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#24456 - 05/29/12 04:26 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
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.

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#24461 - 05/29/12 07:50 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: Bulldog34]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Most importantly it gets you to the beer about 5 to 10 minutes sooner.

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#24511 - 05/30/12 11:45 PM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: CaT]
VersatileFred Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 130
Loc: SoCal
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.

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#38935 - 07/24/14 05:03 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: VersatileFred]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
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.

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#38950 - 07/24/14 08:43 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: Bulldog34]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1561
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
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!

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#38951 - 07/24/14 09:10 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: saltydog]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
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.

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#50478 - 06/30/17 09:29 AM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: Bulldog34]
amit Offline


Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 10
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
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

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#50485 - 06/30/17 12:33 PM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: amit]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
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.

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#50573 - 07/04/17 03:17 PM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: amit]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
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.

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#50575 - 07/04/17 03:25 PM Re: Old Trail - Trailhead [Re: Bulldog34]
Bobby49 Offline


Registered: 07/04/17
Posts: 41
Loc: California
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.

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