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#49071 - 01/13/17 11:18 AM Never saw them again.
pcieluch Offline

Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 26
Loc: duluth,mn
Last August I went form OV to the Portal. We camped at the tarn 15 minutes past Guitar Lake. We had gotten there about 11:30 and decided to make the summit bid the next day. We started to see a few people continue past us and a few that were coming back down. Then around 5:00 PM I saw a group of 5 or 6 guys coming up the trail. Each one of them were wearing shorts and a few shirtless. None of them had packs and each had a container of water in their hands. A couple had some type of upper body wear wrapped around their waists. They marched in single file past us and up the trail. We never saw nor heard them come back down the trail after dark. I wondered where they came from and what the plan was. It was pretty late in the day to start going up. As without packs it's still 2-3 hours to trail crest and another 1.5 at least to the summit. One guy was carrying a half gallon milk container that must have been filled with water. To me it looked like they were on some type of day hike but I have no idea where they could have started from. Just from the clothes or lack of, they did not appear to be traditional backpackers. I wonder where they ended up that night.

#49082 - 01/16/17 10:53 AM Re: Never saw them again. [Re: pcieluch]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
They were either super day-hikers, starting at Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadows, and exiting over Trail Crest, or lost hikers.

Once in a while Whitney day hikers miss the "lower Trail Crest" junction of the JMT and the Whitney Main Trail, just below and west of Trail Crest. This usually occurs when they are descending from the Whitney summit. They make a wrong turn and descend down past Guitar Lake. At some point they realize they are heading deeper into the backcountry, and have to turn around and climb back up and over Trail Crest.

Unless you asked them, there is no way of knowing what their story was. Most of these marathon hikes (or huge mistakes) end up ok, and it is only a small number that wind up requiring any type of rescue.

#49086 - 01/16/17 06:59 PM Re: Never saw them again. [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline

Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 419
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Steve C
They were either super day-hikers, starting at Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadows, and exiting over Trail Crest, or lost hikers.

On my 5 night trip from Onion Valley to Whitney/Whitney Portal we encountered one of those "super day-hikers" as we descended from Forester Pass. He had started at Whitney Portal early that morning and planned on finishing at Onion Valley that night. His gear/clothes/water were ultralight.