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#46224 - 05/12/16 11:46 AM Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp
Tabin Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 2
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hi all,

I could use some advice on recommended departure time. My group of 4 plan to start our hike the main trail and start at Whitney Portal, unload gear at Trail camp, summit mount Whitney, and return to trail camp and call it a night. We plan to do it this weekend (Saturday summit). What time would you recommend starting this hike? One person in my group who has done the hike suggested 8am. This sounds a little late to me. 16miles + 6000 foot of elevation + occasional breaks. Our hiking pace is probably just average.

Does weather/wind get significantly worse in the afternoon? The forecast for Saturday says sunny at Whitney Portal.

I know the 99 switch back is probably snowed in. Is there any major risk of going down the chute in the late afternoon (4pm-6pm?) I heard later in the day, the shade covers part of the chute and it may get icey. I might plan on walking down (wearing crampons and using ice axe) the chute instead of glissading for that reason.


Edited by Tabin (05/12/16 11:47 AM)

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#46226 - 05/12/16 11:59 AM Re: Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp [Re: Tabin]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
8 am? That sounds quite reasonable if you are just hiking to Trail Camp. NO WAY are you going to make Trail Camp in time to summit and return, unless you expect to get back to your camp about midnight.

Are you sure your other member is talking about summiting on the first day? He's probably thinking about summiting on the second day.

After carrying overnight gear to Trail camp, most people are done for the day. Unless your group are all in extremely good condition, your plan will not work.

You are correct about going down the chute late in the afternoon.

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#46227 - 05/12/16 01:43 PM Re: Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp [Re: Steve C]
Tabin Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 2
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Thanks for your reply Steve. Yes, we were initially thinking about starting the hike at trail head, 8am. 2mph hiking pace would get us to Trail camp around 11am. Unpack and eat lunch. Leave Trail camp 12pm. Then we would get 12pm-7pm to hike up Mount Whitney and return to Trail Camp for the night. Next day, we'd hike out 6miles back to the trail head.


I think we're going to flip the plan and instead...

Saturday: Hike 6miles to Trail Camp. Camp for the night.

Sunday: wake up 4-5am. Hike to Whitney and then return to camp, pack out and hike to our car the same day. Should arrive at the car around 5pm. This day will be brutal for sure.


Edited by Tabin (05/12/16 01:47 PM)

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#46228 - 05/12/16 01:53 PM Re: Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp [Re: Tabin]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
The 2 mph pace is ok on level ground. But you are climbing 4000' vertical in those 6 miles. That has a big affect.

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#46230 - 05/12/16 03:14 PM Re: Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp [Re: Tabin]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1018
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Tabin

Saturday: Hike 6miles to Trail Camp. Camp for the night.

Sunday: wake up 4-5am. Hike to Whitney and then return to camp, pack out and hike to our car the same day. Should arrive at the car around 5pm. This day will be brutal for sure.


Two of us did exactly this in Aug 9, 2012
515 up at Trailcamp
615 watched alpenglow and left Trailcamp
800 Trailcrest
940 Summit
1130 left summit
235 back at Trailcamp, retrieved tent
620 Portal.

I cannot go down much faster than up, so your times may be quicker . Tiring , yes, brutal, no.

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#46245 - 05/14/16 05:26 PM Re: Departure time - Portal to Whitney sumit to Trail camp [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1561
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: Tabin

Saturday: Hike 6miles to Trail Camp. Camp for the night.

Sunday: wake up 4-5am. Hike to Whitney and then return to camp, pack out and hike to our car the same day. Should arrive at the car around 5pm. This day will be brutal for sure.


Two of us did exactly this in Aug 9, 2012
515 up at Trailcamp
615 watched alpenglow and left Trailcamp
800 Trailcrest
940 Summit
1130 left summit
235 back at Trailcamp, retrieved tent
620 Portal.

I cannot go down much faster than up, so your times may be quicker . Tiring , yes, brutal, no.


I too did exactly this, June 19 1994. Had the summit to myself for about 20 minutes. Left summit a little earlier and down faster.


Edited by saltydog (06/05/16 05:50 PM)
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