This was me and my husband's first time attempting Whitney.
Scouring the internet, I could only find 2 accounts of pregnant women summiting (one at 23 weeks and one at 6 weeks) so I wanted to share my experience as a reference for any mother-to-beís. Please always check with your doctor. My doctor didnít know much about the subject (hadnít even heard of Mt. Whitney), so I did my own research and used my own judgment. CDC recommends that pregnant women should avoid activities at high altitude unless trained for and accustomed to such activities. CDC also recommends a slower ascent with adequate time for acclimatization and not staying at sleeping altitudes above 12,000 ft. We followed these guidelines. My philosophy was that, if Iím feeling fine, our baby is too. If I ever felt 'off', we would turn around.
Some background: First pregnancy (not high-risk). 30 years old. Not super athletic, could barely even run a mile in high school. Started getting a bit more into fitness after college.
Possible history of activities that may have helped: skiing in Mammoth (9,000'- 11,000', one time at 6 weeks pregnant; no issues with altitude) though skiing doesn't equate to the same exertion as hiking. LA Marathon 2018. Inca Trail in 2017 with Diamox, porters and daypacks (highest elevation 13,800í). 38 miles of the W-Trek Patagonia in 2018 (low elevation <5000', glamping/daypacks only).
Training: SoCal Six Pack of Peaks. Backpacking trips for San Bernadino (17.5 wks pregnant) and San Gorgonio (18.5 wks pregnant) to get accustomed to wearing a pack with a small baby bump. Light weight training and HIIT 2-3x a week in addition to weekend training hikes.
Husband's pack: 30 lbs // My pack: 25 lbs // I buckled my pack at the waist but didnít tighten the straps around my stomach. My hips are wide enough that the pack was still tight around my hips and helped support the pack.
We broke up the trip into many nights to acclimate since I couldn't take Diamox and wanted to increase our chances of a successful summit. Night 1: Whitney Portal (8000í) // Night 2: Horseshoe Meadows (10,000í) // Night 3: Outpost Camp (10,400í) // Night 4: Trail Camp (12,000í)
7/24 Portal --> Outpost
Started from Whitney Portal around 10am after a nice shower at Whitney Hostel ($7). Skies were clear with some clouds at Portal. Switched to water shoes at one of the stream crossings to avoid getting our socks wet. Highly recommend Goretex boots as they were helpful through many other sections of the hike. By the time we got to the log crossing, it started pouring and we heard thunder at the peaks. Prior to reaching the meadow before outpost camp, we saw a flash of lightning, heard thunder rumble and crackle overhead, less than a second after (so scary!). We hid under a cluster of trees, waited for the storm to pass and hightailed it through the meadow to Outpost Camp. Because of the thunderstorms that day, Outpost was packed! Over a dozen tents set up by the end of the night.
7/25 Outpost-->Trail Camp
This portion of the trail was pretty straightforward. There's a well stomped out snow traverse/ bridge right before trail camp that most hikers are still using. No issues with good boots and hiking poles. Main portion of the trail is also starting to clear up in this area. But the days we ascended and descended it was still easier to use the traverse. Not sure how much longer the snow bridge will hold up for, since snow is melting fast.
7/26 Trail Camp --> Summit --> Portal
3:10am start from Trail Camp
Went at a slow and steady pace ascending, a little less than a mile/hr with snack breaks. We brought 8 liters of water between the two of us for those 10 miles and finished it all. Reached trail crest around sunrise but we were completely in the clouds at this point. At the end of trail crest, it started hailing and I wish I had brought thicker gloves. There was one snowfield before the summit where we put on microspikes only when descending but probably doable with poles and careful footing. When we reached the summit, we were in the clouds so didn't get to see much! On our descent, we got great views of Sequoia NP. Overall, no issues with AMS in terms of headache/nausea, though I did feel a tiny bit loopy above 13,000'.
Please pack out your wag bags! Saw bags under and behind rocks, or just on the side of the trail. It breaks my heart to know that people using the trail could be so disrespectful. We even saw a pile of steaming hot human poop on the switchbacks (...seriously?!) Leave no trace!!
This forum along with the Mt. Whitney FB group has been an invaluable resource for trail conditions and tips the past few months, so thanks everyone! Such an unforgettable experience, probably the most physically challenging thing I've done to date. We will definitely be back for Whitney someday with our son!
Photos on FB group or https://www.instagram.com/char2d2/