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#54032 - 08/05/18 07:53 PM Whitney Quesitons
whitneyclimber44 Offline


Registered: 08/05/18
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
Hi Everyone,
Planning to hike Whitney in a single day and wanted to ask a few questions.. thanks for your help!

1) We have to be in lone pine until late in the evening the night before the hike (till around 9PM) and want to get an early start, around 3-4AM. We are debating if we should stay at the hotel and get up early or if we should just drive to Whitney Portal and sleep in the car near the trailhead for a few hours to get an edge on acclimating. Is that safe? Do we need to worry about bears while we sleep? (NOTE: we arrive in Lone Pine the day before after a few days at ~7,000' so we have a little acclimatization already).

2) How many liters of water are recommended to take on the hike? Can we do it without refilling?

3) If we do refill, what is the last place to fill up water on Whitney? If we fill bottles and drop water purification tabs is that enough, or do we need a proper water filter to get the dirt out too?

3) What is the level of water crossings? Will the water be above our boots? Should we bring spare socks just in case?

4) Is there any snow left? Do we need to bring microspikes?

5) How is the temperature? Can we get by with a baselayer, light fleece and wind breaker? Or is that too much/too little?

Thanks in advance!! Lots of questions from a Whitney first-timer - really appreciate the help!!

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#54035 - 08/06/18 06:13 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 92
Loc: East Coast Florida
I have seen reports about people sleeping in their cars for a few hours at the Portal. It will not be a problem.

You cannot carry enough water for the whole hike. The weight would be overwhelming. Refilling is mandatory. Start with two liters each and refill as needed. There are plenty of opportunities to refill all the way to Trail Camp. There is a spring about 1/3 the way up the switchbacks, but it may be frozen in the early morning. The Trail Camp pond is the last guaranteed water. I have filled bottles from creeks and ponds using iodine for purification. Dirt was never an issue.

I would pack an empty third bottle and fill it at Trail Camp so you are carrying 3 liters to the summit. It is a long way there and back to Trail Camp. It is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and altitude sickness.

Read recent trips reports just before you leave. I believe that the trail is dry and water crossings are not a problem.

Read the weather reports just before you leave. I have been on the summit when it was 65F where shorts and T shirts were fine. I have also been there when it was 40F and the wind was howling. Look at the picture at the trail head where a blizzard came out of nowhere in August. Are you ready for that?

Hope this helps and good luck!

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#54036 - 08/06/18 08:36 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
Halfdomer Homer Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 36
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I am one of those people who never refill, I carry 6 liters with me every time. I have summited 5 times carrying water the whole time with no problem. I don't mind the weight, 2.2 lbs per liter. I have slept in the car at the portal and I have slept the day/evening at the hostel in town. Both work for me. Apparently I don't need too much acclimatizing, I have never had altitude sickness. If I sleep in town I usually show up in the morning from L.A. where I live, drive up to Horseshoe Meadows and just stay up there for several hours, then back to town when my hotel room is available and sleep until about midnight. Then I drive to the portal and sit in my car for another hour, then hike. That works best for me. I used to just drive up from L.A. and "sleep" in my car at the portal from about 6-7PM to about 1AM then hike but my car is too uncomfortable for that. Water crossings are usually OK in just regular boots, just be careful on those rocks! Bring extra layers it can get cold up there on the 99's and Trail Crest in the morning. Expect a 17 hour day for 1st timers is the average. And go slow at the beginning if you want to be OK on the 99's and the 2 miles from Trail Crest to the summit.
I think that is all.
Good Luck! I will be hiking on Sunday Sept.16th, see you there!
-Dan.

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#54045 - 08/07/18 08:11 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
Dan's 6 liters of water is about right -- that is, it is about the right amount to drink. I would never carry it from the trail head, though. For most people, the extra weight is a sure way to reduce your chances of going all the way. The other part of this: Make sure you drink lots, and regularly, as you go. Most people, myself included, just don't feel that thirsty, so I force myself to drink, usually twice as much as I think I need. ...you need to drink enough so that you need to pee every 2-3 hours. If you can go 4-5 hours, you're not drinking enough.

It's a good idea to take electrolyte tablets along, too. I like to mix Nuun tablets (even saw them at my local grocery store the other day) with lemonade drink mix. The tablets make the drink taste carbonated!

For myself, I dip and drink from just about every stream along the way. This has always worked--never any intestinal distress (which would show up about a week later). Doing that, I can get by with all containers empty, except for a small ~12 oz water bottle that I use for sips along the way.

Here's Bob R's "water sources" document, his map, and pictures

As for temperatures, the closest actual guage is just south at Cottonwood Lakes. Find the link near the bottom of the Whitney Weather page (link above on the left):
Cottonwood Lakes, elev. 10150' 7-day Temperatures. Check it just before you go. ...Looks like it failed on 8/2 ;-(
Here's the Crabtree Meadow station, west side of Whitney, at 10,700



Edited by Steve C (08/08/18 10:41 AM)
Edit Reason: Add Crabtree Meadow

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#54049 - 08/07/18 11:10 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
Shishir Offline


Registered: 06/26/18
Posts: 8
Loc: Cupertino, CA, USA
Completed Summit on August 4th. here are my suggestions
1) 9 pm to 2 am - Take nice rest in Hotel. Safe and rest is better.
2) 5 liters is good. But carry filter just in case. last filter stop near Trail camp 6 miles from Portal. 12000 feet.
(Just in case... is important...There might be unplanned delays. Someone gets altitude sickness and you have to give company. Thunderstorms... tiring etc.)
3) one spare pair of socks is safe. You cross 6-7 streams on proper logs, rocks. But just in case you slip. None of us needed it.
4)No snow on trail. No microspikes needed.
5)keep an eye on weather forecast
https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Whitney/forecasts/4418
Good luck, worth it.

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#54054 - 08/08/18 09:07 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
Halfdomer Homer Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 36
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I might also add that the water I carry is Smartwater. It is electrolyte infused, kind of like Gatorade without the sugar. Very good water for hikes. I usually drink one liter before starting my hike, then carry the other 6. Pack gets lighter along the way!

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#54058 - 08/09/18 12:06 PM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
whitneyclimber44 Offline


Registered: 08/05/18
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
Thanks everyone! These answers are great! If we do end up sleeping at the hotel in Lone Pine, any recommendations on when to get to the trail head? Is 2AM too early? Is 5AM too late? We think it will take us about 8-9 hours to summit. Thanks!

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#54065 - 08/10/18 06:24 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 92
Loc: East Coast Florida
There is no such thing as starting the hike too early. Your permit allows you to leave at midnight. If you are too excited to sleep, why not start the hike? It is much better to hike in the dark going up when you are fresh than to hike in the dark coming down when you are tired.

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#54067 - 08/10/18 07:56 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: RichardK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
...On the other hand, hiking all day with little or no sleep the night before can be miserable, too. You have to decide what is best for you.

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#54068 - 08/10/18 09:45 AM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: Steve C]
Halfdomer Homer Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 36
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Yes, that is a very fine line. Been there!

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#54072 - 08/10/18 06:43 PM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: Halfdomer Homer]
Wedggy Offline


Registered: 07/12/18
Posts: 3
Loc: 91387
One thing people don't realize is how much water you breathe out at altitude as the air is much drier. You can easily lose a quart of water in your sleep in cold weather at altitude and then start your hike already dehydrated. I would rather carry it in me than on my back so I drink as much as I can, over a half gallon, before I hit the trail. You should be peeing pretty often, and clear(unless you're taking vitamins that change the color). Hydration is probably the easiest way to combat the effect of altitude. A headache is the most common sign that you're not drinking enough.

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#54073 - 08/11/18 04:55 PM Re: Whitney Quesitons [Re: whitneyclimber44]
DVGBI Offline


Registered: 07/27/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Louisiana
We slept at the Brst Western in Lone Pine. Probably had about 5 hours of sleep before waking up at 1:45 am. Gear was ready and we made it to the portal and got a start at 2:30 am. Would recommend early start as we were at the summit at 8:45 and back down to the portal at 2:30 pm. Donít want to take chances with pm thunderstorms.

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