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#52679 - 03/02/18 08:53 PM Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney
ErikR_Milwaukee Offline


Registered: 03/02/18
Posts: 2
Loc: WI
Hi All and thanks for all the informative posts in this forum.

I am planning on doing the Mt Whitney summit on May 2-3. I fly in on May 1st and will be in Lone Pine by ~12 noon. I plan on staying at a hotel/motel on the 1st.

What are my options if I do not win the lottery for May 2-3. I can do May 3-4 as well but that's about as flexible as I can be on dates. I plan on staying at Trail Camp one night during my summit.

Any help on bettering my chances for the lottery OR any advice on alternate hikes would be greatly appreciated. I am flying in to Las Vegas as an FYI.

Thanks!

Erik


Edited by ErikR_Milwaukee (03/02/18 08:54 PM)

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#52680 - 03/02/18 09:09 PM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: ErikR_Milwaukee]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 236
Loc: California
Even with the low snow fall (so far) this year, early May is not going to be that busy.

I'd be surprised if you can't get a overnight permit somehow. Lottery, leftovers, walk up.

Are you prepared for possible ice/snow on the way up?
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#52681 - 03/02/18 09:41 PM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: WanderingJim]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 543
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: WanderingJim
Even with the low snow fall (so far) this year, early May is not going to be that busy.

Are you prepared for possible ice/snow on the way up?


Although this is (so far) a low snow year, we can still get snow late, that will assure a "Winter hike" in May.

Following link has pictures from 2016 main trail hike:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rescuebob81/albums/72157667875212220

I agree with Jim. Getting a permit will not be a problem for a Wed. or Thursday night.


Edited by John Sims (03/02/18 09:58 PM)

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#52682 - 03/02/18 10:00 PM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: WanderingJim]
ErikR_Milwaukee Offline


Registered: 03/02/18
Posts: 2
Loc: WI
Thanks! I will be crossing my fingers.

I will have crampons and I will most likely rent an Ice Axe from the area. I understand there is a rental place in the area. Will also bring appropriate attire.

Anything specific you are referring to, in regards to snow/ice?


Edited by ErikR_Milwaukee (03/02/18 10:01 PM)

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#52683 - 03/02/18 10:36 PM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: ErikR_Milwaukee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
EricR, welcome! You don't need to enter the lottery, because there will be plenty of permits available during May. Here are the unused permit numbers for 2014, with additional data added:   Unused Whitney Permits 2014.   Scroll up to the top of that thread to see links to earlier and later years. (Reminds me I need to add the unused 2017 numbers).

If the snow does not pile up between now and May, you will still have long sections of snow completely covering the trail. You will need the ice axe because the slope is that steep. If you have no experience, you need to learn how to self-arrest and also watch the ice axe videos. (See the Reference forum here, first post)

You sound pretty inexperienced. If you can change your plans at all, then I would plan on coming out mid-week the last week in June. Even then, there are always plenty of walk-in permits, and you will have a far greater likely chance of hiking a better trail.

Also, check through the Orientation Notes (link above left). You need to know about AMS -- altitude sickness, in case it affects you.

- - - -
As for alternate hikes, any of the roads on the East Side (of the Sierra) have trails from the end of the road up to the Sierra Crest. Kearsarge Pass out of Onion Valley (town of Independence) is the easiest and shortest to the 11k pass leading to the drainage to the west. It, too, will have lots of snow the first of May. Most hiking doesn't really start here until mid-June, unless you are happy to tramp over lots of snow.

If the road to Horseshoe Meadows is clear (left turn off Whitney Portal road), it is also a great place to see -- HM is a high plateau at 10K, with trails leading to Mt Langley, the Sierra's southern-most fourteener.

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#52684 - 03/03/18 07:52 AM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
We have been getting heavy snow-fall for a couple of weeks. The "March Miracle" might be upon us.

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#52687 - 03/03/18 10:54 AM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: ErikR_Milwaukee]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 543
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: ErikR_Milwaukee


Anything specific you are referring to, in regards to snow/ice?


Of course my comments are all given "in the dark" based on possibly changing conditions based on snow fall. Nonetheless:

Possibly some issues finding the trail (due to snow cover), although there will likely be a boot path beaten in. Beware, not all boot paths lead to your desired destination.

Almost certainly you will be climbing "the chute", as opposed to following the switchbacks, so expect a steep hike. Ice Axe self arrest skills are required.

The "back side" will almost certainly have snow, either obscuring the trail or narrowing the trail to the point that some turn back, rather than risk the consequence of a mistake. Do a bit of searching (see link at the top of the page) for trip reports. I would guess that last years trip reports will likely have pictures showing the conditions I am suggesting might occur.

You might want to consider hiking the Mountaineer's route with a guide service. Serra Mountaineering International has a trip scheduled for May 10-13. It is expensive ($1,000), but it is also a very different experience than you will get on the main trail. See more at:
https://sierramountaineering.com/mt-whitney/winterspring-mountaineers-route/



Edited by John Sims (03/03/18 10:55 AM)

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#52849 - 04/04/18 07:56 PM Re: Alternate hikes if I don't get Lottery for Mt Whitney [Re: ErikR_Milwaukee]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 203
Loc: New York
Hey Erik,

I think regardless of how much snow falls from now, you will have snow higher up at least from 12k up more than likely, so plan on that.

Not sure if you're renting an axe b/c you don't want to fly with one or b/c you don't own one. If the latter, I'd suggest you take some lessons at least the day or two before maybe with SMI in Bishop...you don't want to be forced to learn on the mountain in an emergency situation.

One thing not mentioned is your schedule - assuming you're flying in from Milwaukee on May 1 and planning on climbing up May 2/3; That is quick. Coming from sea level myself, I usually do much better with a couple days above 8000ft before climbing to 13,000+ft unless I've been up a similar peak in the last few weeks beforehand.

Acclimatizing to the altitude may be a real issue for you unless you've been up higher in recent weeks or know how your body reacts exerting yourself for an extended period above 13,000ft. Once on the other side of Trail crest, you'll have to regain that drop on the return for several hundred feet back up to the crest before you descend - which would be grueling if you're not feeling well.

Going from sea level and flight the day before to camping at 12k then summit the next morning is a tough schedule. If possible, try and take 2 more days, one to get hiking up to above 10k for the day and then to rest on the second day above 10k, THEN plan to ascent to trail camp for the night, leaving early so you can turn in by sunset for your early start up.

If conditions will be too challenging, since you're flying into Vegas, a good pair of alternatives with a lot less driving are Griffith Peak and Mount Charleston in the Spring Mountains. You will have snow in May as well though the elevation of the peaks are ~11k/12k so while the altitude will be a factor, it will be much less of a factor than Whitney. Its in a beautiful area and worthwhile to visit. Below is a link to a trip I did last April

https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=17717

Good luck!

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