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#30677 - 04/01/13 05:06 AM Gear on a Plane
Anon
Unregistered


Hey All,

I am not too familiar with the policy for airlines but what is the best way to get our gear from one side of the country to the other? Can we just throw our tents, spikes, ice axes, stoves, knives, etc into a huge duffel and check it at the airport? Any suggested travel tips would be great.

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#30679 - 04/01/13 05:21 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Done this a lot recently. Check with your specific airline, but generally there is 50 lb per bag limit. Extra charge for overwheight or the second bag. I usually pack my pack for the hike, then put it and any loose gear in an oversize duffel bag, up to 49 pounds. YOu can transport just about anything you will be hiking with, except fuel and matches. Pack your bottles empty and buy gas and matches at the destination. If you have nowhere to stow gear at the other end, you will have to cache the duffel and any extras somewhere. There are no lockers in most airports or bus terminals any more, so you will have to be creative about that.

If you have a base of some kind in your destination city, and you have somewhere to stash extra gear, here is a little tip that works for me. If you happen to be carrying extra gear, or a change of clothes, or a few pounds of essentials over the 50 lb limit in a smaller backpack, and if it happens to be a hair oversize for carry-on, and if you are boarding near the end of the line, gee, you just might not be able to actually carry it on and be asked to check it at the gate. Free.
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#30683 - 04/01/13 07:40 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: MattD
Hey All,

I am not too familiar with the policy for airlines but what is the best way to get our gear from one side of the country to the other? Can we just throw our tents, spikes, ice axes, stoves, knives, etc into a huge duffel and check it at the airport? Any suggested travel tips would be great.


Here's a link to Kayak's page which lists airline fees. Keep an eye on the weight - sometimes they weigh the bags, sometimes they don't. And check out SouthWest as the first 2 bags fly free. They have flights from Boston and Manchester (which I use regularly).
http://www.kayak.com/airline-fees

If you're headed for Whitney, consider flying into Ontario rather than Reno or Las Vegas. Not only is it a bit closer driving time, but vehicle rentals are nearly always cheaper. And, it's an easy airport to get in/out of. Am using it myself again in June for a trip to Whitney, Langeley and some DV peaks.

The quick answer to the question above is mostly yes - just throw it into a duffle, being mindful of weight. You can't ship fuel for a stove, though, so buy that upon arrival at your destination.

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#30697 - 04/02/13 12:24 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
Last time I flew, there were lots of people with carry-on luggage that wouldn't fit in the overhead spots. In fact most small planes have that trouble.

Since it costs extra to check your luggage the conventional way, lots of people now carry on their luggage and drop it at the gate. The bag gets stowed like "checked" luggage, but gets unloaded first and handed over to disembarking passengers at the gate.

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#30700 - 04/02/13 05:01 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: KevinR]
MattD
Unregistered


Thanks for the advice! I purchased a guide on Mt. Whitney, it suggests to fly into Bob Hope Airport. Do you still recommend Ontario over this? I will be leaving from Boston. Also, I think it's impossible to find a direct flight in.

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#30701 - 04/02/13 08:11 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Ontario is great.

If you're looking for a direct flight, you might look at Long Beach. Jet Blue flies direct from Boston to LGB. When my wife and I make trips back east (NH), this is our preferred airline and our 2nd choice (after ONT), airport wise.

If I were flying into SoCal, I'd look at these airports, in this order:
ONT
LGB
PSP
SNA
LAX

For car rentals, we've had good luck price-wise with http://www.foxrentacar.com/
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#30704 - 04/02/13 08:40 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Ontario is the closest. I would have said Pasaden/Burbank next. Doesn't Long Beach add a lot of driving and traffic?

If it were me coming from the east coast, I'd fly Southwest direct into Vegas and drive. Nice drive.


Edited by Akichow (04/02/13 08:54 AM)
Edit Reason: Confused my airports

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#30705 - 04/02/13 08:42 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: MattD
Thanks for the advice! I purchased a guide on Mt. Whitney, it suggests to fly into Bob Hope Airport. Do you still recommend Ontario over this? I will be leaving from Boston. Also, I think it's impossible to find a direct flight in.


I have no idea why a guide would suggest the Burbank airport. I think you'll find flights more $$ as well as the rentals. In terms of access to the Eastern Sierra - it's about the same as Ontario in terms of drive time. Am a big fan of SouthWest.

I doubt you'll find a direct flight unless you do a BOS/LAX, and then you have to deal with LAX and the longer drive across downtown LA. If I were saving a substantial amount of $$, I might consider it but otherwise - it's among my least favorite airports.

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#30709 - 04/02/13 10:14 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Akichow

If it were me coming from the east coast, I'd fly Southwest direct into Vegas and drive. Nice drive.


Agree 100%. Ticket prices either less or the same. Shorter flight(s) saves air time, and off sets drive time. Much more pleasant experience.

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#30710 - 04/02/13 10:32 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Akichow
Doesn't Long Beach add a lot of driving and traffic?


I suggested it since he mentioned he was looking for a direct flight.
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HikingGeek.com

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#30711 - 04/02/13 10:57 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Anon
Unregistered


Thank you to each and everyone of you. Each bit of advice from everyone has been extremely helpful. I have alot of options and decsions to make. I am not sure about landing in Vegas...that is just asking for extra trouble!! :)

But honestly, thank you. This is a wonderful site and a great community to learn from. I hope I have the opportunity to bump into some of you on the mountain. My entry date is June 18th. I will arrive 2 days earlier and hang out and the Whitney Portal campsites. Planning on coming off the trail on June 20th. If you are around I will buy you a beer!... But we are not going to Vegas!

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#30712 - 04/02/13 11:08 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
MattD, seriously, consider Las Vegas! It is not the foul place people might make it to be. Just stay away from "The Strip" at night, unless you walk it, since it is a zoo.

The fun of flying into Vegas is that you can then drive through Death Valley on your way to Lone Pine. It is definitely a unique experience -- you get to see that environment, along with hiking Mt Whitney. Drive it during daylight at least one direction, and mornings are best to avoid the high temps. But rental cars should be able to handle even the worst temps.

You could even alter the route to see more of Death Valley if you had time.

Google maps shows a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas: (link) It's only 45 minutes longer drive than Ontario, and you avoid all city driving (except escaping Vegas wink  ).


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#30715 - 04/02/13 02:11 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: MattD
... But we are not going to Vegas!


Stick to your guns. The last thing you want after traveling for 8-10 hours & 3,000 miles is a 4-5 hour drive thru a desert, where if you miss getting something to eat/drink shortly after leaving Vegas it's unlikely you'll find anything until Lone Pine, and by the time you get to Lone Pine little will be open. If you have time after your hike, then see DV - it's a fascinating place for sure.


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#30716 - 04/02/13 03:37 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: KevinR]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: KevinR
Originally Posted By: MattD
... But we are not going to Vegas!


Stick to your guns. The last thing you want after traveling for 8-10 hours & 3,000 miles is a 4-5 hour drive thru a desert, where if you miss getting something to eat/drink shortly after leaving Vegas it's unlikely you'll find anything until Lone Pine, and by the time you get to Lone Pine little will be open. If you have time after your hike, then see DV - it's a fascinating place for sure.


Wait, seriously, from Ontario, you don't drive through desert to Lone Pine? Oh, right: you get to drive through Cucamonga, Fontana, THEN desert.

3,000 miles? 8-10 hours? I fly out of Boston all the time, and its never been more than 6 hrs to Vegas. More like 5 Air miles = 2375 to Vegas, 2566 to Ontario, knocking that 40 minute/23 mile/ drive difference down to less than nothing, considering traffic
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#30717 - 04/02/13 06:24 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Best to hang out at Horseshoe Meadows rather than the portal! Higher sleeping altitude (by 2000')! Some great hikes up there, too. Just hang a left off the Portal Road a few miles from town, and keep driving up! Developed campsites, bear boxes, pit toilets, picnic tables, and you can drive to town in half an hour if you want a nice sit down dinner....

You can probably get a direct flight to Vegas. Overall, door to door, probably save you time. And the drive through Death Valley is hella awesome. (Did I just say " hella awesome"? Don't recognize myself anymore.)

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#30720 - 04/02/13 07:29 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
I've made the trip from Atlanta to the Sierra a half dozen times in the past few years, and another half dozen to Death Valley. I definitely prefer going through Vegas (cheap rental cars generally), versus L.A. It's about the same distance overall driving to Lone Pine from either Vegas or L.A., but I find it's quicker and easier going through Vegas.

There's also a shortcut from Vegas to DV that can knock off 45 minutes or so from the traditional route. Take Hwy 160 west (known as Blue Diamond Rd in Vegas) to Pahrump. Eat, drink, buy supplies in Pahrump (Super Wal-Mart recommended for supplies). Continue almost to the end of the business district on 160 and turn left on Bell Vista Rd. This will take you into Cali, where it re-names to State Line Rd, and dead ends right in front of the Old Opera House. A quick right, then a quick left on Hwy 190 has you headed to Furnace Freek, and ultimately Lone Pine.

The beauty of this route is that there is almost no traffic most of the drive. You also have eating/drinking options in DV at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs. Do not buy gas in the park, as it runs about $1.00 more than Cali prices outside the park. Top off in Pahrump. You're going to drive through desert to get to LP no matter what - you might as well go through the meanest, baddest one in the world and enjoy it.


Gary

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#30721 - 04/02/13 07:41 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I love those roads! Brings back wonderful memories. Somewhere out there is a pretty cool date farm (random thought).

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#30722 - 04/02/13 07:57 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Karin, I've always loved the desert - especially the high desert. I guess that's one of the reasons I go to DV in the winter most years. Some folks see it as just ugly wasteland, but to me it's beautiful. A different kind of beautiful than the Sierra, Rockies, Cascades, etc., but enthralling all the same. I'd hike in the desert any day versus the green tunnel of the Appalachian Trail.

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#30723 - 04/02/13 08:25 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Like!

Anyway, Original Poster, please don't rule out Las Vegas too quickly. But whatever you do, you'll have a blast! And please consider Horseshoe Meadows for acclimatization per earlier post. And share pictures of your adventure!

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#30724 - 04/02/13 08:34 PM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Akichow]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
I recommend, and this is, of course, a TOTALLY and COMPLETELY and HONESTLY UNBIASED opinion (snark snark) . . . fabulous Las Vegas!

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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: 2248
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: 1255
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: 1255
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: 1255
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: 1255
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: 1255
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: 1255
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: 7742
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: 1255
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: 2248
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: 7742
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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#30763 - 04/04/13 03:22 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
These are all such wonderful hikes. Since you are not doing Whitney as a day hike, there really is no need to sleep at the Portal. If you are on the trail by 10a.m. or so, you'll be fine to make it to Trail Camp in time to set up camp, eat, relax. With your same itinerary on the mountain, I stayed at onion valley the night before, then drove down to lone pine the morning of my entry date, got my permit, and hit the trail, no problems.

The portal is really not an optimal place to sleep unless you are getting up super early to do Whitney as a day hike. It is a little high density for my taste, a bit low in altitude for acclimatization, and a bit on the noisy side, what with pesky bears and early morning hikers. It does have the Portal Store, but you can hit that up before and after your hike without staying there.

If you were open to sleeping at Hoseshoe Meadows or Onion Valley the night before, you would get better acclimatization and great access to easy-to-moderate high altitude day hikes the day before your entry. HM is all walkins, non reservable (though getting space never seems to be a problem), closer to the Portal. OV is part reservable, part walkin, maybe 30-40 minutes or so from Lone Pine.

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#30764 - 04/04/13 04:44 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Anon
Unregistered


Wow I have a lot of options to choose from. Now everyone mentions acclimating... How serious is the thiner air? I know this is not Mt. Everest but honestly, is it that easy to get mountain sickness? Using myself as an example... I am 29 years old, in great physical shape, but I live at sea level. Do you think I am still extremely prone to feeling the effects of the thin air? Is sleeping at the Portal for 2 nights not enough to get my body adjusted? Should I be sleeping higher?

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#30766 - 04/04/13 07:20 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Age and conditioning have little to do with it. Won't know how you are at altitude until you go there a few times...and even then, there is serendipity, people have off days, etc.

You are climbing very high and altitude is a significant issue. The portal could be enough or it might not be. But you have the option to do 2 nights at 9.5K or 10K (OV or HM) and another at 12k (Trail Camp), so why not take it? That is a fabulous pre-summit profile from an acclimatizing point of view (though still not a guarantee, it's all relative). Plus those other locations will get you seeing some cool areas.

Other tips: keep hydrated (seriously), take electrolytes, and don't overdo it (good to hike at a pace where your breathing is steady and your heart is not racing). Slow is better than fast. If you search this site, you'll see a lot on this issue. Someone will now suggest diamox, but I'm gonna leave that topic alone since it has already received tons of coverage on this site. Also, on Monday, while you don't want to overdo it, climbing higher than your sleeping altitude is a good idea.

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#30769 - 04/04/13 08:36 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
Quote:
Wow I have a lot of options to choose from. Now everyone mentions acclimating... How serious is the thiner air? I know this is not Mt. Everest but honestly, is it that easy to get mountain sickness? Using myself as an example... I am 29 years old, in great physical shape, but I live at sea level. Do you think I am still extremely prone to feeling the effects of the thin air? Is sleeping at the Portal for 2 nights not enough to get my body adjusted? Should I be sleeping higher?



Very serious. Yes it is that easy to get mountain sickness. I am 38, a marathon runner, living at sea level, and before my Whitney hike last year I was sometimes hiking 3,-4000 elevation gain hikes more than once a week (Top Altitude of those hikes was always under 5-6000). Last year, I attempted to hike Whitney with my father and got very sick just after Trail Camp. I made it down okay, and made an additional trip from my home in Alaska a month later to complete the hike, but I had never had that kind of scary mountain experience. Other factors such as lack of rest due to a red eye flight may have contributed and your two nights at the Portal are more than what I did but it is still serious. On the second trip I also took small doses of Diamox.

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#30770 - 04/04/13 08:42 AM Re: Gear on a Plane [Re: ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
If you haven't looked through the Orientation Notes (link is above on the left), you can find links and info about altitude sickness. With your spending time at altitude before starting the hike you will be better off than many.

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