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#55038 - 05/03/19 06:10 PM Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization
Justin Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
Seeking some advise for proper acclimatization and to best maximize my enjoyment/summit success/safety and minimize my chance for AMS

First, a quick couple facts about my hike and "situation". I will have 3 nights total for my hiking weekend. I be doing this as a day hike. No real other option here, due to the type of permit I have. Also, much more comfortable doing long day hikes, and have experience doing similar hikes in the past as to distance and elevation gain (however not at the altitude of Whitney). I live at sea level. I will be training before with long hikes/etc, however will not have the option to train on higher mountains, such as White mountain, etc.

I was lucky enough to get a permit for a day hike this year for July 19. I was also lucky enough to snag a reservation at the portal the night before the hike (7/18). However, the camp site is already full for the night before that (7/17), and full the night after my hike.

I would really appreciate any tips on where it is recommended I stay the night 2 days before my hike to best acclimate. I see Cottonwood Pass Campsite at 10,000 ft and am considering trying to spend the day/night up there, but wondering if that will be beneficial/wise as I will have to spend the next night (before my hike) at a lower elevation. Would I just be best served/more comfortable just getting a room in Lone Pine? Or is there usually last min cancelations at Whitney Portal or some other campsite/location I would be better served staying the 2 nights before?

Also, as for the night after my hike, would Lone Pine likely be my best option for comfort/etc after the hike? And as a side note, any suggested hikes for those two days prior would also be very helpful.

Thanks you for your time and for all who respond!!

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#55039 - 05/03/19 08:59 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Justin]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 431
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I would spend the night at Horseshoe Meadow 7-17. Do a moderate hike around Cottonwood Lakes on 7-18 and then drive to your campsite. Tag the summit on 7-19. That basically confirms that you were already on the right track. I’ve never stayed in or south of Lone Pine, so I don’t know where you should spend the night after your climb.

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#55041 - 05/03/19 09:51 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: bobpickering]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7877
Loc: Fresno, CA
I recommend the first night at Horseshoe Meadow. If you want a shorter hike, climb Trail Peak from there. But most important is sleeping and spending time up there.

As for the night afteward, there just isn't much south of Lone Pine. Plenty of motels there, and the Whitney Portal Hostel is the cheapest, if you just want a shower and a bunk bed.

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#55087 - 05/08/19 06:05 AM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Steve C]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 219
Loc: New York
I usually face the same issues coming from sea level-

To help acclimatize beforehand, Horseshoe Meadows would be good or if you want to explore more, check out the Bristlecones Pines Forest east of Big Pine and spend the day walking around there. It's a pretty cool place and you can get in some easy walking above 10,000ft. If you wanted to do more hiking another option is check out Kearsarge Pass for an acclimatizing hike.

For your other question, for my successful summits, I've stayed in Lone Pine the night before, hiking up higher during the day (10-12k) in the day or two before. Personally anyway, I've found focusing on getting a good night sleep has worked better for me than staying high and not sleeping well.

Good luck!

-Rob

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#55098 - 05/08/19 08:26 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: nyker]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 112
Loc: Novato, CA
I've stayed at Horseshoe meadows 3 years in a row on the night before I stayed at the campground (then hiking to the summit). I've never slept well there, if at all. Going from sea level to 10000 feet and trying to sleep in a tent is a tall order for anybody. So anticipating that, I hedged my bets and stayed up there as long as I could (I think 1 am was the latest I stayed up there) before bailing for a hotel in Lone Pine. As Steve said, a good night's sleep is the most important two nights before the hike. Especially since you're not likely to sleep well at the campground (anticipation and nerves makes it tough, not to mention sleeping in a tent at 8000 feet).

So I would do both. Get up to Horseshoe as early as possible, perhaps right after lunch, and hang for as long as you can. If you can get a decent nights sleep there, more power to you. Otherwise, get out of there if you can't get to sleep and get to a motel in town and sleep sleep sleep. Then grab your permit and head up to the campground. Of course, if you have a camper or some bed arrangement in your vehicle, that would probably make it more bearable at Horseshoe. My brother has had success sleeping that way driving from SoCal to Horseshoe.

I live in the Bay Area so I'm fortunate to have the option to stay at Mammoth Inn along the way (9000 ft.). As a full service Hotel with a nice bed, I can get that good night's sleep while acclimating, that I could never get at a high altitude campground like Horseshoe or Whitney Portal campground.


Edited by bruce (05/08/19 08:41 PM)

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#55100 - 05/08/19 10:03 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: bruce]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7877
Loc: Fresno, CA
Ha! Bruce, I NEVER sleep well the first night out on a camping trip. I just chalk it as part of getting used to being in a really different sleep setup. I sometimes sleep in my car at Horseshoe, have also used a cot and sleeping bag. But no matter which way, I also take something to help me sleep that first night. For me, it's two Benadryl tablets. Sometimes I'll take it the second night, too. By the third night, sleep happens. Usually because I'm really tired. grin

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#55106 - 05/09/19 01:54 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Steve C]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 112
Loc: Novato, CA
I've never tried any sleep aids at altitude, maybe I should. But anyway just want to stress that I think sleep, the second night out, is more important than having 8 hours extra acclimation.

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#55109 - 05/09/19 04:57 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Justin]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 133
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
My own unscientific view is that the best strategy for a day hike is to not bother with acclimatization but rather just get up and get down quickly.
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#55119 - 05/10/19 12:17 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: BFR]
jaym Offline


Registered: 09/10/18
Posts: 16
Loc: San Pedro
If you have a major 4 wheel drive vehicle, then there is "Altitude Acclimitatization Supreme Campground" (11,700 feet) at the White Mountain Peak parking lot. Has a restroom. Could easily walk around there up to about 12,700 feet. See the Bristcone Pine forest (10,000 <--> 11,300).

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#55120 - 05/10/19 01:05 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: jaym]
Goose Offline


Registered: 07/17/16
Posts: 19
Loc: NY
I would my own voice to the "less is more" school of acclimatization. There is an old mountaineering adage--"Climb high, sleep low"--that has never failed me, or two of my kids who summited Mt. Whitney when they were 7 years old. Here is a link to a good article on the subject.

My go to plan is to try and get a day hike or two prior to a summit trip (up to Cottonwood Lakes and back is great for this), followed by a night or two in LP. The hostel is always a solid, cheap option, and the Dow Villa has very affordable "historic" rooms (i.e. shared bathroom) that come with access to the pool.

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#55121 - 05/10/19 02:03 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Goose]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 431
Loc: Reno, Nevada
“Climb high, sleep low” is a strategy for climbing really big mountains “expedition style.” Climbers “climb high” to fix ropes, carry loads to the next camp, etc. Exercise at higher elevations helps them acclimatize. Then they return to a lower elevation (usually the highest established camp) to “sleep low.” The next day, they typically move camp to the higher location and repeat the process.

If you wanted to apply “climb high, sleep low” to Whitney, you would do something like this:
1. Carry some gear to Outpost Camp and return to the portal to sleep
2. Hike to Outpost Camp and sleep
3. Carry some gear to Trail Camp and return to Outpost Camp to sleep
4. Move camp to Trail Camp and sleep
5. Climb to the summit and return to Trail Camp. Return to the portal with your gear the same day or the next day.

Sleeping in Lone Pine isn’t a strategy for acclimatization. It just un-does whatever acclimatization you accomplished at Cottonwood Lakes. As the article you referenced says, the goal is to ascend “more than 1,000 feet in a day.” It is not to sleep at the lowest elevation you can find and then climb to 14,500’ the next day. If you want to acclimatize, you sleep at the highest altitude at which you don’t get sick. And you climb even higher than that during the day.

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#55144 - 05/12/19 12:49 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: bobpickering]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks for stating this so well, Bob. Probably the single most misapplied concept on this and other Sierra sites.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#55162 - 05/14/19 10:20 AM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Justin]
Delkan1066 Offline


Registered: 08/17/17
Posts: 11
Loc: Minnesota
Horseshoe Meadows is all that you need. I'd skip the portal campground all together. Two nights at Horseshoe with a hike to trail peak on your first day there.

My first year I tried the get up and down quickly approach. It didn't work for me.

The second attempt was much better after a few days at Horseshoe meadows.

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#55180 - 05/15/19 05:17 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: Delkan1066]
jaym Offline


Registered: 09/10/18
Posts: 16
Loc: San Pedro
Downsides of Horseshoe Meadows(and the above "Altitude Acclimatization Supreme Campground") vs the Portal is no hot resturaunt grub, showers and no cell/internet service.
:-(

I am wondering if it is best to hike the first day at Horseshoe or just take it easy? I think I have got myself pre-AMS-ed instead of acclimatized before.

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#55182 - 05/15/19 07:26 PM Re: Lodging help before/after hike for proper acclimatization [Re: jaym]
futbol Offline


Registered: 06/27/17
Posts: 75
Loc: San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: jaym
Downsides of Horseshoe Meadows(and the above "Altitude Acclimatization Supreme Campground") vs the Portal is no hot resturaunt grub, showers and no cell/internet service.
:-(

I am wondering if it is best to hike the first day at Horseshoe or just take it easy? I think I have got myself pre-AMS-ed instead of acclimatized before.



Yeah, the lack of hot restaurant grub is definitely a downside. I sometimes bring a Dutch oven for the hot meal.

Another potential downside is that you can get stuck up there if the road floods with mud between Walt's Point and the campground. That seems to happen often, but the crews clean it up the next morning with bulldozers.

I usually do a casual day hike locally up there. I day hiked Mt Langley, but that can wear you out before doing MWMT.

Did 4 trips to Lone Pine last year. I could see making that trip just for Horseshoe Meadow and the surrounding trails. It is beautiful and I always get a good sleep in the cool, crisp air (I normally sleep on a mattress in the back of my truck).

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