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#50754 - 07/10/17 01:56 PM Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017
Kashyap Sarma Offline


Registered: 07/07/17
Posts: 2
Loc: Dublin, California
We are group of 10 friends hiking Mt Whitney (day hike) on Sep 18th 2017. We are excited and nervous as days are chugging along and September is nearing. I have some questions.
1) How is the weather during day time in September?
2) Will there be lot of snow on switchbacks in September (given this year around, there was significant amount of snow)?
3) We are group of 10. We plan to start the hike by 12:30am. Does it seem reasonable time to start? We are estimating 1mile per hr, so it would take 11-12hrs to reach summit. Is this good estimate, over estimate?
4) We are arriving in Lone Pine on Sep15th. What is the good place to get acclimatized and does 4-5hr stay help?

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#50768 - 07/10/17 05:29 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Kashyap Sarma]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 12
Loc: Northern California
My wife and I successfully summited on Sept 23 in both 2011 and 2016, so I have some insight for questions 1 and 2.

Regarding weather: EXPECT ANYTHING. We were very lucky to have completely clear, calm weather for our overnight trip in both years. Others, hiking on directly adjacent calendar days were not so lucky. In 2011, the summit was enveloped in clouds the day after we got off the mountain. I'm sure there were flurries on the summit. In 2016, 9/21 was a horrendous day on the mountain. *Multiple* returning parties we passed on the way up reported that winds destroyed their tents at Trail Camp overnight. 2011 temps were reasonable: cold at night, but only needed long sleeves and a windbreaker on the summit. 2016 temps on both days were absolutely frigid. The night of 9/22/16 was the coldest night I've ever experienced - my thermometer read close to zero F at Trail Camp. Our water froze solid even when kept in our tent directly next to our sleeping bags. I wore six (!) layers on my torso up to the summit, and only stripped to four on the way down.

Regarding the switchbacks, 2011 was a bigger snow year, and is probably a decent proxy for 2017. I recall no issues with snow, and my pictures show very small snowy patches, only near the cables. They were easily passed, along with the ice that forms there that time of year. If 2011 is a proxy, expect a snowbank that you'll need to cross - easily without crampons or spikes - in the last 1/4 mile before the summit.

We didn't dayhike, so can't comment on question 3.

Regarding acclimatization, others here will likely recommend camping at Horseshoe Meadows, at about 10,000 feet, and accessed off a long side road off the Whitney Portal Road. I haven't done so, but that seems to be the standard recommendation on this board if you're acclimatizing near Lone Pine. You mention a "4-5 hour" stay. That won't help much at all, especially if its during the day. If you're coming in on the 15th, sounds like you have a lot more time to acclimate than 4-5 hours, but are choosing to sleep in Lone Pine. Don't. At less than 4k elevation, it won't help much. Sleep higher - much higher. You're coming from the Bay Area. If you're not able to camp, consider a couple of nights along the way at one of the lodging options near the Mosquito Flat trailhead at alomost 10,000 feet. We like the cabins at Rock Creek Lodge and the dayhiking options up to 11,000 and 12,000 feet in Little Lakes Valley are spectacular. There are higher elevation lodging options near Mammoth as well.

Best of luck!


Edited by Steve C (07/10/17 11:10 PM)
Edit Reason: Cottonwood Lakes -> Horseshoe Meadows

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#50769 - 07/10/17 05:31 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Kashyap Sarma]
sravet Offline


Registered: 07/10/17
Posts: 1
Loc: TX
There are campsites at the Horseshoe Meadows trail head at about 10,000 feet where you can camp the night before you depart. You have a few days to kill, maybe you can camp a few extra nights before you start. You can find answers to your questions by calling the ranger station or by reading trip reports here and elsewhere.

--steve

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#50770 - 07/10/17 05:40 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Kashyap Sarma]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Kashyap Sarma

3) We are group of 10. We plan to start the hike by 12:30am. Does it seem reasonable time to start? We are estimating 1mile per hr, so it would take 11-12hrs to reach summit. Is this good estimate, over estimate?


A lot of people...10?

Be sure the leader is also the sweeper on the descent. Be sure those who cannot make the ascent, know their way back down and leave a note on the leader's vehicle that they left the trail safely. Leave no one behind or account for all before leaving the trail head after the hike.

1 mph is an excellent pace, but you can probably do 2 mph up and down. Pace is the key. The most difficult is from Trail Crest to the summit. Because you can see the summit 2.5 miles away.

1230 am is a good start. The key is getting the others to be ready by 1230 am. I like to start at that time to get to the summit early and come back down before the others.

Weather: Monsoonals are usually July and August. September iffy can happen. Beware of puffy clouds. Convection can turn those clouds into cumulonimbus (anvilheads). The wind can be very cold coming down over the crest as you make your way to Trail Camp. Dress in layers. Start warm, stay warm.

If you are coming from Dublin, you can stop at Tuolumne Meadows to acclimatize and venture around or hike up Lembert Dome. Mammoth is off the beaten path but is an option. Bring money to shop and eat. Horseshoe Meadows is a very good alternative. Make it a picnic and enjoy the scenery. Mossies may be a buzzin so take bug spray.
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Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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#50771 - 07/10/17 05:43 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Kashyap Sarma]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 12
Loc: Northern California
I said "Cottonwood Lakes" in my earlier response as a place to camp. I think the actual camp location is called Horseshoe Meadows as mentioned by sravet above.

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#50857 - 07/12/17 03:31 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Dave F]
Kashyap Sarma Offline


Registered: 07/07/17
Posts: 2
Loc: Dublin, California
Thanks so much for inputs.

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#51100 - 07/22/17 01:10 PM Re: Hiking Mt Whitney in Sep 2017 [Re: Kashyap Sarma]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Option 2: You may want to consider avoiding YNP entirely and take the Sonora Pass via SR 108 to the 395.

There is the Sonora Trail and the PCT. You can park near the summit and take a leisurely stroll along these trails. Certain areas of these trails will peak out at 10,000 feet plus. Just bring plenty of water and snacks.

There are campgrounds west of Sonora Pass you want to consider. You may have to reserve in advance of see if they have first come first serve.

The road twists and turns on the east side of Sonora Pass but you will not be disappointed with the views. You may want to put the transmission in Number 2 or Number 1 on the descent to preserve your brakes. 108 connects with the 395 north of Bridgeport. Bridgeport is a great stop. Also, you will pass by my old stomping grounds at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (Pickel Meadows).
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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