Hey all, east coaster here! This August some friends and I will be tackling Mt Whitney and I'm pretty excited about it as I've never been hiking out West. I'm an avid A.T. hiker and am pretty confident with my abilities through the toughest sections NC or NH can throw at me, but hiking at 5-6k ft is not the same as 10-14k ft...
We fly into Vegas and I'm hoping to find a good dark sky location for the Perseids meteor shower (thats another topic all together) and am going to try and get to an 8k+ ft location for better "seeing". Possibly near Telescope Peak in Death Valley. We'll then be spending a night at Cottonwood lakes to acclimate some more before starting the hike.
So, the plan is to take either NAP or Cottonwood Pass out to the PCT, on up to the JMT to the West side of Whitney. I understand that route would be ~30 miles 1 way? Because of what the group wants, we are doing a round trip back to Cottonwood Lakes, and are supposed to do that over 6 days. Is that a realistic timeframe for the 60 miles? We can do 15 miles on the AT without issue, what should we expect out here? I'm open to tacking on another day to be safe, but would have to convince the group.
Any suggestion between Cottonwood Pass and the NAP?
How is the camping along the trail? I've seen good camp sites listed on "Halfmile's PCT Maps" but those locations didn't break up our days very well if we try for 12mi/day. From pics along the trail, brush didn't seem to be an issue like it is along the AT, so is it easy enough to just find some flat ground off the trail? Camp location suggestions welcome as well!
I'd like to leave out via the Whitney Portal with an exit permit, but while talking to the Ranger in Lone Pine over the phone he said they're tough to get in mid August because of the demand. I'd have to convince the group as well, and we're quickly approaching the 15th for decisions to be made.
Thanks for any advice, I'm sure I'll have more questions as I do more research.