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#55967 - 08/13/19 09:50 AM Trip Report 8/8/19
KCMasterpiece Offline


Registered: 02/14/19
Posts: 17
Loc: California
This forum was wonderful for my preparation, even going back two years to see reports from a similar snow year and what I could expect. I'll chip in my experience for the record.

Group of 4 first-timers, all had a successful one-day summit via Mt. Whitney Trail, August 8, 2019

Preparation: Varied, two are dedicated trail runners and that was a bulk of their fitness training, and the other two did a lot of strength training, hiking, stairclimber, running and other relevant workouts. We all worked out 5-6 days a week in the two months before Whitney (and work out regularly anyway). We hiked San Jacinto and Baldy together, and I personally did various other hikes like Cucamonga Peak and a couple longer hikes through Cleveland National Forest.

Acclimation: Two of us took 62.5mg of Diamox, twice a day on August 6 and August 7. All of us stayed one night at Horseshoe Meadows (10K) and spent most of the next day at the Whitney Portal campground (8K) before the hike. One of us had altitude issues but not until about 14,200 and she continued to the summit with a headache.

Started hike at 12:05 a.m., summit at 9:59 a.m., return to Portal at about 5:20 p.m.

Most of our ascent was in the dark and it was chilly! It warmed up after sunrise but once we hit Trail Crest it was chilly and windy all the way to the top. I had a technical T-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a down jacket on for these cold stretches, in addition to stocking hat and gloves which I'm glad I brought.

The snow field below the summit was a bit sketchy, particularly coming down (there was about 10-15 of us descending at the same time because of a cloud build-up and there was a bit of a traffic jam at this snowfield. Microspikes were not necessary but may have helped. I did not have them and did fine.

There were other smaller snow crossings, one below Trail Camp that was about 20 feet and not an issue, and one of the switchback turns had snow but no issue.

Creek crossings were fine, shoes stayed dry.

We were on the lowest switchbacks at sunrise. It had rained the day before so there was water flowing down from roughly the 25th switchback, and there were about 5-7 switchbacks below it with icy rocks as a result. Just had to be careful. They were not icy on our descent.

All in all, a great day! I'll never forget it. Thanks for everyone's advice on here, it was so valuable.



Edited by KCMasterpiece (08/13/19 11:37 AM)

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#55980 - 08/14/19 09:22 AM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: KCMasterpiece]
Batamaran Offline


Registered: 08/14/19
Posts: 1
Loc: Kansas City
Congratulations! KC Masterpiece huh? Iím from KC (Brookside) and my son and I also summited on the 8th! Small world (assuming youíre a Kc native)! We did an overnight and left camp at 3:00. Summited at 5:30 just in time for the sunset. We climbed Mummy Mountain in Vegas a couple days before. My son (16)is in prime hiking shape having spent 7 of the last 8 weeks backpacking in Alaska and Colorado just before this trip. Iím old and fat smile. We thought the two day summit was awesome and much easier than expected.

Not to hijack your thread , but I was disappointed at the number of people who left their wag bags under rocks and laying around by camp. Just going up on the rocks above camp smelled like a septic tank. Why bother using the bags at all if youíre not even going to pack them out!!!

Also, any one know what the building is down at camp? Itís in the back corner and doesnít have any signs or fencing around it. Emergency equipment??

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#55983 - 08/14/19 10:13 AM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: Batamaran]
folsomChen Offline


Registered: 07/25/19
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
It is the rest cabin for the ranger. Usually he will hike up one day and back to base on next day.

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#55984 - 08/14/19 10:51 AM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: Batamaran]
KCMasterpiece Offline


Registered: 02/14/19
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Yes, I am a KC native, though I haven't lived there in over a decade. Should've worn a Royals hat on the mountain so everyone would've known!

Congratulations on your summit!

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#56005 - 08/15/19 08:58 AM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: KCMasterpiece]
tahoeblue Offline


Registered: 02/09/14
Posts: 4
Loc: SF Bay Area/South Lake Tahoe, ...
Congrats to KCMasterpiece and Batamaran on your summits! My brother and I have a permit for entry on the main trail this Monday. This will be my fifth trip to Whitney, but his first! Snow crossings are a huge fear of mine. I've done just enough guided mountaineering (with crampons and ice axe) to know how dangerous a fall and slide can be. Does anyone have a recent photo of the snow crossing below the summit? I'm totally comfortable when there are well established foot tracks and when a fall would not result in an uncontrollable slide. On the other hand, when there is a steep drop off, I am totally out of my comfort zone. I'd love to hear any thoughts, more details, see a photo, etc. Thanks!

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#56008 - 08/15/19 10:32 AM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: tahoeblue]
KCMasterpiece Offline


Registered: 02/14/19
Posts: 17
Loc: California
It's on a slope but it's not a steep drop-off. My risk-tolerance is pretty low (I've got young kids!) but I didn't find it to be all that risky. Just take every step seriously (especially going down) and take advantage of the extra stability hiking poles give you.

I went through it going up at about 9:30 a.m. and going down at about 10:45 a.m.


Edited by KCMasterpiece (08/15/19 10:35 AM)

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#56013 - 08/15/19 04:52 PM Re: Trip Report 8/8/19 [Re: KCMasterpiece]
tahoeblue Offline


Registered: 02/09/14
Posts: 4
Loc: SF Bay Area/South Lake Tahoe, ...
Thanks so much KCMasterpiece. I really appreciate the info. That makes me feel much better. We'll be taking our poles for sure and will have the microspikes just in case. Cheers to low risk tolerance! I feel the same way.

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