Took my daughter up the Main Trail on the 4th. It was her first attempt and my 23rd. Conditions have changed somewhat from a month ago when I hiked the Main Trail with my brother.
We spent the day/night on the 2nd at Horseshoe Meadows. Very cold but we slept in the back of my SUV on a custom mattress. In the morning we sorted gear and went for a 4 mile hike towards Cottonwood.
On the 3rd we arrived at the WPS and basically hung out in the store and swapped stores with DougSr all day. For fun I had my daughter go in ahead of me and ask Doug for our permit. It's always great to talk with him and listen to him give nervous hikers advice.
He told us there was no need for our micro spikes so we left them. He was completely correct. No snow or ice on trail. Ice near the trail in a few places so pay attention. Hikers Monday and Tuesday reported strong, cold winds, but the forecast looked like we would be okay Wednesday.
We went to bed at 6:30 and slept well. Up at 2 a.m. and we were on trail by 2:45. My daughter carried a litre of water and 3-4 hours worth of snacks in a small runners vest. I carried a small day pack with everything else. We had plenty of layers and did not use them all.
I let her set the pace and we pushed through to my favorite log near LPL. Plenty of traffic on the trail. My daughter ran out of water at Trail Side Meadow so we topped her off full to 2 litres, filled my bladder up and filled the 2 extra bottles I brought. We would not need to use the filter again. I saw no water on the swichers. The sewer looking lake at Trail Camp is your last water.
On the switchbacks we slowed and my daughter struggled. She has done big hikes, but over 4 years ago. She now lives at sea level. We stayed on her pace, and I was ready to turn around when she was. She showed no AMS signs, she was just tired from the work she was putting in.
At Trail Crest we took a break and I checked to make sure she could go on. She was winded, but determined. I allowed the hike to continue and her attitude improved. Her speed picked up a little bit, but of course we were headed downhill towards the JMT. She kept a steady pace and it wasn't too long before we were at the snowfield. Except the snow on the actual trail is gone. She slowed when we turned and headed towards the hut, but made it.
At the summit she took a 10 minute nap in the hut and then I got her moving for some pics. We stayed less than 15 minutes total. There was cold wind, but nothing too bad.
She was in great spirits until the climb up to Trail Crest, which seemed to use a lot of her energy. We did not stop for a break there and kept going down the switchbacks. Except to shed layers we did not take any significant breaks while slowly hiking down.
I had hoped to use the old trail going down, but it was dark and I did not want to lead her along it with poor viability. We stayed on the main trail the whole way.
None of the water crossings were a challenge, even for my daughter who has short legs. I packed trekking poles but she did not need them.
Trail time was exactly 17 hours. 10 up and 7 down. Nothing record breaking, but she got it done and done safely.
What's more impressive is we drove 4 hours to Anaheim, got 5 hours rest in a crappy Motel 6 and then spent over 16 hours at Disneyland. She was sore but excited. Everyone asked about the button I made for her that read - "Whitney to the Matterhorn".
Great day on the trail..............................DUG