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Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
#58389 03/24/21 09:35 AM
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Hello I am a newbie to hiking and got the lottery permit for September for a day hike. Few questions

1. I need to select one of the 2 options to confirm the order JM35 and JM34. Where can I find the difference and which one should I Pick?

2. Are they any guided tours that I can take advantage off?

3. Are they any private guides that I can work with for my hike?

Please note I have a day hike permission in mid September

Thanks

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58390 03/24/21 09:49 AM
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Congratulations on winning your lottery ticket. Only 1 out of 3 or 4 people win a reservation.

Based on your (in)experience, you want the Main Mt Whitney Trail, JM35. The other, JM34, is the non-trail North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, sometimes called the Mountaineers Route. It is steep, rugged, and not a trail in some places. The JM35 is the regular Mt Whitney Trail, a well-marked trail (unless it is covered in snow, as it is in May and early June.)

Mountain guides are available, but they take people up the Mountaineers Route, and their clients are outside of the lottery process.

A private guide or even a knowledgeable friend would need to have the same permit as you, so that isn't much of an option. Note that you won't be alone on the trail, as there are 160 permits a day to hike that trail. People often start alone, and then make friends with others on the trail.

If you want to be successful, here's some advice:
* Learn as much as you can about the Mt Whitney day hike. There are a number of good books on it.
* Learn about Altitude Sickness (AMS). Plan on going a couple of days early, and staying high: Horseshoe meadows, Onion Valley, even Mammoth Mtn Inn at 9000' elevation. Sleeping two nights at 8-10k elevation before you hike will help greatly.
* Do some practice climbs: Mt Dana at Tioga Pass in Yosemite is good for SF-area people. Long trail hikes in Yosemite are good -- Panorama Loop, or Clouds Rest.
* If you can, visit Mt Whitney on a weekend this summer. Climb to Lone Pine Lake and back -- no permit required for that first section. Being familiar with that part of the trail would be helpful, if you start hiking before daylight on your Big Hike.

Good Luck!

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
Steve C #58391 03/24/21 10:08 AM
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Thank you this is very helpful

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58406 03/25/21 05:09 PM
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I definitely second the Lone Pine Lake hike. I'm down in LA and I'll often drive up several weekends in a row to do it. It's a beautiful hike and doesn't take very long. Plus the pancake and/or burger at the portal store is worth the trip!

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58407 03/25/21 06:09 PM
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Steve C. Gave you lots of good advice. You say you are a newby to hiking which is no big deal on the main trail but if you are new to fitness that is a problem. Also you did not state where you live. If you live at or near sea level you will definitely need to do some hiking at altitude before September. Good news you have plenty of time to prepare. You also did not mention your age. I was 60 when I first Attempted Whitney as a day hike and thought I was in good shape but Mt. Whitney laughed at my fitness level. Read as much as you can about the hike between now and September and good luck. Gary.

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
tarheel1 #58410 03/25/21 10:45 PM
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JP: Fitness is truly as important as acclimatization. If you can do a Clouds Rest hike from the Yosemite Valley floor in a day, THAT will prepare you for a Whitney Hike. It is only about 3 miles shorter than the Whitney Trail, and gives you the nearly equivalent 6k' elevation gain. Whitney is definitely a step up, since the summit is 4500' higher than Clouds Rest -- where the altitude sickness can become an issue.

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
Steve C #58442 04/04/21 03:31 PM
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Great I am 43 and in peninsula (SF/Bay Area) so will try to attempt some of the hikes suggested before Mt Whitney. Few additional questions

1. If I do want to go as part of guided tour - which are some of the good ones? I understand I cannot take a private guide as they needed to have won the lottery on the same day as me?

2. What are some of the good hiking groups preferably in SF/Bay Area? I would like to join one to prepare for my upcoming hike?

Thanks

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58443 04/04/21 08:26 PM
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In the Bay Area, going up Mt Diablo as often as you can can help get you in shape. It doesn't help with the altitude, but it does give your legs a good workout.

1 member likes this: Bobby
Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58444 04/04/21 10:02 PM
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jp, SMI (Sierra Mountaineering Interantional) in Bishop takes small groups, but they only do the mountaineers route, and I think only before May. But I could be wrong, so call and ask.

I think there is another guiding outfit in Bishop, but don't have the name. I don't know of any Bay Area hiking groups. But you could ask at an REI store, or try a google search.

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
javapro #58446 04/04/21 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by javapro
I understand I cannot take a private guide as they needed to have won the lottery on the same day as me?
Guide services write their own permits. The lottery and quota systems don’t apply to them. It would be nearly impossible for them to operate a guide service if they had to apply for the lottery, etc.

Re: Newbie to hiking - Got the lottery permit
bobpickering #58447 04/05/21 07:10 AM
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javapro - You are getting some good advice here from people who know. Forget about a guide service. I don't think there is one for the main trail. No one needs one for that anyway. As someone once said, the Whitney day hike requires mostly stamina, determination, and a good pair of boots. Fran and I summitted 5 times. Here is what worked for us. YMMV.

1. Do workout hikes at altitude. We were fortunate to live 45 minutes from Mt Baldy (10,064') in So Cal. If you don't have elevation available, then prepare to arrive in Lone Pine several days early to do some hikes at altitude. Horseshoe Meadows comes to mind as nearby. A paved road leads to a trailhead at 9900'. A variety of hikes are available here.
2. Start taking the herbal supplement gingko biloba about a week before your hike. It is available in the vitamin section of any grocery or drug store. Several studies show it helps with altitude effects.
3. Take some aspirin when you start as a preventative.
4. Be well hydrated before you start. It's dry at altitude. Drink water and sports drinks on a schedule. If you wait until you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated.
5. Take foods that you enjoy eating as there is some loss of appetite at altitude. Favor carbs and fats over the harder to digest proteins.
6. Don't carry a lot of water. Water is heavy. Use a filter pump or sterilizing tablets and refill water bottles from creeks and ponds. Water sources are readily available along the trail until you reach the high camp Trail Camp. Fill at least 3 liters per person from the pond for the dry push to the summit. There is a spring about 1/3 way up the switchbacks, but it will be frozen before sunrise.
7. Tom Harrison makes a good map. Be familiar with the landmarks. You can hike to Lone Pine Lake without a permit. Do it as you will see in daylight what you will be going through in the dark.

As I said, this is what worked for us. It may or may not work for you. It may or may not be what anybody else has done.

Good luck and please post a report.


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