Altitude sickness does make a matter. I've seen and "rescued" many victims. If you get to Horseshoe Meadow, go slowly, stay there for a day -there's a lot to explore there. Even going from Las Vegas to 10,000' too quickly could result in someone getting altitude sickness, but at least you'd be at the trailhead.
You could camp in the Alabama Hills the first night, but its only around 4,000' +.
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