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Whitney Alternates for Youth
#59360 01/21/22 06:57 AM
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Hello all,

I work with my church youth group. For our summer activity this year, many of the youth indicated that they would like to climb Mt. Whitney. I've been fortunate to hike to the top twice (including last year with my 11 year old son). I know the difficulties involved, and the likelihood we won't be able to get permits for a group. I'm looking for recommendations for alternate routes, and other great backcountry areas in that region of the Sierras that would be a great backpacking experience for a group of youth over 4-5 days. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
mightymike #59361 01/21/22 10:27 AM
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Cottonwood Lakes region is great - it's not too hard to backpack to, and you have several peak options around including Langley and it's GORGEOUS

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Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
tif #59362 01/21/22 12:19 PM
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^^^ I'd second this. A couple of years ago I ran into a group of Girl Scouts at Cottonwood Lakes.

As I passed them on my way up to Old Army Pass I asked if they spent the night up here and one of them proudly said: "We spent FIVE nights up here!"

You will need a permit for overnight out there, but they are easier to get than overnight Mt Whitney.

Also, be sure to bring mosquito repellant.

Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
mightymike #59363 01/22/22 12:14 AM
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If you go the Cottonwood Lakes route, or maybe Cottonwood Pass, Mt Whitney from the west side is reachable. Two days in, climb from the west, then two days out.

Just beware of the high 10k elevation of Horseshoe Meadows & Cottonwood Lakes. Altitude sickness is a possibility,so you definitely need to recognize the symptoms, and what to do in case.

Out of Mammoth Lakes, there are several trails that lead to good camping locations, too. Garnet Lake to the northwest. Duck Lake to the south.

Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
Steve C #59364 01/22/22 06:28 PM
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A couple things:

How large a group are you talking about, and ages?

Keep in mind that all permits are released at 7am, six months prior to the entry date. They are usually taken within 5 minutes and then a "W' or walkin appears which means the 'W' are released 2 weeks prior to entry date.

My experience this year with reserving permits is to be flexible with dates. It has really become difficult to get a permit for a popular entry point.

Lastly, enter the Whitney lottery, it can't hurt.

paul

Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
Steve C #59365 01/22/22 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
Out of Mammoth Lakes, there are several trails that lead to good camping locations, too. Garnet Lake to the northwest. Duck Lake to the south.

I "second" these suggestions. You can also do a loop from Lake George to Lake Mary via The Deer Lakes, and Duck Lake. From Lake George hike up to Mammoth Crest, and down to Deer Lakes, and out the other side, and down to Duck Lake. Lots of options for camping along the way. From Duck Lake, hike out toward Lake Mary, but there is an alternative trail that will take you back to Lake George. You could also leave a car at Lake Mary, and drive back to Lake George.

Garnet Lake is (I think) a better option. Depart Agnew Meadows, to Shadow Lake, to Garnet Lake. Many of the PCT hikers will take this option. Stunning. From Garnet Lake you can make a loop by taking the River trail back to Agnew Meadows, or you can go on to Thousand Islands Lake, and hook up to the PCT, and back to Agnew Meadows.

Another option (from Devil's post pile) would be Minaret Lake. Lots of camp sites here. It is possible to continue north to Lake Ediza (but I'm uncertain of the trail conditions), and then loop back via Shadow Lake to Agnew Meadows.

Re: Whitney Alternates for Youth
mightymike #59366 01/22/22 08:16 PM
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Yeah, Langley from Cottonwood lakes would be a great alternative.

You could also do White Mountain Peak. Camp at the gate and then it's a fairly simple stroll to the peak (hard & long stroll, but nothing tricky).

Only problem could be the gate is at 12k, so maybe a night or two in Mammoth Lakes to acclimatize.


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