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#40005 - 08/30/14 07:27 AM sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise
Mtns_Goat Offline


Registered: 08/11/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Visalia, CA
I am considering sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise. I tried to catch this by sleeping at trail camp and hiking up at 2am but I was too late. Anybody have anything they would like to share about this would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

michael

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#40012 - 08/30/14 08:54 AM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Mtns_Goat]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
this time of year, the peak of the cinnamon-red alpenglow on the east wall of Whitney is about 600-615am. That means the sun has already risen if you are on the summit.

predawn purple wakes me about 445-500am when camping anywhere in the area, so it would be sooner than that on the summit. This 'pre-color' can be seen (no headlamp !!!) and watched for a long time leading up to the other colors as they march through the box of crayons to sunrise itself. It is important to be there way before sunrise in order to see the whole kaleidoscope. Sunrise is just the culmination, it is actually pre-sunrise that you need to be there for to get the whole show.

It takes me about 3 hrs to reach summit from Trail Camp or Guitar Lake. Your trail speed may be different, but if I had left at 200 with you, arrived at 500, the show would already have begun. Sounds like you needed to start a full hour earlier, or more.

If you are using a headlamp while hiking, you will need to leave even earlier to reach the summit, turn it off , and allow 30 minutes for good eye dark adaptation.
The eye takes 20-30 minutes to fully adapt to complete darkness and become far more sensitive than at full daylight. Importantly, the eye's perception of color changes as well (the Purkinje effect).

One last thing: A simultaneous setting full moon in the west at the same time would be cool, although its brightness ( like the recent one Aug 11) would interfere somewhat with the show in the east.

Let's see what others think.

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#40021 - 08/30/14 03:00 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Mtns_Goat]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Harvey gives himself 3 hours to hike up from a camp below. I think it would take many people about 4.

Michael, there are several options for sleeping on the summit. In the hut, exposed on a slab, or more protected down in one of the spots surrounded by rocks.

In July, I tried a slab, and slept well for 3 hours, until a breeze came up. It was hitting my face and blowing my plastic tarp making noise, so I moved into the hut. The hut has room for 4 on the floor.

Another time I slept on top in a "pit" area north of the hut. It is several feet below the surface of slabs, so is well protected from wind. Two people can fit in that spot.

There are several less protected spots north and west of the hut. I often go without a tent, but that is your choice.

Here is a sunrise/sunset table for Mt Whitney, created from a NOAA site. It is set for Daylight Savings. Subtract an hour for Standard (winter) times:
Quote:

o , o , MT WHITNEY Astronomical Applications Dept.
Location: W118 18, N36 35 Rise and Set for the Sun for 2014 U. S. Naval Observatory
Washington, DC 20392-5420
Zone: 7h West of Greenwich


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Day Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set
h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m h m
01 0805 1749 0755 1819 0724 1848 0639 1915 0600 1942 0536 2006 0539 2016 0559 1959 0625 1921 0649 1837 0717 1756 0747 1738
02 0806 1749 0754 1820 0722 1849 0638 1916 0558 1942 0536 2007 0539 2015 0600 1958 0625 1920 0649 1835 0718 1755 0748 1738
03 0806 1750 0753 1821 0721 1850 0636 1917 0557 1943 0536 2007 0540 2015 0601 1957 0626 1918 0650 1834 0719 1754 0749 1737
04 0806 1751 0752 1822 0720 1851 0635 1918 0556 1944 0535 2008 0540 2015 0602 1956 0627 1917 0651 1832 0720 1753 0750 1737
05 0806 1752 0751 1824 0718 1852 0633 1919 0555 1945 0535 2009 0541 2015 0603 1955 0628 1915 0652 1831 0721 1752 0750 1737
06 0806 1753 0750 1825 0717 1853 0632 1920 0554 1946 0535 2009 0541 2015 0603 1954 0628 1914 0653 1829 0722 1752 0751 1737
07 0806 1754 0749 1826 0715 1853 0630 1921 0553 1947 0535 2010 0542 2014 0604 1953 0629 1912 0654 1828 0723 1751 0752 1737
08 0806 1755 0749 1827 0714 1854 0629 1922 0552 1948 0535 2010 0542 2014 0605 1952 0630 1911 0654 1826 0724 1750 0753 1737
09 0806 1755 0748 1828 0713 1855 0628 1922 0551 1948 0534 2011 0543 2014 0606 1951 0631 1909 0655 1825 0725 1749 0754 1737
10 0806 1756 0747 1829 0711 1856 0626 1923 0550 1949 0534 2011 0543 2014 0607 1950 0632 1908 0656 1824 0726 1748 0754 1738
11 0805 1757 0745 1830 0710 1857 0625 1924 0550 1950 0534 2012 0544 2013 0608 1949 0632 1906 0657 1822 0727 1747 0755 1738
12 0805 1758 0744 1831 0708 1858 0623 1925 0549 1951 0534 2012 0545 2013 0608 1947 0633 1905 0658 1821 0728 1746 0756 1738
13 0805 1759 0743 1832 0707 1859 0622 1926 0548 1952 0534 2012 0545 2012 0609 1946 0634 1903 0659 1819 0729 1746 0757 1738
14 0805 1800 0742 1833 0705 1900 0621 1927 0547 1953 0534 2013 0546 2012 0610 1945 0635 1902 0700 1818 0730 1745 0757 1738
15 0804 1801 0741 1834 0704 1901 0619 1928 0546 1954 0534 2013 0547 2011 0611 1944 0636 1900 0701 1817 0731 1744 0758 1739
16 0804 1802 0740 1835 0703 1902 0618 1928 0545 1954 0534 2014 0547 2011 0612 1943 0636 1859 0702 1815 0732 1744 0759 1739
17 0804 1803 0739 1836 0701 1902 0617 1929 0545 1955 0534 2014 0548 2010 0612 1941 0637 1857 0702 1814 0733 1743 0759 1739
18 0803 1804 0738 1837 0700 1903 0615 1930 0544 1956 0535 2014 0549 2010 0613 1940 0638 1856 0703 1813 0734 1742 0800 1740
19 0803 1805 0736 1838 0658 1904 0614 1931 0543 1957 0535 2014 0549 2009 0614 1939 0639 1854 0704 1811 0735 1742 0801 1740
20 0802 1806 0735 1839 0657 1905 0613 1932 0542 1958 0535 2015 0550 2009 0615 1938 0640 1853 0705 1810 0736 1741 0801 1741
21 0802 1807 0734 1840 0655 1906 0611 1933 0542 1958 0535 2015 0551 2008 0616 1936 0640 1851 0706 1809 0737 1741 0802 1741
22 0802 1809 0733 1841 0654 1907 0610 1934 0541 1959 0535 2015 0552 2007 0616 1935 0641 1850 0707 1808 0738 1740 0802 1742
23 0801 1810 0731 1842 0652 1908 0609 1935 0540 2000 0536 2015 0552 2007 0617 1934 0642 1848 0708 1807 0739 1740 0803 1742
24 0800 1811 0730 1843 0651 1909 0608 1935 0540 2001 0536 2015 0553 2006 0618 1932 0643 1847 0709 1805 0740 1740 0803 1743
25 0800 1812 0729 1844 0649 1909 0607 1936 0539 2001 0536 2015 0554 2005 0619 1931 0644 1845 0710 1804 0741 1739 0803 1743
26 0759 1813 0728 1845 0648 1910 0605 1937 0539 2002 0537 2016 0555 2004 0620 1930 0644 1844 0711 1803 0742 1739 0804 1744
27 0759 1814 0726 1846 0646 1911 0604 1938 0538 2003 0537 2016 0555 2004 0621 1928 0645 1842 0712 1802 0743 1739 0804 1745
28 0758 1815 0725 1847 0645 1912 0603 1939 0538 2003 0537 2016 0556 2003 0621 1927 0646 1841 0713 1801 0744 1738 0804 1745
29 0757 1816 0643 1913 0602 1940 0537 2004 0538 2016 0557 2002 0622 1925 0647 1839 0714 1800 0745 1738 0805 1746
30 0756 1817 0642 1914 0601 1941 0537 2005 0538 2016 0558 2001 0623 1924 0648 1838 0715 1758 0746 1738 0805 1747
31 0756 1818 0641 1915 0537 2006 0559 2000 0624 1923 0716 1757 0805 1748

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#40024 - 08/30/14 03:29 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Mtns_Goat]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
"Sleeping" on the summit. An interesting and difficult goal in its own right. Could be a miserable night. How much acclimatization did you have in mind? I know, I am probably focussing in the least interesting aspect of your post. I would like to sleep on top of Whitney one of these days, but my plans to do so after multiday high altitude hikes (where I was acclimatized for altitude) have been foiled twice by weather.

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#40025 - 08/30/14 03:33 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks, Akichow. I forgot to add that part.

The best times I slept on top, it was at the end of a longer backpack trip. On shorter trips, I'd get up and couldn't eat due to AMS, so needed to get down quickly.

Also, I didn't stress how important watching the weather is. You don't want to be up there in a stormy period. It would be exceptionally cold, and possibly miss sunset and sunrise due to cloud cover.

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#40027 - 08/30/14 04:51 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Steve, that table is something I thought about posting, but it is only a starting point. Sunrise for today is listed as 623 am, but there are various degrees of color way before that. There are definitions for civil vs nautical vs astronomical twilight.... the color show in the sky starts way before sunrise itself. This longest of those three periods beginning with complete darkness moving into dawn is called astronomical twilight. That is the time frame you need for the whole awakening of the heavens and the good earth below. It must be on the order of a full hour if not more, based on my eyeball and not a formula.

Twilight

So, if walking up from TrailCamp to summit, one should leave for tomorrows viewing at 6:23 minus 4 hr walking
(incompletely acclimatized rate) minus 1 hr minus 1/2 hr just for good measure = 12:53 am , give or take. How does that sound?


Edited by Harvey Lankford (08/30/14 04:54 PM)

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#40030 - 08/30/14 09:53 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
> How does that sound?

Ooof!! Way too early for me! shocked

That NOAA site where I got the table also lets you run the numbers for civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight -- even moonrise and moonset! They have a link to their faq, where they explain the terms: Rise, Set, and Twilight Definitions

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#40034 - 08/30/14 11:24 PM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Mtns_Goat Offline


Registered: 08/11/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Visalia, CA
thank you everyone for sharing your insights!


Edited by Mtns_Goat (08/30/14 11:24 PM)

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#40036 - 08/31/14 05:48 AM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Mtns_Goat]
Beantown Offline


Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 27
Loc: SoCal
I slept on the summit at the end of the hst backpack, there were a few pct hikers as well. This was in late June and it was awesome, just a little wind and clear skies. I cowboy camped in the rock shelter north east of the hut and was well protected. I could not sleep because of the altitude but just stared at the amazing stars all night. Definitely do it if your well prepared.

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#40037 - 08/31/14 05:58 AM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Steve C
> How does that sound?

Ooof!! Way too early for me! shocked

That NOAA site where I got the table also lets you run the numbers for civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight -- even moonrise and moonset! They have a link to their faq, where they explain the terms: Rise, Set, and Twilight Definitions


Steve, that's a great calculator. Thanks . So using it for Lone Pine, adding an hour for DST , I get astronomical twilight for today as starting at 452am. It would be even earlier on the summit. Do the rest of the math, and yes, an early start is needed indeed.

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#40048 - 09/01/14 09:10 AM Re: sleeping on top of Whitney to catch the sunrise [Re: Harvey Lankford]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I've been on the summit a couple three times for the sunrise. I believe it is best way to summit Mt. Whitney. I've only done it from the Guitar Lake area but the distances are about the same as from Trail Camp.

We started very early took our time and were never in a rush. We've done it full and new moon...and prefer the latter. We have shown up at least half hour early each time.

Figure out your speed for your distance, the elevation then add to it because you will be hiking slower because you can't see all that well...even if it is a full moon. Believe me, you do not want to be going full bore.

The other thing I discovered was it is a good idea to bring a second pair of gloves with you. After hiking with them on for a 3 to 4 hours they are damp and will not keep your hands warm as you wait for the sunrise and the mountain to cast its shadow to the west. I took my gloves off to eat a Clif Bar at 14,000' and when I went to put'm back on they were laden with frost.

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