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#51974 - 09/01/17 01:48 PM 1st Timer - Tons of Qs
shruti80 Offline


Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Fremont, CA
Hello,

We're a group of 5 girlfriends from Fremont CA planning a day hike up Mt. Whitney on Friday Sep 15th. We've been training for the past 3 months or so with weekend hikes around the bay area. The longest we've hiked is 18 miles with an elevation gain of 4K feet. We're in fairly good shape ... hike about 6 miles 3K feet elevation almost every weekend and run 10-15 miles a week.

Our Plan - Stay the night before at Mammoth and drive next morning to Lone Pine. Get permit, rest/nap, dinner at 8:30 pm and hit the trail head at 11pm. We hope to summit by 8-9am next morning and return by 6pm .

A few Qs -
1. I was reading about the "old" trail vs. the "new". where do the trails diverge? Which one is recommended? Is 1 longer than the other?

2. We plan to carry 4L of water - 3L in bladder and 1L in water bottles. Is that too much, too less?

3. I've been hiking with my favorite Keen hiking boots, they are unfortunately not water proof. Should I take along water shoes for portions of the trail where we will encounter water? I hate to change my hiking boots 2 weeks before go date.

4. We will be keeping a close eye on weather. Should we have a turn around time or a cut-off? For whatever reason we are delayed or go slow, should we have a time we turn around. Say T-storms are expected at 1pm, it takes 3 hours from summit to tree cover, if we arent at the summit by 10am, turn around to avoid running into bad weather? Or am I over thinking this?

Any tips will be appreciated smile!!

Thanks!!

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#51977 - 09/01/17 02:26 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
WanderingJim Online


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: shruti80
Get permit, rest/nap, dinner at 8:30 pm and hit the trail head at 11pm.


You're actually not supposed to start until after midnight with the day permit. Although, if you don't enter the Whitney Zone (which starts right above Lone Pine Lake) until after Midnight, I think technically you're okay.

Quote:
1. I was reading about the "old" trail vs. the "new". where do the trails diverge? Which one is recommended? Is 1 longer than the other?


The new trail is a little longer, but not as steep. People were suggesting it to avoid a high river crossing earlier in the year, but that crossing is no problem now. I'd recommend sticking to the new trail that starts below the Whitney Portal store area. The old one is up near the upper parking lot (search this forum for details, pictures, and GPS coordinates if you really want to find it).

Quote:

2. We plan to carry 4L of water - 3L in bladder and 1L in water bottles. Is that too much, too less?


Per person or for all 5 of you? smile

I personally don't think I could make it to the summit and back to the Portal with only 4 liters.

Every person is different, but altitude will make you drink more.

Are you planning on getting water from the streams/springs as you go? You can save a LOT of weight by doing that. Just need a good filter or UV pen to treat the water (and some diehards don't even bother... but I'm not that tough yet). Then start with 1.5 liters from the portal (but not from Portal taps (since there are water problems up there right now), fill up in Lone Pine before heading to the Portal) and fill up as needed along the way. PLENTY of water on the trail this year.

You'd normally want around 3 liters per person from Trail Camp to the summit and back. (again, everyone is different)

There's a spring around switchback 23 (although it's flowing over almost a dozen switchbacks right now) that is the last water before the summit. It's flowing VERY well right now so you cannot miss it unless you take the wrong path to the summit smile ).


Quote:

3. I've been hiking with my favorite Keen hiking boots, they are unfortunately not water proof. Should I take along water shoes for portions of the trail where we will encounter water? I hate to change my hiking boots 2 weeks before go date.


Outpost camp is the only place that people have said they still see a lot of water in the mornings (the level goes down in the afternoons). Since you'll be going through there early, you may want to consider water shoes. You could leave the water shoes on the other side of Bighorn Meadow as long as you remember to pick them up on the way back.

Quote:

4. We will be keeping a close eye on weather. Should we have a turn around time or a cut-off? For whatever reason we are delayed or go slow, should we have a time we turn around. Say T-storms are expected at 1pm, it takes 3 hours from summit to tree cover, if we arent at the summit by 10am, turn around to avoid running into bad weather? Or am I over thinking this?


Yes, for a day hike a good rule is to have a turn around time that you will always turn around if you haven't reached your goal and stick to it. Lightning or not.

You don't want to be under a tall tree in a thunderstorm. Or at the summit.

As for how to gauge the weather when going towards the summit, if thunderstorms are forecast and there are dark clouds around the summit when you're at Trail Camp, best not to continue from there.

If you're past Trial Crest and dark clouds start coming in and you see any signs of lightning, turn back immediately.



Edited by WanderingJim (09/01/17 04:10 PM)

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#51980 - 09/01/17 09:11 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: WanderingJim]
shruti80 Offline


Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Fremont, CA
Thank you! We will keep this in mind!

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#51982 - 09/01/17 09:45 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
WanderingJim Online


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: shruti80

Got it! Just curious - which one of these two is more popular? When I pull up a trail map it doesn't explicitly call out the "new" vs. the "old" trail.


The new trail is the only one you'll likely see on most maps and is what most people use.
You can't miss the entrance at the portal. Clear sign and a kind of a jungle gym wood structure to go through to start/finish.

The old trial I only heard about here a couple months ago with the discussions about a shortcut. I did see the route down when I came down from Whitney, but didn't feel like experimenting at the time.

Quote:

4L per person ☺️


I will note that I manged with 4 liters from Guitar lake, overnight at the Summit, and all the way down to the portal (although I should have gotten a little more at Outpost Camp). Not quite as long as a round trip from the portal though or as much elevation gain.

So maybe 4 liters each will be enough (but everyone is different). 5-6 liters would make more sense to me if you don't want to use trail water.

Being ready to use trail water would still be a good idea if you run out. Maybe having a Sawyer filter and squeeze bottle to get more water if needed is a good idea.

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#51984 - 09/01/17 10:18 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7194
Loc: Fresno, CA
shruti, welcome!

The thread with pictures of the old trail is here.

You really shouldn't carry all your water from the start. For many people, that could be a primary factor in causing them to not make the summit. Take a filter, and stop along the way and refill. You should only need to carry a half liter from the trail head, since there are so many water access points along the way. ...maybe a liter, since you might be stopping to filter more often than you want otherwise.

I myself wouldn't even filter the last water at the 25th switchback above Trail Camp, or at the inlet to the Trail Camp pond.

For water crossings, I carry "garden clog shoes" (find them on Amazon here). They weigh about 8 ounces for a pair. They're so cheap, and you could actually hide them after that water crossing and pick them up on the way down.

Weather: watch it closely the several days before your hike. In September, the monsoonal daily thunderstorms often taper back, so you might be treated to a perfect day. If not, start early as planned, and try to beat any storminess. Hit this NOAA link for the best forecasts (in my opinion).


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#51988 - 09/02/17 08:28 AM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
eje67 Offline


Registered: 07/09/14
Posts: 68
Loc: Los Angeles County
1. Here is a link to a map for the old trail (which I descended earlier this week):

Old Trail

It's about a half mile long (and a half mile shorter than the main trail). But, the elevation gain is about 450 feet over that half mile which is not insignificant. (You can click on the elevation profile icon to see the gain.) My recommendation would be to take the main trail and take it easy warming up for the rest of the hike.

If you do decide to take the old trail it is easy to follow.

2. What has worked for me is to bring two one-liter bottles and a two-liter reservoir.

The one-liter waters are for filtered water, and the reservoir is for unfiltered water and is used with a filter to refill the one-liter bottles.

I'll start with 2 liters of water in the one liter bottles and an empty reservoir. Then I'll stop at Trailside Meadow (the creek is right off the trail there), filter enough water to refill/top off the one-liter bottles, and fill the reservoir.

At the summit I'll refill / top off the one-liter bottles with the water from the reservoir.

You could carry less and stop more frequently along the trail to refill. I don't like to stop so my only planned stop will be at Trailside Meadows to refill before hitting the switchbacks. I don't mind carrying 2 liters from the start, but you could definitely carry less and refill along the way.

The switchback water source was flowing well on Monday earlier this week.

However way you do it I would recommend carrying 4 liters for trail camp/switchbacks to the summit and back.

Don't forget to hydrate before the hike...I try to drink 4+ liters of water each day for 2 days before the hike.

3. On Monday I passed through Bighorn Meadow in the early afternoon on the way to spend the night at Outpost Camp and it was not a problem. But, based on other reports if you are passing through there in the early morning you may want to bring some lightweight water shoes. I like Steve C's suggestion to stash them and pick them up on the way back. This is the only area where I can imagine you would need water shoes.

4. You're starting as early as possible which is great. Check the weather forecast frequently up until the point you no longer have cell coverage and watch the weather while you're on the trail, as it can change quickly. On Monday it was sunny and cloudless at Trail Crest while I was descending, but by the time I was at Trail Camp dark clouds had rolled in.

Have a great hike!




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#52042 - 09/05/17 12:30 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
david_garza Offline


Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 29
Loc: Glendale, California
A decoupler (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ARA5K1M) will make frequent bladder refills easier.

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#52052 - 09/05/17 08:22 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: david_garza]
WanderingJim Online


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: david_garza
A decoupler (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ARA5K1M) will make frequent bladder refills easier.


Yeah, I have several of those to make snapping in my sawyer mini filter and bite valve easy and also to allow me to shorten the hose when I'm at camp (makes it easier to squeeze water at camp).

Even super glued a male piece onto the syringe to make back-flushing the filter easy. smile

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#52061 - 09/05/17 10:59 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: WanderingJim]
david_garza Offline


Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 29
Loc: Glendale, California
I use the sawyer mini too, but use aquatabs in camp cause I'm too lazy to squeeze filter.

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#52071 - 09/06/17 12:09 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
Martian Offline


Registered: 09/06/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Fremont, CA
Hello - Looks like we are doing the day hike on the same day...We are group of 6 from Bay Area doing the day hike on Sep 15th.. We plan to start the hike around 230 AM and finish by 6 PM

We plan to stay at Lone Pine camp ground (elevation of 6000 ft) on 13th night and collect the permit on 14th...

Good Luck


Edited by Martian (09/06/17 12:18 PM)

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#52104 - 09/07/17 07:57 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: Martian]
Debster Offline


Registered: 07/02/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ca, Seal Beach
You can use the mini sawyer filter with a large smart water bottle. Just screw it on and squeeze. My husband and I did the hike yesterday (Sept. 6, 17) and did not need water shoes and our boots stayed dry. There are water crossings, but you can hop on rocks and logs to cross and stay dry. Have fun and enjoy!

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#52105 - 09/07/17 08:00 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
Debster Offline


Registered: 07/02/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Ca, Seal Beach
We took old trail yesterday. It is steeper, but much shorter. Also we were checked for permit by ranger. She asked to see our paper permit in addition to our yellow tags.

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#52115 - 09/08/17 01:15 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: Martian]
shruti80 Offline


Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Fremont, CA
We'll be in Mammoth the night before & will pick up permits on the 14th as well! I hope our paths cross 😊 Good luck on your adventure!!!

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#52116 - 09/08/17 01:37 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: shruti80]
Kumar12 Offline


Registered: 02/01/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Have couple of questions:
1. Does bear bells help repel bears? Is it worth to carry one just in case?
2. We will be hiking the first 6 miles in dark, any suggestions for the rest places where we can sit and rest?

Thanks

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#52120 - 09/08/17 05:32 PM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: Kumar12]
WanderingJim Online


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Kumar12
Have couple of questions:
1. Does bear bells help repel bears? Is it worth to carry one just in case?


The only place you're likely to see bears is at the Portal. I don't think they are worth it.

Quote:

2. We will be hiking the first 6 miles in dark, any suggestions for the rest places where we can sit and rest?


There are big rocks and boulders all along the way that make for good seats. smile

In the dark, just try to be careful to stick to the trail and not step off any steep edges. There are a few of those around Mirror Lake and trailside meadows.

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#52126 - 09/10/17 07:46 AM Re: 1st Timer - Tons of Qs [Re: Martian]
Crusher Offline


Registered: 06/15/17
Posts: 4
Loc: North Carolina
We're a group of 4 (3 from NC, 1 from Palo Alto) also making 1st Whitney hike on Fri 9/15. Staying at Whitney Portal Campground Site 19. We'd love to connect with any of you heading out in the 2:30-3:00 am timeframe. We've read all we can about what to bring and how to prepare, but still some angst and would welcome chance to compare notes.

Also looking to secure two more permits if anyone knows of a group that has a spare or two.

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