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#7277 - 09/13/10 06:36 PM Snowshoeing to the Portal . . .
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Gonna be out there in February for my annual winter Death Valley hiking trip, and the idea occurred to me about possibly taking a day to snowshoe up the Portal Road to . . . the Portal. I think I've read some brief accounts of folks doing this in the winter, but I can't recall the specifics. Seems like a cool thing to do for those of us woefully lacking in serious winter skills (i.e., crampon and ice axe). Anyone done this before and have feedback?

Looking at the map, it appears to be something on the order of 7 miles each way and about 2000 feet of gain - does this sound right? That's measured from the road's first right turn at about 6600 feet, heading up to the first switchback, which is where I recall seeing the Road Closed signs a couple of winters ago.

I realize it's 5 months away, but I'm funny that way. Cogitating on what I'll do in Death Valley in February and the Sierra in summer gets me through the boring winters.

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#7279 - 09/13/10 07:07 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Doug arranged a couple of hikes thru the Alabama Hills last winter. On the first one we car-pooled from the Hostel to about the 5K' point - the road above that was mostly impassable - and then snowshoed/hiked down to the Hostel thru the hills. I think it was about 13 miles.

The second was in early spring - we started just below the first switchback - maybe 6,500'? - then hiked up to the Portal and back to the vehicles. We then drove down to about 4K', and hiked back into town thru the hills.

You might check with Doug - I have a hunch he'll arrange these outings again this year. If he does, maybe you can coordinate the timing with your DV trip.

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#7286 - 09/13/10 10:29 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I once skied up to Trail Camp in January. We got 6"-12" of snow that night. Soloing Muir the next morning was a bit dicey with all that fresh snow on it. Later that year (March 7), we skied from the Whitney summit all the way down to where they close the road for winter. Yes, you can hike up as far as you like.

Gary, it's becoming increasingly obvious that you are addicted. You need to move out west so you can play up high every weekend without buying a plane ticket or taking a day off from work. You can always fly back to Atlanta to watch the annual UGA pounding of GT on Thanksgiving weekend. Are you working on this?

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#7295 - 09/14/10 05:21 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: bobpickering]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
How I wish, Bob! Let's just say long-term plans, at least for a permanent summer getaway. Seven more years of middle and high school left for our daughter, so we have time to figure this out. But hell, by then I'll be closing in on 60 and might as well hang up the hiking boots. Oh, wait - someone just did a MR double in their 60s, so maybe not . . . smile

This past summer was my wife's first visit to the Eastern Sierra and the Portal. She was smitten, and finally understood my fascination with the area. As we were driving down from the Portal the last day there, she pointed to the cabin homes on the mountainside above the campgrounds and said, "Honey, what do you think those go for . . . ?"

My reply: "A decent lottery win." Guess what she's done religiously since we've been back?

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#7304 - 09/14/10 09:11 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
> But hell, by then I'll be closing in on 60 and might as well hang up the hiking boots.

I've got news for you Gary.... 60 ( mad ) is no reason to hang em up.

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#7306 - 09/14/10 09:32 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
That's the problem with some old farts - can't take a joke . . . grin

Someone remind me again how old Bob Rockwell is? Around 20 years my senior and could run circles around me in the Sierra . . .


Edited by Bulldog34 (09/14/10 10:06 AM)
Edit Reason: Clarified to avoid any mis-interpretation

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#7307 - 09/14/10 09:36 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Gary:

The Sierra has great climbing on high peaks from Horseshoe Meadow all the way to Sonora Pass. Then there is a whole different kind of climbing on Mt. Shasta. Reno is the place to be, if the jobs ever come back. It's about 3.5 hours to Mt. Shasta City, 3 hours to Yosemite, 3.5 hours to Bishop, and maybe 5 hours to Whitney Portal. Oh, yeah, it's 40 minutes to Mt. Rose, where I can breathe some thin air any time I have two gallons of gas and a few hours to kill.

Whitney is the high-profile prize because it's the highest peak in the 48 states, but there are hundreds of other worthy peaks in California. Even ordinary mortals can reach many of them as a day trip with no heavy pack, no bear canister, no permit, no fees, no quota BS, and no crowds. I once signed a register that had fewer than ten entries in it, and one of them was Norman Clyde from the mid 1930's.

My point is that you shouldn't tie yourself to Whitney by buying an overpriced cabin. See it all. It sounds like the bug has bitten your daughter too. She might decide that living near the mountains outweighs the hassle of moving and changing schools. You should take her climbing as much as possible before she discovers boys and heads off to some party school to further her education.

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#7308 - 09/14/10 09:54 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: bobpickering]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
You should take her climbing as much as possible before she discovers boys and heads off to some party school to further her education.


Hmmm . . . and which "party school" did you have in mind, Bob? Nothing but the best for my little girl!

Nah, we'd never lock into a single summer getaway. It was really just an illustration of how quickly my wife went from, "What the hell are you thinking?!" regarding my multiple solo Sierra/DV hiking trips to, "Oh, I get it now! I'm coming with from now on!"

Atlanta will always be our permanent residence, regardless of what we do for summer fun. The roots are far too deep, the local school system is exceptional, the climate is great 9 months out of the year, and (no small matter) the house is paid for. It would take an H-bomb to pry us loose. Our philosophy is that God invented the airplane for the sole purpose of getting us west several times a year.

Also, one of the benefits for me as a newly-minted Quarter Century Club employee of Marriott is free lodging for the remainder of my life. Lots of options there, but just not anywhere along the good parts of 395. I've been trying to talk Doug into building a Lone Pine Marriott.

A lottery win would be nice though . . .

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#7309 - 09/14/10 09:56 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: bobpickering]
Tomcat_rc Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Ridgecrest
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Gary:


Whitney is the high-profile prize because it's the highest peak in the 48 states, but there are hundreds of other worthy peaks in California.


Now you know why we call her the blonde.

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#7311 - 09/14/10 10:12 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Tomcat_rc]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
I saw a youtube video of a guy skiing down Whitney and it definitely piqued my interest. When I was a kid growing up in Tahoe we would regularly hike up a mountain with skis attached to an external frame backpack and then ski down. The first hike-up/ski-down was the peak on the north shore of Emerald bay.

Of note, we did cause a little avalanche that closed hwy 89...and our cars were on the wrong side of the avalanche. We had to drive all the way around the lake to get home. (shh, don't tell...never did get caught for that little stunt).



I'm very interested in hiking up Whitney as far as I can in a day with some skis strapped to my back and then skiing down.....

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#7314 - 09/14/10 10:40 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: tdtz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
There are some very hardy ski-animals who have come around to Whitney and over from Cottonwood Pass in February or March and skied down.

They have way better downhill abilities than I! I've sworn off even heading into the Pear Lake Hut in Sequoia NP in winter because I value my knees. Just haven't mastered those telemark turns. eek

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#7315 - 09/14/10 11:21 AM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
I'm a straight downhill skier....no telemarking here. I was very aggressive when I was younger, but one blown up knee (Mt Rose) and one dislocated shoulder (Mammoth) and I've slowed down a little bit. Still...I'd like the little feather in my cap "I skied Mt Whitney"

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#7322 - 09/14/10 02:09 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Gary....here's a home in Lone Pine Barb might like!!! Maybe I should just tell her :-)


Listing in Lone Pine for Gary :-)
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#7324 - 09/14/10 02:40 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Yeah, that's just what we need Joe - a summer home in the Owens Valley. Let's get away from hot-as-hell in the summer to more hot-as-hell in the summer, just minus the humidity. I think you're missing the point of what a summer getaway means to us Atlantans. Now, Mammoth I could live happily in during the summer!

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#7326 - 09/14/10 03:06 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Gary, you would really like that house... it has a swamp cooler but no AC! grin

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#7327 - 09/14/10 03:10 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Steve C]
+ @ti2d Online


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
...swamp cooler...

Hey, maybe I should change my name from positive to "swamp cooler." Freeze them Gators for the Dogs to chomp!

SCORE!!!!!!! Get up off that! Who let the dogs out?
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#7328 - 09/14/10 03:13 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: quillansculpture]
+ @ti2d Online


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: quillansculpture
Gary....here's a home in Lone Pine Barb might like!!! Maybe I should just tell her :-)


Listing in Lone Pine for Gary :-)


I believe my wife and I saw this house during out trip to the holy city in June. I believe it is in the "Beverly Hills" district of Lone Pine.

It is within staggering distance of Jakes and the Double L...no cab required. Just gotta watch fer the semis if going home from Jakes! crazy

B Double E Double R U N...Beer run...
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#7329 - 09/14/10 03:13 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: + @ti2d]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
After the no-show for the Dogs in Columbia this weekend, my optimism is gone. I hate seeing Steve Spurrier smile at our expense. Jim (sierragator) is probably gonna have a field day with me come late October.


Originally Posted By: + @ti2d
I believe my wife and I saw this house during out trip to the holy city in June. I believe it is in the "Beverly Hills" district of Lone Pine.


Uh, yeah - I believe it . . . at least till the new homes get built near the Alabama Hills.

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#7330 - 09/14/10 03:25 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: quillansculpture]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
I kinda like that house....quaint.

If I can get a good internet connection there.....hmmmmm

although the wife might not approve of the new digs.

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#7332 - 09/14/10 03:27 PM Re: Snowshoeing to the Portal . . . [Re: Bulldog34]
+ @ti2d Online


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
...Alabama...

Don't think no Bulldog want to live in the Bama Hills! whistle

Okay, now back to snowshoeing portion of our regularly scheduled thread...

Have fun...
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