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Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
MarkS #45527 03/24/16 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted By: MarkS
...What are the odds there will be rangers on the summit of Whitney on any give day and time?


They are like the marmots...they can pop up from anywhere at anytime grin


Journey well...
Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
+ @ti2d #45543 03/25/16 06:58 AM
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I think the fact that the rangers were not LE, were off duty, out of uniform and had no citation pads with them may have had a lot to do with it, as well as the fact that the SEKI rangers are generally really good, sensible people and recognize the difference between a group of friends gathering at a remote wilderness spot and a formal wedding party with photographers and the whole nine yards assembled at the base of the General Sherman.

The "Special Use Permit" really just amounts to a fee, or fees, - a total of $130 for a party of up to 16, 175 for up to 50, 250 for over 50 - so not much in the grand scheme of things.


Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!
Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45544 03/25/16 07:58 AM
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I hope you have read all of the California regulations regarding marriages. It is really, really important that the officiate be authorized in the State of California to conduct the ceremony for you, and that you have at least one witness other than the officiate to sign the license. Otherwise, the local county will not recognize the marriage as being valid.

Hopefully, you have read all of the information:

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/pages/marriagelicenseinformation.aspx

There has been a lot of anecdotal information posted here (which might not be accurate); be certain of the facts and requirements before proceeding.

Have you contacted the Inyo County Clerk's office? They will be a better source of information for you than second-hand reports in this forum, however well intentioned.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45552 03/26/16 12:58 AM
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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.

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

Jennifer,
I want you to look long and hard at that BSL (Big SeKi Loop) hike. It has some less attractive features that you should consider. The person posting that hike is a hard core hiker -- a one-percenter type. Her description completely minimizes the problems on that hike. Note her base weight of 12 pounds, with 1.5 lbs food per day. They are super-ultralight hikers!

Her "least interesting 5-8 miles on either side ... the first half day" is a major understatement. Copper Creek starts at 5000' elevation, and immediately climbs to 10,300' (before Granite Pass) in ~8 miles. THAT is no half-day! It's a killer whole day in reality.

It's true that once you get up to that first pass, the next miles would be fine, cruising in the 9k range, but then it drops to 6k again at Simpson Meadow. Next day is a steady climb to the JMT at 8,000', and then the Golden Staircase brings the JMT up to 10.5k and the Palisade Lakes.

If you go south out of the same place, Avalanche Pass (10k) is almost as bad, only it isn't a sun-baked south facing slope. If you ask me, that Roads End location is a rotten place to start the loop. Rather, it would be an outstanding resupply location, at the Cedar Grove Visitor Center, five miles down the road. The area is full of campers so hitch hiking should work ok. Mid-trip, a 5k climb wouldn't be as tough as starting the trip.

Another statement by the author: If "you can't complete the loop without exiting for resupply, we would not choose this particular loop." THAT reveals much! The loop is equivalent to doing most of the JMT with no resupply. Pretty much all JMT hikers do at least 3 resupplies -- several are easy, and several others require mailing buckets, hiring expensive mule packers, or taking 1+ day side trips. Most places on this Big SeKi Loop would require 2 days for a resupply -- one out, and one back in.

Ok, enough carping.

Consider some lighter options: Start on the east side at horseshoe meadows (just off the BSL map, lower right side. You could then do Whitney on the third day, then cover the Colby Pass - Cloud Canyon section, resupply at Cedar Grove, then head back up Paradise Valley to the JMT, visit Rae Lakes, resupply (or not) over Kearsarge Pass, then continue south back to Whitney. You could either exit at Whitney, or head back out at Horseshoe Meadows.

More ambitious, but easier: Start at Onion Valley (Kearsarge Pass), do that big northern half (or shorten at Paradise Valley), resupply at Cedar Grove, and continue south.

There are lots of alternatives. I just think starting at Roads End is not the best idea. And including one or two resupplies makes the trip less severe.

Now, if you really are in great shape and are truly ultralight hikers, then please accept my apologies for suggesting an easier plan. I am sure you will have a great Sierra experience no matter what part of the loop you do.

By the way, here's a link to my favorite mapping website, gmap4. The center of this map is at the Roads End trail head. You can zoom in or out to see the terrain, and switch between several maps. Best is T4, but Google Terrain and Satellite view are sometimes useful. The T4 map shows all the trails of the BSL. Note that elevation contours switch from feet to meters depending on the area of the map.

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45566 03/27/16 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C


Jennifer,
I want you to look long and hard at that BSL (Big SeKi Loop) hike. It has some less attractive features that you should consider. The person posting that hike is a hard core hiker -- a one-percenter type. Her description completely minimizes the problems on that hike. Note her base weight of 12 pounds, with 1.5 lbs food per day. They are super-ultralight hikers!

Her "least interesting 5-8 miles on either side ... the first half day" is a major understatement. Copper Creek starts at 5000' elevation, and immediately climbs to 10,300' (before Granite Pass) in ~8 miles. THAT is no half-day! It's a killer whole day in reality.

It's true that once you get up to that first pass, the next miles would be fine, cruising in the 9k range, but then it drops to 6k again at Simpson Meadow. Next day is a steady climb to the JMT at 8,000', and then the Golden Staircase brings the JMT up to 10.5k and the Palisade Lakes.

If you go south out of the same place, Avalanche Pass (10k) is almost as bad, only it isn't a sun-baked south facing slope. If you ask me, that Roads End location is a rotten place to start the loop. Rather, it would be an outstanding resupply location, at the Cedar Grove Visitor Center, five miles down the road. The area is full of campers so hitch hiking should work ok. Mid-trip, a 5k climb wouldn't be as tough as starting the trip.

Another statement by the author: If "you can't complete the loop without exiting for resupply, we would not choose this particular loop." THAT reveals much! The loop is equivalent to doing most of the JMT with no resupply. Pretty much all JMT hikers do at least 3 resupplies -- several are easy, and several others require mailing buckets, hiring expensive mule packers, or taking 1+ day side trips. Most places on this Big SeKi Loop would require 2 days for a resupply -- one out, and one back in.

Ok, enough carping.

Consider some lighter options: Start on the east side at horseshoe meadows (just off the BSL map, lower right side. You could then do Whitney on the third day, then cover the Colby Pass - Cloud Canyon section, resupply at Cedar Grove, then head back up Paradise Valley to the JMT, visit Rae Lakes, resupply (or not) over Kearsarge Pass, then continue south back to Whitney. You could either exit at Whitney, or head back out at Horseshoe Meadows.

More ambitious, but easier: Start at Onion Valley (Kearsarge Pass), do that big northern half (or shorten at Paradise Valley), resupply at Cedar Grove, and continue south.

There are lots of alternatives. I just think starting at Roads End is not the best idea. And including one or two resupplies makes the trip less severe.

Now, if you really are in great shape and are truly ultralight hikers, then please accept my apologies for suggesting an easier plan. I am sure you will have a great Sierra experience no matter what part of the loop you do.

By the way, here's a link to my favorite mapping website, gmap4. The center of this map is at the Roads End trail head. You can zoom in or out to see the terrain, and switch between several maps. Best is T4, but Google Terrain and Satellite view are sometimes useful. The T4 map shows all the trails of the BSL. Note that elevation contours switch from feet to meters depending on the area of the map.


Hi Steve!

Thanks for the advice and the link to the topo map - that is very helpful!

Yes, I had gone through all the comments on that page and saw some of the same concerns raised by others - and, to be honest, I had some trepidation about it for those reasons too. But, I discussed quite a bit with my partner and we think we should probably be able to manage if we train up enough. We are really hoping to avoid resupply if at all possible, although I did see there was the option at Kearsarge Pass, so we may consider that.

We are planning to take the shorter variation of the BSL, over Colby pass, which is only 131 miles (plus side trip to Whitney), and we are planning to bring enough food for 12-13 days. Last year we did the haute route in the swiss alps, involving about 110 miles distance with 40000 ft of elevation change, in 10 days. A few days we did 6000-6500 ft ascent. Most days we finished hiking within 5-6 hours and our longest days were 8-8.5 hours, including breaks (and getting lost a few times smile ) so I believe we could have gone a bit further most days, if necessary. We didn't have to carry a tent, but we carried a lot of extra stuff, electronics, extra clothes and shoes, etc., that we won't take on this trip, and our packs were around 30 lbs. We are really trying to optimize our gear, and I think we can manage to stay down around 40-45 lbs each for this one, so we will not be ultralight, but I think doable - and our packs will obviously get lighter over time as we consume food and fuel.

I was thinking we would try to camp at Cedar Grove for a few days before to do some acclimatization hikes and to warm up our climbing legs, knowing the first day would be quite tough. But we will take another look at the alternatives you mentioned too and see if they make more sense for us. I definitely appreciate the advice and the topo map, that will help us a lot with planning.

Maybe we will end up planning to try to do Whitney as a separate day hike prior to tackling the loop, that way if we have to bail off at Rae Lakes or something we won't feel like we are missing out smile

Thanks so much for taking the time to look into this for us!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Bob West #45567 03/27/16 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bob West
I hope you have read all of the California regulations regarding marriages. It is really, really important that the officiate be authorized in the State of California to conduct the ceremony for you, and that you have at least one witness other than the officiate to sign the license. Otherwise, the local county will not recognize the marriage as being valid.

Hopefully, you have read all of the information:

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/pages/marriagelicenseinformation.aspx

There has been a lot of anecdotal information posted here (which might not be accurate); be certain of the facts and requirements before proceeding.

Have you contacted the Inyo County Clerk's office? They will be a better source of information for you than second-hand reports in this forum, however well intentioned.


Thanks Bob, and MarkS and saltydog for your comments as well on the marriage logistics.

I think we are planning on getting the license out of Fresno County, and their requirements are pretty minimal - the officiant can be a minister of any religious denomination, and I believe that members of the online "church" groups are acceptable, based on my readings elsewhere.

In terms of the permit for the actual ceremony, I did come across that park regulation in my readings - but I had a similar thought to saltydog, which is that surely this would apply more so to larger groups having more formal ceremonies that might take up public space, etc. We aren't opposed to the idea of a getting permit in theory, but if we are hiking from the west or trying to get a walk in day pass, we may not even know the exact date in advance. We will probably end up taking our chances, to be honest wink

Thanks for the heads up about the undercover rangers, we will have to keep an eye out for them!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45569 03/27/16 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls


Last year we did the haute route in the swiss alps, involving about 110 miles distance with 40000 ft of elevation change, in 10 days. A few days we did 6000-6500 ft ascent. Most days we finished hiking within 5-6 hours and our longest days were 8-8.5 hours, including breaks (and getting lost a few times smile )


Damn, Jennifer. Maybe you should change your plans and schedule this during the Sierra Challenge in August. Seems like it would be right up your alley!

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45574 03/27/16 09:51 PM
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40,000 ft in 10 days with 30 lb packs? shocked Ok, I'm not so worried anymore. smirk

My wife mentioned the need to visit the county clerk's office before the marriage to sign paperwork, and wondered about rules for non-US citizens. I can see that you are doing a lot of research on the hike and so I can trust you will also be figuring out all the legal details for the marriage, as well.

I realize the idea of getting all the proper work done before you start the hike works well if your county base is Fresno. You can also pick up all necessary hiking materials here as well, since there is an REI store and another with good backpacking supplies (Herb Bauer's). But... the Whitney summit is not actually Fresno County. It is in Tulare (Too-LAIR-ee) County, with clerk's office in Visalia, 45 miles south of Fresno. Not sure of the rules about the location of the wedding being outside the county boundaries.

If you change the start/end of the loop as I suggested, it is a 5-6 hour drive from the west side over to trailheads on the east side, so that would likely affect your decision, too. With the eastside start, you might arrange all the work in Independence, the Inyo county headquarters. If you chose that option, flying into Reno NV, or even Mammoth, CA could be an option.

By the way, if you Google big seki loop, it turns up another short discussion of the BSL here, and also, several CalTopo maps (CalTopo has some nice options if you work with it.)


Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Bulldog34 #45599 03/29/16 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
Damn, Jennifer. Maybe you should change your plans and schedule this during the Sierra Challenge in August. Seems like it would be right up your alley!



Wow, that looks like a really cool and fun event! Maybe one of these summers we will have to train up and try something like that - I am really not into competition at all, so I am intimidated by titles like "Challenge," but it sounds like this one is not really competitive at all, just a chance to do a bunch of great climbs in a short timeframe, neat.

Thanks for telling me about it!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #45604 03/29/16 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted By: Kllrsqrls

I am really not into competition at all, so I am intimidated by titles like "Challenge," . . .


And I'm intimidated by 40K vf in ten days, so we're even. That's almost half a year's effort for me . . . :-)

Whatever you wind up doing, I'm sure you'll nail it. Have a blast!

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #45605 03/29/16 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
40,000 ft in 10 days with 30 lb packs? shocked Ok, I'm not so worried anymore. smirk

My wife mentioned the need to visit the county clerk's office before the marriage to sign paperwork, and wondered about rules for non-US citizens. I can see that you are doing a lot of research on the hike and so I can trust you will also be figuring out all the legal details for the marriage, as well.

I realize the idea of getting all the proper work done before you start the hike works well if your county base is Fresno. You can also pick up all necessary hiking materials here as well, since there is an REI store and another with good backpacking supplies (Herb Bauer's). But... the Whitney summit is not actually Fresno County. It is in Tulare (Too-LAIR-ee) County, with clerk's office in Visalia, 45 miles south of Fresno. Not sure of the rules about the location of the wedding being outside the county boundaries.

If you change the start/end of the loop as I suggested, it is a 5-6 hour drive from the west side over to trailheads on the east side, so that would likely affect your decision, too. With the eastside start, you might arrange all the work in Independence, the Inyo county headquarters. If you chose that option, flying into Reno NV, or even Mammoth, CA could be an option.

By the way, if you Google big seki loop, it turns up another short discussion of the BSL here, and also, several CalTopo maps (CalTopo has some nice options if you work with it.)



Thanks Steve! I did a bit of research about the marriage permit itself, and it looks like Fresno County's version specifies that you can get married anywhere in California, not just in Fresno County, which works out well. I think it is fairly common for Canadians to get married in the US, but I will look a bit more into California's rules on that. From the point of view of the Canadian government, the only rules are that the marriage has to have been done legally in the jurisdiction where it took place, and you can't get married to your sibling or parent, or have multiple spouses. smile

Yes, we were thinking Fresno as a base for the reasons you mentioned, including the REI, but I haven't booked flights or anything yet so I should look at the other options you mentioned as well.

Thanks!

Jennifer

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Kllrsqrls #48256 08/30/16 09:20 AM
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Final results, Sunday, Aug 28, 2016:





Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #48266 08/31/16 03:03 AM
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Congratulations to all involved!
Was the eventual inbound route the BSL?

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
britonwhit(ney) #48268 08/31/16 08:30 AM
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The couple came up and descended via Guitar Lk. They are exiting via Colby Pass and Roads End in Kings Canyon. My group went up the Mountaineers Route and descended the main trail. I'm still sore from all of that on Sunday.

My set of pictures is here:   Jen and Nick on Mt Whitney

Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
Steve C #48273 08/31/16 03:27 PM
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Thank you so much, Steve, for being our Minister and making our wedding day so amazing and special!! It was a complete fantasy come true for us!!

Thanks to Perry and Sabrina too for making the long hike up along with Steve (and to Perry for lugging up that giant bottle of champagne!)

It was such a perfect day in every respect, and we will never forget it!

Amazing weather, amazing view, and amazing people to celebrate with us. Steve did a perfect job as our Minister, and we especially loved his closing line, "If there is anyone here today who objects to this union, I would just like to say, 'Take a hike!'"






Re: Seeking officiant for wedding on Mt Whitney
britonwhit(ney) #48274 08/31/16 03:34 PM
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Hi britonwhit(ney) -

We were originally planning to do the full BSL - but we ran into technical difficulties with our water pump up at Granite Lake at the end of the first day, so we descended back down Copper Creek the following day to replace it. We then got a permit for Woods Creek in order to rejoin the trail and completed the rest of the loop from there via Colby pass. Even though we missed a bit of the loop, it was still an amazing trip with lots of spectacular hiking, and obviously the highlight was our wedding atop Mount Whitney, which couldn't have been more perfect.

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