Hey all: I'll try to keep this one short and sweet since there are some other good TRs from just a couple days past. The quick report:
1. We were at our place in Mammoth all weekend to acclimate, and headed to Lone Pine in the afternoon of June 18. We picked up our permits and wag bags and headed to Pizza Factory for dinner before heading into the Alabama Hills to camp for the night. Tuesday morning, we grabbed breakfast at Alabama Hills Cafe before heading up the hill.
2. Left Portal at 10.30am Tuesday and arrived Trail Camp around 2.30pm. We made sure to spend some time at Mirror Lake, as we didn't want to get to Trail Camp too early. (I'd suggest waiting even longer)
3. Trail Camp was mild temps and slight wind. We found a nice sheltered spot on the upper terrace on the south side of the trail. I highly recommend venturing up there as there are some great spots out of the wind - and perfectly flat.
4. Woke up at 4am Wednesday and got hiking around 5.00am. We were probably one of the last of the early wave of hikers. Sunrise was at 5.40am, so we were not in darkness at all.
5. Switchbacks: As others have noted, there are 2-3 sketchier spots, but nothing that anyone with microspikes and a brain can't get past.
6. Got to Trail Crest at 7am, and got to the summit at 8.40am.
7. On our return, the snowy sections on the switchbacks were softer. It was tempting to forego the spikes and just motor through, but my wife is the sensible one and told my son and me to put them on. Yes dear! We arrived Trail Camp around 12.20pm.
8. Back at Trail Camp, we were horizontal for about an hour, then packed up, got fresh water, and made the long hike back starting around 2pm. My wife was getting a bit "stumbly" around Trailside Meadow, so we backed off our pace and cruised down to the portal around 5pm.
And yes, the trail from Lone Pine Lake to the Portal is the LONGEST section of trail in your life. This is my second Whitney, and both times seemed like an eternity!
Burgers, fries and beer at the Portal topped off the trip! Then it was back to the Alabama Hills to camp for the night before our trip back home to Orange County.
A quick breakfast at Alabama Hills Cafe, and we were off!