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#35991 - 04/23/14 02:17 PM how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike?
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Hi folks. Ill be a solo hiker this july 23(Wednesday) on mt whitney. I did a half dome hike last year and did it for 12 hours hiking leisurely. Im just anxious and curious How does it compare with mt whitney?

Ill be coming from new jersey and we dont have high altitide mountain that ill have access to and be able to train to. All i have is a 4.0 mile loop "giant stairs off palisades interstate park" with a 500 ft of elevation ascent of about .3 miles and probably a total of 800 ft(or maybe less) of combined elevation gain for the whole loop.

So far ive been working on 2 loops and 5 round trip on the 500 ft (.3 mile trail) for about 6.5 hours including a 15 min "lunch time". I know im not ready yet but i still have about couple months to train harder for the whitney hike. I just want some baseline of the hike comparing it with half dome (did the mist trail - so less than 13? miles). If mt whitney is 10/10, how would you rate half dome hike.

Thanks a lot guys. Btw, i havent paid for the permit yet. Im willing to share my permit because i originally applied for 3 permits (for my brothers in cali) , but unfortunately they dont have time to train for the hike. So if ever you wanted to join just pm me and ill gladly include you on my permit application granted you are willing to pay for the $15/head fee (?)

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#36019 - 04/24/14 12:10 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
Half Dome:

Stats - 4800' of vertical gain, 16.8 miles RT.
That's 570' of gain per mile.

X Factors - Loads of big granite steps. Sandy ground through little Yosemite Valley. Cables. Possibly heat.

Whitney:

Stats - 6400' of vertical gain, 22.1 miles RT.
Thats 579' of gain per mile.

X Factors - ELEVATION SICKNESS. Hard granite pavement or ankle-breaker scralus past Trail Crest.

I'd say Whitney is the more difficult of the two. It's just higher and longer.

If you consider Whitney 10/10 and you did half dome all the way I'd put Half Dome at 6/10 with Whitney.

The altitude makes a huge difference. There is no substitute than getting up over 10,000 feet. I've also noticed that having good nutrition, eating a lot (even when you feel sick)drastically reduces the effects of AMS.

For your training with the loop hike, I'd try to do 2 laps and make it 10 mi with 1600 feet and as you get closer, do even more laps.
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#36025 - 04/24/14 01:13 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
Ponzy: What Snacking Bear said.

12 hours on Half Dome is on the slow side, but you said you were taking it easy. You will likely want to pick up the pace on Whitney. I'd rate Half Dome at about 60% of a Whitney hike.

I might do Half Dome as a warm up hike for Whitney, not for the acclimation, but to get the legs warmed up to the long distance. If you can increase your loops so that you can do 16-20 miles in one day, then you will do pretty well on Whitney. The one thing you might consider in addition, is spending two nights at Horseshoe Meadows before Whitney to get yourself better acclimated to the altitude. Please understand: You are starting the Whitney hike at the elevation of the top of Half Dome. Altitude is a big factor on Whitney, and not at all on HD.

Beware: You have 6 more days to pay for your permits, or they will be cancelled on Apr 30. I would pay for 1 and let the others go. You will find plenty of friendly hikers on the trail.

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#36028 - 04/24/14 02:46 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Ponzy: If you can increase your loops so that you can do 16-20 miles in one day, then you will do pretty well on Whitney. The one thing you might consider in addition, is spending two nights at Horseshoe Meadows before Whitney to get yourself better acclimated to the altitude. Please understand: You are starting the Whitney hike at the elevation of the top of Half Dome. Altitude is a big factor on Whitney, and not at all on HD.


Steve is absolutely right. I wouldn't touch Whitney without a couple of 15+ milers under the belt in the two months leading up to Whitney.

If nothing else that should limit your challenges to naught but the altitude, but even that can be helped.

If you are able, try small runs throughout the week. If nothing else, running increases your cardiovascular efficiency along with pacing your breathing.

My policy @ altitude is three-fold:

1: Respiration up and heart-rate down.

2: Decisive use of NSAID's. I don't like the idea of Diamox simply because it is a diuretic and you lose a lot of fluid already, so I use Ibu to combat the headache. Of my three-pronged stratagem this is the only one wouldn't necessarily "recommend."

3: Keep Hydrated and fueled at any cost. Altitude is an insidious malefactor. During hikes your muscles and brain are constantly leeching water, nutrients, and oxygen. Digestion, coincidentally, also requires a large amount of oxygen to occur. At altitude what little oxygen is present (At 14,000 feet there is 50% of the oxygen present at sea-level) is prioritized to the brain and muscles. In response you begin to feel weak as the nutrients in your body get depleted, but your digestion system triggers nausea because your digestion system is slowing down due to the lack of oxygen. So altitude lays siege to your body as your oxygen is limited and your desire to take in nutrients plummets.

I make sure that I'm forcing down whatever food I can. I also use a combination of cytomax and whey protein to keep a steady stream of macronutrients (lipids, carbs, proteins). Having those calories to drink makes 'em easier to stomach.

Honesty time... I'll practicing singing when I'm alone and on trail it strengthens the diapraghm

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#36029 - 04/24/14 03:11 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
> I make sure that I'm forcing down whatever food I can.

Excellent point. I should add: force it down early in the hike, because due to the effects of altitude, you may lose your appetite regardless of all the preparations, and you won't be able to stomach anything above 12,000'.

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#36037 - 04/24/14 07:14 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Steve C]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 202
Loc: New York
Ponzy,

Since you are in NJ, before coming out to contemplate Whitney, I would suggest taking a couple weekends and do some of the longer climbs in the Adirondacks which, depending on where you are in NJ, is 4-6hrs drive north.

Climbs such as Mount Haystack (5000+ft gain over 19 miles)-don't confuse this with Haystack Mountain which is smaller to the north, Nippletop/Colvin combo, Colvin/Blake/Indian head, Gothics/Armstrong combo, Both Wolf Jaws/Armstrong, Marcy/Phelps, all of which will be over 5000ft gain and 16-19 miles over Hard terrain. If you can do these and have gas left over at the end of the day, your legs will be ready for Whitney. Now you need to think about the elevation.

As others have said, you will need to develop your acclimatization strategy since on The Main trail, you'll be hiking at ~14,000+ft for over 5 miles once you reach Trail Crest and back. Think about this: Half Dome max's out @ less than 1000ft above the trailhead for Whitney.

You can eat a ham sandwich on the summit any east coast peak, but at 12,000 ft, you might only want a gel pack or candybar, so know what fuel your body can deal with. Also, come out to the Sierras a few days early and climb either Boundary Peak (13k) or even better, White Mountain 14.2k in the White Mountains - its only 15miles/+3000ft gain but will give you an idea of how your body responds to altitude.

You'll also lose a lot of elevation on the backside of Whitney so if you run into trouble, you won't be in a good spot, so make sure you know how your body functions at altitude after a long day out. Assume 12-18hrs for a day hike if you're not planning on camping. If it took you 12hrs to do Half Dome (from happy isles), it will take you more like 17+hrs on Whitney.

Good luck with your training!

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#36038 - 04/24/14 07:43 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
I did Half Dome about 10 yrs ago before I was really into hiking. I did it with no training and up until 2011, it was still the hardest hike I had ever done.

In 2011 someone convinced me to hike Whitney with them. We trained all summer and I was still surprised at how difficult it was, mainly due to the AMS factor. I didn't really enjoy Half Dome all that much (I didn't like the cables), but some day I would like to do it again just to see how I'd rate it's difficulty now that I have more experience hiking.

Last year I invited two of my 'halfdome buddies' to fly out from the east coast to do Whitney with me. Here is a portion of an email I sent to them in regards to training:
Quote:

We're less 11 than weeks out from the Whitney hike and it's time to start thinking about training.

Most of the things I've read about training for Whitney have stressed quality of training over quantity. Shorter hikes with more elevation gain seem to be more beneficial than longer hikes without much climbing. That being said, here are a few benchmarks that can help you prepare for a summit attempt:

1. a hike with at least 5000 ft of elevation gain or a workout with 5000 ft of continuous climbing
2. a hike that's at least 15 miles long (20 miles is better)
3. a hike that takes 10+ hours to complete

For those of us that live in Southern California, a hike up San Gorgonio will satisfy all three benchmarks. For those travelling from the east coast, #1 will be very difficult to fulfill. This sounds like a horrible way to spend an afternoon, but here is a suggestion I got from a man that lives in Atlanta, but hikes Whitney at least once per year:

"I hit the gym about a week out and put in 6000 feet of gain on a treadmill set at 15 degrees, just to make sure my legs can handle it in one day. I've been hiking and climbing western mountains for about 10 years, and the biggest problem in training here in the east is the inability to get sustained gains in these low mountains. Your legs always get a downhill break after no more than 2000 feet, which is definitely not the case in the Sierras. The treadmill always tells me how ready I am."

This could also be done on a stair climber (my preference if I were going to torture myself). For reference, some googling shows that 100 flights is roughly equivalent to a 1000 ft of elevation gain.

While #1 is about leg strength/conditioning, numbers 2 and 3 are helpful in preparing your feet for summit day. For those of us that sit at a desk all day, spending an entire day walking can be very painful. On summit day you will need to be prepared to hike ~18 miles, which will likely take 12 hours or more. Another thing to consider during training is pack weight. Overnight packs will probably weigh 30-40 lbs. On summit day, our packs shouldn't weigh more than 20-25 lbs. While training for a big hike, I tend to carry a pack that has a weight greater or equal to what I'll carry on the big hike. With this in mind, I would try get in a 5 mile hike with a 40 lb pack and do the majority of your training while carrying 20+ lbs.

Reaching these benchmarks is not necessary - you may be able to summit without doing them and doing them doesn't guarantee that you'll summit. If you do the training necessary to reach them though, I do believe that your hike will be more enjoyable.



Both the guys from the east coast were able to summit. One of them said it was tougher than any of the marathons he's done. The other said that Half Dome would 'be a cake-walk' compared to Mt. Whitney.


_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#36041 - 04/24/14 09:10 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Of all the quantitative comparisons, the one that puts all the others away is that the summit of Half Dome is 1,200 feet lower than the entrance to the Whitney Zone.

HD is literally a walk in the park.

On the other hand, you can't get a Mooseburger anywhere in Yosemite.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#36045 - 04/25/14 12:04 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
> On the other hand, you can't get a Mooseburger anywhere in Yosemite.

Pizza at Curry Village is my reward in Yosemite. Or Ice cream just around the corner from the pizza place. smile

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#36077 - 04/26/14 06:16 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Steve C]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Wow. I guess i underestimated the whitney hike big time. Thanks guys for all the replies and detailed notes. It made me not think twice nor thrice but a million times to pursue this hike. The inner me make me want to commit on this. Well theres only one way to know for sure if i can do this or not is to be on it.

Based on nyker's suggestion, I reserched online The closest trail to my location is the devils path off Catskills'(about 3.5 hrs). I might give it a try one of these weekends.
I was off yesterday and i did the giant stairs loop in opposite direction(as it felt harder and steeper doing the other way) 3x and and 4 round trips on 520 ft (.3 mile) for 8.5 hours. I stopped cause my legs were cramping bad that i had a hard time finishing up the 4th round trip on the 520 ft trail (.3 miles). I wanted to finish up 4 laps and at least additional 5 round trips on the .3 mile 520 ft ascent before i go to devils path.

Again, thanks again for all the replies.


Edited by ponzy (04/26/14 06:45 AM)
Edit Reason: changed. little bit to big time!

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#36078 - 04/26/14 06:47 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 202
Loc: New York
Yea, the Devils Path is a pretty good hike to train your legs. We did half of it last year. Just make sure you get used to being on your feet for 12+hrs with a pack at altitude for a Whitney-type climb.

Years ago, Half Dome from Happy Isles was my first real hike/climb as an adult and honestly, coming from sea level (like you), it was very hard, especially with the relative elevation and we did it as a dayhike. I learned some things from that hike and came back a couple years later and did it again more prepared and felt much better, enjoyed the climb and shaved an hour off my ascent while feeling less tired.

Don't be discouraged with Whitney. I think everyone is just making sure you know what you're getting into. As Whitney Main trail is such a popular route, many hikers come from sea level unprepared (not that anyone is suggesting you would) and there have been people injured/rescued/killed or just hitting the wall and need help getting down. We want to make sure that (1) you enjoy your trip and (2) ascend and descend safely.

One question - have you ever been to higher altitude or hiked anything higher than Half Dome?

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#36085 - 04/26/14 10:46 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: nyker]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Nyker,

To answer your question, I did the maggies peak at south lake tahoe last year prior to hiking half dome and nothing else. I hike with a 15# day pack with those and im training now with 20# pack.


Ive never been at higher altitude other than those 2.
Ive taken reservation on the portal already and horseshoe meadows is a first come first serve basis so ill try to be there Monday for my Wed hike. Ive acquired some acetazolamide(diamox is too expensive for my insurance) rx too, so if i feel some "symptoms" monday then ill take some on monday night or tues am @125mg every 12 hours.


Edited by ponzy (04/26/14 11:59 AM)

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#36086 - 04/26/14 10:52 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
> I've acquired some acetazolamide(diamox is too expensive for my ins) rx too

Acetazolamide IS Diamox. So you are covered there. The recommendations are to start taking it before you get to altitude, so take it before you feel any symptoms. Wouldn't hurt to take two doses at home to make sure you don't have any odd side effects.

Hosreshoe Meadows is technically one-night-only, so camp then move to another spot. It will not be crowded.

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#36091 - 04/26/14 01:38 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: ponzy
Wow. I guess i underestimated the whitney hike big time. Thanks guys for all the replies and detailed notes. It made me not think twice nor thrice but a million times to pursue this hike. The inner me make me want to commit on this. Well theres only one way to know for sure if i can do this or not is to be on it.


Do it man. Commit.

In the words of Louis Pasteur "My strength lay solely in my tenacity."

Willingness to suffer is 40% of my approach. 20% is determining a margin of safety. 10% is being willing to spend as long as I need to finish the job. The rest is just training and prepping to make it more enjoyable.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#36092 - 04/26/14 02:47 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Snacking Bear]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Some of the food and nausea comments can easily be explained by fatigue alone, AMS alone, and not oxygen deficiency that is more important at extreme altitude(by definition over 18, 000 ft). AMS symptoms are due to multiple factors such as barometric pressure changes and not strictly oxygen levels. The body must reset its "sensors" and other metabolic mechanisms, taking some time, and is called acclimatization. Steve is correct to say if you are taking Diamox for its (relatively small) benefit, then to start early before symptoms develop. It has it's greatest benefit on the disturbed sleep of altitude but some benefit to daytime performance as well. It is listed as a (PED) performance enhancing drug, but probably only a significant benefit for the subset of people who actually have AMS, not so much for those unaffected.

For all the talk about fitness, food, and hydration just remember that while these are important, a night or two or three( depending on individual) sleeping at say 8k or 9k before Whitney is very important, in fact, many would say it is the single most important factor. Not just opinion, but plenty of experience and studies by others. Yes, there are people who can just show up and "do it" but risk management improves the odds of success. I would value a night of acclimatization over all of the other factors. Yes, I have done HD and W multiple times. AMS is the wild card.

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#36093 - 04/26/14 03:10 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
Great Info Dr Lankford! Thanks for catching that!
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#36094 - 04/26/14 03:35 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Ponzy,

I agree with the acclimatization comments. I was actually creating galleries of my 'acclimation hikes' to share here when Dr. Lankford made his comments!

How many days are you going to be in the Whitney area? Do you have an acclimation plan?
(edit: I started writing this post 8 hrs ago, left for a couple hours, came back and edited/uploaded the pics, and posted it before seeing your post from this morning)


I try to do something different every year. Here are some examples:

2011 - We spent some time at Tom's Place and hiked in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest .

2012 - We spent the day at Horseshoe Meadows and hiked to Trail Peak

2013 - Part of the group were from the east coast, so we spent more time at elevation. We spent a day and night near the Little Lakes Valley, then spent the following day/night near Horseshoe Meadows/Cottonwood Lakes. We also spent a few hours hanging out/napping at Outpost camp (10,600 ft) before the summit attempt. One of the hikers had spend some time skiing in CO a few months prior to the hike. He had AMS symptoms there and didn't ski as much as he hoped. He had no AMS symptoms on the hike.

2014 - My father-in-law is flying out from NH. We are planning on staying in Mammoth 2 nights and doing some dayhikes near the area, then will stay overnight at Lone Pine Lake or Outpost Camp.

Spending the night at Whitney Portal Campground and/or Horseshoe Meadows may be the closest/easiest options for you, but if you are interested in exploring other areas, the members here will give you lots of ideas.

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#36098 - 04/26/14 06:33 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Ponzy, you've gotten a lot of excellent advice from the responses to your post, so not much to add except: be cautious about overdoing it just prior to Whitney. You'll be surrounded by a vast array of cool, tempting hikes, but remember why you're there. Keep any warm-up or acclimation hikes to a minimum in the 48 hours prior to your goal. Dayhiking Whitney is strenuous and your best chance of success is to keep your legs fresh.

Maybe something mild (Lone Pine Lake OAB) two days before Whitney, and virtually nothing the day before, especially since you'll have a very early wake-up ahead of you.

I mention this as a fellow eastern lowlander who heads to Cali each year for some Sierra fun, and we just cannot train and prepare to climb a fourteener like our brethren to the west. I feel your pain, brother. Every year, my first couple of days at elevation has me dragging pitifully. By day 4 I'm reasonably well acclimated, and sleeping at 12K' and hiking to 14K' isn't a big deal. Cut two days acclimation off that schedule and it's torture trying to go above 12K'. Harvey hit it dead-on (as you would expect from one of the leading experts in high-altitude medicine) - acclimation first, especially for a lowlander. Hydration, pace, fuel are all important, but if your body's not ready for the elevation you're likely toast. Given the fact that this will be your first attempt at these elevations, I can't over-emphasize the acclimation factor.

Best of luck. I'll be out there the last two weeks of July, so hopefully I can hear your success story at the Portal over a beer.

Gary

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#36118 - 04/28/14 07:43 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Bulldog34]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Thanks for all the replies, info and tips guys.

As what Gary said. I shouldnt be overtraining that i might end up injuring myself. I had a bad sore the weekend that i thought i sustained a muscle strain. I was willing fo hike again and endure the soreness yesterday (Sunday) if i was not stopped by my wife. Good thing she did and i was able to recuperate. But this does just reminded me that i am not ready yet and should be training more.

A friend of mine is a physical therapist and advised me do some "interval training" 2 x a week then do an "endurance hike" once a week on my usual hiking route. Its a high intensity interval workout training focussing on strength endurance on the legs with an "ideal pack weight" and at the same time increasing my V O2 max.

(from Wikipedia: VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise, most typically on a motorized treadmill. Maximal oxygen consumption reflects the aerobic physical fitness of the individual, and is an important determinant of their endurance capacity during prolonged, sub-maximal exercise.)

All i have to do is run up thru a series of switchbacks (a section of my usual .3 mile trail of 520 ft ascent) until i reached my TARGET HEART RATE (220 - YOUR AGE). Then continue on running or walking up without going over my target HR. Then walk down normal pace (as my heart rate and respiratory rate returned to normal (baseline HR and of RR). And do these for at least 30 min (for my intended whitney hike an hour is the minimum).

Its sounded simple but i guess not that simple. I tried that already a few weeks ago running up and failed to do it in consecutive "interval training" for 30 min. But im out of ideas. Ive got to try this. Anybody of you have tried this sort of "training".

I thought this training is essentially beneficial for all who have access in the gym (with stairmaster or a treadmill with at least 15% of incline setting) for more controlled environment.

Just sharing what i thought may help those in training specifically for novice hiker just like me. Im all open to any corrections of what i have thought of "interval training".

Thanks again guys.


Edited by ponzy (04/28/14 07:44 AM)

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#36124 - 04/28/14 09:15 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
Your interval training is good. I like it because it concentrates on increasing your aerobic stamina.

The fact that you got injured doesn't mean it is a bad training plan. It's likely only an indication that you started out doing too much. Take it easy at first, give your body time (it takes place over weeks' time) to build up strength.

The most important and maybe most difficult part of any training program is to keep doing it. Quitting after a few weeks is easy. Sticking with it is not.

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#36126 - 04/28/14 10:48 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 542
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hi Ponzy,

I have never seen it recommended that interval training be conducted at maximum heart rate. I think your target heart rate should be ~75% to 85% of your max. I suggest doing the interval at whatever your heart rate is such that you can sustain the interval. Try not to target a certain rate until you have a better idea as to your level of training.

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#36127 - 04/28/14 11:02 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: ponzy

prolonged, sub-maximal exercise

this is exactly the issue. Everyone operates at altitude with submaximal exercise ( compared to sea level). Anything that uses air suffers the same loss of performance, in parallel with the "thinning" of the air. For example, gasoline engines (unless they are super/turbocharged).

Anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness should be able to do Whitney. You do not need to be a champ. The last two times I was there, I was with a 30 yo once, the other time a 73 yo (I am 63). There is no race. The only competition is AMS (that can stop anyone no matter what degree of fitness) and your own self. Pace, pace, pace works better than race, race, race.

and now a word from a famous British climber/explorer

One must shut out from one’s mind all but the immediate task of making the next step. To start fretting about the slowness of one’s progress or about the time it is going to reach the goal would render the whole business unbearable.
Eric Shipton, Nanda Devi , page 145

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#36134 - 04/28/14 05:14 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Abhijit Offline


Registered: 03/19/14
Posts: 27
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Ponzy,
I'll be your friend on 23rd July. I also will be doing the day hike then. Furthermore, I'm also from the area where I don't have access to higher altitude practice hike.
My plan is to go to Lone Pine on 20th and spend the couple of days before the "big one" in the area.
Currently, my training is three fold - every day I run 4 to 5 miles in our neighborhood (which is quite up and down), every other weekend I spend 2 to 3 hours on treadmill at 15 degree incline at around 2.5 to 3 mph, and every other weekend I do an endurance hike in Appalachian mountains in TN area. This hike could be up to 20/26 miles and so far I found out that I can finish it in 10-12 hours.
This is the training that I self-prescribed and I'd welcome some suggestions from experts if I should change anything.

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#36136 - 04/28/14 06:02 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Abhijit]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Your training regiment seems very good by my standards. You may also want to do more acclimation planning for your days before you hike. Lots of advice on this forum about where to camp and hike in the mountains instead of Lone Pine, which is in the valley.

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#36137 - 04/28/14 07:40 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: SierraNevada]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
I may have posted this previously, but at any rate, here's my approach, which has worked successfully for the Whitney Main Trail day hike (2004, age 59), a Mt. Charleston (Nevada) day hike (2009, age 64), and Grand Canyon rim to rim day hike (2012, age 67).

I start the training about half a year before the big event.

My usual exercise regimen is to walk 2 miles a day except for Saturdays and Sundays. I also add a one mile jog on Tuesday and Thursday and do a 2 mile jog on Sundays. I keep this schedule while I'm doing my event training, except that the 2 mile Sunday jog is replaced with the following.

The training is a 3 way approach, vacillating from one week to the next. One week is a 22 mile hike -- nothing necessarily out in the country, pre-planned (and measured) hikes on city streets. (When I START the training I first do an 8 mile hike, then a 15 mile hike, then its 22 mile hikes from there on out.) Week two is stair climbing -- I use the 17 steps in my 2 story condo stairwell. The drill is to go up and down them 150 times. (When I START the training the first time is only 100 times but from there on out it's always 150 times.) The third exercise is to run 3 miles, except for about mid-way through the training I do a 5 mile run and do another one in one of the last weeks.

All the above is "kicked up a notch" with about 3 months left in the training by doing everything wearing a 22 pound backpack. And I wear it for my normal daily walks and jogs too.)

I find that the 3 exercises are a good mix and that the training is absolutely necessary. If not to actually be able to do whatever event your planning then to at least make it much more pleasurable.

For a Whitney event you have to add in your acclimatization approach as well. When I did my Whitney day hike I flew from home in lowland Florida and spent a little time in LA before driving up to the Sierra. I actually traveled from sea level (cruise to Anacapa Island) to Mammoth Lakes, where I stayed for three nights. After the third night I drove south to Lone Pine. I walked up to Lone Pine Lake that day. I stayed at the Dow Villa in Lone Pine. The next day I drove up to the portal and just hung around there all day, staying at the Dow Villa again that night. The next day was my hike. I found that drinking lots -- and often -- helped with the altitude.

Hope this approach gives some good ideas . . .

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#36139 - 04/28/14 07:48 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Steve C]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 202
Loc: New York
Ponzy, your interval training sounds like it could be a good idea but make sure you have a good aerobic base first to build on.

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#36140 - 04/28/14 08:27 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: ponzy

A friend of mine is a physical therapist and advised me do some "interval training" 2 x a week then do an "endurance hike" once a week on my usual hiking route.


That's similar to what I've done in the past. Interval training 3x per week (Tu, Thu, Sun) and a hike on Saturday, as well as weight/resistance training M, W, F.

I do my interval training on a recumbent bike b/c that's what I have at home. If it were more convenient, I'd go to the gym to use a stair climber or do tire flips. I used a modified version of this program:
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ultimate-8-week-hiit-for-fat-burning-program.html
I do more 'phases' with smaller jumps between each phase. After 3 workouts, I progress to the next phase, with smaller jumps between each phase. For example:
phase/week 1 - 15 sec @100%, 45 sec rest/low intensity
Phase/week 2 - 20 sec @100%, 40 sec rest/low
phase/week 3 - 25/35
phase/week 4 - 30/30
phase 5/6/7/8, etc

Each set is 60 seconds long (for simplicity sake) and I complete 15 sets per workout, for a total time of 15 minutes per workout. An app such as 'Interval Timer' can help you time the intervals.

I also use a HRM on most of my hikes. On most hikes (10-15 miles), my heart rate is 145-155 on the ascent. That is a comfortable pace for me - I feel like I'm accomplishing something, but not working too hard. On the steeps or during HITT, it gets into the 180s.

On Whitney (or really long hikes...20+ for me), I change things a bit. I use my HRM to make sure I'm not going too fast/working too hard. Up until Trail Camp (12000 ft), I keep it below the 155 range as much as possible. Above Trail Camp, I try to make sure I don't get above 135 mark, which in theory, is about 70% of my max. While I have no scientific reasoning for picking these heart rates as limits, I've found that this is what works for me.

On a side note, one of training 'problems' I have is balancing hiking, HIIT, and weight training. Heavy squats + heavy deads = a rough day on the trail.




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#36147 - 04/29/14 09:11 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
I like interval training.

It's great when I feel like I've hit a wall. I may not be able to do a 4MPH pace in the mountains over an 8 hr day, but I can do 4 MPH for at least a few minutes. As long as your looking to improve overall.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#36150 - 04/29/14 12:21 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Snacking Bear]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
It's also very important to train for the 16 ounce mug curls after the hike. It's best to train with the actual fluid you will be drinking, but not every day.


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#36157 - 04/29/14 04:08 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: SierraNevada]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
It's also very important to train for the 16 ounce mug curls after the hike. It's best to train with the actual fluid you will be drinking, but not every day.






^^^^I think this is the sole training regimen i can achieve. LOL.


Thanks all for the replies and suggestions. John is right.

*Never go over 85% or at target heart rate for training purposes unless otherwise advised/ required by medical proffesional for diagnostic/medical purposes.

The ideal rate is between 75% - 85% of your total heart rate.*

Abhijit, im glad theres one here from the forum i will be hiking with on that date. But with your training regimen, ill be seeing you going down from the summit while im still trying to reach the summit, lol. I hope it wont be that bad though. Ill be camping monday in horseshoe meadows and at portal the night before d-day. See you there :-)

Since theres no pm/interest on my "offer", I just paid for the "single permit" for july 23.

I wish everyone good luck and have a safe/healthy training and hike. Thank you all for the great tips and suggestions esp on training regimen. I hope someone will find this thread helpful.

Again thank you all so much and see you out there smile

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#36187 - 05/01/14 03:33 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: SierraNevada]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Saugus, CA
I also include intervals of the following:

Fork lifts: I like to get three "square" sets in a day. Tones the bicep and brachialis muscle groups.

Scarf downs: This strengthens the esophagus and soft palate.

Burpees: Not the jumping/push-up/pull-up variety, the kind that ensues after the previous exercise. Diaphragm training for altitude.

Lie Downs: This is endurance training for the eyelid muscles.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#36192 - 05/01/14 08:55 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Snacking Bear]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
lol Snacking Bear smile
What about the 12oz and/or 16 oz curls?


Here's a visual comparison of the hikes:



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#36201 - 05/02/14 08:32 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Abhijit Offline


Registered: 03/19/14
Posts: 27
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
This is a good representation. When I first learned about Whitney hike last year I did calculate the incline angle the old fashioned way (remembering my high school trigonometry classes, etc.). Afterward I was quite embarrassed to find out all the new gadgets and technology I could have used. smile

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#36213 - 05/02/14 07:47 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com



Here's a visual comparison of the hikes:




That graph is superb. It is FAR more useful than all the other well-meaning recommendations of training.

Once you are up high, things change. AMS occurs, to at least some degree, to roughly 40-50% of Whitney hikers, and will be their limiting factor. Importantly, AMS is at least an independent factor unrelated to their degree of fitness and many studies have actually shown that more fit persons have a higher risk of AMS (from going too fast). What happens? They get Mountaineer's Foot - can't put one in front of the other.

Mountain sickness…is as bad or worse than sea sickness, perhaps worse, for in sea sickness the victim can lie down, whereas in mountaineering he has to keep on his legs.
Frank Smythe, Mountaineering Holiday, in
Frank Smythe. The Six Alpine/Himalayan Climbing Books, page 874

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#36217 - 05/02/14 09:43 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Abhijit]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Abhijit
Afterward I was quite embarrassed to find out all the new gadgets and technology I could have used. smile

lol. Well, this isn't the first time I've done something like this. The graph below was created through a long process involving multiple conversions. Each line probably took me 30-45 mins to add. The graph above with just Whitney & Half Dome probably only took me 20 mins. If I had not created the bottom image, it would've taken me less than 5 mins once I had the GPX files.


Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford

That graph is superb.

Thanks Dr. Lankford!

Last year I made a graph showing my most difficult hikes over an 18 month period. I've added Half Dome to the graph (eyeballed it, so its approximate). It's been quite some time since I've done Half Dome and I am much more prepared for my hikes these days, but I'd say that Half Dome was easier than all of the hikes listed, except for Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington and Half Dome are also the only hikes that AMS isn't a factor (for me anyway). Another telling fact is that I find Whitney to be much a harder hike than Cactus to Clouds, even though C2C involves a much longer climb with more overall elevation gain (look at the graph on the right).

The graph is cluttered, but you should be able to figure out which line represents Half Dome. I only added the line for the elevation profile. The text refers only to the other hikes listed.
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#36230 - 05/04/14 11:37 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
63chev, thanks for posting the graph. And thanks for reminding me that the once-i've-known as the most difficult hike is just a typical easy hike (based on the graph). It is a concrete visual representation of both hikes. Steve and nyker is right. A 12 hour hike @ half dome would put me in about 17+ hours hike on whitney (without even considering AMS symptoms yet) and that would affect everything. With Dr. Lankford emphasis on AMS i ordered my prescription @ walmart and will pick it up this week
and probably take some just to see if it has any weird effects on me. Or.... ill just focus on snacking bear's "special training regimen". Lol.

I showed the graph to my wife and she anxiously asked me if i could do it. I honestly told her i have a 60% chance that i could do it and joked that we might have to increase our policy coverage in our insurance. Based on my physical assessment as of the moment I may have to start earlier on what i had anticipated (around 3 am initially --thinking of 1:30-2 am--and hoping i would be back around 7-8). I originally planning to bring with me my digital slr plus lens and a speedlite (roughly about 6# total). I guess im just gonna rely on my camera phone for the pics) to shave off my pack weight.
I did the test hike again last friday on my usual hiking destination and it took me 9.5 hours total for the same 20# load on my pack, 3 loops plus 4 round trips on the .3 mile 520 ft ascent. It is a 1 hour slower from last week. I was tired. My quads and gastroc muscles are aching but i didnt have any bad cramping compared from last week on the last trip (4th time on the 520ft ascent). I dont know if it has something to do with improperly managing my electrolytes replenishment or its my absolute physical capacity for long distance hike.
I had a breakfast of 4 eggs with spinach and mushroom and 1 pc of banana. 32 0z powerade 0 calories. Snacks 2 2" cubes of brownies and another 32 oz of same Powerade and for lunch a "philly cheeasteak" @ stateline lookout cafe -- located right on the parking lot close to the trail--(btw, they make outstandingly delicious sandwhiches). And almost emptied 100 oz of water during the hike. Now, i might have to look into those electrolyte tablets sold in REI. I just hope its only mismamagement of electrolytes.

Here's a website that helped me compute some "average grade" as well as calories burned during a hike: hikingscience.blogspot.com

And computing hiking speed: hikenewengland.com

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#36231 - 05/04/14 12:17 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7577
Loc: Fresno, CA
ponzy, I think you are getting your mindset on the right track.

Is there any way you can lighten your pack? 20 lbs is an awful lot for a day hike.

Leaving the camera behind is good. Now if you can understand that you don't need to carry water until you reach trail camp, that will make your pack a lot lighter, too. Some people carry a filter or steri-pen. Others (like me) just dip and drink. The water has never been found to have enough bacteria or impurities to hurt anyone.

My method:

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#36236 - 05/04/14 05:40 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Ponzy, the number of calories burned on a Whitney dayhike is generally considered to be around 6000. That's a lot of energy burned, and for most first-time Whitney dayhikers is probably the most energy they've ever expended in a day in their life. As this will be your first attempt at a hike this strenuous, bear in mind that your best bet for meals the day or two prior would consist of complex carbs in order to build a store of long-term sugar energy to draw on during the day. As has been mentioned, your appetite may decrease drastically once you're above 10K', and even foods you love may be completely unpalatable. Assume there's at least a 50-50 chance you won't be eating enough on hike day to do the trick and that you'll likely need to depend on stored energy to get you through the trek.

Those complex carbs come in the form of breads, pasta, cereals, potatoes and rice. Load up in the 36 hours or so prior. This is NOT the time to be watching your diet and eating tofu and spinach. Trust me - you will lose more weight in your hours on Whitney than you ever thought possible in a single day. And be sure to take some simple carbs along for quick, short energy bursts when you need it (basically, sugar - I keep GU chomps in my packs for this purpose). And, of course, the obligatory Summit Snickers . . .

Clinical AMS stops a number of people attempting Whitney, but simple fatigue and exhaustion is also prevalent and can be just as dangerous. Your best way to prevent this is to have your body - especially your legs - in the best shape possible, and have a store of energy in your body to draw on if/when your appetite flags. And, of course, stay hydrated - but be careful to not obsess and over-hydrate, which can flush those critical salts and electrolytes from your body. Using an electrolyte water additive can help here (I typically drop a tab of Camelbak Elixir in every other bottle of water when I fill up). If you're peeing regularly (but not overly so), and it's clear, you're good.

One other point - do you use trekking poles? If so, great - they'll be a huge help. If not, consider them. The impact on your body, legs and knees of eleven miles and 6300 feet of descent is often overlooked - it can actually be worse than the ascent for many. You're also experiencing the highest level of fatigue on the descent, and most in danger of taking a tumble, twisting an ankle or tweaking a knee. Trekking poles are great stabilizers when you're tired and going down, especially with some of the bigger steps Whitney demands of you above timberline.

Again, best of luck! Don't over-think it, but be prepared. My mantra for the bigger mountains revolves around five points: training, acclimation, fuel, pace and hydration. You hit those properly, and your chances are much better than average. Pace, BTW, to me means walking at a speed that requires fairly deep, steady breathing that you can maintain and still reasonably carry on a conversation. You want to breathe deeply (remember what causes AMS), but not because you're in oxygen debt. If your pace is too aggressive and you're panting, you're probably in trouble above 12K'.

Gary


PS - FWIW, I submitted a couple of posts here after my first Whitney summit in 2010, following a failed attempt the year before. As many on this board can attest, I can be wordy at times so they're rather lengthy, but they flesh out detail and personal experience in my points above.


Edited by Bulldog34 (05/04/14 07:37 PM)
Edit Reason: Added PS link

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#38059 - 06/27/14 11:44 AM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: Bulldog34]
ponzy Offline


Registered: 04/05/14
Posts: 10
Loc: nj
Hi everyone, just to give some update. After completing 2x 5 mile loop each on my usual hiking trail, I joined a meetup group and gladly joined Hudson Valley Hikers to help me get some experience to a long distance hike. So far I did the whole escarpment trail (catskills - 23.9 miles with 5100 ft gain) for about 11 hours, but my legs were shot after that. Then joined the presedential traverse New Hampshire couple weeks ago(June 14). Unfortunately due to weather, we can't complete the whole traverse but was able to finish the northern traverse covering the mt Madison, mt Adams, mt Jefferson and mt Washington with an estimated gain of 6500 ft of gain in 11 miles for less than 8 hours. And that's about it. I just realized I couldn't do faster than 2 mph pace,without risking injury especially on my hamstring. I did use kinesio tape* ( I forgot the brand name of the tape but it is a lot better than kinesio tape) on my hams and it helped me a lot during northern traverse hike.

I will still be hiking alone so hopefully i could get still ahold of abhijiit so at least knowing hiking with someone else's (although might be miles ahead of me) is a relief knowing there's someone I know in front of me smile

Again, thanks everyone. And abhijiit you have a pm.

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#38062 - 06/27/14 12:46 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Abhijit Offline


Registered: 03/19/14
Posts: 27
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Ponzy,
saw that. Now that you provided an update, I'm compelled to tell what I've been doing for the 23rd July (apart from mug curls, et al).

I've completed a couple of 25 mile hikes since last 2 months. My office is a 3 floors building and my cube is on the 3rd - so everyday I use stairs (56 stairs/trip) 6 to 7 times (get a drink of water, use of restroom, etc.). Park my car farthest in the parking lot (so walking an extra 1.2 miles everyday in addition to all the activities).

Tomorrow (6/28) I'm going on 26 mile hike and plan to do the same again on 7/12 before leaving for Vegas on 20th.

Also, plan to do a small hikes in the dark to make sure the headlamp works. smile
Hope this will help.

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#54374 - 10/02/18 01:34 PM Re: how would you compare half dome hike to whitney dayhike? [Re: ponzy]
Joel C Offline


Registered: 10/02/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
I created an account just to reply here, since the feedback was very helpful. I stumbled upon this site when preparing to do Half Dome. I attempted Whitney 2 years ago and got AMS at around 12.5k feet and had to turn around.

I completely underestimated Half Dome, thinking that if I could make it as far as I did on Whitney I would be ok. Though the elevation gain per mile is very similar, I found Half Dome to be a lot more difficult (elevation aside). The reason being is this:
- The first 3 miles of the Mist Trail are pretty much all uneven steps
- The second 3 miles of the Mist Trail through the Meadows is a steady slow climb through sand
- The ascent to the subdome was incredibly steep

Net-net - the places where there is elevation gain on the Mist Trail to Half Dome are much more compressed, whereas Whitney seemed to be a much more steady climb with not nearly as many uneven steps than Half Dome. To me Whitney was a lot easier. i.e. I'm a lot more comfortable on a treadmill at high incline (Whitney) than I am on a stairmaster (Half Dome).

Note that I didn't summit Whitney, so I don't know what I don't know after 12.5k feet.

It took ~10 hours to summit Half Dome and return which felt reasonably aggressive. Only a few minor stops to refuel and rub out a horrible knot that developed in my quads half way through the subdome ascent.

I plan to revisit Whitney next year and include a few days of acclimation at elevation to hopefully reattempt a summit.

Cheers


Edited by Joel C (10/02/18 01:35 PM)
Edit Reason: grammar

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