So, as the year comes to a close, I start to think back to my hikes this year and forward to my hikes for next year. I've done much more than I planned at the start of the year, which has led me to be REALLY optimistic in what I can do next year.
My big Mt Whitney hike from the portal to the top of Mt Whitney in August was the highlight for my year, but I ended up doing a lot of other hikes (some planned and some done on short notice) as part of my training for Whitney (and then after). Some of which are just as impressive to me as making it up Mt Whitney. 5 years ago I was VERY out of shape and would assumed I’d die trying many of these… and probably would have. I’ve come a long way… or should I say hiked a long way in those 5 years?
My big resolution for next year is to rely on trail water more. I’m still hesitant to leave on a long trip without a full 3 liters in my Camelbak along with 1-2 bottles of Gatorade. I have to trust my Steripen and filter more to lighten the initial load, especially when I have reliable water sources along the trail.
My Yosemite hikes for this year:
Valley to Half Dome (took advantage of the early cables in this unplanned hike).
Valley to Upper Yosemite Falls to El Capitan to North Dome and back to the valley via Snow Creek. (3 days)
**First Hail Storm of the year for me in Yosemite**
Valley to Clouds Rest and Half Dome. (3 days). Unfortunately, I aborted back to valley due to not feeling well. I had planned to do a loop up to Tuolumne Meadows and back down to Merced Lake and the valley, but at least my primary goal (Clouds Rest) was successful.
Tuolumne Meadows hike on way to Witney.
**Second Hail Storm of the year for me in Yosemite**
White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows via the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River.
May Lake to Mt Hoffman (quick day trip before the Tioga Road closed).
**Snow flurries at the top!** At least it wasn’t hail.
Some local bay area hikes, including:
SF Aquatic Park to Marin Headlands to Muir Beach to Stinson Beach. This was mostly a multi-day test of new backpacking equipment for Whitney hike, but it was a great hike too.
11 times up to Mt Diablo’s Summit (1 more planned in December if the weather cooperates). This basically was my training mountain (it’s right next door to me) before my Whitney climb, although I did keep up with my monthly climbs after my Whitney climb.
A wide assortment of other day hikes all around the bay area and one overnight trip to Angel Island.
And then to look forward, here’s my list for planned hikes next year:
Hopefully if there’s a lot of snowfall this year, I’ll do a visit to Yosemite in the winter.
Probably a Tuolumne Meadows to Clouds Rest/Half Dome/Merced Lake loop (late May/Early June) to make up for the loop I couldn’t complete in July.
Ten Lakes to Mt Hoffman to North Dome to El Capitan loop (BIG loop). (early July)
August will take me to Japan to take on Mt Fuji from the base at 2500 feet (so about 10,000 foot elevation gain). I’ve done Fuji from the 5th station, but want to do the entire traditional Yoshida trail from the shrine at the base. and probably decend from one of the trails on the opposite side.
Will seem kind of luxurious after Whitney, since they have mountain huts all up along the trail. So you can buy hot food, cold energy drinks, and Coca-cola
on the way up. Even a warm futon to sleep in instead of hauling up your own tent and sleeping bag.
And then later in the trip, a hike up and around the Japan Alps (Kamikochi to Mount Okuhotaka). Not nearly as much elevation to climb, but looks like a great place to hike.
Late September will likely be a trip from Tuolumne Meadows to Mammoth Lakes via the JMT.
If my body lasts
and the weather cooperates, October will probably see me so a long hike from Hetch Hetchy to the lakes and area north of the reservoir.
And if that’s not enough for one year. Late July or Early September (timing will depend on lottery results and exactly where in August i schedule my Japan trip), will likely see me go up Mt Whitney again.
I’m thinking of coming in from the south (starting at Horseshoe meadows) or possibly the West from Sequoia NP this time. Doing this next year would also minimize problems due to the road reconstruction. I’d likely hitch a ride back to Lone Pine after returning from the summit via the portal.
Any suggestions are welcome on this trip. Such as what pass to take from Horseshoe meadows (Cottonwood or New Army Pass) and how many days it would take from Horseshoe Meadows. Also curious what permits I’d need for these approaches to Whitney. In general, I’d like to take the more scenic approach (south seems to be the better choice, but I’d welcome first hand advice to those who’ve done these trails).
Long term plans are Machu Picchu in early 2017, maybe the whole JMT in 2017 as a training hike for Kilimanjaro in early 2018. Even longer term plan is to hike to the Everest Base camp (no plans to actually go all the way to the top of the world… I’m not that crazy… yet