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#50715 - 07/09/17 07:37 PM A Bunch of Newbie Questions
Captain_Corduroy Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey all. As I get closer to my first trip up Whitney, I have a bunch of miscellaneous questions still rolling around my head. Maybe you can help me out.

My permit is on overnight for the 19th. I've done a bunch of So Cal peakbagging but only a couple nights of backpacking.

When you park at Trail Camp and leave for the summit, should you leave your tent and pack open so marmots can sniff around and not need to burrow though anything? (you can tell I'm green -- don't laugh) I've got a bear canister I'll have away from the tent but I'm not sure how curious these marmot characters are.

Seems like there's plenty of viable water everywhere, except past Trail Camp. So my strategy is to not haul a bunch up to the point - I'll just get what I need along the way - but I'll bring about 3L for the summit attempt. Sound about right?

It sounds like the Old Trail is the way to go to avoid that nasty first stream crossing. Is it obvious where the trailhead is? I've seen some threads on that and I'm concerned I'll waste time in the morning trying to find it. Maybe I can get up there the day before and get it sorted.

Would it make sense and go without a stove? From what I'm reading, even the people doing an overnight seem to be booking up to the summit pretty dang early. I'd love a warm coffee and some oatmeal but it takes me a bit given my inexperience. How many people ditch the cooking system for an overnight?

I'll be using micro spikes. Is there a good strategy for when they go on and off? The must be useless on granite.

What's the parking situation like? Are there reserved spots for overnight? Do they fill up? What about for day hiking? I also want to get a feel for the trail the day before, maybe hike up to Lone Pine Lake or so.

Are there any other good places to get some altitude in the days before? Even if it's a couple hours I'm hoping it will help.

Sorry for the silly questions. And thanks in advance!

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#50720 - 07/10/17 01:56 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Captain_Corduroy]
Marcus Offline


Registered: 07/07/17
Posts: 46
Loc: California
Not silly at all! I have the exact same questions, and I'm the same level of green! grin

Carrying 3L from trail camp seems to be the general advice. Steve C also gave me a great trip - supplement it with snow if you need more.

I'm also curious to hear answers for all of your questions!

Also, what tent are you taking? I have been advised not to take stakes (but to use rock anchors instead), as the ground at trail camp is supposedly unstakeable.

I'm going in the first week of August.

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#50729 - 07/10/17 06:27 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Marcus]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 768
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Take the stakes along too. Rocks help if staking is a problem. If a high wind comes up you will need your tent securely anchored. Of course, on summit day leave the gear you aren't taking along inside the tent for weight.

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#50733 - 07/10/17 08:38 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Leaving tent open is a good idea. All food and food trash inside the canister.

Old trail is easy to find. Just read the Old Trail thread. I saw a trip report where someone said crossing North Fork L.P. creek isn't a big problem anymore.

Stove or not is a personal choice. I'd take mine, but its total weight including fuel is about 1/4 lb. Titanium Wing Stove with homemade aluminum foil wind screen.

Parking: At the trail head, in the overflow lot just below, and third choice is along the road. There should be enough available. Have not heard of any problems.

Altitude: Spend overnight at Horseshoe Meadows, or at least, the walk-in spots at Whitney Portal. The higher you sleep the better. Couple hours is not very effective.

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#50742 - 07/10/17 11:21 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Steve C]
Captain_Corduroy Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Marcus
Also, what tent are you taking? I have been advised not to take stakes (but to use rock anchors instead), as the ground at trail camp is supposedly unstakeable.


That's something I didn't even think about. I have the newbie special, light: a Quarter Dome 1. It's freestanding but I'd love to know how to secure it where you can't stake. Tie the guy lines to rocks?

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Leaving tent open is a good idea. All food and food trash inside the canister.


Copy that. Almost forgot about trash.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Old trail is easy to find. Just read the Old Trail thread. I saw a trip report where someone said crossing North Fork L.P. creek isn't a big problem anymore.


Got it.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Stove or not is a personal choice. I'd take mine, but its total weight including fuel is about 1/4 lb. Titanium Wing Stove with homemade aluminum foil wind screen.


That's something to consider. My cook system is 415g. Not terrible but it's a lot for a coffee and some eggs one morning. Especially if it's getting warmer.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Parking: At the trail head, in the overflow lot just below, and third choice is along the road. There should be enough available. Have not heard of any problems.


Awesome.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Altitude: Spend overnight at Horseshoe Meadows, or at least, the walk-in spots at Whitney Portal. The higher you sleep the better. Couple hours is not very effective.


This is where I'm going to struggle I bet. I've got limited time as I have a wedding I'll be rushing back from. Although maybe I could do this Horseshoe Meadows. Does it get filled up fast?


Thanks guys. I'm so grateful for this site. I had no idea how underprepared I was.

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#50779 - 07/10/17 07:15 PM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Captain_Corduroy]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
Loc: California
Quote:

That's something to consider. My cook system is 415g. Not terrible but it's a lot for a coffee and some eggs one morning. Especially if it's getting warmer.


Omeals.com has self heating meals (dinners and breakfasts). I tried the southwestern style chicken and the self heating part is convenient, not too sure about the taste. I have to try another flavor first to see if I can really recommend them beyond the convenience part of not needing to bring a stove and gas canister.

Otherwise, Mountain House has a blueberry granola that just needs cold water to rehydrate the milk. It's in my pack for big trips for those mornings that I just don't feel like boiling water. smile

Can't really help you with getting hot coffee without a stove. smile


Quote:

This is where I'm going to struggle I bet. I've got limited time as I have a wedding I'll be rushing back from. Although maybe I could do this Horseshoe Meadows. Does it get filled up fast?


I rushed my acclimation last year (only one day/night at Horseshoe Meadows) and got sick after summiting Mt Langley and couldn't continue to Mt Whitney. Everyone is different, but If you don't spend some time between 8,000 and 10,000 feet for at least a day and night before, you're asking for trouble.

You're not the groom, are you? smile If you are, hopefully you're bringing your bride on the honeymoon at 14,000 feet. smile

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#50800 - 07/11/17 10:04 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: Captain_Corduroy]
david_garza Offline


Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 29
Loc: Glendale, California
C. Corduroy, hope you don't mind my piggybacking in your thread.

Running shoes: is the summer trail too rough for them? I'm on the fence between using ventilated, soft, light running shoes vs. GTX, stiff-soled, heavy-ish hiking shoes.

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#50802 - 07/11/17 10:33 AM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: david_garza]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Captain_Corduroy
This is where I'm going to struggle I bet. I've got limited time as I have a wedding I'll be rushing back from. Although maybe I could do this Horseshoe Meadows. Does it get filled up fast?
At HM, the place to stay is the camping area on the south side of the area (don't take the right turn coming in). HM is wide open and flat. Except for the foxtail pines and a few bushes/logs, it is just flat sandy ground. If you're going there to spend the night, you can always find a spot to throw down your pad and bag. You can even park and sleep in your car if that works for you. Since it is officially a one-night-only camping area, it never fills up.


Originally Posted By: david_garza
Running shoes: is the summer trail too rough for them? I'm on the fence between using ventilated, soft, light running shoes vs. GTX, stiff-soled, heavy-ish hiking shoes.
Last summer I used these to go up the Mountaineers Route and down the Main Trail. By the end of the day, I had one blister just rear of my big toe. I'd use them again for the trip.
http://www.zappos.com/p/new-balance-leadville-red-black/product/8646277/color/1413

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#50829 - 07/11/17 08:51 PM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: david_garza]
GandC Offline


Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 246
Loc: SoCal
I didn't have very good luck in running shoes on the MMWT. Mine were North Face, and man the soles got tore up on that trail. It was the last pair of shoes I ever bought (for hiking of any sort) that didn't have Vibram soles.
_________________________
One day I'd like to hike the entire John Muir Trail and not leave a single footprint. -Randy Morgenson

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#50850 - 07/12/17 12:31 PM Re: A Bunch of Newbie Questions [Re: GandC]
david_garza Offline


Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 29
Loc: Glendale, California
Thanks Steve and Gand for helpful info. The hiking shoes it is.

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