Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mt. Whitney


Date:
June 25, 26, 27, 20012

Nearest City:
Lone Pine, CA

Driving Directions:
From Main St (395 Highway) Lone Pine, CA take a left onto Whitney Portal Road and follow for 11 miles. Turn left toward Campground Road then take the 1st left onto Campground Road. Park in the parking lot.

Entrance Fee/ Parking Fee:
Wilderness Permits are required for all overnight trips and for day trips in the Mt. Whitney Zone. For information on where to get a permit Click Here.

Parking is free and available at the trailhead. During busy times, all parking spaces may be full. So, please limit the number of vehicles that your group uses. There is also a high level of bear activity at the trailhead. Make sure to remove all food and trash from vehicles.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Difficulty:
Strenuous

Why?
The trail from the parking lot to the summit is almost entirely up hill, to make this difficult trail far more doable most hikers complete it in three days.

Elevation:
Trailhead-8,360ft.
Mt. Whitney- 14,497ft.
Total Gain- 6,100ft.

Seasons/ Weather:
Most people hike the trail from July through early October when the trail is free of most snow. However ice patches and snowfields may still be present on the trail at any time. Make sure to always check the weather before heading out to the trail. National Weather Service
July to Mid September- Typically snow free. A few snowfields may be present at higher elevations and on the north facing slopes.
Mid September through October- Mostly snow free. However storms with wind, cold temperatures, and snow may occur. Snow may melt quickly, or it my linger for a few days or weeks. Thick patches of ice may begin to develop in some location along the trail.
November through March- Snow is accumulating. By late December it is a few feet deep, and by March it is several feet deep. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel. The road to Whitney Portal is not maintained in winter and is usually closed.
April through June- Snow pack is receding. In April it may be several feet deep. By the end of June, snowfields may still be present at higher elevations and on north facing slopes. Winter mountaineering equipment and skills are necessary for safe travel. The road usually opens in April or May depending on conditions.

Trails:
Mt. Whitney- 11 miles

Trail Condition:
The trail to Mt. Whitney summit is very well traveled and in turn is extremely well maintained. While hiking I passed a work crew fixing a small section of the trail, it hadn't eroded away or anything they were just making it even better than it already was! Its love and dedication from people, like the ones I passed, who make this trail one of my favorites, but it takes the help of EVERYONE who attempts this hike to carry out their waist and follow all the rules the park has set for your safety and the safety of hikers around you.

Trail Directions:
The trail from the parking lot to Lone Pine Lake is a lot of switchbacks with a moderate grade. At the top of these switchbacks there is a fork and a sign. To the left, will take you to Lone Pine Lake, to the right goes to Mt. Whitney. If you continue onto Mt. Whitney a ranger may be present checking for permits, so make sure you have one! The trail from Lone Pine Lake to Mirroe Lake is very easy. After Mirror Lake, the trail starts going up steeply and runs along a creek to the trail camp. As you get closer to trail camp Consultation lake can be seen down below. If you have planned to take the usual 3 days to hike Mt. Whitney Trail Camp is were you will camp for the night. Getting to the summit; from trail camp head for the face of Mt. Muir. The "96 switchbacks" (there are actually more than 140) take you to the trail crest. Once at the Crest crossover to the other side of the mountain. The trial goes down and you will reach a second fork of the hike. Stay right to continue onto Mt. Whitney. The trail now heads up, you will see three giant spikes sticking out of the mountain on your right hand side. The third one is the peak. When you finally get to its base, you will still have to climb some steep switchbacks. Once at the summit enjoy the amazing 360 view of the surroundings then head back the way you came.

Links:
Photos
Videos
Facebook Page
Knot the Ordinary- Store
National Weather Service
Wilderness Permit Info
National Parks- Mt. Whitney

Other Information:
Dispose of Waste Properly, nobody wants to come across your waste, even if its in a bag, PACK OUT YOUR POOP! At Mt. Whitney the only accepable way to dospose of human waste is to pack it out. There are simply too many visitors in the area to use other common waste disposal methods. Human waste pack out kits are distributed with wilderness permits. Each year, Mt Whitney visitors pack out 3 tons of human waste!

Hiking in Bear Country and Using Bear volts-
There has always been a high level of bear activity in the Mt. Whitney area. From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, food related trash and scented items must be stored in a beer proof container. At the trailhead all food, trash, and scented items must be removed from vehicles. Bear proof food lockers and trash receptacles are located in the parking lots. More information.

Finding Water-
Water is available in the form of streams and lakes from the trailhead all the way to Trail Camp. You will have to carry water to the summit, as there is no dependable source of water after Trail Camp. The presence of Giardiasis in back country water poses a serious health problem. Filter, boil, or chemically treat all drinking water.

Map:



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