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#38226 - 07/02/14 05:03 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: SRojas]
Cory Freeman Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 9
Loc: Bishop, CA
pretty open ended question with not much detail about your experience hiking alone or at altitude, or age for that matter.

Some things to think about when going alone:
  • Are you used to hiking alone?
  • have you done 15 miles or longer day hikes with moderate elevation gain(4k or more)
  • how often have you been above 12k or 13k?
  • the intense UVs and dry air really takes a toll on a body and most under estimate this coming from more humid environments


When I told my wife and family i was doing whitney alone they expressed some concern. Heck even I wasn't sure how I would react with that much distance and altitude gain once above 13k. But i've done enough long days 15-22 miles at altitudes between 10k-13k that i felt i knew how i would react and if it started going downhill then i'd know it and bail. I also do most of my hiking alone - on and off trail so felt pretty confident in doing whitney alone. Like others have mentioned, there will be a lot of people on the trail that time of year so it's not like hiking off trail alone in the backcountry.

good luck and have fun on your trip what ever you decide.
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#38231 - 07/02/14 06:54 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Cory Freeman]
SRojas Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Thank you for everyones great advice.. For the most part I feel encouraged and whilst I would have been happy for someone to share the adventure with, I do not want to let go of a goal i set for my self because of of being afraid to do something on my own.I have been training and all the recent hikes i have done have been 15miles plus over 10000 ft.Gorgonio being 11,000 ft this weekend, so I think I will get a good idea if i start to get AMS, so far I have had not been affected on any of the hikes I have done. I am camping at Onion Valley for three days ahead of Whitney ao that should help. Whilst I feel prepared I think AMS is going to be the wild card and as some one had said, you only are succesful if you make it back safe and sound. The mountain is going anywhere right?
If anyone else has any other advice for me in order to prepare it will be happily received.

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#38235 - 07/02/14 09:51 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: SRojas]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
How long did it take for your entire San Gorgonio hike? I'm assuming you made it to the summit. Which trail did you take?

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#38236 - 07/02/14 10:11 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: lynn-a-roo]
SRojas Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Will be doing Gorgonio this weekend and taking the Vivian trailhead.
I did San Bernadino last weekend, 17 miles in 7 hrs. I know Gorgonio is very steep and hard so Im thinking it will take another couple of hours.

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#38239 - 07/03/14 03:13 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
And then there are individuals whose sensitivities to altitude vary all over the place; some less than that 7,000, others, say Tibetans, where it may be twice that. Some ( not all) of them are genetically superior, altitude -wise.



And, coincidentally, a story regarding this in several media outlets this morning.

"At elevations above 13,000 feet (4,000 metres), the common form of the gene boosts hemoglobin and red blood cell production, causing dangerous side effects. The Tibetans' variant increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels only modestly, sparing them these effects."

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#38243 - 07/03/14 08:41 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: SRojas]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: SRojas
Will be doing Gorgonio this weekend and taking the Vivian trailhead.
I did San Bernadino last weekend, 17 miles in 7 hrs. I know Gorgonio is very steep and hard so Im thinking it will take another couple of hours.


The first time I hiked Whitney was in 2011. Our last big training hike was San Berdoo and we did it in 9 hrs. It sounds like you're in good enough shape for Whitney, just a question of how to adjust to the altitude.

If you're looking for another training hike, here's a good one:

Mt Baldy, via Bear Canyon
Distance: 12.8 miles RT || Duration: ~6-8 hrs || Elevation Change: 5800' || Max Elevation: 10,064' || Difficulty: Very Strenuous


As far as hiking alone, you may look into renting a SPOT:
http://www.satellitephonesolutions.com/rental/sps-rental-program/sps-spot-rental.htm

As noted in other threads, they do have their limitations, but there are members of this board that use them whenever they hike solo.

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HikingGeek.com

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#38244 - 07/03/14 08:43 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Harvey Lankford]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
8,000 ft is the official "start line" of altitude illness, although aircraft manufacturers (who pressurize cabins to 8,000 ft equivalent) may be in the process of changing that to 7,000 ft.


The last time I flew to DFW via American, my altimeter was between 6,500 and 7,400'.

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#38245 - 07/03/14 08:52 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: SRojas]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
7 hours is a great time rt time for San G. Much faster than I would ever do it. With that said, faster you go up the greater likelyhood there might be AMS problems.

I think it could be associated with hydration. When we go fast, in a lot of cases, we do not drink enough. I make a point whenever I stop to check my reservoir and if I have not had enough to drink, I pound down electrolytes. I do not have any AMS problems in our local mountains day hiking so, all I have noticed by doing this I have eliminated after hike cramps and I recover quicker.

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#38246 - 07/03/14 09:03 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Here are some things I think about while hiking Whitney. When I bring first-timers with me, I make sure they're aware of these issues.

  • If you've never been above 12k feet, I would recommend eating a significant portion of your food before you leave Trail Camp.
  • Slow down. When training, I try to keep heart rate around 150 bpm. I can sustain this HR for a long time. On Whitney, I've found that working in the 135 bpm range is better, especially once I hit Trail Camp. Hiking faster (ascending quickly, overexertion) can also bring on AMS.
  • Many of the symptoms of AMS are very similar to dehydration. You want to eliminate dehydration as a possible problem. If I don't have to make a bathroom stop every hour or so, I'm most likely not drinking enough.
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#38247 - 07/03/14 09:16 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: wbtravis]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
One of the biggest fears of solo hiking here seems to be how various people will perform above 11,500'...the highest peak where most who climb Mt. Whitney come from. Although this is easily solved, few see value in spending a weekend at White Mountain a month prior to their trip.

By going to White, they can see what it like going from 11,635' to 14,246' on a road...if you get lost here, do not pass Whitney Portal and do not collect $200. Let's say the alien crawls out of your right eye and you puke enough to feed a family of marmots for a year, you have 4 weeks to see a doctor and get a prescription of Diamox and chances are you do ruin a year's worth of planning and training.

Sadly, many want to do Mt. Whitney on their terms, not the mountain's. Again, doing this mountain solo requires forethought, the right gear and clothing a solid plan and discipline. Without the above, your risk level goes way up.

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#38248 - 07/03/14 09:27 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Harvey Lankford]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: 2Old4This
it's hard for me to say what works and what doesn't.

well said. Everyone is different.

for people, 8,000 ft is the official "start line" of altitude illness, although aircraft manufacturers (who pressurize cabins to 8,000 ft equivalent) may be in the process of changing that to 7,000 ft.

And then there are individuals whose sensitivities to altitude vary all over the place; some less than that 7,000, others, say Tibetans, where it may be twice that. Some ( not all) of them are genetically superior, altitude -wise. Then there are species far more altitude-sensitive than humans - some cattle get brisket disease (which is more than simple AMS) when moved to just 3,000-4,000 ft. In a study of cattle moved from Wisconsin to Colorado, brisket disease was the #2 cause of death.



Our office's secretary has a daughter who recently suffered from AMS (diagnosed as such)at 5000 ft, and still isn't fully recovered 2 weeks later (persistent cough anyway). Like has been said many times, everyone is different.

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#38250 - 07/03/14 09:46 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
When training, I try to keep heart rate around 150 bpm. I can sustain this HR for a long time. On Whitney, I've found that working in the 135 bpm range is better, especially once I hit Trail Camp. Hiking faster (ascending quickly, overexertion) can also bring on AMS.


For me it's a focus on my pace/breathing once I'm above 12K'. Not pressure-breathing necessarily, although I will do that from time to time, but keeping a pace that has me breathing deeply and steadily, but not in a gasping, oxygen-indebted way. I also keep an eye on consciously taking deep breaths when I'm resting at elevation.

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#38255 - 07/03/14 02:57 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
SRojas Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 6
Loc: California

Yes, did Baldy already,I was thankful I had hiking poles!!
Thank you for the idea of the Satellite Phone,will definitely look into it.












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#38256 - 07/03/14 03:57 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Bulldog34]
smithb Offline


Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 80
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
but keeping a pace that has me breathing deeply and steadily, but not in a gasping, oxygen-indebted way.

1+ like!

i find that the slower i go, the sooner i get there. even to the point of a whitney shuffle.

watch videos of 8000 meter climbers - they do not run up the hill, they step deliberately.

pace thyself. grin

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#38257 - 07/03/14 04:07 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: smithb]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: smithb
pace thyself. grin

He abided by the Diemburger theory which maintains that slow, no matter how slow, but constant movement is the best way to achieve progress at altitude.
Joe Tasker, Everest the Cruel Way page 84

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#38258 - 07/03/14 04:25 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Harvey Lankford]
hightinerary Offline


Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 17
Loc: MD
RFM: Relentless forward motion.

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#38259 - 07/03/14 04:27 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: smithb]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: smithb
watch videos of 8000 meter climbers - they do not run up the hill, they step deliberately.


Well, unless you're Ueli Steck. But then again, he's simply not human - so point well taken . . .


Eiger Speed Record


Edited by Bulldog34 (07/03/14 05:25 PM)
Edit Reason: Added Eiger video - one of my favorites.

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#38261 - 07/03/14 09:38 PM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Bulldog34]
smithb Offline


Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 80
Loc: ventura county, ca
my mistake in not being a bit more accurate..

i meant seeing the climbers of 8000 meter peaks, walking uphill on the snow, roped in, nearing the summit, using O2, and each step is its own slow motion step - deliberate, in no hurry, and as HL noted, always moving forward.

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#38262 - 07/04/14 02:00 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: smithb]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
No mistake at all. When I read your comment I immediately flashed to the images of Ueli flying up the Eiger snowfield and then literally running along the snowy, knife-edge ridge to the summit. Crazy, but a unique exception by a unique individual that sort of proves your point about for rest of us. Also, the Eiger's "only" 13K' - 8000 meters is a totally different story. Don't think I've ever heard of anyone running up Everest or K2. Don't think I ever will.

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#38320 - 07/06/14 07:19 AM Re: Hiking Whitney alone [Re: Bulldog34]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Yeah, it is all about pace. Find a pace you can maintain and you can go all day, if you are in good shape. However, that is hard to do for people coming to these elevations for the first time.

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