, when someone with a limited amount of time, who's not familiar with the Eastern Sierra and lives in Boston - my recommendation is fly SouthWest in a smaller airport, like Ontario. As a plus, there's an In and Out Burger right near the closest onramp heading north...

As for the green tunnel - have never hiked down your way, and frankly probably never will. I prefer the forests of northern New England.

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#30732 - 04/03/13 04:41 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: KevinR]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Kevin, hope you're enjoying the relo to NE, although I'm sure you miss the Sierra. I remember seeing your location change a while back and thinking, "guess he went back home." That's where you're originally from, right? You definitely got more than your share of snow this winter, so at least you'll have winter sports available in the mountains for a while yet if that's your pleasure.

Actually, I may have gotten that DV shortcut from you a few years ago . . .

I can appreciate your thinking, especially in regards to Ontario and avoiding much of the LA traffic. I've flown into both LAX and John Wayne for trips to the Sierra, and getting through LA was typically a bear. What I like about using Vegas is that once you have your rental car from McCarron, you're on 160 in under ten minutes and cruising on the open highway in 30. I just got back from DV and I think we made the Vegas-to-Furnace Creek trip in under two hours driving time this time. LP is another two hours as I recall, maybe two and a half. I've never made it to LP from LAX in under five and a half.

The other benefit I've found in using Vegas is the rental car situation. No matter which agency I use I always reserve a cheap compact, and always get upgraded due to lack of availability, especially in summer. That doesn't happen to me in LA.

Flight time definitely needs to be considered, especially if you launch off right after arriving. Coming from Atlanta, I've always had a direct flight to wherever I'm going, so that never really enters my thinking. One of the benefits of living here is the ability to fly direct anywhere in the world out of Hartsfield on Delta, at almost any time. I fly 6-8 times a year, and I can't recall having to change/layover in a long, long time, so I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to air travel. Vegas is a 4-hour flight from ATL, and LA is almost 5, so that certainly plays in my planning.

Doc Lankford and I were commiserating on the Green Tunnel (his term, actually) a few weeks ago. It's a big motivator to get out west and actually SEE things when in the mountains. Some day I plan to trek up to your neck of the woods (and Salty's) and get Mt. Washington under my belt, along with Katahdin and a few others. Acadia is one of the few NPs I've not been to, so that's on the bucket list as well. Hopefully the next non-winter business trip to Boston or NY.

Whichever airport Matt uses, it's going to be a long day getting to LP. If he doesn't care for heat, LA may be the ticket. The last time I drove through DV in summer it was 127 degrees. The park had actually broken out the portable "Extreme Heat Warning" signs and had them posted all over 190. You know it's bad when they feel the need to do that in DV.


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#30733 - 04/03/13 05:17 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Anon
Unregistered


Great suggestions from everyone. I really learned a lot. Realistically, I hate to admit it, but I think landing in Vegas is going to be the easiest for me. They have direct flights, which is important to me, and the drive into Death Valley seems like an experience and a half. I am from New England and when am I ever going to get the opportunity to see this? Climbing Mt. Whitney is my first priority but I have the week off from work so why not use all this time to its max.

So here is my idea. Land in Vegas Sunday at 11am. Drive to whitney portal that day and see the beautiful views along the way. Camp out at whitney portal till Tuesday ( I already reserved the campsite so I can't do the other camping suggestion). Start hiking whitney on Tuesday, summit on Wednesday, leave trail on Thursday. I will sleep at whitney portal Thursday night. Wake up Friday and I have the whole day to kill before going to Vegas and catching my 11:55 PM flight back home. Any suggestions for a mini adventure on Friday? Any cool vineyards in the area?

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#30735 - 04/03/13 06:18 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
That should work. If you arrive in Vegas at 11:00, you'll be on your way in your rental car by 12:30. Depending on time spent in DV, stopping to eat, supplies, etc., you should be at the Portal well before dark in August. Plenty of time to set up camp. Two nights acclimating at elevation should be sufficient for a backpack up the mountain.

Most everyone spends the overnight at Trail Camp at 12K', but by August it's a ghetto of trash, noisy people, and used Wag bags. You might consider camping above Consultation Lake, just below TC. You'll see Consultation Lake on your left after you pass Trailside Meadow, then it will be hidden behind a rock berm. Peek over the berm when you're on the "staircase" and you'll find excellent campsites on the ledges just below. Quiet, private, and shielded from much of the wind that often hits TC, with a gorgeous view of the lake. Getting water is a little further trek than staying at TC, but it's worth it to me.

Be sure to have one of Doug's burgers with double-fried fries while at the Portal, and a pancake as well. They're both an experience you won't find anywhere else. FWIW, a part of a pancake broken up and stored in baggies makes great trail munchy.

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#30736 - 04/03/13 06:23 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Anon
Unregistered


Soungs great, but I will be there June 16-21, not August. While on the trail I plan on camping that the furthest campsite so I have less to do on summmit day. Maybe Trail Camp wont be as busy that time of year? I am getting excited for this!

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#30737 - 04/03/13 06:33 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Sorry, I thought I read August. Must have been another thread.

The benefit of camping at Horseshoe Meadows (about 30 minutes away from the Portal) is the 10K' elevation, about 1500 feet higher than the Portal. This will help acclimation a little better, but you then give up the convenience of having the Portal Store close by those two days before the hike. The other caveat is that HM technically has a one-night limit. This rule is broken all the time, but you never know when it might be enforced. Then there's the drive to the Portal to start the hike - adds another half hour-plus to that super-early wake-up on Day One of the hike.

If you're taking Diamox to aid acclimation, staying at the Portal shouldn't make that much difference versus HM, especially since you'll have 3 nights sleeping at elevation before going above 12K'. If you just had one night to acclimate before heading up I'd say use HM, but two nights at the Portal and one at 12K' would work for me.

And yes, TC will not be nearly as bad in June as later in the summer.

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#30740 - 04/03/13 08:13 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
You could sleep low, climb high, on that extra day before your climb, to help acclimatize.

The Meysan Lakes trail is near the Portal. I haven't done it but I hear it is very tough. And beautiful. Might be a bit beefy for a relaxation day.

A more relaxing option may be to drive up to Horseshoe Meadows that day and do a day hike from the Cottonwood Pass trailhead (e.g. Chicken Spring Lake, not a long hike) or the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead (e.g. out to Cottonwood Lakes basin, where you get a great view of another 14er that is fun to climb...Mt. Langley). The hike out to the basin and back is not all that scenic (pretty woods) but the basin itself is beautiful, though probably run you 12 miles RT, though without a lot of elevation gain. There are also other loop hikes out of the Horseshoe Meadows area. Getting up high for a day will really help.

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#30741 - 04/03/13 08:27 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Another suggestion for Monday:

Drive over to Onion Valley (trailhead is more than 9000') and climb as far as you are comfortable up to Kearsarge Pass. You don't want to overdo it so watch your stamina. You can choose any one of a series of beautiful lakes as your turnaround point (can even get a license, bring a rod, and fish for trout). If you make it to the pass (about 5 miles each way) the views will astound you. You could actually sleep at the Onion Valley TH Sunday night (higher than the Portal), do the day hike, and then move to the Portal Monday night.

If you want to see some pictures, google or search the trip reports for me (Akichow) and "Onion Valley." I have reports from 2010 and 2012 with pics. There is also a Langley trip report that I did in 2012 with pics of the basin (mentioned in prior post).

P.S. these are all good for Friday, too. But if it were me, I'd consider a desert adventure. Death Valley touring or perhaps drive through Mojave National Preserve on your way back to Vegas. The Kelso dunes are magnificent at sunrise in Mojave, and an interesting climb. Feeling really adventurous and want more mountain? Go bag another 14er, White Mountain, if you have high clearance on your rental and the road is clear. Or do the nice loop hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Forest.

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#30745 - 04/03/13 09:39 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Then again, if you're like me, after a two-nighter on Whitney you'll lose 5-7 pounds. I like to spend the next day hanging at the Portal, eating Doug's cooking - replenishing, so to speak - and BSing with the Portal crew and anyone else who's handy. Friday is a good day for the usual suspects showing up at the Portal. As I recall, Karin, that's how we met! Also, you can always be entertained on summer Portal weekends by watching Inyo SAR show up to hunt down that straggler a group left behind . . .

It all depends on how you feel. If you're not used to hauling weight at elevation for 22 miles, you may be sore, tired and blistered. Have a Plan B in your back pocket for Friday.

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#30746 - 04/03/13 09:44 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
That's right! You and your family were hanging out post-hike. I was about to start up. Still waiting for the stars to align for the next meetup. It's gonna happen! I am really jonesing for DV, but you were just there, and the heat will shortly be upon us.

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#30748 - 04/03/13 09:53 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Depends on where you are in DV right now. The day we went into the Panamints for Wildrose, it was puffy-jacket-cold at elevation. The day before we did Manly Beacon in the Badlands, and I swear it was 100 degrees already.

Read a TR that Telescope is doable now without winter gear. Just patchy snow on the final ridge and virtually zero you're-gonna-die factor. Kicking myself for bypassing it 10 days ago.

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#30750 - 04/03/13 10:25 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Glenn Offline


Registered: 09/16/11
Posts: 105
Loc: Oklahoma
Ditto all that's said above about the LV-DV-LP route. There are usually reasonably priced non-stop flights from most cities, and that drive is a real treat. Spectacular views all the way!

In addition to the dining options that Gary mentioned, there's a diner at Death Valley Junction that's been there for a few years and their burgers are good (although the service can be a bit slow). It's at the opposite end of the building complex from the Old Opera House. While you're there it's also worthwhile to step inside the Amargosa Hotel lobby for a coke from the machine, check out the murals on the walls, and read a little bit about the unique history of the place.

For an alternate route from Las Vegas, drive north on US 95 a ways past Beatty, turn west on NV 266, and go to the campground on White Mountain Road (elevation 8000') near the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest for the night. (There's no water anywhere up there, so stop and get some on the way). Then in the morning, continue acclimatizing with one of the hikes Karin suggested, the 4.5 mile Methuselah Loop Trail at 10,000' or White Mountain, before heading to Whitney Portal or Horseshoe Meadow.

Regarding gear on the plane, I don't know if you use a white gas stove. If you do, make sure the stove lines are aired-out and the fuel bottles are washed clean. Here's what the TSA website says about that: "Camp stoves can travel as carry-on or checked luggage only if they are empty of all fuel and then cleaned such that no fuel vapors or residue are noticeable. I've actually had one rejected once and I had to buy a new stove when I got to my destination (it's OK, I wanted a new one anyway). Apparently, their fume detection equipment is pretty sensitive. If you use a canister (like IsoPro) stove, fumes aren't a problem. Just wait 'till you get there to buy the fuel.

Have fun!

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#30751 - 04/03/13 11:00 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Glenn]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
And if you're a beer connoisseur, the last eat/drink stop before LP is Panamint Springs on the western border of DV. There's a little resort there (Panamint Springs Resort?) on the left that has a bar and dining room. The bar offers dozens of beers I've never seen or heard of before, Many, I'm sure, are Cali microbrews, but lots from outside the state. Had lunch there a couple years ago with catpappy, MooseTracks and SoCalGirl, and deciding on a beer was very, very difficult. It's worth a stop just to peruse the beers, and maybe buy a couple for the cooler.

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#30752 - 04/03/13 11:25 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7673
Loc: Fresno, CA
Panamint Springs: That's the place with maybe the highest price gasoline in the state! smile


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#30753 - 04/03/13 11:36 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Steve C]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Yeah, but then there's *this* at Panamint Springs, too...





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#30755 - 04/03/13 11:56 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: MooseTracks]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Yup, that's the one. Two coolers filled with every kind of beer. Two small single shelves reserved for other drinks, and the rest all beer. A desert oasis, fer sure. I believe they carried Moose Drool too . . .

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#30757 - 04/03/13 05:03 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
I read the post quoting Panamint Springs, and IMMEDIATELY thought about the high priced gas there, and that I would have to IMMEDIATELY post a warning about that.

So, Steve beats me to the punch in that very next post!

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#30758 - 04/03/13 05:27 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Whitney Fan]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2247
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
The beer, if on draft, might well be less expensive than gas...
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#30761 - 04/03/13 10:07 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7673
Loc: Fresno, CA
Quote:
So here is my idea. Land in Vegas Sunday at 11am. Drive to whitney portal that day and see the beautiful views along the way. Camp out at whitney portal till Tuesday ( I already reserved the campsite so I can't do the other camping suggestion). Start hiking whitney on Tuesday, summit on Wednesday, leave trail on Thursday. I will sleep at whitney portal Thursday night. Wake up Friday and I have the whole day to kill before going to Vegas and catching my 11:55 PM flight back home. Any suggestions for a mini adventure on Friday? Any cool vineyards in the area?


At the risk of throwing too many choices at you...   Akichow mentioned this, "Or do the nice loop hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Forest." That got me thinking... You could skip Death Valley before Whitney (see it afterward). You could drive from Vegas to the White Mountains, (route map) and spend the night at the Grand View campground. (If it is full, just drive the few miles more to the Schulman Grove and sleep by the car in the parking lot). In the morning, walk around and see the unique Bristlecone Pine forest at Schulman Grove -- you're in a dry climate at 10,000 ft elevation, among the oldest trees in the world. (Google images)   (No water there, so be sure to bring it along). Then, you could drive down to the Owens Valley, even up the other side to Onion Valley, hike up to Gilbert Lake and sit on this outstanding flat slab of granite (about 1.5 miles up the trail, 1000' of gain) (map):


Then get to Whitney Portal for night #2. I can give more details if you're interested in trying this.

By the way, you wrote, "Any cool vineyards in the area?"
Sorry, you're waaay far from vinyards. They are nearly all within 50 miles of the Pacific Coast. You'll have to settle for the beer in Panamint Springs, on your way back through Death Valley.

If you need a shower on any part of this trip, the Whitney Portal Hostel in Lone Pine has nice ones for $5. Or spend the night there after your hike in a shared room for $20.

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