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#5920 - 07/12/10 03:17 PM First Timer
Yosemite Sam Offline


Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 7
Loc: In the Heart of the OC, CA
As a 62 year old first timer, I am excited to cross this experience off my bucket list. I plan on staying 1 night at Trail Camp and summiting on the 25th of July. I have several questions that I can't seem to find answers to.
1. I have a Gossamer Gear "The One" tent which weights 1 lb. It requires staking and I can't seem to find out if the ground at Trail Camp is soft enough for or even capable of holding stakes. I would really appreciate any advice on this issue. I am assuming that if the answer is "no" that rocks are available to secure the tent.
2. I have read on several posts that it can be and usually is very windy at Trail Camp. Please confirm.
3. I am in excellent condition but I do want to ask what the average hiking time is to summit from Trail Camp in late July? I know that this can be hugely variable but I would like to know what kind of start time to plan for.
4. Because of the varmit population, I am planning on striking my tent and packing all of my gear up before summitting. I plan to leave my gear in place except for what I need to summit. Then packing it up into my pack when I get back to TC and proceeding to descend to The Portal. Is this advisable as a strategy?

Any help from the grizzled veterans would be appreciated by this first timer!

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#5933 - 07/12/10 11:11 PM Re: First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Welcome to the forum, YS!

1. Plan on using rocks at Trail Camp. The tent sites are mostly on pretty thin soil.

2. It CAN be windy at Trail Camp. But it just depends on the weather. Be sure to click on the Weather link above on the left, and select several of the weather links on that page to see what the predictions are just before your hike.

3. I think most people average 2 hours on the switchbacks, and another 2 from Trail Crest to the summit. Carry 3 liters of water (last water is at switchback 20 above Trail Camp) Drink one on the switchbacks, the second on the way to the summit. You could stash the empty bottle and the third liter at Trail Crest for the trip back.

4. That is what most people do. Only some leave their tents up ...and unzipped so the varmints don't chew a hole to check inside.

Now, a suggestion: Be SURE to acclimate by staying two nights at altitude before you head up to Trail Camp at 12,500 elev. Lots of people experience altitude issues by backpacking to that height. Staying at Whitney Portal (8k) is good, and up at Horseshoe Meadows (10k) is better. If you can't acclimate that long, consider backpacking only to Outpost Camp at 9,500 ft, and make a longer day hiking to the summit and back. You could even spend a second night at Outpost AFTER your summit day.

For more reading, click on the Orientation Notes above on the left.

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#5950 - 07/13/10 10:35 AM Re: First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
1. Staking tent...what Steve said, it is hit and miss on stakeable campsites. I have never had a site where rocks were my only option.

2. Wind...It's usually windy, the question is how much. I would suggest a pair of ear plugs to drown out the fly and day hiker noise.

3. Time to Trail Camp...It's usually very warm during the ascent, so I would suggest you take your time, this will also help with acclimatization. Our last trip up in 2007 took about 5 hours but week took a lot of off with the pack breaks.

4. Packing up...most pack up after they return from summit.

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#5956 - 07/13/10 11:31 AM From First Timer [Re: Steve C]
Yosemite Sam Offline


Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 7
Loc: In the Heart of the OC, CA
Thanks for the quick and succinct replies. Acclimatization is not going to be a problem. I will be spending two nights around Horseshoe and taking in Cottonwood Pass in the process. Then 1 night at the Portal. I have been to about 12.5 many times with no issues. But I will be forcing myself to hike at a slower pace just to be careful on the ascent to the summit from Trail Camp.
Thanks also for the comments about the tent sites. I was concerned because my single wall GG tent is so very light and not the quietest fabric that both the staking issue and the wind issue are of concern to me. The earplugs is a great idea. I assume that by "Fly" you were referring to air traffic. I had read in several posts that air traffic is a problem (who would have thought!).
What I gather is that planning on 4-5 hours to summit is about average from trail camp. I would assume it is something less on the descent?
Steve C. Great idea about stashing bottles at trail crest. Thanks!

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#5957 - 07/13/10 11:37 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
The fly is the wind flapping and rustling the rain fly of your tent. If it is windy, it will be very noisy unless you tie it down extremely tight.


Sometimes day hikers come through very early, and talk loudly to each other. Bob R has recommended a camping area well off the trail, just a couple of minutes to the north. No day hiker noise there.

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#5964 - 07/13/10 06:14 PM Re: From First Timer [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Single wall tents are extremely quiet compared to double walls. Not knowing GG offering I just assumed it was double wall.

One of the problems with stashing bottle is some noob may walk off with it...I almost took off with someone's stashed Gatorade my first trip up this mountain.


Edited by wbtravis (07/13/10 06:16 PM)

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#5984 - 07/14/10 09:59 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: wbtravis]
Yosemite Sam Offline


Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 7
Loc: In the Heart of the OC, CA
Just one last (I hope) question. My pack will weigh in at about 25 lbs. I have been a lightweight packer for many years. And as such I have not worn hiking boots in a very long time. I use trail runners for all of my hiking. I would like to hear your thoughts on whether I "need" to be wearing boots to make this trek.
Again thanks to the two of you (and any others who chime in)for your comments.

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#5987 - 07/14/10 11:17 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
It's all simply a well built trail! Hiking boots are not required.

Last time I did the Mountaineers Route, several guys with me used trail runners, too.

Great avatar, by the way. cool

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#5990 - 07/14/10 01:58 PM Re: From First Timer [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Janet's excellent first-timer trip report moved to the Trip Reports forum:   Trail Report by First Timers 7/11-7/12   Thank you, Janet!

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#6027 - 07/15/10 10:56 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
JWolf24601 Offline


Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 14
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Originally Posted By: Yosemite Sam
Just one last (I hope) question. My pack will weigh in at about 25 lbs. I have been a lightweight packer for many years. And as such I have not worn hiking boots in a very long time. I use trail runners for all of my hiking. I would like to hear your thoughts on whether I "need" to be wearing boots to make this trek.
Again thanks to the two of you (and any others who chime in)for your comments.


I would have been happier in my trail runners, though I would have wanted waterproof sock liners in that case as the switchbacks got quite wet.
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#6172 - 07/21/10 09:52 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: JWolf24601]
Yosemite Sam Offline


Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 7
Loc: In the Heart of the OC, CA
I understand that the mosquitos are out in force at the portal and also up to TC. How about bear activity and marmot control. I have heard that leaving your gear packed up is asking for trouble. I had planned on taking my pack stripped down up to the summit carrying perhaps 10lbs total and leaving my sleeping bag and other gear all packed and ready to load back in to my pack when I returned so I can move on down the trail to the portal. Is this a sound plan?

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#6174 - 07/21/10 10:40 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
The mosquitoes are out in force EVERYWHERE. Trail Camp and Consultation Lake are pretty bad.....but Outpost Camp was the worst.

Marmots will be your worst problem as far as getting into your gear, though i saw none this trip. The mice are kind of pesky at night and just a bit irritating as they try to find their way into your tent. All in all, pretty fun dealing with nature.....well, with the exception of the mosquitoes.

One thing interesting is that when I was there 4 weeks ago, there were thousands of Ladybugs. Last week there were just a few, but I saw several over 14,000 feet, including in the snow.
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#6175 - 07/21/10 10:56 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: Yosemite Sam]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Sam, leave your gear out so that any food smells or whatever it is that the animals want to find won't be behind three layers of pack or tent material. If you leave any food or snacks behind, be sure they are in a bear canister.

I don't think they would chew into a rolled sleeping bag. But leave your tent unzipped so they won't chew into it.

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#6176 - 07/21/10 11:05 AM Re: From First Timer [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
To add on to QS's comments, I'd suggest Consultation Lake as your campsite rather than Trail Camp. The marmots see Trail Camp as a smorgasbord and tend to leave Consultation Lake alone. QS and I camped at CL last week and left our tents up and zipped with gear inside on summit day. When we returned there was no indication of marmot activity, just mice. You'd be 300 feet below Trail Camp, but the difference in the camping experience is well worth it.

As to bears, I've read that they've been seen as high as Trail Camp at times, but that would appear to be a very rare thing. Too many goodies at the Portal. It's been a long time since I've read about a bear encounter on the MMWT higher than 10K'.

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