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#53456 - 06/13/18 10:36 AM June 16th Whitney Trail Day Use
elizabethh Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hi there, I am trying to meet up with my friend hiking the PCT at Guitar Lake on Saturday evening, and as I understand it I would need a Whitney permit to use that trail. Anyone have insight into the risks of hiking that portion without a permit? Would start hiking at 6/7am.

Any other tips would be very welcomed.

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#53463 - 06/13/18 01:13 PM Re: June 16th Whitney Trail Day Use [Re: elizabethh]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
ElizabethH, if you go to the Visitor Center in Lone Pine (one mile south of town at the Death Valley turnoff), Get there by 4 PM the day before, there will more than likely be free walk-in permits available.

Since you are spending a night at Guitar Lake, you need an overnight permit (which allows you to stay as many nights as you want).

By the way, most people carrying overnight gear cannot make it to Guitar Lake in one day. You have 12 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain to cover. Unless you are incredibly in shape, or hiking without overnight gear, you need to rethink this.

It would be far easier to meet your friend just over Cottonwood Pass out of Horseshoe Meadows. Those permits are easier to get, too.


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#53468 - 06/13/18 01:42 PM Re: June 16th Whitney Trail Day Use [Re: Steve C]
elizabethh Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Thanks Steve. The problem is that she and crew are summiting Whitney the day before, so were planning to meet us halfway. I realize 5k elevation is a lot. If we start at 5am do you think the 12 miles would be more manageable? I am in great shape as a regular endurance athlete, though am slightly more concerned about the altitude and gear. Not to mention whether I can get to the ranger station before 4pm on Friday.

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#53486 - 06/13/18 10:59 PM Re: June 16th Whitney Trail Day Use [Re: elizabethh]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
You have to be in extreme shape to carry a 30 lb pack up that altitude in a day. And the exertion at the altitude is highly likely to bring on serious AMS symptoms -- barfing, headache, and worse.

Especially if you don't have the time to get over and spend one night, and better, two, at altitude -- think Horseshoe Meadows.

Your ideal would be to hike to Outpost Camp, spend a night. Then possibly move to Trail Camp with that pack. (Some people haul their packs all the way to Trail Camp on day one.) THEN carry your pack up and over Trail Crest.

Then what are you going to do if you DO get to Guitar Lake? Sit around and talk for an hour, then go to bed exhausted? And next morning turn around and haul your gear back over Trail Crest? That, in my opinion, is not an enjoyable trip.

You would be better trying to meet them at the summit for a chat, then returning to Whitney Portal -- all in a day hike.

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