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Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

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Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby Solace-seeker » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:53 pm

Hello Everyone,
I have never had a desire to climb Mt. Whitney but lately I'm considering it. Is it true there is no overnight camping on the hike up to Mt. Whitney?
I am prone to altitude sickness especially when I exert a lot of energy backpacking so if I ever try to reach the top of Whitney I would like to go at a slow pace and hopefully acclimate.
Thank You



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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:45 am

I haven't checked lately but used to be you could take your time and camp on the way up. I'm sure you'll get other more knowledgeable replies here or you can check the regulations or ask on the whitney portal board. Link: http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum ... p/ubb/cfrm

Of course you can always go "the other way", starting in Yosemite and winding up on Whitney,i.e., do the John Muir Trail :)
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby markskor » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:59 am

With a required permit in hand, plenty of overnight camping possibilities on the way up the main Whitney trail. FYI, most of those who are just doing Whitney (and back), starting from Whitney Portal, opt to do it in two or three days. (Starting at the Portal and doing the entire 22 miles up and back in ONE day is rough... IMHO do-able, but the hardest choice option...never my favorite way to do any hike.)

There are the main established campsites - (areas with water) - at Outpost Camp and a few miles further up at Trail Camp too (see TOPO)...about half way up - both are right on the main trail. Some may prefer other sites like Consultation Lake or Mirror Lake for their first night stopover as a little more off the beaten path. There are also a few small holes available just over the crest below Trail Crest (but no water here) that can work.

The most common Whitney itinerary entails leaving your overnight gear and a tent set up at one of these well-used sites (Trail Camp used most often by this hiker), and after a fun day on the summit, returning for another night there again before heading back down to the Portal.

BTW, you can also stay at the very top itself too - I have twice....do not know who told you differently.
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby Flamingo » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:11 pm

Hey Tom,

Having climbed Mount Whitney again this summer, I can offer two tips:

(1) Permits for overnight backpacking from Whitney Portal are hard to acquire during the lottery season, BUT... I was able to easily upgrade my dayhike permit into an overnight permit at the time of pickup, because so many overnight permits had been cancellations or no-shows. This was in early October, and not peak summer demand.

(2) In my opinion, overnight camping at Outpost Camp is practically the perfect place to acclimate. It's about halfway up, and it's sheltered camping in trees. I slept like a baby there. I've also camped at Trail Camp on previous trips, but I found it exposed and too wind-whipped for my preference.

I give my highest recommendations to climbing Mount Whitney -- at least once in your life.
Last edited by Flamingo on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby Solace-seeker » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:26 pm

Thank you all for the information. I am glad I was wrong about overnight camping to Whitney and hopefully I will get there one day.
Thanks again.
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby bobby49 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:45 pm

For some people, the thought of hiking up and down Whitney in one day is threatening. After all, the main trail is about 22 miles round trip, there is over 6000 feet of elevation gain, and the air gets thin when you get near the summit. If you are very fit and in great cardiovascular shape, then that is the way to go. I did forty trips on the main trail that way. You don't need to carry a great deal of pack load. On the other hand, some people prefer to go very slow, so they would be spending one or two or three nights camped out along the main trail. Obviously that requires a certain amount of carried load. For some people, spending a night camped at 12,000 feet would be very harsh, especially if they are prone to altitude illness. There are alternatives. You can start a backpacking trip from Kearsarge Pass, Shepherd Pass, New Army Pass, or Cottonwood Pass, so it would mean a lot more miles to hike, but it will be a slower, more progressive climb to the west side of Whitney. Some even go over Kaweah Gap on the High Sierra Trail. You just have to decide with type of foot travel works best for you, light and fast, or else long and slow and cautious.
One year on the main trail, I managed to go up to the summit in 4 hours 15 minutes, but that was back before I got old.
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby chrisdiercks » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:15 am

Must Whitney be climbed in a day? Been up it twice via the John Muir Trail, but I could not say.

You tending to get acute mountain sickness, I can speak to. Solace seeker, if you really are sensitive to ams, you need to acclimatize before you head up Whitney. This is especially true if you are coming from a place near sea level. The old saying, hike high and sleep low, is the key to this and Bishop is a great area to do this. For training purposes the White Mountains on the other side of the valley are perfect. You can drive to a pretty high elevation and hike around, and White Mountain itself is only 250 ft shorter than Whitney and is probably the easiest 14er in the world. So, consider getting there a few days earlier and acclimatizing before you head up. You will get a better nights sleep and just plain feel better if you can keep your food down on the way up Whitney.

Good luck,

Chris
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby bobby49 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:14 pm

chrisdiercks wrote:Must Whitney be climbed in a day? Been up it twice via the John Muir Trail, but I could not say.

You tending to get acute mountain sickness, I can speak to. Solace seeker, if you really are sensitive to ams, you need to acclimatize before you head up Whitney. This is especially true if you are coming from a place near sea level. The old saying, hike high and sleep low, is the key to this and Bishop is a great area to do this. For training purposes the White Mountains on the other side of the valley are perfect. You can drive to a pretty high elevation and hike around, and White Mountain itself is only 250 ft shorter than Whitney and is probably the easiest 14er in the world. So, consider getting there a few days earlier and acclimatizing before you head up. You will get a better nights sleep and just plain feel better if you can keep your food down on the way up Whitney.

Good luck,

Chris

I could not agree more. For several years I would go into the White Mountains immediately prior to Mount Whitney. When in the White Mountains, there is only one useful campground, but it has no water, so bring lots. After spending the first night there, you drive up to the Schulman Grove and hike around. After spending the next night in the campground, you drive all the way up the White Mountain Road to 11,500' where there is a locked gate. From there, you hike to the summit of White Mountain Peak and return to your car. It is maybe 14 miles round trip on a jeep road. Then you return to the campground, spend the last night, and head down to Lone Pine for your Whitney permit. If you are in the campground and feel any sort of altitude illness setting in, then you can simply jump in your car and drive down to Bishop. It is also important not to simply drive up from Bishop and hit the trail up to White Mountain Peak. Spending some time in the campground and strolling around there has the effect of getting your body to start adapting to the thinner air.
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Re: Must Whitney be climbed in one day?

Postby bobby49 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:25 am

Solace-seeker wrote:Hello Everyone,
I have never had a desire to climb Mt. Whitney but lately I'm considering it. Is it true there is no overnight camping on the hike up to Mt. Whitney?
I am prone to altitude sickness especially when I exert a lot of energy backpacking so if I ever try to reach the top of Whitney I would like to go at a slow pace and hopefully acclimate.
Thank You


Back in the day before Whitney permits became such a hassle, I used to drag my friends up and down the main trail in a day. In total, that was probably most of a hundred people, and over 90% were successful. By "successful," I mean that they reached the summit and then lived for at least 24 hours afterward. Now, obviously I did not want to drag friends up and down if they were really bad candidates for such a strenuous hike, so I made some rules. Each candidate had to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes at sea level (no specified speed). That proved that they had a certain respiratory capacity, and most of their body parts could function in unison. I used to tell everybody that we might be hiking together in a cluster, but each individual had to be completely self-sufficient for that long day. We used to spend 1-3 days at various places in the mountains to acclimatize immediately prior, and it all seemed to work out. We never had to carry anybody out. Round trip times went all the way from 8 hours to 21 hours.
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