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#42822 - 06/01/15 02:13 PM HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
We are planning on starting the High Sierra Trail June 17 and hoping to exit Whitney Portal the 22 or 23.

Here is a link to my itinerary as well as gear and food choices: http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/06/03/trip-planning-high-sierra-trail-summer-2015/

I am still in the planning process and will post more info, but here are some initial questions:

Q1. In your opinion, what is the best time of day to see Precipice Lake?

Q2. Since much of the hike is near water, is it reasonable to think we can get by carrying only 1-2 liters of water for much of the hike? We would each plan to drink a liter when we refill.

Q3. We start June 17th. Would you be concerned regarding mosquitos?

Q4. What about snow (If so, would you carry microspikes?)?

Q5. In general, if there's some moisture predicted, do you prefer merino wool or down for insulation?

Q6.I am working on pulling all of my gear & food together, but it looks like I will be @ 32 lbs with 6 days worth of food (10 lbs, 3500 kCals per day). Water is not included in the weight. Too heavy?

Q7. How does the hike from Guitar Lake to Whitney Summit compare to Trail Camp to Whitney summit? I am hoping to be on the summit for sunrise on June 22 and trying to figure out the timing.

Q8. How much water would you carry from Guitar Lake to Whitney Summit to Trail Camp? I tend to carry too much water and drink more than needed (right Steve? grin )

That's it for now. Thanks for your help!

Lyndon
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#42839 - 06/01/15 07:00 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1539
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
We are planning on starting the High Sierra Trail June 17 and hoping to exit Whitney Portal the 22 or 23. I am still in the planning process and will post more info, but here are some initial questions:

Q1. In your opinion, what is the best time of day to see Precipice Lake?

Afternoon, full sun warming for a swim, late light. Great place to camp. West to sunset view


Q2. Since much of the hike is near water, is it reasonable to think we can get by carrying only 1-2 liters of water for much of the hike? We would each plan to drink a liter when we refill.

Plenty of water all along the way except for very start. No water at Crescent meadow and for a couple of miles so tank up at Giant Forest. One l is usually plenty, but inquire about local conditions before you start. Usual numerous seeps could be dry this year.

Q3. We start June 17th. Would you be concerned regarding mosqu itos?

Yes

Q4. What about snow (If so, would you carry microspikes?)?

Kaweah Gap clears surprisingly late, about the same as much higher passes to the East. Check local conditions on the SEKI website in a week. I am guessing it will be completely clear.

Q5. In general, if there's some moisture predicted, do you prefer merino wool or down for insulation?



Q6.I am working on pulling all of my gear & food together, but it looks like I will be @ 32 lbs with 6 days worth of food (10 lbs, 3500 kCals per day). Water is not included in the weight. Too heavy?

The trail is not that rigorous for most of its length. 32 Lbs would be a dream for me.

Q7. How does the hike from Guitar Lake to Whitney Summit compare to Trail Camp to Whitney summit? I am hoping to be on the summit for sunrise on June 22 and trying to figure out the timing.

Its actually more elevation gain, but does not seem like it because it is more broken up and less monotonous: only about 22 switchers. ALpine start is usual - 2 am or so - for spectacular sunrise over the Inyos. Expect it to be very cold at that hour.

Q8. How much water would you carry from Guitar Lake to Whitney Summit to Trail Camp? I tend to carry too much water and drink more than needed (right Steve? grin )

3 liters is the usual recommendation from Guitar to summit, to TC

That's it for now. Thanks for your help!

Lyndon
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#42843 - 06/01/15 10:52 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Check out this picture from Precipice Lake at sunset. You should plan on spending a night there. I only stopped mid-day, but should have spent an overnight.

And be sure to get a picture of the Valhalla/Angel Wings looking back toward Hamilton Lakes. I somehow missed the opportunity on my trip.

Don't carry more than one L of water, less most places. 3 Liters to start from Guitar, drink one on the climb to the JMT/MMWT junction, one more on the way to the summit (a little for the return), the third: drink or dump it soon after Trail Crest. There will be plenty at switchback 22 and at Trail Camp.

Insulation: Down is lighter. Just keep it dry.

Food: I try to take 2 lbs per day.

Q7: Consider spending the night on the summit! If weather is good, you will never regret it. There are many spots to use, and the summit hut is warm and quiet if a breeze kicks up. Eat a big mid-day meal by G.L.. leave Guitar Lake with 4 liters at 3 PM, and have a light dinner on the summit. You will only need a liter of water for breakfast and the hike down. I double-bag zip locs for hauling all that water to the summit -- no sense packing big containers all the way across.

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#42850 - 06/02/15 10:25 AM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the help Saltydog and Steve!

a couple more:

Q9: How many people does the summit hut fit? If there's no room in the summit hut, is there a decent place to pitch a tent? I will have a bivy, but my friend is bringing a 2 man tent.

Q10: When thinking about food for a trip like this, do you think in terms of weight, meals, or caloires?
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#42852 - 06/02/15 11:34 AM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Q11. In trying to split this hike up into 6 sections, this is what I have so far. On Day 1 we are planning on catching the Sequoia Shuttle at 6 am, pickup up permits and hoping to be on the trail by 11.

Day 1 - Crescent Meadows to 9 Mile Creek
Day 2 - 9 Mile Creek to Precipice Lake
Day 3 - Precipice Lake to Kern Hot Springs (18.8 miles, +2575, -5275)
Day 4 - Kern Hot Springs to Wallace Creek Junct (12.2 miles, +3615, -80)
Day 5 - Wallace Creek Junct to Whitney Summit (12.6 miles, +4950, -850)
Day 6 - Whitney Summit to Whitney Portal

The days I am concerned about are 3, 4 and 5.

Thanks!
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#42853 - 06/02/15 12:20 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1539
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
> Thanks for the help Saltydog and Steve!
a couple more:

Q9: How many people does the summit hut fit? If there's no room in the summit hut, is there a decent place to pitch a tent? I will have a bivy, but my friend is bringing a 2 man tent.


More people than you would care to share a space with. I would use it only in a wind emergency. Plenty of good tent sites with views.

> Q10: When thinking about food for a trip like this, do you think in terms of weight, meals, or calories?

Yes.

I think weight: 1.5 lbs per day, 5 cal/gm.
Meals: one big meal, lots of ingredients: starch, protein flavor and fat fat fat. Fast, high energy breakfast. Coffee, cold shake of some kind or granola and milk. Then trail snacks all day, no identifiable lunch per se.

calories, 3500 or so a day YMMV
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#42856 - 06/02/15 02:44 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Q9: Summit hut would sleep 4. I made a mental note of that last summer.

There are multiple tent site pads N and W of the hut. There is a single/double sleeping bag protected "pit" N of the hut, too.

There are seldom any people sleeping on the summit. Most just don't consider doing it.

Q10. I measure out granola in ziplocs for each breakfast, complete with powdered milk plus coffemate creamer and extra brown sugar (Just add water and warm a little on my UL stove.) Lunch: sardines in oil or tortilla with PB&jelly or some other quick meal. Dinner: Mountain House, ~1.5 serving size, repackaged into a ziplock. Heated with water in my 600 ml cup.

Then I add granola bars, trail mix(nuts/raisins/etc), candy, etc; lemonade or kool aid mix for drinks (always with sugar), and those electrolyte tablets to spark up the drinks. I vary the trail mix, candy and granola bars until I have about 2 lbs per day total. I never have the time to figure out the calories, but I try to pick the highest calorie per gram foods I can find.

Q11: Where is 9-mile creek??

Day 3 is long, but if you can do it, then you're ok. Just start early and stay at it. I think you will make it. If you don't, just stop wherever.

Day 4: No problem. Did that last year, but did the Whitney Creek climb, with time to fish and loaf. I really think you should try that. Might be another hot (at least tepid) spring, if you can find it.

Day 5: Been there done that. It was not bad at all. We ate a big meal by Guitar and loafed and swam, killing time until our 3 pm start for the summit.

If you cut out Wallace Cr, and do the hidden Packer Camp on Whitney Creek, it's a little easier. The HST up to Wallace is just a grind, and you are rewarded by camping with dozens of JMT hikers.

Will you be taking a gps unit along?



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#42884 - 06/03/15 12:49 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks again - it seems I'm doing a combination of what the two of you do for food:

http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/06/03/trip-planning-high-sierra-trail-summer-2015#food

Originally Posted By: Steve C

Q11: Where is 9-mile creek??

It is the 2nd waypoint from the left on this map:
http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/06/03/trip-planning-high-sierra-trail-summer-2015#map

I've seen it in a couple trip reports and on the NPS site:
Quote:

Beyond the junction with the Seven Mile Hill Trail, which connects the High Sierra and Alta Trails, the trail crosses the steep slopes and bluffs of the south side of Alta Meadow and Alta Peak. During 1930, a trail crew working with an air compressor and rock drills spent nearly the entire summer blasting a 1-mile (1.6 km) stretch of trail through this area.

Hikers taking a more leisurely trek to Mt. Whitney may wish to camp along one of the two forks of Nine Mile Creek (8.8 miles/14.1 km). After passing Nine Mile Creek, the trail descends to Buck Canyon, a spectacular canyon well-known for floods, avalanches and rockslides. After crossing Buck Creek, the trail climbs some 500' in slightly over a mile (152 meters in 1.6 km), arriving at the Bearpaw Meadow area 11.4 miles (18.2 km) from the trailhead.

source: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/high-sierra-trail.htm

If we're feeling good, I think we may continue onto Bearpaw Meadows instead of stopping at 9 Mile Creek. That will give us a shorter hike on Hiking Day 2 and more time to rest before the big mileage day (Hiking Day 3)

Originally Posted By: Steve C

If you cut out Wallace Cr, and do the hidden Packer Camp on Whitney Creek, it's a little easier. The HST up to Wallace is just a grind, and you are rewarded by camping with dozens of JMT hikers.

Will you be taking a gps unit along?




Q12 - have you ever started at Wolverton instead of Crescent Meadows?
http://calipidder.com/wp/2009/08/high-sierra-trail-day-1-wolverton-to-9-mile-creek/
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#42886 - 06/03/15 02:55 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Ok, 9-mile is the creek about a mile before Buck Creek. Not labeled on most maps.

I never checked out the hiker camp site near Bearpaw. The commercial camp is right on the trail, but the backpacker one is down a side trail a little. When I crossed Buck Creek, I thought it would make a fair camping area -- lots of bare granite with flat areas.

> Q12 - have you ever started at Wolverton instead of Crescent Meadows?

Considered it. But then I learned that Sequoia N.P. dictates that HST hikers starting at Wolverton must camp somewhere before the HST the first night. Mehrten Mdw would be about the only likely place. Second issue is that from Wolverton, you climb 1700' then descend 1300 to get to the HST junction. From Crescent Meadow, it is a nearly level trail, climbing only 900' to the same junction. The HST is nicer from the AMS point of view, too, since you stay lower longer.

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#42898 - 06/04/15 07:52 AM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1539
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I would not camp at Bearpaw. In fact my family chose to pass it up and continue to nine mile on the return trip a few years ago. Bp is dry, dusty overused camps in the deep woods, no view and no "meadow" at all. Nine mile is also woodsy, but a much nicer spot. Buck Creek is spectacular, has protected sites but with views, rushing water, just below Bearpaw.

i second Steve's advice on starting at Crescent. Easy acclimitization to Hamilton: 1500 feet over 17 miles.
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#42932 - 06/04/15 08:21 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: saltydog]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks guys! Your answers are really helpful.

Q13 - Bear canister - I plan to put stuff like chapstick, sunscreen, toilettries, etc in the canister at night, but what about my first aid kit? This is the kit I use:
http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/medical-kits/ultralight-watertight-7.html
and it's contents:
Quote:

Bandage Materials
5 - Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"
3 - Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
3 - Bandage, Butterfly Closure
1 - Bandage, Conforming Gauze, 2"
2 - Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2", Pkg./2
2 - Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3" x 3", Pkg./2
2 - Dressing, Non-Adherent, Sterile, 3" x 4"

Bleeding
1 - Gloves, Nitrile (Pair), Hand Wipe

Blister / Burn
1 - Moleskin, Pre-Cut & Shaped (11 pieces)

Duct Tape
1 - Duct Tape, 2" x 26"

Fracture / Sprain
1 - Bandage, Elastic with Velcro, 2"

Instrument
3 - Safety Pins
1 - Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps

Medication
2 - After Bite Wipe
2 - Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
2 - Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2
2 - Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2
2 - Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2

Wound Care
6 - Antiseptic Wipe
3 - Alcohol Swab
1 - Tape, 1" x 10 Yards
1 - Skin Tac™ Topical Adhesive, Wipe
3 - Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use


Is there anything in there that needs to be in the bear canister? What about the antibiotic ointment? Or loose pills in a ziplock (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc)?

I also carry a tiny tube of seam grip (sealed, unopened).
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#42937 - 06/04/15 11:27 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
I don't see anything a bear would want in the medicine kit.

I carry and use fish oil pills, and those definitely need protection.

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#42939 - 06/05/15 09:33 AM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I don't see anything a bear would want in the medicine kit.

I carry and use fish oil pills, and those definitely need protection.


I didn't think so either, but figured I should ask.

I usually take fish oil, but was going to leave it at home for the trip. I should probably take them.
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#42952 - 06/05/15 03:37 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Q14. I was looking at someone's JMT itinerary. They are planning on sleeping near the JMT junction on Trail Crest. Would you consider staying there?
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#42954 - 06/05/15 04:35 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
There are some nice camp sites there, constructed by trail crew people who built the original trails, I believe. I've seen people camp there, and it is certainly a valid option.

Here's a satellite view of the sites -- I can spot about 8.

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#42958 - 06/05/15 04:49 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
There are some nice camp sites there, constructed by trail crew people who built the original trails, I believe. I've seen people camp there, and it is certainly a valid option.

Here's a satellite view of the sites -- I can spot about 8.


You've got better eyes than me, I'm having a hard time picking them out laugh

Are they below the JMT/Whitney Trail Junction?

Seems like it may be a good backup plan if we start the climb from Guitar Lake and decide we don't want it go all the way to the summit. It would give us nice jump to make the summit by sunrise, while allowing us to leave our heavy packs at the junction.

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#42959 - 06/05/15 04:58 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
You've got better eyes than me, I'm having a hard time picking them out laugh

Are they below the JMT/Whitney Trail Junction?

Seems like it may be a good backup plan if we start the climb from Guitar Lake and decide we don't want it go all the way to the summit. It would give us nice jump to make the summit by sunrise, while allowing us to leave our heavy packs at the junction.

Pay attention to the crosshairs. They are on one in the above link. Just zoom in.
This one is bigger than the Summit Hut! smile

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#42960 - 06/05/15 04:59 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks, I see them now!
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#43134 - 06/14/15 04:00 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
ZoeClimbs Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Hi,
We just came out at Whitney Portal yesterday afternoon after having hiked from Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal.
FYI the inside-the-park shuttles at Sequoia start at 9am.

1- Precipice lake is totally iced over, and surrounded by snow. Not the best place to camp in my opinion but it may have melted out by then. Then again, the park is seeing daily thunderstorms and snow sometimes. Very pretty any time of day. Sunset is best, but see note below.

ALSO - Every single day that we were hiking, huge thunderclouds were building up on the passes. We had to turn around and try Kaweah the next day because of a huge black ominous cloud ascending above us. You don't want to be up on those passes later than 1pm. We ran into numerous people who had turned around because of weather and snow, but we were fine. Just start early every day.

3- There were no mosquitoes up until the other side of Kaweah Gap. Getting into Big Arroyo, they were bad but not terrible. At Funston Meadows they were absolutely terrible at night. At Kern they were bad.

4- We carried microspikes. They're necessary in my opinion once you get to Whitney. On Kaweah gap there were a few patches of snow but they were avoidable. Again, these might melt out.


5- We carried down for insulation. One day, there was a bad hailstorm, and the trail was covered with 6+ inches of hail and in parts was a rushing river (at 6500 ft). Be prepared to get wet.

6-I had 24 lbs total. It depends on your fitness. Personally (I'm a small 16 y/o), I would lower it down.

Zoe

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#43136 - 06/14/15 04:09 PM Re: HST - Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney June 17 to 22 or 23 [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
ZoeClimbs Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Q11. In trying to split this hike up into 6 sections, this is what I have so far. On Day 1 we are planning on catching the Sequoia Shuttle at 6 am, pickup up permits and hoping to be on the trail by 11.

Day 1 - Crescent Meadows to 9 Mile Creek
Day 2 - 9 Mile Creek to Precipice Lake
Day 3 - Precipice Lake to Kern Hot Springs (18.8 miles, +2575, -5275)
Day 4 - Kern Hot Springs to Wallace Creek Junct (12.2 miles, +3615, -80)
Day 5 - Wallace Creek Junct to Whitney Summit (12.6 miles, +4950, -850)
Day 6 - Whitney Summit to Whitney Portal

The days I am concerned about are 3, 4 and 5.

Thanks!


I would recommend sleeping at Big Arroyo rather than Precipice Lake. As you can see in my other post, Precipice Lake is iced over, and there are storms up there pretty much daily. Big Arroyo is a nice campsite, with an old cabin, beautiful sites and fire rings, and a really pretty calm, warm(ish) river next to all the sites. Highly recommended!! This would cut some miles off of day 3. We did Big Arroyo to Kern Hot Springs and thought it was fine.

Zoe

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