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#7208 - 09/11/10 07:49 PM Whitney Summit - Sept 8th
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Mt Whitney Trip Report
Sept 4 - Arrive Lone Pine around noonish. Went to Subway and grabbed a sandwich and then headed up to Horseshoe meadow. Found a campsite, set up camp and relaxed.

Sept 5th - Leisurely morning. Had originally planned to do one day at HM and one day at OV, but once I had made camp at HM, little chance that I was going to break camp and then set up again someplace else. Ended up doing a hike to Cottonwood Pass.

Sept 6th - Broke camp and headed down to Lone Pine to get my permit. My Mom drove up to see me off, so we got to hang out and go shooting on the east side of Owens Valley. Had dinner at Seasons...yum! And I always like to start off a hike with a nice clean shower, so I spent the night at the Dow Villa.

Sept 7th
The Portal to Consultation Lake/Trail Camp
Pack weighed in at 35lbs (with water). Not bad....I worked hard to eliminate anything that I didn't need. Next time, I hope to get it down around 30lbs.

Two other guys were weighing their packs at the same time...they took off about 3 minutes before I did. My official start time was 8:45am. We played leapfrog most of the way up to Lone Pine Lake and eventually just started hiking together. Nothing much of interest on the first day of hiking. Ran into a friend of Bob R's who worked with him at China Lake. Dick referred to him as "Rocky". Outpost camp was deserted. Maybe too early for people to be setting up camp there. Anyway, Mike and Charlie and I were all planning on staying near Consultation Lake so we picked a site that was relatively sheltered and set up camp. They couldn't believe that I had no intention of not treating my water, so they hiked down to consultation lake and filtered 3 liters of water for me....of course, they filtered water for themselves too. Meanwhile, we had decided to do a potluck dinner. So I started on the first course. I made homemade chicken noodle soup...and it was damn good! I got rave reviews from Mike and Charlie who both made sure that I gave them the recipe/instructions before I left. Charlie made some backpacker pouch pad thai and Mike made backpacker pouch blueberry cheesecake. I'll stick with real food.

The wind really picked up at night. So much so that I didn't get any sleep. Literally no sleep from the noise from the wind.. Mike and Charlie both ended up not sleeping either. I had to re-stake my rain fly at one point as it had come loose in the night and was flapping like bird. I ended up putting rocks on all of the stakes...just in case.

Sept 8th
Since I take the "tortoise" role in the race with the hare, I wanted to start the day early. I had decided that if I woke up at 3am, I would plan my start at 4am...but, since I never had an sleep to awake from, I was still trying to atch a few Zzzzzs until 4:30am. I started making another pot of chicken soup for breakfast and here's where I like the idea of hiking solo comes into play. I like to get ready and go. Mike and Charlie tended to take their time. We didn't get out of there until 6:45am. Though it didn't seem too cold at camp, the wind was still very strong so it was cutting through light clothing. We all bundled up with gloves and various head coverage (my choice was the ever fashionable balaklava).

I was going to refill my water on the switchbacks, but they wanted to stop at the Trail Pond and pump/filter. And hey, as long as they are willing to do the work....

And up the switchbacks we go. There is PLENTY of water on the switchbacks. And in my opinion, the best water on the whole MMWT. It is melt water from the snow field right above it. No way can it be contaminated with anything. And as long as that snow field is there, there will be water. The lower sections were frozen, but the upper sections were flowing freely. I dumped one bottle of trail pond water and refilled with switchback spring water (the other bottle already had powdered Gatorade in it). Some guy had slipped on the ice on one of the lower spring switchbacks and dropped his GPS/Walkie-talkie. Hooked him back up with his GPS thingie and he and his friend joined our little group for a while. Cables doesn't have any snow, but it has a lot of ice. Stick to the outside part of the trail to avoid ice. Grabbed a couple of icicles to wet the whistle rather than reaching for the bottle. And on up to Trail Crest. In 2008 I got AMS just below Trail Crest, so I was kinda nervous, but I didn't feel anything adverse. While at Trail Crest I searched for a hidden treasure that I had left my son in 2008. Nowhere to be found. I suspect that the melt/thaw cycle moved rocks about. Oh well.

Wind really started kicking up again once we reached TC. I had shed a layer halfway up the switchbacks but quickly put it back on at TC.

Drank one liter of water up to TC. Had a snack of some GORP and a granola bar of some sort. Probably should have eaten more, but didn't want to slow things down. A group of four came back up to TC from the JMT junction and said that there was no way they would summit today because of the wind.

Headed down to the JMT junction. Saw a girl struggling on her way up to Trail Crest. Saw that she was wearing hiking sandals and socks. The sandals were in bad shape and she had already started duct taping them, but her mends had already failed. I offered my roll of duct tape so she could repair her sandals. she was near tears when I got to her, so she was very appreciative for the duct tape.

Lots of backpacks at the JMT junction and the wind was roaring. The wind will be a recurring theme. The windows were spectacular. I would normally be surprised that anyone would get nervous walking by them, but I saw the wind knock a couple of people into the rocks....if that happened at the windows that wouldn't be such a good thing.

I may have mentioned, I ain't the fastest hiker up there. I'm 5'11" and 240lbs (last Friday). So I have a little excess baggage. And I felt every single one of those extra pounds on the way up. Still, as long as I'm not puking my guts up or a storm isn't brewing, there is no way that I would not summit. Storm? Did someone say storm? Yup, some young guy on his way down pointed to the west and said "big storm brewing, better get up there and don't waste any time".....Damn. I renewed my effort and resolve to get to the summit. I was worried that this storm...or my legs might thwart my efforts. I came up with a mantra of sorts. I kept saying to myself "each step I take is the highest step I have ever taken". It seemed to work, before I knew it, I was no longer traversing, but now I was heading up. When the Summit Hut came up over the horizon I was ecstatic. I was going to make it. And I did. I made the summit at 1:30pm, Sept 8th, 2010. I didn't think anyone was behind me. My signature in the book reflects that ("maybe the last of the day"). Mike and Charlie beat me by about 30 minutes and they were hanging out and taking photos. It turns out that 13 people attempted the summit after I signed in. I know that 3 turned back and 7 made it, but I don't know about the other 3.

Didn't spend a lot of time at the summit. The clouds were coming in very fast and very dark and very mean looking. The wind was brutal at the summit. My estimation is 45mph sustained with 60mph gusts. I think the incoming storm scared the marmots, as there were none to be found anywhere. Had a couple of photos taken and then set a fast pace down the hill. Had a PBJ sandwich about halfway to TC. Looked back at the summit...couldn't see it....totally socked in. Picked up an abandoned wag bag. I saw more, but there's only so much of other people's crap that I am willing to carry.

A bit relieved to hit trail crest again. The wind died down immediately once crossing over to the other side. Mike has Glaucoma and the combination of wind and altitude was messing with his vision. So I went on ahead and then would wait for mike and charlie to catch up. Stopped at the switchback springs again. I only drank 1.75 liters of water from trail camp to the summit and back, but I wanted to bring a liter home (it's already labeled)

Walking by trail camp I saw a woman taking down her camp. She had obviously just removed the stakes from her tent and turned away to do something else. Right then I gust of wind turned her tent into a kite that flew about 100yards west and then up into the air about 100' and then south toward Consultation Lake. No idea if she ever recovered it.

Headed back to camp, ate a quickie PBJ and started packing things up. Mike and Charlie got to camp and decided to stay another night. Mike's eyes were bad enough during the day, but he would never be able to walk out at night without Charlie being his seeing eye....dude. Oddly enough, I had to do that two years ago with my aunt who has RP. The clouds that looked so ominous before were completely gone now.

Packed up and headed out....Was making great time all the way to LPL. A little bit past the log crossing I could feel my legs getting weak. In the dark, the last two miles of the trail are always painful for me. It doesn't seem like that great of a distance, but at night there are no landmarks to let you know how far you have to go until you hit the signs just above the north fork crossing.. I started paying more attention to things....like the big granite outcropping that is on the south side of several switchbacks and of course the traverse back over to the north side of the canyon. My legs really started giving out to the point that I felt like I was walking my uphill pace. Finally saw the signs and crossed the north fork and tried to pick the pace up....no joy. I was wiped out.

Got to the portal, went to make a deposit at the human waste bank...and would you believe that I was so spaced out that I couldn't figure out how to open the container....yikes!

Lessons Learned
Packing - I eliminated many unnecessary things. I got my pack down to 35lb I eliminated a change of socks, which was a mistake. I'll find a place for the socks next time.

Food - I took to heart that I should bring food that I like. I had decided that a hearty chicken soup would be just what I needed. It was spectacular. I did all of the prep work the night before and pre-packaged each ingredient individually. I had plenty to share with two people for two different meals (dinner and breakfast. My recipe:
-Mini Bowtie noodles
-2 chopped celery stalks
-2 chopped carrots
-2 cooked chicken breasts cut up into bite size pieces. Chicken breasts from Seasons restaurant.
-1 packet of chicken flavoring stuff from top ramen
-1 pre-mixed spices
-1 tablespoon of butter

Water - I started off with 3 liters of water. Carrying that much water is foolish until after you leave the switchback springs. In the future I will carry one liter of water with two empty and collapsed liter containers to fill up at the switchbacks. Even though I only needed 2 liters of water to the summit and back, I like to have a little buffer since there are no other sources. Also, the hard candies definitely helped to cut back on the water consumption.

Sleep - I have to figure out a way to sleep while it feels like my tent is going to do a Wizard of Oz tornado scene thing.

Training - I thought I was doing a lot with my 3mi a day...but it wasn't anywhere near enough. I have vowed to summit Mt Whitney again....but only after I lose 40lbs.

Equipment - My tent and my sleeping bag performed beautifully. My bag is an Ultralamina 32 (long). I never got cold...and it was cold that night. It was a little bit "snug" around the shoulders, so I will probably look for a bigger bag. Tent was a $90 (overstock.com) Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 1. Easy to set up in spite of the wind. I could never get my backpack to sit right. Too much weight on my shoulders. Time for a new one anyway.

Altitude sickness - I was a bit paranoid that I would get it again. The two nights at HM and one night at 12,000' seemed to have done the trick. Not sure how much of a role the diamox had in keeping it in check. Next time I will try it with no diamox.

Attire - The balaklava was the best. It may have made me look funny, but my head and ears were warm, even in the biting wind and cold. My fleece gloves were good too. My Lowa boots were great again. They never slip and were comfortable the whole time.

Mosquitos - None. Leave the deet at home

TDTZ Whitney Photos

GPS Track

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#7210 - 09/11/10 09:59 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Great job and great TR tdtz. Yeah I had one of those winds blow 70 MPH at TC Labor Day weekend last year. Impossible to sleep amd impossible to keep a Capewood shelter up.Even without the wind most find it difficult at best, but more like impossible to sleep above 12K.For that reason alone Outpost is a better basecamp.35 lbs is not bad. I got down to 26 lbs last year.Better than the 56 lb'er from 07. Still not BobR's 8-10lbs.

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#7213 - 09/11/10 10:31 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Rod]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for the great report, Tom. Congratulations on making the summit. I am sure your acclimation program, staying at Horseshoe Meadows two nights really helped.

I like your picture of the ice at the cables. I've added it to the Current Conditions thread.

Try to find some earplugs for sleeping during a windy night. I carry them on all my hikes.

And point your water-filtering friends here:
    60,000 Liters of Water Consumed -- Untreated

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#7216 - 09/11/10 10:51 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Steve,
thanks.

I had earplugs....put them in, but they didn't help me sleep. Only so much they could do when the damn tent wanted to go airborne.

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#7219 - 09/11/10 11:21 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Then I imagine a bivy sack would be better than a tent in such a situation.

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#7233 - 09/12/10 05:47 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 627
Loc: OrangeCounty
Tom,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Trip Report. You gave excellent information for those of us planning our treks. Congratulations and thanks again. P.S. We're packing duct tape after reading your TR, might come in handy for high winds if our tents get ripped. If you remember anymore help tips from your MW trek, I'd sure love to read them.

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#7235 - 09/12/10 06:26 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Tom, congrats again on a successful summit and excellent adventure on Whitney! Enjoyable TR and photos. Glad you got on and off the summit before the storm brewed up too badly.

Big difference hitting Trail Crest without the 400-pound AMS gorilla on your back, huh? Makes the last 2-plus miles to the summit a helluva lot more enjoyable. And I think the club of hikers that detest the last 2.5 miles between LPL and the Portal is pretty large. Next time you can cut about 15 minutes off that segment by turning right at the John Muir Wilderness sign and taking the old original trail down (un-signed, but it's there). It comes out by the Portal waterfall near the wooden bridge at the picnic area. It's steep and not maintained, so using it coming down is a lot easier that going up. You also bypass the North Fork water crossing by doing this.

Congrats again!

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#7236 - 09/12/10 07:29 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: lynn-a-roo]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hey Lynn,
Sports Chalet and I am sure REI has duct tape especially for backpacking...meaning that it doesn't have the cardboard roll that adds extra weight and volume.

I also didn't bring medical tape as I figured that the duct tape could double duty.

If I remember any more details I'll definitely post them.
Tom

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#7237 - 09/12/10 07:35 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Bulldog34]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Gary,
thanks man! and next time I am taking the original trail cut off.

I was worried about AMS almost as much as that storm. Now that I made it to the top without getting nailed, i think I can relax on future hikes (though I am still going to do my altitude prep).

I'm thinking of doing a little day hike in the next couple of weeks up to LBSL. Just want to keep it fresh and explore new things.

Went for my first post whitney hike today....body feels good. Only remaining discomfort is chapped lips.... I think I can deal with that. laugh

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#7239 - 09/12/10 08:12 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
I learned on these boards about taking duct tape and wrapping it on my trekking poles. No noticable weight.Takes up no space in your pack.

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#7240 - 09/12/10 10:25 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Rod]
wendy1h Offline


Registered: 09/11/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Sonora,CA
I read about that on the REI website & now have 6 strips of duct tape (3 per) on my trekking poles. I'm from Tuolomne Co & fully expect to use the tape some time soon.

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#7244 - 09/13/10 06:29 AM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: wendy1h]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Duct tape is useful and entertaining.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#7246 - 09/13/10 07:03 AM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Rod]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 370
Loc: Wildomar
If you're gonna carry some duct tape wrapped on your poles, don't screw around - use Gorilla Duct tape. This stuff is insanely strong and sticky.........................DUG

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#7542 - 09/17/10 09:20 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Interesting post mortem....

I've been starving since I've returned home. And while I couldn't lose a pound before the hike, I have lost 8lbs since the hike.

At this rate I'll be nice and svelte by next summer.

would have been nice to have lost those 8lbs before the hike..dammit


Edited by tdtz (09/17/10 10:19 PM)

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#7546 - 09/18/10 05:45 AM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
I call it the Sierra/Whitney Regimen. In 2009 I came back 7 pounds lighter, and this past July returned almost 10 pounds lighter - exactly at my goal weight.

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#7548 - 09/18/10 07:45 AM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Bulldog34]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
it's a nice little side benefit. I just found it odd that I when I weighed myself the day after the hike, I hadn't lost any weight. It's been coming off post-hike. Puts a nice dent in my goal for next year.

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#7558 - 09/18/10 11:28 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
It's tough finding the motivation to lose weight. So it appears your success with the Whitney adventure helped with the motivation.

I get a post-trip kick in my enthusiasm for lots of things.

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#7570 - 09/19/10 09:56 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Well, I'm jonesing for a summit...

I'm thinking a Meysan Lake/Irvine/Mallory thing.

But I can't do weekends now. I'm somewhat committed to a fall little league baseball league and team. So instead I was going to do a weekday thing...Wife says "you need to bring home XXX dollars before you go traipsing off into the wilderness again....dammit, I'm going to have to start working harder so that I can get my get out of jail free card from my wife.

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#7572 - 09/19/10 10:21 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: tdtz]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 564
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Tarzana! I grew up at the corner of Van Owen and Woodman.....then moved to Woodman and Ventura. I worked in Encino.

If you don't count the gas up to Whitney and back, I spent less than $60.00 (during the trip) when I went up there for my summit. I brought all my food with me, with the exception of one Subway sandwich. The night before Gary and I hiked, I slept in the back of my SUV (free) at the Portal. LadyBulldog and her husband ( :-))bought me a Carls burger, fries and a drink and were nice enough to let me stay with them after the hike because they didn't want me driving home (My wife thanks them for that.)
Other than that, I bought some Lemonade at the Pearsonville gas station, some gum and a Snickers bar. Add in pancakes and eggs at Dougs store. I actually think Gary paid for that too!!! But, even if I didn't accept the graciousness of a wonderful Southern family, it would have been really cheap.

Gas probably cost me about $90.00 round trip from Murrieta.

So, you either have to humor your wife by making more money, or "explain" how Joe in Murrieta told you how inexpensive it is for you to get some alone time with mother nature.
_________________________
"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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#7581 - 09/19/10 11:20 PM Re: Whitney Summit - Sept 8th [Re: quillansculpture]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Oh, the issue isn't the cost of the trip itself. I spent very little money on my whitney adventure. I'm pretty sure that I came in at less than $100 (not including the new one man tent at $90 and the SPOT II that my Mother insisted on buying since I was going alone (I tried to explain to Mom that I'm 47 freakin years old, she can stop worrying about me now...LOL))

A trip now would simply be the cost of food and gas...and I have to eat whether I am at home or backpacking.

My wife is an accountant, she wants that income to keep on flowing in and I'm a sales dude, so if I'm not selling, I'm not making money.

I've been doing a fair bit of work out in your neighborhood in Menifee off of Ethanac road.

And Encino....I spend more time there than in Tarzana. I pretty much live at Encino Little League during the spring and fall.

BTW: glad you got back from your Baldy trip in one piece...even if a little bit beat up.
Tom

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