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Mt Langley
#58903 06/26/21 10:41 AM
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magarac Offline OP
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Good morning,
I need an advice please. I have a permit for Mt Whitney for June 30 - the plan was to start the hike on Tuesday, around 11pm, in order to reach the summit before noon. Due to Inyo Fire situation, this permit will most likely get cancelled.
As alternative, I am thinking of Mt Langley, one-day hike ( starting at Cottonwood Camp, on Wednesday around 1am ). Questions:
(1) Regarding a permit for a day-hike on Mt Langley : based on post in:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/57335/mt-langley-info#Post57335
“...You may stop by the ranger station in lone Pine couple of days before your hike if you can to get the permit..."

seems I could just walk up to this Ranger Station on Monday morning and get permit for Wednesday - correct ?

Also - is there any advance booking method ? I looked at:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=20896&actid=51
but could not find any WEB based booking.

(2) The plan is to drive ( Wednesday, just after midnight ) from Lone Pine according to:
“From Route 395 in Lone Pine, turn west at the traffic light on to Whitney Portal Road. After three miles, turn left on Horseshoe Meadow Road...."

but then, due to the fire:
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7564/
“Closures: The Whitney Portal Road is closed at Horseshoe Meadow Road."

Q: does this mean that the closure blocks the rest of Whitney Portal Road towards Whitney Portal, but the turn onto Horseshoe Meadow Road is still open ?

(3) I see there are two routes: New Army Pass and OAP. Any recommendation which one to take ? Or one up, and back the other ( which order ) ?

(4) I will bring crampons, no need for ice axe - correct ?


Looking forward to your comments / opinions,


Best,
magarac

Re: Mt Langley
magarac #58905 06/26/21 11:08 AM
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1: You only need permits for overnight hikes everywhere in Inyo NF except Whitney. No permit needed for a day hike!

2: I believe the closure includes Whitney Portal Road 100% closed beyond the Horseshoe Meadows turnoff. Even if the HSM Rd is closed there, you can head south from the VC in Lone Pine and get to Horseshoe Meadows via Lubken Canyon Road. It is narrow and wind-y, but any vehicle should be fine.

3/4: NAP is more straightforward but that trail is longer and demands a few extra hundred feet of gain and resultant loss. BUT if you are long-winded you could easily go out of your way to climb nearby Cirque Peak. OAP is shorter and has less gain/loss, but it holds snow longer and is not currently maintained. To be fair, NAP also holds snow and usually a cornice which can be a tough obstacle, but it doesn't stay as long as the snow on OAP.

In my experience, there has been some controversy over the years where folks ascend OAP directly up the fall-line across snow and scralus. Usually, those folks call OAP a very difficult route with no remaining trail. If you are keen-eyed, once you first see OAP from Lake 4, you can actually see the old trail cut into the cliffside on the south side of the lake. Follow that, provided there is no snow, and you have an easy class 1 ramp up.

I prefer OAP FWIW.

Last edited by Snacking Bear; 06/26/21 11:10 AM. Reason: grammar

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Re: Mt Langley
magarac #58906 06/26/21 11:15 AM
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You don't need a permit to day hike Mt Langley, but note that if you 'day' hike it will be an all day hike.

There is a recent trip report or other post in here of a party hiking Mt Langley and they did not need an ice axe, and certainly not over New Army Pass.

There is an alternate route up Mt Langley via Tuttle Creek, although it is seldom travelled. I have only read about it. It has a short class 4 section.

If Horseshoe Meadow Rd is closed, perhaps consider day hiking Mt Tyndall via Shepherd Pass up the 395, or go for a walk-up overnight pass.

Re: Mt Langley
magarac #58907 06/26/21 03:38 PM
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The above are good answers. To repeat: You only need a DAY hike pass for Mt Whitney. All other day hikes do not require permits.

Since you are starting at 10,000 elevation, (2k higher than Whitney Portal), you don't need to start at 1 AM.

You don't need ice axe or crampons.

Another alternate might be White Mountain. But it's another hour and a half driving north and east of Lone Pine, and the last 20 miles are on washboard-y sand/gravel road. It's even easier than Mt Langley, as it starts at 12,000'.

Re: Mt Langley
Steve C #58909 06/26/21 06:54 PM
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A buddy and I just day-hiked Langley last Wednesday. We started at 8 am and returned at 5 pm. The stats from Strava are 22 miles RT and about 5600' elevation gain. We started and finished in the south parking lot (Cottonwood Pass trail head where we were camping) so we probably did a little extra mileage compared to the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead. If you have decent fitness you don't have to do a real early alpine start for this hike. We caught up to some guys from Minnesota who also had their Whitney permits cancelled. They had left at 3 am and said they found the climb to be pretty grueling, but they had come straight from sea level. As stated above, it's almost 2k less total climbing than Whitney but you are still climbing to 14k!
We climbed Old Army Pass with about 25-30' of soft snow near the top. There is a decent boot track through it so no crampons of microspikes required.
When we left Thursday morning the Whitney Portal road was still closed at the Horseshoe Meadow Road turn-off. Helicopters where still working the fire scene. The day before our Langley hike two DC-10 slurry bombers flew directly over Horseshoe Meadows readying to drop fire retardant on the Inyo Creek fire, as was a giant Chinook helicopter a little later.
As earlier stated, NO permit required for a day hike....have fun and be safe out there!

Re: Mt Langley
PeteK. #58912 06/26/21 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteK.
If you have decent fitness you don't have to do a real early alpine start for this hike.

Getting an alpine start for this hike is just putting yourself through unnecessary misery. Then again, if the weather forecast is all clear, the same is true for Whitney.

Re: Mt Langley
magarac #58915 06/27/21 08:03 AM
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magarac Offline OP
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Thank you all for great advices and discussion ! I'm off to Lone Pine now, sitting in a car for 7 hrs will be the biggest pain smile
Best,
maagarc

Re: Mt Langley
magarac #58919 06/27/21 11:31 AM
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Hopefully, with this fire and all the cancelled Whitney hikes, the walk-in campgrounds at Horseshoe Meadows won’t be completely full.


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