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Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
#57480 06/27/20 06:42 AM
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Does anyone please have a recommendation for an OPEN trailhead parking lot or camp ground (NOT FULLY BOOKED campground) at about 8,000 to 10,000 feet that we could spend 1 overnight sleeping in truck on July 2nd. With all the Covid and Whitney permit issues, we decided to hike White Mountain this year. We are flying into Vegas and have rented Ford F-150. The original plan was 1 night at Grandview campground but Grandview is closed. Whitney Portal is closed. Cottonwood is closed. Those are the only places that we have ever stayed at before. I think the locked gate at White Mountain is too high for 1st night. On Google maps, Kearsarge pass and North lake hiker parking could be options??? It would be great to do a short acclimation hike at a new trail that we have never been to............ Great knowledge and advice on Whitney Zone ...............Thanks in advance.

Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
JMH #57481 06/27/20 07:35 AM
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Try calling the Bishop FS office for info. However, a high altitude hike like you describe just before your Whitney hike isn't really going to help you much to acclimatize. It might merely give you a chance to experience the pain before the higher hike.

I have been in your situation many times while living in the San Francisco area (fast drive to trail-head on Friday night, sleep at trailhead, hike in Saturday morning and hike to camp, climb (!) Whitney on Sunday, drive home Sunday night, go to work Monday morning), with no attempt at acclimatizing. But just did it anyway! How? By going slowly with very early start, and being prepared to descend if feeling sick. It was the price we paid for being "weekend warriors".

Park as close as you can to the Whitney trailhead and sleep there, then suck it up and do the hike, following this advice:

http://inyosar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/PSAR-2020.pdf

Last edited by Bob West; 06/27/20 08:08 AM.
Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
Bob West #57483 06/27/20 08:44 AM
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Thanks Bob-

We are hiking White Mountain and are going to spend a couple nights at the White Mountain locked gate. But on the 1st night we want to be lower in elevation than the locked gate. We wouldn't hike far on the first day just a couple miles to see the area and pass the time. Do you (or anyone) know if they allow people to sleep overnight at the Kearsarge pass trailhead in their vehicles? From google maps there are dozens of cars parked at the Kearsarge trailhead. We just want somewhere legal to park 1 night and all the places we have stayed at before are closed. ....................thanks. We will also try the Bishop FS like you mention.

Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
JMH #57484 06/27/20 09:34 AM
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Sleeping in your vehicle shouldn't be a problem, since you are not camping. I do that quite often. But double check with FS to be sure.

Latest news on openings/closures as of 6/25/2020:

https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-as-of-june-25/

Last edited by Bob West; 06/27/20 09:42 AM.
Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
JMH #57487 06/27/20 11:00 AM
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Not sure as to "legality", but as Bob mentioned, you are not actually camping, so you might be OK to park at Schulman Grove. Nice paved parking area, with level places (perhaps not within the lines:-)) Even restrooms, although I guess they will be locked. Several trails to pick from to "warm up". Not sure if Covid will close trails, or not. This is the end of the paved road, and the altitude is ~ 10K', so good for your purpose. This would leave you a ~ 90 - 120 min drive to the gate. For more info you can contact USDA Forest Service in Bishop: 760-873-2500

I was up there last August for night photography, and the place was dead quiet. I very much doubt you would be disturbed.

Last edited by John Sims; 06/27/20 11:01 AM. Reason: fix typo
Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
JMH #57489 06/27/20 11:12 AM
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JMH: Since you are travelling through Las Vegas, heading to Onion Valley/Kearsarge Pass is a ways out of the way. I would drive directly to Westgard Pass, and the CA 168 & White Mtn road junction. Since you are sleeping in your truck, there would be plenty of spots around that junction -- see the road just 1/4 mi north of the junction. There may be spots to park and sleep there, or just north on White Mtn road. There appear to be a few available side roads. Elevation there is ~7400'.

Or you could head more toward White Mountain, and pick a turnout farther along with higher elevation. Beyond Grandview, you could drive to 10k, and sleep overnight in your truck at the Schulman Grove parking lot.

I'm curious, since you are flying in, what are you doing about water needs for the several days in the dry White Mountains? Are you buying water containers, or what?

By the way, enjoy your adventure!!

Re: Advice for trail head overnight at elevation?
Steve C #57495 06/27/20 03:06 PM
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Yes Steve we will stop for supplies west of Vegas while driving. The National Forrest web page lists right now that there is no camping or overnight parking in the Bristlecone Forrest but I'm not exactly 100% sure what the BF covers.
Thanks for ideas.


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