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#35285 - 03/11/14 09:30 AM June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
My in-laws from NH are visiting May 31- June 7. We are planning on spending part of their trip in the Sierras.

A general outline of what I'd like to do:

June 1 & 2nd
Stay at Rock Creek Resort or Mammoth Mtn Inn. Hang out/do some easy acclimation hikes (Little Lakes Valley?)

June 3rd
Drive to Lone Pine. Start our hike late that day or early the next.

June 4th
Drive home

I would really like to watch sunrise from the summit of Mt. Whitney on June 4. At the same time, I prefer 'day' hikes over overnight trips. Based on my past trips, I would say that it should take us 8-9 hours to hike from Whitney Portal to the summit. According to Old Farmer's Almanac, sunrise should be at 5:34 AM. That means we should probably start hiking around 8:30 PM on June 3rd. So, I have a couple of questions:

1. I am planning on getting overnight permits for June 3rd. If we were stopped by a ranger at the portal or on an early section of the trail without overnight gear, but with an overnight permit, could there be an issue?

2. Is the Mount Whitney Summit Shelter open to the public? If we finished the ascent faster than expected, it would be nice to have a place to sit, out of the wind, while waiting for the sun to come up.

3. My father-in-law and I will be hiking, while my wife, our 2 year old and her mom stay in Lone Pine. One scenario I've thought of involves the girls dropping us off at the portal. We would sleep for a few hours, then start our hike. My wife would pick us up after our hike. If we end up setting up a tent at Whitney Portal to nap for a few hours, what time does the campsite need to be packed up? Can my wife go to the campsite the next morning to tear down or do we need to pack up before we leave on our hike?
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#35296 - 03/12/14 09:30 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
To answer your questions and to ask one...

1. Overnight Permits...I would not get one, I'd just leave before midnight on a day hike permit. The seasonal rangers will be sleeping like everyone else. However, if you feel more comfortable with an overnight, get one.

2. Smithsonian Hut...It's open and I have napped in it before walking out to the sunrise and cast Whitney shadow on the western horizon.

3. Campsites...I think 10 AM is the clear out time.

There is still snow on the mountain in Early June, which means at bare minimum Microspikes and trekking poles but more times than not crampons and ice axe and going up the chute rather than the trail. Are you prepared to use either?

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#35299 - 03/12/14 04:51 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the help wbtravis.

If we need more than microspikes and poles we'll hike a different trail or we'll turn around at Trail Camp, if not before. I had friends that summited the first weekend in June (IIRC) last year with just micros and poles. With the weather being so dry, I am hoping for similar luck and that crampons and an ice axe won't be needed.

Their trip out here is earlier in the year than I had hoped, but it's what works for their schedule.
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#35304 - 03/13/14 09:09 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The last three years have been dry, true. However, as I keep saying the winter is not over yet and what spring will bring has yet to be determined.

I crossed Cottonwood Pass in June after the biggest winters four and five years ago. It was easier to cross in the biggest of those to winters because the storms stopped earlier and spring weather was warmer.

My guess is you will only need Micros and poles and it seems you are prepared to do the safe thing, if things do not meet your skill and gear level. That is most prudent.

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#35306 - 03/13/14 10:43 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
ChevyII, on hiking overnight: I just don't think you would be stopped in the night. If you are really intending on hiking through the night, I think I would get the overnight permit, so you are ok no matter where and when your permit might be checked. Whether you are carrying overnight gear shouldn't matter.

I am really wary, though, about your plans to hike through the night. Getting sleep before starting (in the early evening?) would be really difficult -- noise from cars and people...no way to sleep. Who can force themselves to sleep before a big trip, anyway? Thinking about it.... I think I would take warm clothing and a short foam pad (maybe a down "blanket" too), and consider napping part way up the trail (but that then becomes an overnight trip). I know for myself, it would be lots easier to hike up to Trail Camp, sleep 2 - 4 hours there, then get up at 1 AM and hike to the summit. That way, you could also catch a nap on the way down, too.

It could be really tough trying to hike in a sleep-deprived state. I think your enjoyment of the morning sunrise would be diminished for the same reason. Also, remember that your F.I.L may not be in the same super condition as you, so consider his abilities, too.

btw: I think Little Lakes Valley is an excellent place to day hike and acclimate.

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#35307 - 03/13/14 11:21 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the info Steve and wbtravis.

I put in an application this morning with both Overnight (preferred) and Day Use trips.

Right now I am thinking that we will plan on napping a few hours at either Lone Pine Lake or Outpost Camp. For last years overnight trip with a planned sunrise summit, my group camped at Outpost Camp. For the 2 guys that summited, the timing worked out perfectly. I turned around at Trail Camp with one of the other hikers because he was showing AMS symptoms.

The F.I.L is in great shape. On our last two hikes (C2C and Mt. Washington), I really struggled to keep up with him. blush

Steve, I believe that you or someone else recommended Little Lakes to me last year. It is now one of my favorite spots! Huge payoff (view wise) for a such a moderate hike.

As for alternate/backup hikes, does anyone have any suggestions? Basically anything off of the 395 between Mono Lake and Lone Pine.
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#35314 - 03/14/14 10:08 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
There are a lot of great places to hike between Mono Lake and Lone Pine. The two I like are South Lake to Bishop Lake or Pass, you make the decision. With a loop back through Ruwau Lake, bagging Chocolate Peak along the way. This hike is just a smidgen less beautiful than LLV. The other is Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass and one of the most beautiful vistas in all the Sierra.

To Bishop Lake, there is no exposure to speak of. However, this early in the year there maybe snow bridge across some of the outlet streams, therefore, it best to have an early start when they are still frozen.

Both are in the 12-mile RT, +2,500' range.

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#35315 - 03/14/14 10:32 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the suggestions! I will look them up.
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#35316 - 03/14/14 11:16 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's an easier warmup hike out of Horseshoe Meadows:

Trail Peak: Warmup / acclimatization hike

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#35321 - 03/15/14 06:10 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
That's cheating, Steve. Trail Peak is south of Lone Pine. wink

I love Trail Peak. We did it as our out from doing Cirque Peak one June. The views from Trail Peak are fantastic.

I'd do it as a loop going over Cottonwood Pass. The portion of the hike south of Cottonwood Pass make this a great hike.

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#35322 - 03/15/14 09:19 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
> That's cheating, Steve. Trail Peak is south of Lone Pine. wink

Whaaaat??? You get there by starting off on Whitney Portal road -- right in Lone Pine grin

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#35324 - 03/16/14 06:14 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
I've done Trail Peak four times, and it's a great hike - what hike from Cottonwood isn't?!

Depending upon whether you take trails, or cut crosscountry, it ranges from 5+ to 6+ miles.

However - for elevation gain - it's a bit over 1,600' according to the GPS logs from my Garmin. Steve C. - was your 600' a typo?

I have a different approach to conditioning/acclimation before a Whitney (or any other 14er attempt). Personally, I may go for a short walk the day before of a mile or two, with maybe 100 or 200' gain/loss. More than that and I jeopardize my chances the following day. YMMV.

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#35325 - 03/16/14 08:58 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve C
> That's cheating, Steve. Trail Peak is south of Lone Pine. wink

Whaaaat??? You get there by starting off on Whitney Portal road -- right in Lone Pine grin


Not if you cut up Lubkin Cyn. Rd.

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#35327 - 03/16/14 09:04 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
KevinR wrote:
> However - for elevation gain - it's a bit over 1,600' according to the GPS logs from my Garmin. Steve C. - was your 600' a typo?

It's 600 to Trail Pass. 1100 more to the summit.

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#35329 - 03/17/14 08:03 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Steve C
KevinR wrote:
> However - for elevation gain - it's a bit over 1,600' according to the GPS logs from my Garmin. Steve C. - was your 600' a typo?

It's 600 to Trail Pass. 1100 more to the summit.


Yup. I re-read your earlier post - didn't read it closely enough the first time.

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#35330 - 03/17/14 08:28 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: KevinR]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
I've done Trail Peak. The hike to Trail Pass was nice & easy.... the climb to the peak took it out of me! It may have been because I was trying to keep up with a mountain goat from Colorado. Does anyone know what type of animal leaves all of the droppings by the summit marker? I managed to grab a handful of it while climbing up there.


LLV will be the acclimation hike. I was looking for suggestions for backup hikes, in the event there's lots of snow/ice on MWMT.
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#35332 - 03/17/14 09:38 AM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Cirque Peak (12,900') would be good.

I've gone over Cottonwood Pass in June in big snow years 3 times. Twice without any gear. The pass has a less exposed back door, just look at the Cirque Peak 7.5' Quad. It is very easy to figure out.

Continue north on the PCT through Chicken Spring Lake. After the climb out, when the uphill side of the trail opens up, angle to the peak. There will be some snow field, which can be avoided or crossed, I chose the latter. At the end, there is some bouldering to the summit...only exposed if you chose a route with exposure.

This is about 16-miles RT from the Cottonwood Pass Trailhead.

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#36490 - 05/14/14 12:58 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
After reading the latest trip report, I'm not feeling too optimistic about summiting with micros and hiking poles:
Mt Whitney Day Trip 5.10.14

What do you guys think? Would you start spending more time looking into alternate hikes?
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#36496 - 05/14/14 06:00 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 500
Loc: Saugus, CA
Maybe hit it later in the year? A sunrise from high in the Whitney Zone is a magnificent show:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alpinelight/10003210613/
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#36499 - 05/14/14 08:41 PM Re: June Hike, hoping to be on the summit for Sunrise [Re: Snacking Bear]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Snacking Bear
Maybe hit it later in the year? A sunrise from high in the Whitney Zone is a magnificent show:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alpinelight/10003210613/


I will be back in September. My father-in-law is visiting for the June trip and I was really hoping to get him up there. He won't be here in September.

These are the photos that convinced me I want to be on Whitney or somewhere along the last 2 miles to the summit someday to see the sunrise:

http://piotrowski.smugmug.com/California...2&k=kMtNdJ3
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