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#6622 - 08/14/10 09:28 PM Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated
PackEnvy Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 1
Loc: Berkeley,California
Howdy Folks!

Last year I bagged Langley during an overnight trip to Cottonwood Lakes. My trip last year was my first in the South East Sierras. Next week 5 of us are taking the scenic route to Mount Whitney via Cottonwood Lakes. Does anyone have any last second advice on camp locations or useful information in general? We have 5 nights 6 days in the backcountry. We are starting on 8/22 and exit 8/27.

So far here's what our itinerary looks like.

8/21 - Drive to Lone Pine from Socal and pick up our permits. Drop off a car at Whitney Portal. Then head to Horseshoe Meadows and stay overnight at the campground.

8/22 - Hike to Cottonwood lakes and camp for the night.

8/23 - Take Army Pass and drop off our packs and bag Langley. Pick up our packs reconnect with New Army Pass and probably to Lower Soldier Lake or Rock Creek Lake.

8/24-8/25 We're a bit open here and can make it very leisurely to Guitar Lake via Rock Creek and Crabtree. Anyone have any recommendations where to explore if we split this hike into two days? Any sweet spot campsites? We prefer to keep the xc to a minimum.

8/26 - Summit Day. Drop our packs at the trail junction, summit, and last night at Consultation lake

8/27 - Whitney Portal, burgers, and pick up our cars and head back to socal.

Thanks in advance!

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#6623 - 08/14/10 09:57 PM Re: Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated [Re: PackEnvy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7387
Loc: Fresno, CA
Looks like the makings of an excellent trip!

If you are an adventurous group, consider this option: Spend a night at Crabtree, but then, take a leisurely trip to Guitar Lake. Have a mid-day dinner by GL, then about 3 PM, head for the Whitney summit. And spend that night on the summit -- catching both the sunset and the sunrise.

I did that once, and it was fantastic.

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#6676 - 08/17/10 07:34 AM Re: Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated [Re: PackEnvy]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1242
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
An alternate to Steve's advice, spend the night at the Tarns above Guitar Lake. Get up really early because no one I know sleep really well at 11,700' and get your rear end on the summit so you might enjoy the sunrise.

Steve, I get tired just thinking about hauling a water-laden pack to the summit from Guitar Lake.

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#6679 - 08/17/10 08:42 AM Re: Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7387
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Steve, I get tired just thinking about hauling a water-laden pack to the summit from Guitar Lake.

Well, if you have been out for a few days, your pack is a lot lighter than when you started. So you load up with water -- I think we actually packed empty 2-liter soda bottles with the summit overnight in mind.

And we lightened the load more by having dinner about 2 PM, eating all we could there, and then just snacking at the top -- it's easier to both eat and sleep at lower altitude.

Then, by heading up later, you don't need THAT much water at the top. And you drink lots on the way up. All you need once you're at the top is about a liter -- just enough to sip before bed, then some in the morning.

I think we started up with 4 liters each. I gave away a pint to some guy who walked up in the evening with only a single bottle to take him all the way up and back.

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#6696 - 08/17/10 07:11 PM Re: Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1242
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I always have problems sleeping at these elevations, like many. I was up doing Pickering this Thursday-Sunday and I don't think I slept more than 2 hour stretches any night because of it I did get to see a bunch of meteors because of this weekend.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to sleep on the summit one of these days.

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#6719 - 08/18/10 10:43 AM Re: Cottonwood Lakes to Mount Whitney - Advice appreciated [Re: PackEnvy]
matt coker Offline


Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 7
Loc: North California
Instead of staying at Lower Soldier, consider staying at Sky Blue. Both are great lakes to camp at, but the trip from Sky Blue to the top of Whitney and back can be done in one day.

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