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#7138 - 09/08/10 08:18 AM First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010)
Akichow Offline

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Two friends and I summited on Monday under beautiful conditions. We are women 45-49 years old: one serious backpacker (Rabbit) who got AMS at the summit, but more on that later; one person who is really fit but doesn't hike much (Peach); and me. Peach and I took Diamox (62.5 mg twice a day) starting a day before the trip until after we summited, while Rabbit did not.

Friday-Sunday(September 3-5, 2010)
We stayed two nights at Onion Valley campground, 9300 feet. On Saturday, we climbed to Kearsarge Pass, 11800 feet, and did some fishing in Flower Lake on the way down. Hearty dinner on Saturday of grilled pork chops, sweet potatoes, and zucchini, grilled at the campsite.

Sunday (September 5)
We picked up our passes at the permit center a little after 9 a.m., got some sandwiches at Subway, and hit the trail. My pack was 26 lbs, Peach's was 25 lbs, and Rabbit's was 35 lbs. We had a lovely long rest stop at Lone Pine Lake on the way up to Trail Camp, and several shorter rest stops. Even though Trail Camp was crowded, we still found a private spot in a sort of gully that I had scoped out on a previous (shorter) trip in July with my dog. We dined on a Mountain House dinner of Chicken ala King and Three Berry Cobbler (which really hit the spot), before going to sleep. The original plan was to stay at Consultation Lake, but access proved a bit too complicated given how beat some of our team was when we got to that elevation.

Rabbit had really wanted to stay at Outpost Camp when we got there. Her pack was way too heavy and, even though she was the most fit of the three of us, she was exhausted when arrived at that camp. After some discussion, Peach and I took some of her packed weight and we pushed on to Trail Camp. Both Peach and Rabbit think that the portion between Outpost Camp and Trail Camp was one of the hardest sections of the whole trip, at least carrying packs.

Monday (September 6) LABOR DAY
We started up Whitney at the relevantly sane hour of 8:45 a.m., after a breakfast of either oatmeal or Mountain House scrambled eggs. Rabbit had a slight headache but otherwise folks felt pretty good. I didn't find the switchbacks as hard as I thought I would (though I did go for a Cliff Shot at one stop, and loved it) -- the views were great and kept me distracted. For me, the hardest part of the trip was between the JMT junction and the summit, where the footing can be uncertain.

Rabbit ran ahead of us pretty much the whole way up to the summit (hence her nickname). We met up only once on the way up, at Trail Crest, where both Peach and I thought she looked a little off, but she said she was feeling okay. When we met up with Rabbit at the summit, though, she had a stronger headache (frontal lobe) and nausea. Peach gave her a Diamox (125 mg), and Rabbit headed down.

Peach and I enjoyed a hearty lunch at the summit of whole grain tortillas, cheese, salami, peanut butter, and nuts. A very very fat marmot watched us the whole time. The weather was spectacular -- probably high 40s or 50, no wind, not a cloud in the sky.

We ran into Rabbit just shy of Trail Crest. She looked pretty beat. It turns out that, on top of having AMS, she only brought 2.5 liters of water (Peach and I each started with 3 liters), and was running short. I gave her some water with Cytomax to drink. We ran into her again about 10 minutes later, maybe .10 miles down from Trail Crest, still looking poorly. Peach gave her some water, and I gave her more water with Cytomax. We continued down together at that point, At about 13000 feet, Rabbit perked up and started telling jokes. We purified water for Rabbit on the switchbacks using my Steripen -- by far, the group's favorite accessory of the trip.

Dinner was Mary Jane's Cheesy Noodle Casserole with Snap Peas, and Curry in a Hurry. I wish we'd also had another berry cobbler, though! A ranger came by and chatted with us; looked to me like he was helping clean up Trail Camp (he was carrying a plastic bag of what looked like garbage). The wind picked up that night the temperature dropped.

Tuesday, September 7
We had a hearty breakfast of Mountain House scrambled eggs and tortillas, and headed down for the long ride home. It was very windy ... much different from the day before.

Edited by Akichow (09/08/10 08:49 AM)

#7139 - 09/08/10 08:52 AM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7996
Loc: Fresno, CA
Congratulations on a successful trip, Karin. It sounds like you did everything right. I should take lessons from you on menu planning -- it sounds like you ate very well!

Too bad for Rabbit. Sounds like the heavy pack and not taking Diamox were two strikes.

Thanks for posting the report. Did any of you take pictures?

#7140 - 09/08/10 09:44 AM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Enjoyed reading your tr. It's obvious that food is important in your life!

My take on rabbit is that she probably hiked too rapidly at elevation without taking the time to eat/drink enough - it happens frequently.

#7141 - 09/08/10 09:53 AM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Akichow]
quillansculpture Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 566
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Congrats on the summit. I'm sure it won't be your last time.

A thought about rabbit being worn out at Outpost Camp. I think something that isn't mentioned a lot is the energy it takes out of you before the hike from the excitement and anticipation. It's tough to control "excitement", but I believe that first timers (and even myself with a couple of Summits and some short trips up Whitney) have to figure a way to get control of the pre-hike jitters. At the beginning of the hike from the Portal to at least Lone Pine Lake, first timers should use it as a gauge to see how they feel, how well they are doing and conserve the energy needed for the rest of the hike.

It's just a thought, but I know for me, the excitement of starting the hike can wear on me a bit. I was lucky enough to learn that years ago when I was at the starting line of marathons and other runs, so I always take a nice rest, even if I can't sleep before the hike and I take the first 3 miles fairly slow.

I know you have her pack at 35 pounds, and that is a bit much, but not out of line for a lot of hikers. I know mine weighed 32 pounds and I am learning how to make it weigh less, but I think that comes from mistakes and experience.

Congratulations again to all three of you!!! What a great experience and something I know a lot of us were looking forward to after your previous posts.
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"
twitter: @josephquillan

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

#7160 - 09/08/10 08:50 PM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Steve C

Too bad for Rabbit. Sounds like the heavy pack and not taking Diamox were two strikes.

That was my thinking too. Perhaps the third strike was that she went up very fast. But she was a trooper and, overall, I think (hope!) she had a great time.

Originally Posted By: Steve C

Thanks for posting the report. Did any of you take pictures?

Do I have pictures? Oh, do I!

One of my favorite places on the hike, Lone Pine Lake.

Looking down on Trail Camp and Consultation Lake from Trail Crest

First view of the summit (and hut)

"That was easy!"

Someone really needs to give this marmot a name ... I see that he or she is showing up in a lot of pictures....

On the summit...

Guitar Lake and Arctic Lake from the summit (smoke from the Sheep Fire in Kings Canyon/Sequoia NP)

Trail Camp

The road home...

Edited by Akichow (09/08/10 09:46 PM)

#7166 - 09/08/10 10:59 PM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7996
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for the pictures! That first one of Lone Pine Lake is beautiful!

#7364 - 09/14/10 09:34 PM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Steve C]
Zeta4 Offline

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Orange County
Enjoyed your report. I echo your sentiments about Lone Pine Lake. Beautiful! Great pics! I definitely took a turn at the 'Easy Button' smile

#7389 - 09/15/10 10:42 AM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Akichow]
CaT Offline

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 695
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Congrats on your first summit!!
It just occurred to me (somewhat retroactively) that your first summit of Whitney was 3 years to the day later than my first summit (9/6/07). Mine was a dayhike, and I ate nothing like you (in fact, I ate not much at all the whole hike). But, like you, I had perfect weather, and it was a hike I will never forget.

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.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

#7398 - 09/15/10 01:07 PM Re: First Summit, Labor Day (9/6/2010) [Re: Akichow]
lynn-a-roo Offline

Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
I and a co-worker were just looking at your pictures. You took some gorgeous shots. My co-worker will be attempting Mt. Whitney for her first time this weekend. I told her she shouldn't look at your photos and spoil the surprise of the beauty of her ascent.

We came up with a name for the marmot. We think Bandit would be appropriate because he/she looks like they have a white mask across their face and besides, I bet he or she will steal you blind when you're not watching...all your goodies will end up in his/her home deep in the rocks.