Long time lurker, first time poster. Just have to say upfront, I want to thank all the contributors here, what a great community; generous with knowledge, and encouraging to newbies and veterans alike! I hope as I continued to develop my backpacking and mountaineering skills that I can contribute to the wealth of information here.
Been getting back into backpacking and since starting training in the spring. Whitney has been my summer capstone.
Would like feedback on my trip plan and any other advice.
First due to work schedules, my cousin and I are leaving early sat AM with the goal of being at the permit office in Lone Pine. We don't have permits but this is our plan:
1) Check in early sat; if score an overnight, sat night outpost camp to acclimatize, sun night trail camp, monday summit attempt and back.
2) If No overnight, camp at horseshoe meadows and try again on sunday. Sunday: if score overnight, hike and camp at trail camp and monday summit and back; if not try for a day pass; hike to lone pine, and do a day hike on Monday.
Another contingency is to bail on the day hike idea and hike Mt Langley instead, camping overnight at cottonwood lakes.
Is this a reasonable strategy to have some fun in the high sierra?
If we do the slower schedule with outpost>trail camp>summit (less ground that I personally like to cover, but its a trade off with the elevation gain), what things can you do to kill time? Explore constitution lake? Fish?
If we do Langley, any helpful online resources to learn about the trail in advance?
What are people taking right now in general for weather and night temps? I have a 40 degree sleeping bag and long johns (and I run "hot"), and don't really want to have to deal with my 15 degree bag weight.
Can you keep camp at Trail camp and make the bid on a day pack and pack up on the way back? (i.e. will people leave your stuff alone; yes take any valuables in day pack)
Reviewing the trail and SAR info, it appears that people tend to get into trouble around Mirror lake? Why is that? I understand there are switchbacks up/down a granite face, it is easy to lose the trail? Tips for navigating this section? Any other particular trouble spots to be aware of? (Trail crest to the windows?)
What is/where is the "alternative trail" to get around the snow field. Where is the snow field relative to the switchbacks?
Training has consisted of 30-45min of elliptical at high incline and resistance settings 3-4x/week and a mix of stadiums/parking garage stairs/Auburn State Rec Area (training hill loop has become my friend) or sierra hikes on the weekends. Summited Mt Tallac, the Castle Peak Trifecta (Castle Peak, Basin Peak, Andolsek Peak), and a 25mile 3 day backpacking in the Marble Mountains near Yreka, this summer. 1 weekend ago, did Lyon's Creek Trail to Pyramid Peak in Desolation in 8 hours (12m RT, 3.8K elevation gain/class 2-3 scramble the last 1.5mile, up to about 9.8K) and while painful the next day, felt good during and after. I guess am I am bit concerned, because due to external issues, my exercise routine has decreased over the past 2 weeks, and I hope I didn't peak too soon...Thoughts?
Water we have covered, with filters and bladders. Like the 2L strategy with filling up at Trail Camp for the final push. Maybe the ecoli scare will open some permits up for us.
My main concern is the altitude. I've been up to 12k before a few times and have done well. However, I won't be able to get an extra day in on Friday as originally planned to sleep at Whitney portal.
To Diamox vs not to diamox, that is the question. If i go this route, I'll pretreat Thursday and Friday, last dose Friday night because I don't want to deal with the diuretic effect while hiking. Or maybe I just table it. I've read the respective threads on this and want to put myself in the best position to summit with a tight acclimatization schedule, while limiting side effects.
Anyone ever use Dexamethasone at this height when/if AMS symptoms appear? Its probably overkill, but I was thinking of carrying some dex as well just in case.
Is four hours from Trail Camp to Summit a good budget of time? Just want to be up and back to TC before 12pm to reduce risk of getting caught in a T-storm.
I guess thats it for now, really excited and thank everyone for the feedback.