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Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
Anton #57330 06/19/20 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Anton
Since when Mt. Russell became a hike? The East Ridge (the "easiest" way up) can be intimidating even for experienced climbers.
I personally consider anything that isn't a class 4 or 5 to be a hike if done in summer conditions, but, as they say, YMMV. Heck, I've been told that San Jacinto via the tram was a climb and not a hike. When I gave him a confused look and told him to explain, he said that "you can't just walk up to the peak, there are some boulders you need to climb just before the top."

Originally Posted by Anton
It is certainly in a different league than MWMT.
That I agree with, but the poster mentioned that he was looking for something that's challenging, scenic, and has significant elevation. Russell would fit all three.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
Big Pine #57332 06/19/20 11:38 AM
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He was asking for advice due to cancellation of a permit for MWMT. While standards for "challenging" vary from person to person, it was worth mentioning that ER of Mt. Russell is a huge step up from MWMT in terms of route finding, technical difficulty and exposure.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bobpickering #57333 06/19/20 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by bobpickering
I just got an email from a girl I met on Whitney eight years ago. She encouraged me to “unleash my wisdom”, so here goes:

The problem isn’t the closures, your power-hungry governor, or the local Forest Service employees. It’s the COVID-19 pandemic. In case you haven’t heard, we have enough dead people to reach from the visitor center in Lone Pine to the visitor center in Lee Vining.
I did the morbid math on this and found that the bolded statement above is literally correct and not just hyperbole. Yikes!

Number of Americans dead from the virus = 118,758 as of this morning
Average adult's height: Five and a half feet (Men are about 5'9", women are about 5'4". The overwhelming majority of deaths have been adults and not children)
118,758 people * 5.5 feet / person = 653,169 feet = 124 miles

The actual distance between the visitor center in Lone Pine and the visitor center in Lee Vining is 125 miles. Words of wisdom, indeed.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
Big Pine #57334 06/19/20 02:35 PM
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What gets omitted though is the fact that the death rate is declining dramatically. But the media won't mention that because that would undermine their agenda of generating revenue by spreading fear.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bruce #57342 06/20/20 11:30 AM
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Bruce: C'mon, the number of people dying every day in the US is the equivalent of two full jumbo airliners crashing. The media is hyping that in order to generate revenue? Please don't tell me you get your news from FB or OAN. The US has about 4.5% of the world population and close to a third of the world total of deaths due to COVID, mostly because politics is driving policy rather than public health guidelines. It's unfortunate and sad how many Americans don't believe the science behind masks, social distancing, and even that the virus exists. I'd suggest that this could lead to Darwinian culling of the population, but ignorant people can infect anyone who they happen to come in contact with. I'd say talk to the previously healthy woman in her 20's who required a double lung transplant because her case of COVID was so severe, but she's probably not up to talking yet. Way too many people in denial out there...

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
Big Pine #57344 06/20/20 01:08 PM
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The average of 5’4 and 5’9 is 5’6.5, not 5’6.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
BFR #57349 06/20/20 06:40 PM
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I think you misunderstood me Jim. The media is hyping cases now, because that is what is going up. But you don't hear about the covid death rate plummeting. From your post, it doesn't seem you are aware of it either. I prefer to look at trends and no trend is more important than people dying from this. Fortunately that most important trend is heading in the right direction.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bruce #57350 06/20/20 10:04 PM
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I guess I did miss your point, Bruce. I apologize for that. Yeah, the death rate isn't climbing as fast as it had been, but number of cases ARE rising in almost half the states and even here in sunny San Diego County. An increase in mortality is likely to follow... A couple of the most respected MDs involved in this say it's like we're in the 2nd inning of a ballgame, unfortunately. Gonna be a while before life returns to something like "normal."

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bruce #57351 06/21/20 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce
I think you misunderstood me Jim. The media is hyping cases now, because that is what is going up. But you don't hear about the covid death rate plummeting. From your post, it doesn't seem you are aware of it either. I prefer to look at trends and no trend is more important than people dying from this. Fortunately that most important trend is heading in the right direction.

The death rate tells us about how well we were doing a few weeks ago. In the last month, national new cases haven't changed. Deaths have dropped. That means that the case to death conversion rate has improved. So we have learned something about how to treat symptoms to reduce fatalities from the first 50,000 deaths But that is not enough. I still think 100,000 dead is too many. The death rate is the product of the new case rate and that conversion rate, so the new case rate matters as well.

The new case rate is our nearest reflection of the effects of what we are doing now. That's why the new case rate should and does lead the news.

If you care about the 'most important trends', let's look at California which surrounds the Whitney Zone. The death rate hasn't changed much in the last month and the new case rate has not stopped rising. That leaves little reason to reduce PPE requirements and social distancing. How do we open up in this situation? Is it appropriate to allow activities that have traditionally been engaged in by groups that cross household boundaries? The federal government has determined to abandon support and control of that and all other reopening decisions to the states. California has a plan that assigns authority to the health officials of each county. Federal agencies have honored that county authority. That means that the Inyo NF will not be able to predict what and when Inyo County's decisions will be.

With no vaccine and no general COVID-19 virus treatment there is a long way to go and the path will continue to be invented one step at a time without much warning.

Dale B. Dalrymple

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
dbd #57352 06/21/20 06:17 AM
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Is this WebMD or WhitneyZone? I just want to know when the trail will open.

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Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
dbd #57353 06/21/20 06:58 AM
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Dale,

California and other states base their reopening criteria primarily on hospitalization and test positivity rates. Those are stable. Governor Newson has said from the beginning that this is a virus that we'll have to live with, and as long as we have stabilization in hospitalization rates, then the reopening phases will continue. The ecomony is livelihoods. It is life itself. That includes tourism and towns that are heavily reliant on tourism.

There will always be cases, and sometimes they will go up and sometimes go down. But if the death rate can be minimized, well like I said, that's the most important thing. And the trend, at least nationwide, is definitely downward.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bruce #57354 06/21/20 07:09 AM
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I might add that the primary reason cases are increasing in California (and other states as well), it that it is hitting primarily latinos living in poor, dense conditions, AND in areas where masks are not a requirement. In LA and Orange county masks weren't as prevalent as the the Bay Area and other parts of the state. But now that Newsom passed a statewide law requiring masks indoors and outdoors where people can't be 6 feet apart, I think that will go a long way in slowing the case rise and reversing it.

For example, only 14 states have statewide mask laws, and only 2 are seeing rises in cases. California is one of them (Hawaii is the other, but I don't know why cases are rising there despite the mask law), but the statewide law was just passed this week so it'll be a few weeks before we see the effects.

In the other 36 states without mask laws, 23 of them are seeing spikes in cases. Most notably, they are Southern states with a large Hispanic population, and these people are getting slammed.

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
bruce #57356 06/21/20 11:41 AM
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Shifting back to the original thread topic, the following update was posted to the "other" forum last night:

Upper gate opened today , we are open at the Portal and Hostel, sorting out the fray, will serve food starting June 26 Mask/ face coverings required now in Calif. We have made many changes as all the other opened buisnesses . We have all outside seating , and will try text /Email/ phone orders and what ever keeps the number of people in the store at a time safe, This should also allow a person to call as they drive up / call/text from the trail or email. Details will follow as the trail opens . Thanks

Re: Whitney Portal/Trail Opening
Goose #57359 06/21/20 05:30 PM
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I went up yesterday (6/20) to check out that area and can confirm that all of the gates on the road are open. Although it's possible to drive right up to the Portal store, I saw at least 5 cars parked in the dirt area just before the lower gate. Perhaps they arrived there earlier in the week when the gate was still closed.

The parking lot just outside the store was a bit less than half full yesterday afternoon and almost completely empty by the evening. The restroom/outhouse that's closest to the trailhead is open. I also noticed that the lights in the Portal store were on, and that there were handwritten paper signs placed on cones outside the store that said "entrance" and "exit". I assume that it's open even though no food is being served at this point, but I didn't investigate further and cannot say for sure.

As far as the trail goes, it's fairly easy to cross both Carillon Creek and the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek without getting your feet wet. There were also some flowers and even a few snow plants along the trail. Pictures are at: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/galleries/57358/whitney-portal-area-6-20-2020 for those who're interested. I didn't see any rangers that day but chose to respect the closure and turn back at Lone Pine Lake.

edit: Bugs were a problem when standing still but not a big problem. I didn't get bitten or use insect repellent or a head net, but I did wear long pants, hiking gloves, and a hoodie to keep the bugs away.

Last edited by Big Pine; 06/21/20 05:58 PM.
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