We did a lot of hiking, some low-impact cardio videos and some acclimatization hikes.
In case its helpful for anyone else in their planning, here's what we did in more detail:
- started hiking in March. We are hikers and had a good base last year but on New Years Eve day Cindy's knee gave out and Greg was sick for all of January and February. So we started pretty much from scratch in March, hiking at our favorite place in the Bay Area, Redwood Regional Park (https://www.ebparks.org/parks/redwood/
). We love this place! You are hiking under redwood trees but are still in the city of Oakland.
We hiked two or three times per week and by early May we were hiking 12 miles but we knew we needed to have more elevation change than we could get at Redwood Regional. So as soon as it reopened we started hiking at Mt Diablo State park. Even the up and back Summit Trail wouldn't be enough so we started hiking the three peaks of Diablo which is 15.5+ miles and about 4,500+ feet of elevation change. Some people call this the hardest hike in the Bay Area. We did this about once per week starting in late June.
- in between the hiking we did low-impact cardio videos. We really like these folks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNrqrk2xcAo&t=9s
and then added their HITS video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlsGj8v6hPs.
As it got closer to our permit day, we added burpees on our own, sets of 10 as many as we could do (which was only about three sets at first! We did more later).
- we wanted to include at least some hiking at altitude but with Coronavirus that was difficult. We did hike Pyramid Peak just under a month before our Mt. Whitney date. That hike is nine miles and goes from just under 6,000' to just under 10,000'. Even though we've hiked at elevation before (Half Dome in 2013 and Kilimanjaro in 2016) one never knows about altitude sickness. So we planned to definitely take Diamox.
- in the days before our Mt. Whitney hike we did two acclimatization hikes. Three days before Whitney, we hiked from Horseshoe Meadows to Cottonwood Pass (11,200'). A beautiful hike, we strongly recommend for anyone just before Mt. Whitney. Following the adage of Hike High, Sleep Low we slept in the town of Independence that night. The next day, two days before Whitney, we moved to the Whitney Portal campground and had a leisurely hike along the Whitney Trail to the edge of the Whitney zone. This was for both acclimatization and to scout part of the trail that we would be doing in the dark.
Even though Cindy was quite nervous about the 99 switchbacks, as she wrote below, once we were on them they weren't that bad. On the other hand, the last 1.9 miles really hit Greg hard! Wasn't sure Greg would make it before our absolute turn around time, but we did! Regarding altitude, we both seemed fine throughout, even had appetites on the summit. In the past, lack of appetite at higher altitudes was an issue for Cindy. Talking to Cindy afterwards, she feels like there were only about 10 switchbacks! So maybe a little altitude fog?
Thanks again to everyone for answering all our questions. Happy Hiking!
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