Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 7 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3734 Members
10 Forums
5571 Topics
51008 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#32761 - 08/17/13 03:36 PM Quick questions about MR route
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi! Just 2 quick questions in preparation for my 1st Whitney climb next month.

1. Best leaving time from trailhead. Sunrise on Sep 21 will be 545am, I'd like to have a little bit of light when I reach the ledge, I'm pretty much not affected by elevation until 12k feet, fit hiker. So when should I leave the Whitney trailhead?

2. Best return route. I have never been on Whitney but I do want to return to the trailhead quicker. What's the time difference between a descent on Whitney trail and MR trail?

Thanks! I've been watching the videos every week and printed out pretty much all the trail pictures for an easy route finding.

-Alex

Top
#32762 - 08/17/13 06:37 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
I had similar question about MR descent choice because the MR down was shorter but steeper than the main trail. (I am now 62 and now have a titanium knee.) I wondered if taking the longer, less steep main trail would be better for me.

Answer: Since 2006, and the 4 or 5 times that I have sufficient times recorded, I can tell you that either way takes the same for me, 6.5 hrs down either way. Many will tell you the MR down is faster, but I am glad to see both trails.

others' mileage and speeds and abilities will vary. I am hardly any faster going down than up. Best wishes

Top
#32763 - 08/17/13 07:06 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hi SM,
I did the MR on Sept. 20th, 2012, so sunrise/sunset should be ~same. I suggest leaving the trail head between 4:00 and 4:15. It takes approx. one hour to reach the ledges, and you begin to get light ~30 minutes prior to sunrise. I believe you will have sufficient light by the time you get to the ledges to not require your headlamp, although you may prefer to leave it on.
My experience was that all the pictures and videos I reviewed did not really prepare me for the hike. It just does not look the same. You can see my trip report for more detials: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/27939/First_Time_Mountaineer_s_Route#Post27939

I did hike with another person, and we each took different routes down. I went down the main trail, Carlos went back down the MR. We both arrived at the trail head at the same time. Carlos took his time, and took many picutres, so I "guess" the MR might be a bit faster, but it only took me 5.5 hours to get down the main trail, and eliminated downclimbing the final 400.
I really enjoyed the MR. I'm sure you will too.
Enjoy,
John

Top
#32765 - 08/17/13 11:19 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: John Sims]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
Harvey and John: Interesting that it takes about the same time. I'd never considered that question before.

Just to make sure... SM, have you checked the videos linked here:
      Mountaineers Route info links within...?

Top
#32770 - 08/18/13 09:43 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Just because the distance is less than half doesn't mean your time will descending will be less than half.

Pictures and video are one thing the real thing is quite another. Route finding and various small blocks will slow you down, especially since this is the first time to this rodeo.

Recently, I came down a canyon that turned 2 to 2 1/2 hour trail trip into 3 1/2 hour marathon. The trip down the down the canyon was a 1/3 of the trail trip. I had been up this canyon twice in the winter but never down it during the summer.

Top
#32771 - 08/18/13 10:44 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thank you guys...I think I'll take the main trail down for a nice loop. I'll spend a night at the Whitney portal motel and start hike at 4:30AM. If I can get to Lone Pine early on Friday I'll drive up and check out the North Fork intersection.

Steve, yes I watch your videos everyday!

Top
#32784 - 08/18/13 07:19 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
> I'll spend a night at the Whitney portal motel and start hike at 4:30AM.

This sounds like a quickie trip. If you have never been to 14.5k, be sure to read up on altitude and acclimatization. You may be ok ...or you may feel like you were hit by a truck. I always like to get two nights at 10k before heading up to Whitney. If this is news to you, read up on it in the Orientation Notes, and think about trying Diamox.

...just want you to be prepared.

Top
#32813 - 08/20/13 02:44 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: sm0421
Thank you guys...I think I'll take the main trail down for a nice loop. I'll spend a night at the Whitney portal motel and start hike at 4:30AM. If I can get to Lone Pine early on Friday I'll drive up and check out the North Fork intersection.

Steve, yes I watch your videos everyday!


SM,
I would consider it an "imperative" to check out the trail up to and including the E-Ledges. There are several false trails as you make your way from the Main Trail to the E-Ledges, and they can cost you a lot of time and energy. Checking it out the day prior will be time well spent.

Best of Luck,
John

Top
#33196 - 09/12/13 06:47 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi guys, have a few more questions:

1. How's the temperature on Whitney in late Sep? I plan on wearing long hiking pants (soft shell), long base layer + fleece + hard shell, is that pretty good for late September hiking?

2, The final 400. So I'd start and stay to the left, and at some point, switch to the right for easier terrain, correct? When is the best time to do that? Before we reach the ice?

Thanks,
Alex

Top
#33197 - 09/12/13 09:30 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Ah, the weather. It can be 0* to 50* F overnight. Hope that helps.

I've been on the peak in single digits during mid to late September. It can really stinking cold if a cold moves through or lingers.

Top
#33201 - 09/12/13 10:02 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
So the major point, is watch the weather forecast -- see the "Mt Whitney Weather" links above on the left. They give you a pretty good idea what will happen on your hike day.

Top
#33203 - 09/12/13 12:37 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia

I was told the weather "typically" changes the 3rd week in Sept. For me, I am 2 for 2 in seeing that happen, right on schedule.

In 2006, the day before our MR climb, the winds were >60 mph on the ridges, so no matter what the temp, it was a no go. We waited a day. Beautiful: No wind, 20 F.

Mountaineering, like farming, sailing, and all our most interesting activities, is a chancy business ruled largely by the weather.
HW Tilman, Everest 1938 page 502

Top
#33210 - 09/12/13 05:11 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks Steve! In your video of the final 400, you mentioned that you stayed in the middle and moved right, but you could've moved to the right a bit earlier, maybe before you hit the ice. Is that correct?

Thanks so much.

Top
#33214 - 09/12/13 06:05 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hi Alex,
Steve may have better advice for you, but absent his input I doubt you will see any ice on the final 400, unless there is snow/rain between now and the 21st. Given no ice, there will be no "markers" to tell you when to move right/left, etc.. My guess is that when you get there you will most likely choose your own path (using info from this and other sites to influence your decisions), based on your own particular climbing skills. It's actually part of the fun. Finding your own route.
I think I saw in another post that you were climbing with a friend. Is this true, or still the case?
John


Edited by John Sims (09/12/13 09:32 PM)
Edit Reason: correct spelling

Top
#33215 - 09/12/13 06:12 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: John Sims]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi John, thanks for the advice! Yes I'm climbing with a friend. I have bought an iphone GPS app (gaia gps) for this trip and imported waypoints for MR from the internet. I will also print out all key photos and a map so that we can get to iceberg lake asap. Hope for good weather!

Top
#33217 - 09/12/13 09:32 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hi Alex,
You probably already know this, but for the GPS to work the iPhone must have the cellular function active (no airplane mode). Since most of this route will not have cell phone coverage the phone is constantly searching for service, and this tends to consume the battery. If you do not already have one I suggest a mophie case (or similar) with extra battery. I had a great "first timers" experience with the MR one year ago, so I think I understand "where you are". I'll be very interested in reading your trip report. Also, good to hear that you are undertaking this hike with a friend. Good to have a sounding board as you decide which way to go.
Good luck - both with the weather, and on the hike.
John

Top
#33218 - 09/12/13 10:33 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: John Sims]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
Alex, the video was taken the last weekend in September ... I guess it is close to your timing, too. There may or may not be any ice in the route. John S is right, you can pick your own route. When I climbed it last year, I stayed on the left all the way up.

You haven't acknowledged what I wrote earlier about AMS. You may be ok, but you need to know about it and what it can do to some people. With your fast trip, I'd suggest Diamox as a precaution.

Top
#33221 - 09/13/13 06:26 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
There was ice and snow and wet rock reported from the Crest (ie: between Trail Camp and the summit) yesterday. Storm systems that are moving through are leaving moisture behind. Watch the weather reports.
_________________________
Facebook

Flickr Pics

Think outside the Zone.

Top
#33223 - 09/13/13 06:41 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi John, thanks! I'm taking a battery charger thing with me, it can charge my iphone 4 to full twice.

Hi Steve, thanks for the reply, I've climbed a couple of 12k/13k mountains and Mt. Elbert in Colorado, it's a 14k peak. Flying out of east coast I never had time to acclimate. I begin to feel light AMS symptom above 12k. My take is to go slow and drink lots, and lots of water. I'm also using http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Whitney/forecasts/4418 for weather.

MooseTracks, thanks for the weather reports! Do you think we need to bring some traction such as microspikes?



Edited by sm0421 (09/13/13 08:37 AM)

Top
#33233 - 09/13/13 02:18 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
I would never recommend microspikes for anything other than walking on trail, and definitely not for scrambling the rock on the Final 400.

Basically, if there is snow or ice on the rocks, well, there's snow and ice on the rocks. Too early to use crampons of any sort.
_________________________
Facebook

Flickr Pics

Think outside the Zone.

Top
#33281 - 09/16/13 12:39 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
Frank D Offline


Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CO
Hi Everyone,

Our plan is the exact same as Alex's, MR up and MT down, even on the same date. This is also our first Whitney attempt. So I just use this thread to ask my question instead of starting a new one.

My question is, how much water shall I bring? When hiking in Colorado, my water consumption is typically one litre every 5 miles and 1,500' gain. For example, two litres for a ten mile, 3k feet gain round trip. I should be able to pump water at one of those lakes along the MR, right? My plan is to take 2 litres and the filter with me, refill at UBSL, summit, and then refill again at switchback #23. Does it sound reasonable or too risky?

Thanks,
Frank

Top
#33283 - 09/16/13 05:14 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Frank D]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
If you drink enough at the trail head, and at each stream intersection, you shouldn't need to carry more than a pint anywhere until you get to iceberg lake. From there, I'd drink all I could, and take 2 liters. Be sure to drink at the stream coming out of UBSL -- it is a significant side trip to get to the lake itself.

You don't need to filter or treat the water. Many of us don't, but you can do what you like in that department.

Switchback 23 may possibly be dry on your way down, but the inlet to the Trail Camp pond is always running clear.

Top
#33284 - 09/16/13 07:16 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
Connor Offline


Registered: 05/09/12
Posts: 18
Loc: California (CA)
I'm joining the MR question party. Doing a slower ascent of Whitney via the MR in mid October. Totally understand the risk of weather, and not going up if there's any major snow/ice.

However, my friend and I would rather play safe than sorry. Last year we turned around on Mt. Russell because we didn't bring a rope and didn't feel comfortable at the final 400 meters of the east ridge of Mt. Russell.

Do people do running belays on MR? What's the "sketchiness" of this route compared to the east ridge of Mt. Russell?

Top
#33285 - 09/16/13 07:32 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
Frank D Offline


Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CO
Thanks a lot Steve, great stuff!

Looks like we will have terrific weather this weekend. Any recent report of ice or snow on the final 400? We will bring ice axe, microspikes just in case, and most important, binoculars to take a closer look at MR the day before.

Top
#33288 - 09/16/13 10:43 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Frank D]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7718
Loc: Fresno, CA
Connor, the commercial guides belay their clients up and down, every time.

Frank, I don't think you will find any use for the axe or spikes. And the Final 400 is completely out of view, until you reach the notch.

Top
#33295 - 09/17/13 09:54 AM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Steve C]
Frank D Offline


Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CO
Steve - thanks again for the info. Look forward to the mysterious Final 400 smile

Top
#33305 - 09/17/13 04:34 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: Frank D]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 453
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Frank D

My question is, how much water shall I bring? When hiking in Colorado, my water consumption is typically one litre every 5 miles and 1,500' gain. For example, two litres for a ten mile, 3k feet gain round trip. I should be able to pump water at one of those lakes along the MR, right? My plan is to take 2 litres and the filter with me, refill at UBSL, summit, and then refill again at switchback #23. Does it sound reasonable or too risky?


Within a mile, you have water at the split between the main trail and the North Fork. You'll pass water twice before reaching the Ebersbacher Ledges. You'll have another water source before Lower Boyscout Lake. You can refill a Clyde's Meadow before reaching Upper Boyscout Lake. There is another Lake (I believe it's call the Frog Pond) and a waterfall before Iceberg Lake. From the trail head to Iceberg Lake is probably 4-5 miles tops. You will not have anything after that though. What I'm trying to say is that you have plenty of water sources all along the route. Personally, I drink a liter at the trail head and hydrate at the various water sources I listed. I don't carry any in my pack. You can if you want to play it safe.

Originally Posted By: Connor

Do people do running belays on MR? What's the "sketchiness" of this route compared to the east ridge of Mt. Russell?


I think Russell is a much greater "sketchiness" factor than the MR. If you feel comfortable on the East Ridge, the MR will feel like a walk in the park.

Top
#33388 - 09/22/13 01:21 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
sm0421 Offline


Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 21
Loc: Pennsylvania
Led a group of 5 and summited on sat.

Many thanks to everyone especially steve and john.

My 20hrs+ study of online resources and checking out eledge a day prior in day light are the best things ever. 0 time wasted on route finding!!

Trip report to come.


Alex

Top
#33389 - 09/22/13 03:10 PM Re: Quick questions about MR route [Re: sm0421]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Congratulations Alex,

All of your preperation paid off. Zero time wasted it remarkable for "first time" on this route.

Looking forward to your trip report.

John

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >