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Mt Langley Info
#57335 06/19/20 03:13 PM
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Since it looks increasingly like my Mt. Whitney Day Use permit is going to be cancelled, I was thinking about switching to Mt. Langley.

From what I've read, Mt. Langley can also be done in a day and is relatively comparable to Whitney (Main Trail) in terms of difficulty. On the Inyo Forest website, it only says that permits are needed for overnight trips. I have crampons and an ice axe, but from MuffenMan's latest trip report, it sounds like they won't be needed. Also, the upper Horseshoe Meadow Road gate will most likely be closed but there is parking at the gate and it's roughly a mile hike in to the trail head.

I have a reservation for Whitney Portal campground (which is now open) so I'll likely spend the night and drive out to the trail head (or gate) from there early morning (just to get some higher altitude acclimatization time). Is it still advisable to start before dawn?

If anyone can chime in on whether any of my assumptions are incorrect, or if they have any additional advice, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

Last edited by retrofan; 06/19/20 09:12 PM.
Re: Mt Langley Info
retrofan #57336 06/19/20 04:01 PM
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Hi, Retrofan. I have hiked both Langley and Whitney more than once, and I spoke to someone at the permit office this morning, too. In terms of overall challenge, they are indeed comparable. Langley is a longer hike (and yes, I would advise leaving before dawn), but it does not have the steepness or exposure of Whitney. I personally find Langley to be a more beautiful, scenic trip. As of this morning, the uppermost gate on Horseshoe Meadow road is still closed, but you are officially allowed to park on the side of the road and hike in, as you wrote. Finally, as for crampons, I would agree that you probably do not need them now, at least over New Army Pass.

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Re: Mt Langley Info
Goose #57341 06/20/20 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Goose
Hi, Retrofan. I have hiked both Langley and Whitney more than once, and I spoke to someone at the permit office this morning, too. In terms of overall challenge, they are indeed comparable. Langley is a longer hike (and yes, I would advise leaving before dawn), but it does not have the steepness or exposure of Whitney. I personally find Langley to be a more beautiful, scenic trip. As of this morning, the uppermost gate on Horseshoe Meadow road is still closed, but you are officially allowed to park on the side of the road and hike in, as you wrote. Finally, as for crampons, I would agree that you probably do not need them now, at least over New Army Pass.

Mt Langley is definitely underrated. I would rather hike this than the MWMT. Ascending it includes a very beautiful journey, especially along Cottonwood Lakes.

The NFS has installed giant cairns to guide you to the top, but note that there are a few false summits.

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Re: Mt Langley Info
retrofan #57343 06/20/20 12:31 PM
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Whether it is necessary to start the hike up Langley before dawn is debatable. I have NEVER started a hike up Whitney or Langley before dawn, and done fine. On the trail, you will find a fair number who agree with me on this. But on the internet, the preference for an alpine start is virtually unanimous. I consider this to be more a matter of such things as the weather forecast and personal preference than anything else. Simply put, if you feel the NEED to get an early start on Whitney, you will probably want to do the same on Langley.

As for difficulty, the two are rather different. Distance is about the same. But that’s really about it. Altitude gain is significantly less on Langley. But bear in mind that almost all of it comes near the end of the hike. The first few miles at Langley actually involve almost no climbing. You climb a little as you approach Cottonwood Lakes. But you don’t REALLY start to climb until you start to near New Army Pass. And as you make the final climb up Langley, things get quite steep - FAR steeper than anything on Whitney. This whole ‘saving the steepest climb till the end’ thing can make Langley more difficult than Whitney for some.

As for scenic beauty, this is largely a personal preference thing. The first few miles of the hike up Langley can be somewhat monotonous for many. It’s a nice hike through the woods. But there is not too much to see. The hike through Cottonwood Lakes is nice. But so is Whitney. Which is nicer? Again, what do you like? After New Army Pass, the hike is largely a spectacular climb through alpine terrain. In this respect, it is somewhat similar to Whitney after Trail Crest. However, in my opinion, Whitney after Trail Crest is more rugged and spectacular. But you be the judge. In any case, the hike up Langley is FAR from shabby.

Last edited by StorminMatt; 06/20/20 08:04 PM.
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