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Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Steve C #24456 05/29/12 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
And it hits the main trail just AFTER it crosses the North Fork on the way up.


That's really the primary benefit, especially on the return leg if you have a heavy pack and you're tired. The North Fork will tend to flow heavier later in the day with accelerated melt. In heavy snow years, like last year, the rock hops across the stream can flood making crossing with a heavy pack and fatigued legs a real pain. Much easier to just zip down the Old Trail and avoid the crossing altogether.
p2

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Bulldog34 #24461 05/29/12 07:50 AM
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Most importantly it gets you to the beer about 5 to 10 minutes sooner.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
CaT #24511 05/30/12 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted By: CaT
Given the steepness of the Old Trail, the only real advantage is when you are returning to the Portal and going down the trail. I don't see any advantage in going up it when you are heading up the trail at the beginning of your hike.

CaT


I agree. We used it one year when the creek levels were high to avoid the crossings. Otherwise, you do not really save that much distance since you still have to walk to and from the trailhead. You just get to flat pavement quicker going down the old trail.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
VersatileFred #38935 07/24/14 05:03 AM
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Bump.

Since this topic came up on another thread, I thought I'd add an episode from my Whitney hike last year. We were descending and sort of picked up a solo JMT hiker into our group just past Mirror Lake. This guy was completely burned out, at the end of his endurance, and still carrying a super-heavy pack. Very unsteady on his feet. This was also just after the monster deluge that had inundated the mountain and wrecked the Portal parking lot. This guy had some familiarity with the trail and knew the longest water crossing was coming up at the North Fork, and was fretting about it due to his pack weight and fatigue. He also knew that it would be flowing much heavier than normal due to the storms. He clearly did not like water crossings.

When we got to the Old Trail junction, I asked him if he'd like to completely bypass the North Fork crossing headache. He looked at me like I was crazy, but as we started down the Old Trail he fell in behind us. He did have a little difficulty negotiating the un-maintained, rocky trail, but when we quickly reached the Portal lot the look of relief and amazement on his face spoke volumes.

"You can bet I'm gonna remember that shortcut!", he said.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Bulldog34 #38950 07/24/14 08:43 AM
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It probably saved a couple of lives in 2011 during a similar deluge, when staff from the Portal Store went up in the storm and escorted hikers down it to avoid a raging North Fork.


Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!
Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
saltydog #38951 07/24/14 09:10 AM
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I remember that - we had just left about a week before. Mid summer can be ugly in the Southern Siera with the unpredictable monsoon effect.

Outside of a hurricane, and a few monster t-storms we'll see in the south during spring/summer, I've never witnessed skies as angry as what I saw around the Portal last mid-July. I remember Doug telling us to absolutely, positively go no further than Outpost Camp if they didn't clear. How right he was.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Bulldog34 #50478 06/30/17 09:29 AM
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Hi all,

Is there a reference picture which shows the start of old trail near Whitney Portal Store?

Is the rock clearly visible from the portal store?

Thanks,
Amit

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
amit #50485 06/30/17 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted By: amit
Hi all,

Is there a reference picture which shows the start of old trail near Whitney Portal Store?

Is the rock clearly visible from the portal store?

Thanks,
Amit

Click on the first page of this thread. When you see the pictures of the Big Rock, the portal store is about 50 yards back along the road, behind the photographer. Just walk the road past the store (about 50 yards), and the big rock (it's huuuge!) will be on the right, as the road loops around the pond to head back to the main trail head.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
amit #50573 07/04/17 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted By: amit
Hi all,

Is there a reference picture which shows the start of old trail near Whitney Portal Store?

Is the rock clearly visible from the portal store?

Thanks,
Amit



Amit, just be aware that this is an unmaintained trail and is very gnarly and steep compared to the current MWMT. If you're carrying heavy weight, it can be a real slog on the ascent.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Bulldog34 #50575 07/04/17 03:25 PM
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I agree with Bulldog. That old trail has places with loose sand over slick rock, so you can take a bad step and really bust your ass.

The first year that I ever went up, it was 1976. There was a pack station there. I didn't have any problem finding the old trail, because I simply followed my nose. There was a lot of animal "debris" then. Soon after that, the "new" trailhead sprang up. The new trail is more gradual and a lot safer, but only if the north fork of lone pine creek is reasonable. If you go up the old trail, it intersects just above the creek crossing.

The big rock is the biggest rock at the top end of the Whitney Portal loop.

Re: Old Trail - Trailhead
Steve C #57855 08/05/20 06:54 PM
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Bumping the thread - went up this way yesterday. It is intact and IMO comparably maintained relative to the main trail.

It is 0.65 miles from the "start" to the junction of the main trail, vs. about 0.95 from the actual start to the same point.

So you save 0.3 miles x2, and another benefit is if you are starting super early, parking is empty around the Old Trail start whereas it has already started to fill up around the actual start. I was able to park right next to the start.

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