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Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby BSquared » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:56 pm

While it's a bit late to comment further, I'd submit my vote for the JMT (the whole thing). One consideration is altitude adjustment. I did the JMT 7 years ago and by the time we got to Whitney we just loped up, passing the multitudes and barely breathing hard (I admit that we didn't pay too much attention to the altitude partly because we were really cold ;) ). In contrast, I went with a different group a year and a half ago from Road's End via Paradise Valley to the JMT, and thence to Whitney, and I had to bail at Trail Crest; I just couldn't handle the altitude at all (and everybody else in the group was in a hurry, so it made more sense for me to just hop over the crest and go down). So if you are a slow adjuster to high altitude, as I evidently am, there's just no substitute for the altitude training the JMT provides. And frankly, I didn't find any of it "dull," exactly. Some parts were more interesting than others for sure, but "dull?" No.
—B²



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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby diesel » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:21 pm

Appreciate your input Bsquared- it's Good to see some votes for the JMT.

I'm also planning way ahead for the summer of 2011 as well, though I"m just trying to come up with a way to spend 2 weeks or so (flexible) in the Sierra. JMT seems like the best option to me so far. Certainly seems like a great way to approach Whitney for the first time.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby markskor » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Having done the MuIr a few times myself, 2 weeks is not adequate time (at least in my opinion) to do justice to the entire trail. Why rush? Perhaps just an extended fishing trip from Horseshoe Meadows to Onion Valley...would make a truly great 2 week adventure and no rush/ no hiking every day.

You could easily spend a week - HM - Cottonwoods - Soldier - Sky Blue - Crabtree (both) and Guitar. Fish a different lake each night.
Summit and then retrace...over a few passes - head South...BTW, Rae Lakes area is great...a few zero days here and there. Then you can come back here and tell us first hand what "approach" was best.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:06 pm

I probably am in the minority, but I do not like the JMT. On Roper's High Route this summer, every time I hit the trail, it was crowded and beat to death. Honestly, I could not wait to get off it. The most scenic and interesting approach would be a mostly off-trail approach. There are many possibilities. So I guess the first question is "are you willing to go off trail and at what level of difficulty".
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby quentinc » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:55 pm

Well, as the one who had the audacity to call parts of the JMT boring, I join in that minority! That said, there are parts of the JMT that simply must be seen, like Evolution Basin, Rae Lakes and both sides of Forester.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby diesel » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:01 pm

Appreciate the input. I tend to pack fairly light and average 12-15 miles per day. If I did the JMT, I'd probably allocate 16-17 days. Always open to alternatives in the Sierra around 150-200 miles. Since this would be a solo trip, I wouldn't want to do much off trail - I'm not confident enough in my navigation skills for that at this point.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:24 pm

There are also permit issues. If you go in Whitney Portal, you have to do the drawing. A permit for the JMT can be hard to get also. The climb of Mt Whitney is just the last little "bang" of the JMT, sort of a footnote. Now if you really want to do the JMT, you kill two birds with one stone. I guess I never considered the JMT as an "approach" to Mt. Whitney. By the way, I have never hiked the trail route - only have done the East Face, East Buttress and Mountaineers Route. I have taken the trail from Whitney Portal only to go over the pass and continue on a longer trip. Although crowded, Whitney Portal to Trail Crest is quite spectacular.

I am not saying this is the most scenic or interesting - but going in from the west side is pretty and has the advantge of allowing you to acclimate. Two nice routes:

1) High Sierra Trail - Crescent Meadow-Hamilton Lake-Keweah Gap-Kern RIver (with hotsprings!)-Crabtree RS-WHitney-out portal.

2) Cedar Grove-Sphinx trail over Avalanche Pass-Cloud Canyon, Colby trail over Colby Pass - Kern River-base at Gituar Lake, climb Whitney, - over Forester Pass, out via Bubbs Creek or Woods Creek.

A side trip to Wales and Wallace Lakes is highly recommended. There is a use-trail up to Wallace Lake.

A side trip to Arctic Lake is also recommended. It involves easy x-country travel and you cannot get lost - you just go up an obvious canyon.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby BSquared » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:10 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I probably am in the minority, but I do not like the JMT. On Roper's High Route this summer, every time I hit the trail, it was crowded and beat to death. Honestly, I could not wait to get off it.

I think it's a matter of perspective. Though I can't speak for Wandering Daisy of course, I think one does Roper's High Route for solitude and challenge, and so of course the JMT, when approached from that perspective, is at best a relief and at worst a bustling echo of the metropolis one wants to leave behind, a highway that separates the good parts of the Route from each other. But from the perspective of one to whom a 200-mile trail in the high mountains is plenty of challenge, and meeting four or five other parties each day is unusual solitude, it can be a pure wilderness experience. But I think to all, the beauty is undeniable. Even from the most crowded parts of the trail—say Happy Isles to Vernal Fall, or the Whitney MT to Whitney Portal—the views, both at your feet and toward the horizon, are simply incredible, and absolutely the equal of anything to be found off-trail, as long as one hasn't seen them a hundred times. And maybe even then...
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby sirlight » Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:13 pm

My vote is for the HST. I did this trail late august in 2006 with a couple friends and we had a blast. After passing bearpaw meadow, we only saw 4 other people until reaching trailcrest. In fact, Whitney was the LOW point of the trip. Once you reach there, there is nothing but a few dozen other dayhikers huffing and puffing on their way to the top. At the top, everyone was whipping out their cell phones, "hey, guess where I cam calling you from!". We saw outpost and trail camp on the way down. They were disgusting. I am really glad we did not plan on staying there. Permits for the HST are easy to get starting on the western side of the sierras. Transport can be a hassle if you decide to exit Whitney portal. It's a 300 mile drive between trailheads.

Doing Whitney out of horseshoe over new army is also nice, but much more crowded.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:12 pm

For me, Mt. Whitney has never been a destination per se. Its always been a part of something else. But considering all the times I've been up there, the approach from Army/New Army Pass has always been for me the most satisfying. Go by Sky Blue Lake, and on up. Unbelievable.
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby DesertHiker » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:30 am

What do you guys think about going up Whitney via Shepherd's pass and then connecting with the JMT? seems it'd be a fun 40-45 mile trip
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Re: Most scenic/interesting approach to mount whitney?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:23 pm

I have done the Shepherds Pass to Whitney route and I personally do not think it is that spectacular. The upper part of the pass is nice but the long treck down the PCT is boring - but is fast. If you were to take side-trips to Wright Lakes and Wallace-Wales Lake it would be nice.
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