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#45463 - 03/17/16 09:04 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls
Thanks saltydog, that is awesome! That might work out perfectly for us then, and we would have much more control over the dates since it seems like it is pretty easy to get permits from Road's End. Plus we'd get a chance to acclimate before we attempted Whitney, and also will have lighter packs than we would if we started a long trek from there.

We'd just have to convince a kind and trusting soul to meet us up there, possibly coming from another direction.. smile Might be hard to coordinate a meet-up precisely - we would probably have to try to find someone who was planning to hike up on the same day already to make it realistic. Or, ask(bribe) a random stranger on the top to do the 5-min online process to get ordained right on the spot (I think I read there is some cell phone coverage up there?) smile


Jennifer, it is NOT easy to get a permit at Roads End. That area is heavily used by hikers too. It is the entry point from the west for a very nice 40-mile loop that travels a popular section of the JMT (Rae Lakes). I think you should stick to the east side. It is a long driving distance to the other side (7 hours!), and coordinating with someone coming in on the other just complicates things way too much. And you won't find a random ranger -- they are far and few between, and cover a large territory.

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#45464 - 03/17/16 09:06 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Thanks Steve!

I did a bit of investigation into the SEKI permit system and it looks way less competitive than the Yosemite or Inyo system.. I think it should be okay..

In terms of the altitude issue, I am just nervous that I really don't know how I/we will handle prolonged strenuous hiking at altitude, even with a bit of time to acclimatize - the highest passes we have crossed before were just around 3000 m, in the Alps, and I definitely felt the increase in difficulty/decrease in oxygen level above 2500 m. I guess I would just hate to have planned a whole 2- or 3-week backpacking trip and then have to abort the whole thing because of altitude sickness right at the beginning, that would be pretty upsetting smile

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#45465 - 03/17/16 09:09 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Thanks Steve, your points all seem like good ones - I guess we will have to put some further thought into it and investigate the SEKI permit system more (I thought it was easier based on the bit of reading I had done, but I believe you know your stuff.)

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#45467 - 03/17/16 09:12 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
For nearly everyone who might have altitude issues, after about 3 nights, they go away. If you have carried loads over passes in the Alps, this isn't much different. The air is only slightly thinner, so you go a little slower -- that's about it.

The heavy breathing and thin air is not the same as altitude sickness. The two most prevalent AMS symptoms are loss of appetite (to the point of nausea for some), and headache. Everyone struggles in the thin air, but that's not AMS.

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#45469 - 03/17/16 09:42 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Thanks Steve, I'm sure you're right about the altitude issue - I guess I just want the climb to be as unpainful as possible too, since these would potentially be our wedding memories forever smile

I think we will be discussing all the options and maybe seeing what passes are left after the Whitney lottery, if any, and then going from there. This site has really been invaluable to me in figuring out what options there are - thanks to all again.

Jennifer

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#45470 - 03/17/16 12:14 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1553
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Lots of other West side permits that are easier to get than road's end. Problem woith RE is that it is beginning and end of Rae Lkes Loop, maybe the most popular hike fro the West. I think even Crescent Meadow (High Sierra Trail) is easier to get than Road's End. Also look at Lodgepole, and Mineral King, for that matter.
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#45472 - 03/17/16 12:26 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
Salty, remember they are coming from Canada, so need accessible trails where public transportation is available. Crescent Meadow and the High Sierra Trail fits this requirement. I don't think there is a shuttle to Roads End.

Mineral King is one of the most remote to get into.

...I guess Jennifer hasn't said whether this is a road trip or if they are flying in.

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#45473 - 03/17/16 12:59 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1553
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Good point. Road's End is at least known as an easy hitch. But Lodgepole or Crescent Meadow are accesible by park shuttle. Also Cedar Grove. Don't know about Mineral King.


Edited by saltydog (03/17/16 12:59 PM)
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#45474 - 03/17/16 02:00 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 531
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls
Thanks Steve, I'm sure you're right about the altitude issue - I guess I just want the climb to be as unpainful as possible too, since these would potentially be our wedding memories forever smile

I think we will be discussing all the options and maybe seeing what passes are left after the Whitney lottery, if any, and then going from there. This site has really been invaluable to me in figuring out what options there are - thanks to all again.

Jennifer


Hi Jennifer,

Of course it depends on how much time you have, but if you have a couple of extra days you can do what I do: spend two or three nights at Mammoth Lakes, doing day hikes, for acclimation. Works great, and will either expose you to different parts of the Sierra, or perhaps a brief preview of the JMT. Mammoth Lakes is ~8k' and lots of hikes up to 11.5 K that can easily be done in 6 to 8 hours (or longer if you like, or less if you just want elevation gain). Mammoth Mtn. is 11.2 (I think), and can easily be hikes in a few hours.
There are plenty of camping sites around Mammoth Lakes, or there are also many condos for rent at fairly reasonable prices in Aug.

This would allow you to acclimate, and then drive down (or use public transportation) to Lone Pine to start your hike. As you know, the entry permit at Whitney Portal can be difficult, but if you have the flexibility to start your hike on a week day there are normally Day use permits available for the asking. Not sure about how that hooks up with whatever permit is required for the JMT. Steve or Salty can likely address this issue or your research may have already given you the answer.

This would put you back on plan to hike the entire JMT (with full pack to start with mad)

Something to consider.

John

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#45476 - 03/17/16 05:04 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: John Sims]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Thanks John and saltydog and all for your suggestions, we will think about them all for sure. It's nice to have so many options to consider.

I took a look on the SEKI permit site, and it looks like the trail head we would want is still quite available for most of the dates we are considering - I don't think Copper Creek heads directly to Rae Lakes, so maybe that is why. After getting a few rejection emails from the JMT already, I have kind of given up on that idea for this year and was looking at this loop hike in SEKI:

https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/73686/

plus a side trip to Mount Whitney along the way.

But, if we can't get that permit then we would definitely look at some of the other options you guys suggested for acclimatization areas and other access points. Thanks!!

Oh yeah, as far as ground transport, we were planning to fly in to Las Vegas or San Francisco and take public transit or rent a car (depending on if our beginning and end points for the hike are the same or not.)

Jennifer

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#45489 - 03/18/16 10:27 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 531
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls

I took a look on the SEKI permit site, and it looks like the trail head we would want is still quite available for most of the dates we are considering - I don't think Copper Creek heads directly to Rae Lakes, so maybe that is why. After getting a few rejection emails from the JMT already, I have kind of given up on that idea for this year and was looking at this loop hike in SEKI:

https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/73686/

plus a side trip to Mount Whitney along the way.

Jennifer


Wow, that hike does seem appealing. Not sure why anyone would do the JMT given this option grin (joking)

Fresno does have commercial air service, although I'm not sure of the cost vs flying into SFO, OAK, SJC plus car rental. Oakland likely has the cheapest flights, and if you are driving to Fresno the three airports are basically the same driving distance, although San Jose will get you out of town the fastest and easiest way. You will likely need to rent a car at Fresno as well, but conceivably there is an alternative.

Interested to see what you finally decide.

John


Edited by John Sims (03/18/16 10:28 AM)

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#45491 - 03/18/16 12:11 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 819
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Congratulations and best wishes, Jennifer!

...anyone can officiate a wedding......setting up the paperwork in Inyo County would be best, since the county offices for Inyo County are in Independence, just up the road from Lone Pine.

By the way, another member here was married at Whitney Portal by mountain guide Kurt Wedberg. Getting married there might be much easier.


Yes, my wife and I were married at Whitney Portal by Kurt Wedberg in July 2007. You can get the process rolling at the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence (north of the holy city of Lone Pine). My family are not hikers, so my wife and I headed up to Lone Pine Lake (did not have permit).

Hope this helps.

Congratulations!
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#45492 - 03/18/16 12:23 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: John Sims]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John Sims


Wow, that hike does seem appealing. Not sure why anyone would do the JMT given this option grin (joking)

Fresno does have commercial air service, although I'm not sure of the cost vs flying into SFO, OAK, SJC plus car rental. Oakland likely has the cheapest flights, and if you are driving to Fresno the three airports are basically the same driving distance, although San Jose will get you out of town the fastest and easiest way. You will likely need to rent a car at Fresno as well, but conceivably there is an alternative.

Interested to see what you finally decide.

John


Thanks John for the info about the airports - I hadn't looked that deeply into that part yet, but maybe Oakland is the best idea - I would imagine the car rental would be cheaper out of a bigger center as well, so we don't mind driving a bit to Fresno, then we could stay overnight there and take care of a couple things before driving to Road's End and starting the hike.

With respect to the wedding process itself, my new crazy idea, if we are successful in getting the permit to do the loop from Road's End, would be to pick up the marriage license in Fresno County and then hike in with it up to Mt. Whitney. I have read that there is fairly reliable cell coverage on top of Mt. Whitney via Verizon, so we could pick up a Verizon SIM card in Fresno as well and then see if a kind and adventurous soul who happens to be up at the top at the same time would be willing to get "ordained" online (via theamm.org - it takes literally 2 minutes!) and then witness our vows and sign the license (we will also offer a generous fee, of course).

I agree with Steve that it would be just too difficult to try to coordinate with someone coming in from the east side, since I'm not sure about our exact hiking pace and how long it would take us to get to Mt. Whitney from Road's End.

But, if we get rejected for the SEKI permit we will go back to the drawing board and revisit the acclimation hikes + walk-in permit idea. Will definitely post back here to update when we figure it out smile

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#45493 - 03/18/16 12:29 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: + @ti2d]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d


Yes, my wife and I were married at Whitney Portal by Kurt Wedberg in July 2007. You can get the process rolling at the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence (north of the holy city of Lone Pine). My family are not hikers, so my wife and I headed up to Lone Pine Lake (did not have permit).

Hope this helps.

Congratulations!


Oh, nice! That sounds like a great compromise for the non-hiking family members that you made.

If it looks like we are being a little unrealistic with the "top of the mountain idea," then that might be a good way to go to at least have the beautiful setting - thanks for sharing!


Jennifer

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#45499 - 03/18/16 08:16 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1553
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d


Yes, my wife and I were married at Whitney Portal by Kurt Wedberg in July 2007. You can get the process rolling at the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence (north of the holy city of Lone Pine). My family are not hikers, so my wife and I headed up to Lone Pine Lake (did not have permit).

Hope this helps.

Congratulations!


Oh, nice! That sounds like a great compromise for the non-hiking family members that you made.



If it looks like we are being a little unrealistic with the "top of the mountain idea," then that might be a good way to go to at least have the beautiful setting - thanks for sharing!


Jennifer


Hmmm. Interesting that Mr. Wedberg is qualified to perform a marriage ceremony. I wouldn't give up on the summit idea so easily. Now, I don't know Kurt personally, but he reputed to be able to get himself and others to the summit of Whitney with some record of success. Y0u should look him up.
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#45506 - 03/21/16 09:45 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 340
Loc: Reno, Nevada
This sounds like a really cool adventure, and the interest from so many other people tells me that they agree. I just want to chime in with a few points I didnít see anyone else mention.

Last summer, the Rough Fire burned a huge portion of California, including both sides of the road to Cedar Grove. I believe that the fire got near, but did not burn, the facilities around Cedar Grove and Roads End. Any trip into that area will be much less scenic than it used to be. This may or may not affect competition for wilderness permits. The wilderness east of Roads End wasnít burned.

Steve mentioned nausea and headache as common altitude symptoms. Cheyne Stokes breathing is another common symptom. With Cheyne Stokes, you simply donít breathe enough, especially when sleeping. Youíll repeatedly wake up gasping for breath. After catching your breath, you can get back to sleep, only to repeat the process. Diamox, a prescription drug available as a cheap generic, can help. Diamox has been discussed and debated on this and other sites.

Most people do OK at altitude with a couple of nights to acclimatize. Fitness, acclimatization, and taking care of yourself help. You sound as if youíre fit and active enough to tag Whitney with no problem. However, I would plan this so that the all-important ceremony can still happen, even if one of you doesnít tolerate altitude well. Better to settle for a ceremony at Trail Camp than not be able rendezvous with your officiant on the summit.

Enjoy your lives together!

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#45510 - 03/22/16 11:30 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: saltydog]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: saltydog


Hmmm. Interesting that Mr. Wedberg is qualified to perform a marriage ceremony. I wouldn't give up on the summit idea so easily. Now, I don't know Kurt personally, but he reputed to be able to get himself and others to the summit of Whitney with some record of success. Y0u should look him up.


Thanks saltydog - that's a great suggestion and worth looking into. Right now I'm waiting to hear back about my permit request for SEKI, because we are sort of starting to like this idea of the loop hike from Road's End - but if I am declined I will have to go back to the drawing board and that could be a great option!

Jennifer

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#45511 - 03/22/16 11:41 AM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: bobpickering]
Kllrsqrls Offline


Registered: 03/13/16
Posts: 22
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
This sounds like a really cool adventure, and the interest from so many other people tells me that they agree. I just want to chime in with a few points I didnít see anyone else mention.

Last summer, the Rough Fire burned a huge portion of California, including both sides of the road to Cedar Grove. I believe that the fire got near, but did not burn, the facilities around Cedar Grove and Roads End. Any trip into that area will be much less scenic than it used to be. This may or may not affect competition for wilderness permits. The wilderness east of Roads End wasnít burned.

Steve mentioned nausea and headache as common altitude symptoms. Cheyne Stokes breathing is another common symptom. With Cheyne Stokes, you simply donít breathe enough, especially when sleeping. Youíll repeatedly wake up gasping for breath. After catching your breath, you can get back to sleep, only to repeat the process. Diamox, a prescription drug available as a cheap generic, can help. Diamox has been discussed and debated on this and other sites.

Most people do OK at altitude with a couple of nights to acclimatize. Fitness, acclimatization, and taking care of yourself help. You sound as if youíre fit and active enough to tag Whitney with no problem. However, I would plan this so that the all-important ceremony can still happen, even if one of you doesnít tolerate altitude well. Better to settle for a ceremony at Trail Camp than not be able rendezvous with your officiant on the summit.

Enjoy your lives together!


Thanks bobpickering,

I wasn't aware of the fire in the Cedar Grove area - I guess that might affect the availability of campsites locally - we were thinking we might fly in a couple days early and do some local hikes to try to acclimatize a bit, and also to pick up anything last minute we need from the REI in Fresno, so hopefully the campsites will reopen this year.

Thanks for the info too about altitude sickness - I had heard the suggestion of Diamox before, but have concerns about taking any diuretics since I tend to fall behind on hydration already on hiking trips - I guess it wouldn't hurt to bring some just in case one of us is more affected than we thought.

We like to think we are fairly fit, and we have been able to do hiking trips in the past involving 5000 - 6500 feet of ascent per day, but altitude was never a major factor for us before, so we don't really know how we will handle it... We will train up by doing lots of stairs in the condo with weighted packs (nothing to climb around here, unfortunately!)

Thanks again for the congrats and your advice!

Jennifer

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#45512 - 03/22/16 12:56 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 340
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Jennifer, you can spend forever reading and worrying about altitude and Diamox. When I climbed Denali in 1995, the standard advice was to take a minimum of Diamox when symptoms appeared. I took half of a 250mg tablet when I got Cheyne Stokes at ~16,000'. I took a quarter of a tablet twice a day after that until we got down below 16,000'. That was all I needed. More recent advice is to take larger doses and start before you begin ascending. I think youíll be fine without Diamox, but you might carry a few pills just in case. If you dose the way I did, you should minimize any side effects.

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#45517 - 03/23/16 12:21 PM Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney [Re: Kllrsqrls]
MarkS Offline


Registered: 03/22/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
A few years ago, I happened to be on the summit when a wedding was taking place. The bride and groom had packed a dress and tux to the top. There was an officiant, with witnesses and the couple got married. It was pretty cool to see such an event in that particular spot. Two SEKI rangers, pleasure hiking on their day off, just happened to be there also. They weren't wearing their official shirts, but did have the recognizable green shorts. Apparently, SEKI - and other national parks - says you need a permit to perform a wedding inside the park. The rangers informed the wedding party that they were in violation of the rules and were subject to a citation. They showed their badges to prove the point, but let it slide and no citation was issued. (The numerous irritated hikers quietly voicing their displeasure may have been a factor in the ranger's decision.)

What are the odds there will be rangers on the summit of Whitney on any give day and time?

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