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Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
#51386 08/03/17 08:00 PM
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So, in preparation for my big OV to Whitney trek, I was thinking of spending a night or two (depends on how much time I can get off from work) at Mammoth Lakes so I can sleep at 8k for a night or two.

Can anyone suggest some good hikes in the area that would be good and not too strenuous?

Obviously I don't want to do too much, but I've never had the chance to explore that area before (I know it's a crime to never have gotten over there), so figured it'd be a good chance to kill two legs with one more hike. smile

I had toyed with doing White Mountain Peak as a warmup, but I'm not sure doing a 12k to 14k climb ahead of this big trek is a good way to start.

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
WanderingJim #51387 08/03/17 08:32 PM
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The nice thing about White Mountain is that you don't need to summit or do the full 15miles in order to get the altitude, because you start at nearly 12k. Even doing a few miles at that altitude would help as prep.

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
WanderingJim #51388 08/03/17 10:22 PM
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My group rented a 6 BR 6 bath house in Mammoth Lakes a couple of years ago. I recommend a hike to Mammoth Crest.Not too strenuous with nice views (it was smokey when we were there). It's at 1:15 in my video


Mammoth Lakes from Frank Bursick on Vimeo.



I think Shadow Lake/Lake Ediza is a little long for a Whitney warm up

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
WanderingJim #51389 08/03/17 10:28 PM
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I did that trip last August


Onion Valley to Whitney Portal from Frank Bursick on Vimeo.


Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
WanderingJim #51394 08/04/17 07:46 AM
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The hike from the Lodge to McCoy Station in the middle of the mountain is about 6 miles round trip. It's only about 700 feet of elevation gain, but since you're above 8k feet it all helps without being too strenuous.

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
WanderingJim #51458 08/07/17 10:05 AM
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Duck Pass (10,800') is a great hike. 7.2 miles round trip with about 1600' of elevation gain.

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
ATC #51471 08/07/17 09:28 PM
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Ditto Duck Pass, and you can cut it short if you're not feeling strong the first day or two, just go to Arrowhead, or Skelton, or Barney and turn around if you're not up for the pass. This will still get you a lot of time above 9,000 ft range. Or you can just do one short lake hike after another like McCleod or Heart or TJ, so many options there in Mammoth. That's usually enough for me the first day coming from sea level after a long drive and all the stress of getting way.

Duck Pass is a steep climb at the end with great views. You can go on to the Mammoth Crest, even make a loop back to Horseshoe Lake if you're up for a longer hike. I also like Shadow Lake and a little beyond, but you have the hassle of the shuttle bus to get to Agnew Meadows and back.

Personally, coming from sea level, I like to spend the first day doing 2 or 3 short lake hikes in the 9,000-9500 ft range described above, and spend the second day at Little Lakes Valley up Rock Creek Rd at 10,000+ ft - not too much climbing. Easy to spend a whole day there at lake after lake, maybe catch some trout. If you want to go higher quickly, head up Mono Pass and hit Ruby Lake along the way.

Another great option is to spend time in the Cottonwood Pass area, hanging out at the day use/camp area ~10,000ft and climbing trails to the pass or beyond. This is a great last day before getting some rest at the Portal before Whitney. As the old saying goes - climb high, sleep low.

This regiment might seem slow to the typical young weekend warrior coming from sea level to claim that Whitney trophy, but it makes sense. As I get older and smarter, I'm allowing more and more time to acclimate, it makes everything more enjoyable.

Have a great trip.

Re: Acclimatization hikes at Mammoth Lakes area
SierraNevada #51475 08/08/17 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted By: SierraNevada

I get older and smarter, I'm allowing more and more time to acclimate, it makes everything more enjoyable.

This is one of the main reasons that "older" hikers/climbers have LESS trouble with Acute Mountain Sickness, or even simple "Mountaineer's Foot."

Younger people may have more reactive vasculature, ie hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) that is important for HAPE,
but experienced-based pace is important for reducing risk of AMS, HAPE, And HACE.


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