Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Harlen
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Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by Harlen » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:07 am

I may have an opportunity to explore above Whitney Portal on my way back north. It's been years since I've been in there from the east. Where can I leave a crappy 2WD car? Sounds like you can park off the road, not too many miles from the Portal area? One USFS person thought 5 miles, another thought 7-8 miles, and one of them said that if you're lucky, the rangers might have opened the upper gate to Whitney Portal? Does any lucky soul around here live in Lonepine? I remember the Whitney foothill area as being beautiful, and don't really mind walking the road up.

Next question is, what are the very best things to climb (with a dog), and best campsites for views? I might poke around up there for 4-5 days & nights.Never been on "Whitney-Russell Pass," or camped at Iceberg Lake. I can't legally cross it and hike around to Trail Crest, though that would be great. I guess I could legally enough, climb the Mt-eers' Route, and follow the mule trail back, since that stays very near to the the crest/FS-Park boundary. But I have only brought giant, loose Sorrell boots, which are poor for kicking steps. I will have snow-shoes, crampons and axe (no skis), and with Bearzy, I was thinking of easy peaks or passes, like Thor, Carillon, and ?? Is "Wotan's Throne" a great vantage point, and an easy climb? Camping at Iceberg Lake seems like it would give me a nice selection of short, steep day-hikes-- over the pass above Iceberg, and around to W-R Pass could be beautiful; and up to Russell Pass for a look down at Tulainyo Lake is another idea. What about crossing Pinnacle Ridge just west of Thor Pk., and heading over to the Consultation Lake area for a third camp? Nice views from C. Lake?

Any inspirational ideas are welcome. Will leave this Wednesday 2/5, if the weather works out. Thanks.
Last edited by Harlen on Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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bobby49
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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by bobby49 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:44 pm

Harlen wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:07 am
Will leave this Wednesday 1/5, if the weather works out.
You better get your time machine started for that date.

Basically, dogs are not allowed anywhere in there, summer or winter.

There are east side entry points farther north or south, and some of those might be accessible by car. The Whitney Portal Road is commonly gated miles below Whitney Portal, so you have miles plus lots of elevation gain to contend with.

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maverick
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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by maverick » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:45 pm

Harlen,

Why not go into the Big Pine NF area, plenty of peaks, and it’s doggie friendly.😉
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Harlen
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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by Harlen » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:17 pm

bobby49 wrote:
You better get your time machine started for that date.

Basically, dogs are not allowed anywhere in there, summer or winter.
Ah yes, now I see,-- I was a month off. I thought you meant I have to go back to the time when dogs were allowed in the Whitney area.
Maybe I can wander around Onion Valley instead; climb up Mt. Gould? I also like Maverick's idea to hike all around Big Pine Creek, but I was thinking to return north on the west side, via Walker Pass, so I want to stay as far south in the range as possible. Might be worth it though, there are a lot more options for day hikes. I wonder how hard it would be to climb Temple Crag, or at least up to Contact Pass?

Thanks for setting me straight on the dog laws.

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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by maverick » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:16 pm

The Cloudripper ridge line, has one of the best views of the Palisades!
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by Gazelle » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:13 pm

pretty sure you can take dogs to trail crest! but i have known to be wrong. Thor in the winter would be much better than summer! Wotans throne I really liked weird views you don’t get from elsewhere. Discovery pinnacle is some good views! Go up towards Gamblers special best of all the whitney zone in my opinion! Great little valley nice creek and small tarn at top, if not to bad you could go up cleaver col into the bad ass basin! Haven't done the ridge by Thor but next time maybe do think it would be too bad
Kristine
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein

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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by Gazelle » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:14 pm

Agree with Cloudripper ridge area!
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein

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Harlen
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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by Harlen » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:44 pm

https://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=37148

Is this the "Gambler's Special" peak Kristine?
Why do you recommend it? Did you access it via Lonepine Creek? What do you know about dogs in the upper basins of Lonepine Creek? I just assumed that it would be similar to all the east side USFS land, where dogs are cool all the way to the main divide. I am getting excited about the Big Pine Creek idea too, so either trip is fine. Cloudripper is on the Inconsolable Divide, right?

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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by bobby49 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:51 pm

The last time that I saw a legal non-human domestic animal on the Mount Whitney Trail was around 1976 when the pack station was still there at Whitney Portal.

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Re: Seeking ideas for a winter trip above Whitney Portal

Post by commonloon » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:02 pm

I 3rd Mav's Cloudripper option. Last time I was thereabouts, I wanted to hit Cloudripper. It is beautiful out there with snow, far better IMHO then w/o. To get you in the mood, here is an old video of our friend Henry from the last time we were there:

https://youtu.be/LlvTlnU8nZA

Check out the skyline!

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