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Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

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Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

Postby A_Frogswamp » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:51 am

Alright guys, I'm sure many of you have hiked Mt. Whitney, some more than once. I'm preparing to climb it for the first time this year and wanted to know what is you're favorite month/season to climb? I keep reading July/August but was wondering about the heat since so much if so exposed. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance



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Re: Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

Postby markskor » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:24 am

Not really sure there is a "best" time - June/ July/ August sounds good but weather and smoke (Sierra fire season?) always comes into play here too.

BTW, You never said what route you are taking, and for how many days is your grand adventure. You have options. Suggest main trail (aka wag bag avenue) as easiest with a multi-day itinerary. Most stop over 1st night at trail camp - does get crowded there - lots of sites though - can get windy. Leave all set up - tents slightly open - (damn marmots) - and stay second night also, after summit. (You could do this entire route in one day - many do - but why?)
Don't forget your bearcan and getting a Portal burger at the end...BTW, say high to Doug.

If a Sierra stud - try the mountaineering route - pretty amazing but some tricky route-finding and lots of exposure... Good for two days of fun.

Highly suggest (my second best option) is coming in from Horseshoe Meadows - NAP or OAP - fishing your way up from the backside...5 - 7 days works well with exploration. Miter Basin makes a nice diversion along the way? You will be well acclimated for the final push. Best option though would be starting out from Happy Isles.

Probably your best time indicator is when you can get a wilderness permit for any trail-head up. Lots of bureaucratic hoops for Whitney.
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Re: Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

Postby A_Frogswamp » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:41 am

The plan was the main trail, over three days. That trip from Horseshoe meadow sounds awesome though!
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Re: Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

Postby BSquared » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:28 pm

markskor wrote:Highly suggest (my second best option) is coming in from Horseshoe Meadows - NAP or OAP - fishing your way up from the backside...5 - 7 days works well with exploration. Miter Basin makes a nice diversion along the way? You will be well acclimated for the final push. Best option though would be starting out from Happy Isles.


I could not possibly agree more with Markskor: starting from Happy Isles is definitely the way to go. Just think about how thoroughly altitude-acclimated you will be compared with the rest of those guys! ;) Oh, and there is a bit of good scenery before you actually get to the mountain, too. :) Of course, it does take a few days longer that way.

Seriously, my choice for a main-trail approach would be as late as you can possibly swing it, keeping an eye on the weather, of course. September would be perfect, imho.

PS: You know there is a Mt. Whitney forum, right? http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/whitney-messageBoard.html. Not nearly as good as this one, of course, but it's a great forum nonetheless.
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Re: Favorite time to hike Mt Whitney

Postby JWreno » Mon May 11, 2015 10:54 am

I have done Whitney 5 times. 1999 was a L...O...N...G day hike out of Whitney Portal. Started about 4AM and got back about 8:30PM. My wife and two others in the party turned back and waited at the lake for the other 4 to finish out. They all suffered from altitude headaches. We did this on the last week of September and the weather was perfect.

In 2008 I wanted to do JMT so we started at Horseshoe Meadows. My wife was very concerned about going to the top of Whitney. We camped at Rock Creek first night at Crabtree Meadows the night before and after the day hike to top of Whitney. She was amazed when we got to the intersection of the main trail. She had no altitude issues and it was an easy hike the rest of the way to the peak. Weather was rare short sleeve warm while sitting on the slabs at the summit. We had a great time on the JMT doing it northbound.

Summer of 2009 I took my brother and nephew from the midwest along with my wife and son on a 6 day trip. First night we camped at Horseshoe, 2nd night at Rock Creek. 3-4 night at Crabree Meadows. We finished out the trip coming out at Onion Valley. Nobody had any problems with altitude including the 2 from low elevation Michigan and Indiana. This is the best way to do Whitney when you only have 5-6 days. This trip was in August and we had a very cold system that came in the day we went to the top of Whitney with cold fierce winds that continues for the rest of the trip. Our water bottles froze overnight when camping at the 12000+ foot high lakes before Forester Pass.

2011 we did another Horseshoe Meadows to Happy Isles JMT trip and included my oldest son on the trip. Another easy Whitney day hike on 3rd day. August of 2014 we did the classic Happy Isles to Whitney Portal JMT trip with Whitney being the last day. The trip downhill back to Whitney Portal was hard on the feet. I prefer long uphill compared to long downhill.
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