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#52850 - 04/04/18 11:13 PM Solo Ascent of Whitney
Alpine KB Offline

Registered: 04/04/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi all,

I plan to make a solo ascent of Mt. Whitney on Saturday, June 2nd. I am in good shape, have backpacking experience, and have summited several smaller (~9,000-12,000ft) mountains alone. I have a training plan in place to prepare for this 14er and get acclimated to the altitude. My main concern, however, is being alone on such a long expedition, especially during the night portion (I plan to start around 1 or 2am). I have read that hikers are rarely alone on the trail during mid-summer--is this accurate? I'd feel a bit more comfortable if others started at the trailhead close to the same time as me!

I am excited to check this off of my bucket list and I appreciate any advice for my hike. If anyone plans on summitting the same day as me, don't hesitate to reach out!

Edited by Alpine KB (04/04/18 11:13 PM)

#52851 - 04/05/18 05:58 AM Re: Solo Ascent of Whitney [Re: Alpine KB]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
You seem to have a good plan in place; better than many Whitney first-timers. No, you will not be alone on the trail, even at 1 AM there may be others starting at that time. Be sure you have a strong head-lamp or flashlight, and go slowly. If there is a full moon, that will help.

#52852 - 04/05/18 07:31 AM Re: Solo Ascent of Whitney [Re: Alpine KB]
RichardK Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 86
Loc: East Coast Florida
We had 5 ascents leaving at midnight. The trail won't exactly be crowded, but likely you will see a few headlamps if you look back over your shoulder from time to time. There could be a straggler or two coming down as well. There will be campers at both Outpost and Trail Camps.

#52855 - 04/05/18 06:12 PM Re: Solo Ascent of Whitney [Re: Alpine KB]
HikerJessica Offline

Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Bay Area, California
I've done the solo one-day. I'm a petite female (under 5 feet tall) and started at 1 am. I never felt afraid or alone... lots of friendly folks on the trail passing me by. (I later caught up to most of them on the switchbacks... I'm the tortoise, slow and steady.)

You may be lonelier if you opt for the Old Trail, but I'd advise it to avoid the North Fork creek crossing in the dark that time of year.

#52858 - 04/06/18 09:55 AM Re: Solo Ascent of Whitney [Re: Alpine KB]
John Sims Offline

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 534
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Not sure why you feel the need to leave quite so early. 15+ hours of light on June 1, so unless you are planning on a long slow steady assent you will likely not need over 16 hours. 9 hours up, and 6 hours down, with time on the summit is not unusual. Many do it much faster. However, this does not consider possible delays due to weather/snow. Leaving at 4:00 AM would have you starting in the dark, but would begin to get light within the first hour. If 16 hours is correct for you, this would have you back at the trailhead before dark.
If you do decide to take the "old" route, as suggested by Jessica, I recommend checking it out the day prior. Go up the old trail, and down the regular trail to get a basis for comparison. This way you will also cross the creek, and you can asses the challenge presented.

Just a thought.

#52885 - 04/13/18 08:02 AM Re: Solo Ascent of Whitney [Re: Alpine KB]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline

Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 21
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I did a solo summit back in July 2017 all in one day.

Snowfall last year was massive so in July, the switchbacks were inaccessible and the only way up/down was the chute.

Never once felt unsafe and did end up running into her hikers as well, even in the middle of the night. At certain points, I coudln't find the trail due to the snow but having GPS helps.

In reasonable shape, have some backpacking experience, and didn't have any issues with the altitude (I've gone as high as about 18k in the past).

Edited by WhitneyHiker085 (04/13/18 08:03 AM)