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#51093 - 07/22/17 12:22 PM 7-21 Solo Day Hike
VagrantProfile Offline

Registered: 07/10/17
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
First timer here with first timer perspectives. Thanks to all who posted their own trip reports as it helped me prep for mine and know what was in store.

For starters, I didn't want to travel solo, but did because I snagged a lone available permit about 10 days ago and also because no one I know of could have made it work logistically in that time frame. No doubt a hiking partner would have been great, but I did actually "partner up" with several other solo hikers along the route to keep company and just lend a hand / food / water, etc. when needed.

Whitney Portal Departure: 5:30am (I wanted a little sunlight)
Whitney Portal Return: 8:15pm
Backpack Weight: 24 lbs
Supplies Brought:
- 2 T- Shirts
- 1 Long Sleeve compression tee
- 1 Long Sleeve "regular" shirt
- 1 Sweatshirt
- 1 Windbreaker coat
- 1 Windbreaker pants
- Baseball hat
- Cycling gloves (to help protect my hands)
- My Road ID bracelet (in the event of a tragedy)
- 2 Cycling Water Bottles
- 2 lbs of food (mostly trail mix type stuff)
- 1 Empty milk container (to fill up and treat water before I transferred it over to my water bottles for drinking)
- Iodine tablets (to treat water along route)
- Sunscreen (a must)
- Chapstick (also a must for me)
- Aspirin
- Water Shoes

Supplies NOT Brought:
- Crampons / Microspikes
- Ice axe
- Hiking poles (would have been nice to have at least 1..but I don't own one yet)

Notable Areas:
- Streams: There are several streams to cross (none more than knee deep at MOST) within the first 4 miles or so going up to Outpost Camp. I used and was thankful to have my Water Shoes for these on my way up as I didn't want to hike in wet shoes all day. Some streams you CAN get away with rock hopping....others you can't. On the way back DOWN the trail I didn't feel like swapping out to my swim shoes and just said "eff it" and decided to cross all the streams I'd done earlier in swim shoes in my regular hiking shoes. Yes, my feet got very soaked...but I could live with it for the final 2 miles.

- Snow Crossings: I believe there were a total of 3 areas I had to cross over footpaths worn into very snowy and slushy slopes. These slopes are STEEP and it looks quite sketchy....especially since I had no microspikes or even a hiking pole to help stabilize me. However, it IS certainly doable so long as you take your time, ensure you take small steps and have proper footing before putting your weight down. I was sure to cross when others on the trail were nearby for safety reasons. To help cross, I grabbed nearby stones or sticks that were "pole like" that I could jab into the adjacent snow slope to help stabilize me.

I found the very 1st snow crossing, past Outpost Camp, to be the most daunting. Mainly because from the trail to get ONTO the snow slope required one to drop down from the main trail about 6 feet and then CLIMB UP ONTO the adjacent snow slope where water has been washing some of the edge of the snow slope away. It certainly made me wonder about the "stability" of the snow underneath and no doubt there is water running underneath the surface in areas. Take this area CAREFULLY and CAUTIOUSLY. To me, this was the scariest part.

There are a couple more snow crossings right after 90+ switchbacks before Trail Crest. Those were shorter in length and less scary, but still something to be taken cautiously.

Switchbacks: The switchbacks were almost entirely free of snow! However, I did rock scramble up between a few of the switchbacks because there was a good deal of running water basically following down the switchback pathway and I didn't want to get my feet soaked that early.

Elevation: Having done this trip on such short notice and not able to properly acclimatize (I'd only spent 5 hrs the previous day at 10,000ft in Horseshoe Meadow), I REALLY felt the effects of elevation on me. I mostly felt "good" going up but on the way back down I could tell the elevation was beginning to take its toll. Had a big headache and I was moving at a much slower pace. Regardless, I kept pushing on and started to feel MUCH better once I got back down to the Outpost Camp area and below. If you have the time to acclimatize, do so! I certainly paid the price!

Edited by VagrantProfile (07/22/17 12:26 PM)

#51096 - 07/22/17 12:48 PM Re: 7-21 Solo Day Hike [Re: VagrantProfile]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Good report. Glad you had a safe hike.

There is usually a lag-time before a person starts having symptoms of altitude sickness. This can vary from person to person and the situation. We once got flown by helicopter to trail crest from Lone Pine Airport for a SAR mission, worked hard for several hours, felt fine, came down to trail camp that evening, and then felt sick as a dog.