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First timer seeking advice
#60258 03/21/24 09:14 AM
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wyndal Offline OP
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Hello! My husband and I are trying to decide if we want to go for the overnight or single-day hike. We've scoured all the message boards and are still conflicted. Here's the rundown: we're both in pretty good physical shape, we are about to run our third half-marathon in a couple weeks. Pretty experienced hikers, we've done a couple big hikes here in Utah and climbed both Elbert and Massive fairly easily. Neither of us have ever experienced trouble with altitude.

However, neither of us particularly love backpacking. We both struggle to sleep well (if at all) and find that the second day is always a slog for us. We see a lot of conversations that make it sound like overnight is the better option, but are wondering if those people are more experienced backpackers than we are. We don't have time to do multiple nights on the mountain, so stretching our trip out isn't really an option.

Basically our choices are day hike (spending one night in lone pine, doing acclimatization hike, sleeping at portal, doing day hike) or quick overnight (spending one night in lone pine, doing acclimatization hike, sleeping at portal, and one night at trail camp before going back down to lone pine).

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Re: First timer seeking advice
wyndal #60260 03/21/24 11:18 AM
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Well if you don't like backpacking, I suggest you do it as a day hike. smile

I have done both, I don't really find one easier than the other, they are just different kinds of challenges.

Re: First timer seeking advice
wyndal #60263 03/22/24 12:19 PM
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Looks like you're leaning toward a day hike. That is what many hikers do--you just need to be in good condition. Running those half-marathons helps.

The other is acclimatization. If you live at SLC, then you're already at 4k,so that gives you an advantage. Most hikers in CA live near sea level, so they are way more affected. I was going to recommend spending a night (maybe in your car) at Horseshoe meadows, but then I looked up the SLC elevation. That is likely why altitude has never been a problem.

For a day hike, start early, but not so early that you don't get enough sleep before the hike.

Re: First timer seeking advice
wyndal #60269 03/24/24 05:33 PM
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Not big campers, ended doing the night at Trail Camp. Didn’t sleep much, altitude didn’t help, but getting up early and hiking out before sunrise was also a treat.
Couple 60+, even as 2 hour half-marathoners, and several longer hikes, treks, we figured we would be 16-20 hours on feet, and that was too long for us in a day. That’d be our slog. Many do it way faster. By memory Elbert is in the 10 miles, 4,000 feet range, Whitney is 20+ miles, 6,000 feet so offered us a little different challenge. We decided to drive through Yosemite, into Mammoth Lakes, motel overnight there @ 8,000 feet rather than camp at the Portal, save the tent night for Trail Camp. Drove into Portal early, started hiking 6:00 am-ish. Figured Portal to Trail Camp was decent enough acclimatization hiking. Summited next day with light daypacks, picked up the tent on the way down, hotel and hot shower by 8:00 pm or so. Trail Camp - well, not my total favorite, got some poor high country bathroom etiquette happening, but there’s space, wise choices can be made…. For us an overnight felt right afterwards, we wouldn’t have enjoyed a day hike so much. Many do it though, lot of trail runners.
Whichever you choose, stay safe, enjoy your trip, it was a highlight of my hiking/trekking experiences. I’ll be back this summer to try Langley, we really enjoyed the Inyo, Lone Pine, Portal vibe, great people in great surroundings.

Re: First timer seeking advice
wyndal #60299 04/29/24 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wyndal
Hello! My husband and I are trying to decide if we want to go for the overnight or single-day hike. We've scoured all the message boards and are still conflicted. Here's the rundown: we're both in pretty good physical shape, we are about to run our third half-marathon in a couple weeks. Pretty experienced hikers, we've done a couple big hikes here in Utah and climbed both Elbert and Massive fairly easily. Neither of us have ever experienced trouble with altitude.

However, neither of us particularly love backpacking. We both struggle to sleep well (if at all) and find that the second day is always a slog for us. We see a lot of conversations that make it sound like overnight is the better option, but are wondering if those people are more experienced backpackers than we are. We don't have time to do multiple nights on the mountain, so stretching our trip out isn't really an option.

Basically our choices are day hike (spending one night in lone pine, doing acclimatization hike, sleeping at portal, doing day hike) or quick overnight (spending one night in lone pine, doing acclimatization hike, sleeping at portal, and one night at trail camp before going back down to lone pine).

Any advice would be much appreciated!

spending a night at Trail Camp would give you the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the area without the time pressure of completing the hike in a single day. You could take your time, enjoy the scenery, and make the most of your experience on the mountain.


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