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#55987 - 08/14/19 12:51 PM Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 43
Loc: Escondido, CA
Hi all,

Call this my redemption hike. I turned back at Trail Camp last year. Figure I'll take the long(er) way to Whitney with the hopes of having more time to acclimate and experience more of the area.

Need a bit of help planning. I'm hoping to be back to my car on the 6th day. Thought I'd post here to get the combined experience of those more knowledgeable.

Planning to do this mid-September. There are permits now, but who knows how long that will last.

Tentative Itinerary:

Day 0- Stay at Cottonwood Pass Trailhead (Need permit to camp?)

Day 1- Hike to Rock Creek (or Rock Creek Lake? < Can't find that on my NatGeo map)

Day 2- Hike to Guitar Lake

Day 3- Summit and back to GL (plan all day for summit trip? Or, if all goes well, maybe hike to Crabtree Meadows just to camp somewhere different?)

Day 4- Hike to Lower Soldier Lake

Day 5-6- Hike back to trailhead over New Army Pass (where to stay night 5?)

Options: Take longer to get to Guitar Lake and come back the same way.


Edited by MikeH (08/14/19 12:52 PM)

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#55990 - 08/14/19 02:11 PM Re: Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back [Re: MikeH]
SBanks Offline


Registered: 08/02/19
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
In July, I did pretty much the same trip that you're thinking of doing. I had a 6 day permit, to allow for maybe needing an extra day due to altitude or whatever, although I planned the actual hiking portion of the trip for 5 days. Here's what I did:

Day -1: Camped at Whitney Portal after traveling all day to get from New England to Lone Pine.

Day 0: Got permit, last minute shopping, picked up box of gear at Post Office, etc. in Lone Pine and camped at Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead. No permit needed, but there is a self-registration drop box with envelopes for the fee.

Day 1: Hiked to Rock Creek

Day 2: Hiked to Crabtree Meadows

Day 3: Summit and back to Crabtree Meadows

Day 4: Hiked from Crabtree Meadows to near the Siberian Pass/New Army Pass Trail junction.

Day 5: Hiked back out over New Army Pass to car.

I definitely had a shorter day on Day 2, and could have gone up to Guitar Lake or higher. Since I was coming back the same way and not exiting down to Whitney Portal, it really didn't matter and saved me from hauling gear some extra miles. I was also able to relax more before summit day.

The only problem I had with acclimating was the loss of appetite. I was aware of that, so I just made sure I was eating regularly.

There are lots of different ways to divide up this hike and many places to camp depending on how you are feeling/weather/etc.

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#55991 - 08/14/19 03:04 PM Re: Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back [Re: SBanks]
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 43
Loc: Escondido, CA
Excellent information. Thanks.

I thought about staying at Whitney Portal for a night before heading up to Cottonwood, too.

All the best.

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#55992 - 08/14/19 05:20 PM Re: Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back [Re: MikeH]
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 43
Loc: Escondido, CA
I've read some information that there are bear boxes along this trail. Is this true?

Might save me from buying/ renting a larger bear can if I could carry my extra food in a bag to store in a bear box to pick up/ resupply on the way back.

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#55993 - 08/14/19 05:41 PM Re: Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back [Re: MikeH]
G4u2 Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 30
Loc: San Diego, CA
The only bear boxes I remember on this part of the trail is one a little north of Soldier Lake on the Army Pass trail, one at Rock Creek and one at Crabtree Meadows. There are none between Crabtree and the Submit.


Edited by G4u2 (08/14/19 05:42 PM)

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#55997 - 08/14/19 08:06 PM Re: Cottonwood Pass to Whitney and back [Re: G4u2]
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 43
Loc: Escondido, CA
Thanks. Rock Creek would work well if that ends up being my first camp. I would carry all 6 days worth of food but only until then. Drop a three days worth off and pick it up on the way back... assuming it's still there when I get there I suppose.

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