Last week, getting ready for an overnight on the Whitney summit, I camped two nights at Horseshoe Meadows (HM), at 10,000 ft elevation. The process paid off, as I only felt slight symptoms while at the summit.
On Monday evening, I drove up to HM, and made camp late. On Tuesday, after getting permits lined up at the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, I returned to HM. I found a hike recommended by
wbtravis (...Go to Trail Peak, I was blown away by the views from this peak...
I found the peak on the map, and the trail leading from HM to Trail Pass. Here's a map
(thanks to Postholer.com). Distance on the map appears to be about 1.5 mile to Trail Pass, with an elevation gain of 600'. Then the pass to the peak is less than a mile, gain of 1100'. Incidentally, while on Mt Whitney and looking at Trail Peak, Bob R shared that he had taken his children on their first overnight backpack to Trail Peak!
Note: a Gmap4 map is below; Also, note that the trails on all online maps in this area are incorrect. The trail to Trail Peak (shown only on the My Topo version) does NOT go straight up. The trail head out of Horseshoe Meadow to Cottonwood Lakes leaves the north-most loop of the campground road, NOT the bend in the road as shown on the maps (that is the old trail location).
Getting a very late start, I started hiking at 4:30. It took one hour to the pass, then about 45 minutes to the peak. I was hurrying since I was running out of daylight. It took an hour to return, but I did not use the trail, making a cross-country bee-line for the HM trail head for the trail head.
Here's a map of my route. Purple line is my ascent, brown is the return:
The odd path followed at the end is ....well, a funny story
All the pictures are here: 2010-09-28 Trail Peak Hike
Nice log bridge. This was the only water on the trip. Not potable due to all the cows.
Trail Pass, one hour from the start. The trail intersects the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) at this pass. Mulkey Pass (south) and Cottonwood Pass (north) are on the PCT. I hiked from Horseshow Meadow (northwest from the pass)
A zoomed-in and cropped view of Mt Whitney with the summit hut. I could not see the hut, but discovered it in the photo afterward. The western flank of Mt Langley is in the foreground.
Shadow of Trail Peak, looking east as the sun sets. You can even see the sun rays converging in the distance.
Sunset. I ran out of light half way back to camp.
Some geek and a pretty foxtail pine skeleton. Horseshoe Meadows in the background.
The Horseshoe Meadows campground. I found these two guys, Robert and Randy, camping. They were also acclimating in preparation for a Whitney hike. (Met them again as I descended from the summit of Whitney.) They brought firewood from home, and were kicking back watching a movie on a laptop.
Here's the CalTopo map of the Horseshoe Meadow area: Click here
to see the full-screen map.