Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by stevet » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:58 pm

Having done this hike, might I suggest...

Day 1 (July 12th): Fly to Las Vegas and rental car to Lone Pine, schedule early enough to pck up permit from Eastern Sierra Visitor Center an drive to the Onion Valley trailhead, sleeping at elevation/the campground there

Day 2 (July 13th): Hike Onion Valley to Center Basin
Day 3 (July 14th): Over Junction Pass to the Pothole

Day 4 (July 15th) Pothole over Shepherd Pass then over cross country over the ridge into Wright Lakes Basin

Day 5 (July 16th) Wright Lakes Basin to Guitar Lake, partial cross country

Day 6 (July 17th) Guitar Lake to Outpost Camp or Trail Camp. Depending to time of day and physical condition.

Day 7 (July 18th) Outpost Camp to Lone Pine. Hitching to Lone Pine. Have a shuttle arranged to return you to Onion Valley for your car. Stay the night at the Dow or the Hostel in Lone Pine.

Day 8 (July 19th): Drive to Vegas, fly back home.

As for food, suggest buying everything except "breads" and packing with your gear. You won't find much in Lone Pine. A quick stop at the REI in Vegas for cannister stove fuel, or any auto parts store in Vegas for yellow HEET if you need methanol for an alky stove.








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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:20 pm

"miathebee" recently wrote up a very good trip report going through Center Basin over Junction Pass and Shepherd Pass. You should read that before deciding to that route vs. Forrester. If that is your cup of tea, great, but it would be slower than going over Forrester. Rockwell Pass into upper Wrights Lake Basin is not hard at all, but you can also do it if you go over Forrester Pass.

Upper Wrights Lake is the gem of Wrights Lake Basin. I do not think I would bother to go in there if I did not go up there. The other reason to go into Wrights Lake Basin is to fish, but I gather, you will not be fishing.

The most scenic "bang" for the distance is a side-trip to Arctic Lake from Guitar Lake. In fact, just camp at the upper benches above Guitar Lake and do a quick hike up to Arctic Lake. My second choice of a side trip would be to Wallace and Wales Lakes. It is considerably longer, but there is a use-trail (if you can find it).

If you do not like camping with crowds, think about camping at Consultation Lake instead of Outpost. The route down to the lake from the trail is over some ledges and slabs- class 2-3, but not bad. Mainly a route-finding puzzle.
Rockwell Pass.JPG
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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by maiathebee » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:10 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:20 pm
"maiathebee" recently wrote up a very good trip report going through Center Basin over Junction Pass and Shepherd Pass. You should read that before deciding to that route vs. Forrester.
agreed. i would *not* advise that route for a first trip backpacking trip in the sierra. here's the TR: http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =1&t=19109
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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:49 pm

Instead of staying at Guitar, consider staying just below at Timberline. It is under restoration but you are allowed to stay west (downhill) of it. It is not far away and is much nicer than Guitar, without the crowds. Guitar can be full of people and feels a bit picked over.

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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by bobby49 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:21 pm

CAMERONM wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:49 pm
Instead of staying at Guitar, consider staying just below at Timberline. It is under restoration but you are allowed to stay west (downhill) of it. It is not far away and is much nicer than Guitar, without the crowds. Guitar can be full of people and feels a bit picked over.
That's true, but staying at Guitar Lake gives you a different perspective. You are camping relatively just below the west side of Whitney, and it is above the tree line. That can be good or bad. Nearly all of the people camping there are headed to Whitney, so there is a certain anxious atmosphere in camp. Everybody wanders around to their neighbors to ask what time they are starting up in the morning. Guitar Lake has almost no protection from weather.

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Re: Trip Plan Review: Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney (7/14-7/18)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:37 pm

My preferred campsite near Guitar Lake is up the hill on a bench that has a nice stream that comes from Arctic Lake. Leave the trail before it drops down to Guitar Lake and go up about 230 feet to a flat with a small lake. A quick trip up to Arctic Lake is really beautiful.
7626_below Arctic L.jpg
Obviously, if weather turns bad you are better off lower in timber. A lot of PCT hikers camp down at the campground at Crabtree Ranger Station.
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