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#6329 - 07/28/10 07:02 PM Feedback request on Sept trip
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
Hello to all,

First, let me introduce myself, I have been reading this board and the WPS since late Jan when I made the decision to submit an application to the Whitney lottery for a day hike in Sept. I have learned a lot from all the postings. Thanks to all.

I received my permit in mid-April and realized I had a decision to make to really commit to training and going through with my idea of hiking up the main trail in 1 day, solo. I made an attempt in Sept 2006 and a massive headache had me turning around at Trail Crest. The 2006 trip was a multi-day adventure with 2 other people. I learned alot from that experience and trying not to make the same mistakes. I may make some new mistakes this trip, but my goal is to not make the same mistakes. My trainig has been going well and I'm really feeling confident that I can do this. (I wasn't so sure back in April)

With that in mind, I'm requesting feedback/critique of my plan for my time in the general Lone Pine / Whitney area. Looking for something obvious that I may have overlooked. And I realize that the weather has a big say on how much of this plan will work. I am not a experienced snow hiker, and if a early heavy snow storm arrives, then plan B will become operational.

I will be leaving Orange County, CA on Sunday 9/19 to drive to Lone Pine and Horseshoe Meadows. ( I am trying to get away on Sat, but family obligations are making it hard to get on the road before Sun)Stopping in Lone Pine to see if I can pick up my permit for Thurs 9/23 or if I have to come back in couple of days, and find the Hostel, where I plan to stay on Thurs night after my 1 day adventure.

Sun, Mon, Tues at Horseshoe Meadows. Some light to medium hiking and getting used to the altitude. Wed morning off to Whitney Portal for a pancake, which 1/2 will be used for snacking the rest of the day. Dinner at the portal store, but not a burger as that is my reward when I make a safe return down the trail. Hike up to Lone Pine lake to get a feel for how long it will take to arrive at the Whitney Zone sign, return to portal. Find a spot in the backpacker area to pitch my tent and get some rest (not expecting a lot of sleep due to excitment/anticipation). Hope to leave the trailhead at a time to arrive at the Whitney Zone sign at midnight. Take my time up the trail with plenty of stops for snacking, water, and rest. I'm expecting to take about 10 hrs to hit the summit, maybe longer. I will be carrying about 1 liter of water and refilling as needed until Trail Camp. I will also carry a bottle for a electrolyte replacement beverage. I'll fill up water to 3 liters at Trail Camp. Hopefully, will be at the summit by 10am. My turnaround time, no matter where I am on the trail is 12:00. Return to the portal, burger & beer and some rest before heading to the Hostel for a shower and sleep. Heading home on Friday 9/24.

My pack should be about 12-14 lbs with 3 liters of water. It may be lighter depending on the weather forcast. I will be closley checking dmatt and noaa the week before I depart along with checking for any last minute forcast changes when I'm there.

I'm expecting the weather to be very cool, ok cold, for that time of year for a night hike. I can deal with cold and even a light snow, just not a blizzard. My concern is ice on the log crossings or any other part of the trail when hiking at night. What part of the trail, other than the cable section, is known for ice that I should be aware of?

Again, anything I missed and should be asking?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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#6330 - 07/28/10 07:58 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wazzu]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
wazzu, welcome to the board. Lots of good folks here who will assist you any way they can.

From my perspective, you've tackled the biggest potential problem based on your last attempt - elevation. That headache that turned you around last time was almost certainly altitude-induced, and your plan of sleeping multiple nights at 10K' should solve any potential AMS issues. That combined with some relatively easy dayhikes to 11K' or higher should get you to 14,505' just fine.

The one potential problem I see is your start time - if I'm reading your post correctly, you're planning on starting the trail well before midnight in order to be at the Whitney Zone sign by midnight? There was some debate on this last year on the WPS, and I believe the final word from those that know best is that your permit does not allow you to begin on the trailhead at the Portal till midnight. I know - that first 2.5 miles is not in the Whitney Zone proper and would not appear to be excluded, but apparently it is in Inyo's definition as the permit is technically for the Whitney Main Trail and not just the Whitney Zone. My take on it was that a ranger could easily turn an early entry around and back to the trailhead to start over. Likely? Probably not, but it would be a cryin' shame to have it actually happen. I wasn't able to find the thread this was discussed in, but I'm sure you'll get some clearer information soon from Steve or other experts on the board.

Not sure what you're going to eat at the Portal the night before your hike if you're holding off the burger and fries till post-summit, but I would strongly suggest you carb up for that 22 miles coming in just a few hours. The most common estimate is that a Whitney dayhike burns 6000 calories, so fuel is a big deal. A big plate of pasta has been my choice each time - before my summit day two weeks ago dinner was stroganoff with a spaghetti chaser. Also, get as much sleep as possible in the the 48 hours prior to your start since you plan to hit the trail extra-early.

You've made it to Trail Crest before, so you know the demands on your legs - both up and down. If your training has been geared to handle that 6000'-plus elevation gain, and you've got the plan for acclimation, then weather may be your only real enemy. I think the first snow on Whitney last season was early October, but that was last year. It's the Sierra - it could blizzard in September . . . smile

Best of luck, and be sure to post a TR!

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#6331 - 07/28/10 08:36 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wazzu]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
#1: Relax. You're supposed to have some fun on this venture, so enjoy every second of it you can. The beauty is explosive on the trail and you will not be disappointed....if you take the time to look around.

#2: Relax 2: I can't help it, but get a bit antsy before my hikes and that takes energy away from your goal. Your plan to arrive early should make it a lot easier.

#3: Talk to Doug while you are there. He will give you the Best advice of anyone you either read or meet. Addendum: Talk to everyone you meet and enjoy. Smell the fresh air and listen to the waterfall.

#4: I wouldn't go to LPL the evening or even the day before. I'd do a short hike of a couple of miles or so total and leave the medium hikes to the days at Horseshoe.

#5: I would take Extra Strength Excedrin before you leave in the morning. With the Excedrin, I would drink somewhere around three cups of water and/or electrolyte mix. I would take Excedrin again at Trail Camp, maybe even Trailside Meadow. I would take Excedrin again before I leave the summit.

#6: I would drink up some more good water at the spring right before Outpost Camp. No reason to filter that water in my opinion. Tasty too. It will be in the rocks and obvious to your left, probably flowing well and I think it's the second water crossing in Big Horn park. If you filter, do it again at Trail Camp.

#7: I would eat something carb like in the morning and "try" to use the bathroom before you leave. If coffee helps get you flowing, have a cup.

#8 I would leave at 2:00. That would leave you plenty of time to make it to the summit by noon with just a tad bit faster than 1 MPH. AND, you will do better than 1 MPH before the switchbacks.

#9: Take it slow and easy. People will pass you and you may feel a bit intimidated. But let them go by and say hello. Remember, it's dark....they can't see you anyway :-)

#10: Rest when you need to and just enjoy yourself.

#11: Your goal should be Trail Crest. You will know why when you get there. It is often very "party like" up there. Once you're there, you will make the summit. Just be careful with all the rocks and steps. Take your time and be happy to see everyone.

#12: Take your time at the summit, but not too much as you can get a slight (if not worse) headache by standing around and not moving. Also, you may get nauseous after 12,500 or so. See how it goes. Bulldogs and mine went away. Eating and drinking will help a LOT.

*** Weather: I went last year the second week of October and it was magnificent. The waterfalls and streams were frozen. The spring in Big Horn park was flowing fine. It was not cold during the day. In fact, I was very happy when the sun came out. You could break the ice at the pond at Trail camp to filter. September SHOULD be fine, but it can get very cold in the Sierras, so do be prepared.

The mountain will always be there. As I said a couple of times....ENJOY YOURSELF. This hike is for you, not anyone else. Hope I didn't preach tow much.
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#6332 - 07/28/10 10:19 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: quillansculpture]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Yeah what they said. Plans sound good in my opinion.Just don't start with 3 L of water at the TH. You will find water along the entire trail till Trail Camp and switchback 23 is your last reliable water source,(or whatever number they are calling it).Fill up your 3 L there(SB#23) or Trail camp lake inlet.Go for it and do it.

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#6334 - 07/28/10 11:36 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Rod]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
You have a very good acclimatization plan. Everyone should spend that much time. You will probably find that helps you SO much this time.

I hope you take enough food for two meals, along with snacks. If you are acclimated that well, your appetite should be working well.

I remember that thread asking about starting before midnight, too, and what people wrote. I subsequently spoke to the Inyo N.F. staff person who gives me the unused permit numbers, and was told there is no restriction starting your hike before midnight. The permits are only necessary IN the Whitney Zone. The first leg of the trail is a no-permit-required zone.

That being said, what the others wrote above is very good. I, too, don't think starting before midnight is necessary, either. If you're going to do that, it would be good to try to turn in extra early those several nights at HM and get up super early each morning. I'm thinking ear plugs and sleeping meds would help (Benadryl (diphenhydramine) works for me.)

And a very good thread to read is Bob R's Rookie mistakes. Pay attention to the sleep deprivation part.

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#6338 - 07/29/10 07:39 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wazzu]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The rule is you can't leave the trailhead until 12:01 AM on the day of your permit...that's the rule. What follows is the reality...no ranger is going to be around at 10 PM the night before. If it were me, I would not worry about being illegal, I'd go up the trail.

Where I might find fault with your plan is your pack weight, 6.5# of water and 3# of pack leave little room for this and that plus warmies...and you might need a pot full of warmies.

I have done two trips in mid to late September both put me on the summit prior to sunrise...which means my wake up call at Tarns above Guitar Lake was ~12:30 AM. Both times I ended up with a lot of damp clothing when I reached Mt. Whitney. The first time up the temperatures were in the single digits with 30 MPH winds; last year it was just below freezing and calm...as an aside with single digits and wind during one of August trips. Sometimes these trips have to planned like its winter...extra gloves, a balaclava and a heavier insulation layer than you thought about bringing.

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#6339 - 07/29/10 07:43 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I remember that thread asking about starting before midnight, too, and what people wrote. I subsequently spoke to the Inyo N.F. staff person who gives me the unused permit numbers, and was told there is no restriction starting your hike before midnight. The permits are only necessary IN the Whitney Zone. The first leg of the trail is a no-permit-required zone.


Steve, I had the same conversation a few years ago with a semi-regular at the ESIVC and was told you can't leave the trailhead prior to 12:01 AM. I guess it depends who you speak to and when.

I've always found the rules and regs for Whitney area to be more complicated than they need to be.

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#6340 - 07/29/10 07:44 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Rod]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Rod
Yeah what they said. Plans sound good in my opinion.Just don't start with 3 L of water at the TH. You will find water along the entire trail till Trail Camp and switchback 23 is your last reliable water source,(or whatever number they are calling it).Fill up your 3 L there(SB#23) or Trail camp lake inlet.Go for it and do it.


Doc, there wasn't a drop of water on the switchbacks either of my September trips...2004 or 2009.

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#6343 - 07/29/10 09:43 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wbtravis]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
When I went in October last year....there also was no water at all on the switchbacks. Last water was TC.

As mentioned above....the weather "may" be a concern as it is always changing from day to day, even hour to hour. I expected very cold temps and it turned out to be warmer than expected. I had extra clothes just in case. My date was October 10th. I think a big storm came in about a week and a half later, possibly the 20th or so. That was about the time Wade Brunette went missing. No matter what the weather reports say, you need to be prepared for all conditions.
_________________________
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www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#6345 - 07/29/10 10:53 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: quillansculpture]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
I wondered about the water on the switchback above Trail Camp -- sounds like it may be dried up in September, or frozen that early in the AM.

Just to clarify, Wazzu wrote:
I will be carrying about 1 liter of water and refilling as needed until Trail Camp.

He's not carrying 3 liters until Trail Camp.

wbt: Why the damp clothing -- perspiration or ??

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#6349 - 07/30/10 06:59 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Yeppers, damp from perspiration. Last year, I took my TNF Apex gloves off at 14,000' to eat a Clif bar when I put them back on they were covered with frost. If you are hiking all night and arrive to cold windy summit with damp this and that you are going have a very uncomfortable stay.

I've only hiked wearing my FF Hyperion Down Jacket during the 3-seasons once...descending from Mt. Whitney in September 2004. The weather can get downright miserable on this summit in the summer/early fall when sun is shining.

Every year is different, all I tell folks is what you can run into. Heck, in 2004, the temperature readings the week before at the Cottonwood Lakes Reporting Station were 10-11* F at night. If this these temperatures would have persisted it would have altered our clothing, gear and hiking plan.

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#6352 - 07/30/10 11:33 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wbtravis]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
wbt..... ahhhh, a "sweater" like me. Makes it really tough on those cold mornings, especially during breaks. My gloves felt so good on and then felt like ice cubes going back on. The temp in October last year leaving the Portal was fairly nice. In fact, I took some stuff off and considered leaving it at Outpost Camp. By the time I hit Outpost Camp, I had changed my mind. I remember hitting trail Camp and watching the Sun starting to hit the switchbacks and I couldn't wait to get into the Sunshine. Perfect day from that point on. It was so cool to see the Waterfall at Outpost Camp completely frozen.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#6353 - 07/30/10 03:34 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: quillansculpture]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
wow Outpost waterfall frozen in October?

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#6354 - 07/30/10 04:19 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Rod]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
If it can get cold enough to snow in September...
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If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
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#6356 - 07/30/10 07:27 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Rod]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Waterfall at Outpost Camp on October 10th, 2009.

_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#6357 - 07/30/10 07:28 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Wow! That is too cool Joe - literally . . .

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#6358 - 07/30/10 07:37 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Bulldog34]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Crazy. Great shot Joe.Hard to believe it got so cold so early in 09.Then again Outpost is 10K.

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#6359 - 07/30/10 08:14 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Joe, I'm sure you told me at some point during our hike but I can't recall - when you passed it on your descent in the afternoon was it flowing again?

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#6361 - 07/31/10 06:55 PM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: wazzu]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. There where 2 areas of my plan that I was really interested in suggestions, hiking up to Lone Pine Lake and dinner Wed evening. I thought if the complete plan was listed, it would help with feedback.

Based on some of the posts I should have mentioned I have read the threads regarding what time a person can be on the trail based on the permit. I called the IAVC in May so I would know what the 'official' ruling is regarding where I can be at midnight. This is how it was expalined to me:

The permit is for the Whitney Zone. As the person from the IAVC mentioned, there's a reason the sign is posted on the trail to designate where the Whitney Zone starts. It is to let hikers and rangers know where the Whitney Zone permit enforcement starts and stops. That's not to say an indivdual ranger will interpret the permit wording and deem the TH to the sign as part of the Whitney Zone.

Anyway, as I have seen on other posts, it's up to the individual to use their own judgement and make decisions on what is best for their situation.

Bulldog, you bring up a very good point regarding the limited menu options at the store if I leave out the burger. Based on the photo you posted on the WPS of the menu board, I do see a BLT listed. I read one of BobR posting of taking a BLT as food on one of his recent hies. I never thought of that. As altitude always kills my appitite and I have to force myself to eat, I might try a BLT on a trainig hike. If I can eat it, then I'll get one from the store to take up the trail.

As far as dinner on Wed, I was debating about cooking a good meal, dinner at the store or going down to Lone Pine for pizza or some type of pasta for a good carbo load. Some of the replies have me thinking of not hiking up to the Whitney Zone sign during the day, but rest and relax around the portal, down to Lone Pine for a good meal and back up to get a nap before leaving around 10pm (maybe).

As far as the weather and the cold, I'm very familiar with the exterme weather changes in the Sierras. I lived for 8 years in the North Lake Tahoe / Truckee area. Sept and Oct were my favorite months. The summer crowds had left and there was a little down time before the ski season started. Nothing like waking up to below freezing temps, summer temps (80 degree plus) in the afternoon, and back down to 50 degrees in the early evening. I still have most of my winter gear. A lot of fleece, gortex, and down. As I mentioned, I will be keeping a close eye on the weather. I will be bringing a lot more gear than I will actually hike with. I will decide on what to pack for my "day" hike based on the conditions that day. I'm expecting to be taking the layers on and off all day.

Quillansculpture, that's an awesome pix. I would love to see the falls that way. Since the night I'm hiking is close to a full moon, it would be increadible to see the moonbeems bounce off the ice of a frozen waterfall. And the reason I'm leaving around midnight is to be able to stop and take in the sights and sounds. I plan on taking my time up the hill and enjoy every step, including each one on the 97 switchbacks. smile

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#6366 - 08/01/10 07:33 AM Re: Feedback request on Sept trip [Re: Rod]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Rod
wow Outpost waterfall frozen in October?


How's about this Rod...I was walking on Lone Pine Lake the first weekend in November a few years ago. Hmmm...Turkey....errrr....rock bowling on Lone Pine Lake.


Edited by wbtravis (08/01/10 07:33 AM)

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