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    • Who wants to climb the tallest peak in the continental United States at 14,505’? In recent years it has been very hard to get to the top. The permit system creates a lot of red tape. You have to apply for a lottery months before you want to climb it. The trail is very crowed.

      However, permits are only required May 1 - Nov 1. Not many people climb it in the winter due to sub zero temps, fast moving storms, deep snow, and extreme avalanche danger. 

      Seems like it’s going to be a late winter in the southern Sierra. I’m thinking it would be fun to day hike it next week, after Nov 1. 10 day forecast shows no storms, and there is currently no snow on the mountain. Only risk is cold, sunny weather. Something we can handle. No crowds, nature all to ourself. No rangers. Clear skies.

      Who is interested in joining me? Von Wong? Chris? Vilen?

      Below is the current state of Mt. Whitney (at the date of this post)

    • If we summit around noon it'll be about freezing. Looks like no wind, so not so bad. Just don't want to get caught on the summit past dark. Looks like it'll be -10F-10F at night.

      Gear - hiking or running shoes. Medium weight down jacket.

      Want to try the Mountaineers Route?

    • I have done Whitney as part of the JMT. It is a full day if you in a single day. You could nail a great window in the next week. The downside to doing in the fall is it will be a long time in the dark going up. Be prepared for a long, tough downhill getting back. Going up is always easiest. I would encourage taking poles to help offload pressure from the knees on the hours of downhill. Your weather swing will be significant. This weekend it is expected to be 70 degrees in the mountains then changes possible. Make sure and hit before weather changes end of next week. Don't forget you cant leave anything up there, including human waste so make sure you get the poop bags at the ranger office. This is a good outing to try Maurten hydration!

    • on gear, the trail is well marked, well travelled so you don't need technical mountaineering gear. But you will need layers to cover the full range of temps. Even though you are only doing a day trip, you need to be prepared for an overnight if something goes really wrong. So would encourage taking clothes for 10 degrees to 45 degrees. Also, it is a lot of miles and trail time so make sure you have moleskin for any potential foot issues. Also need poop bags as not waste allowed on the trail.

    • I was hoping for a November 4th or 5th ascent, but 10-day forecast looks like a storm is blowing through then. Looks like the 1st may be the only option. So turns out the Whitney Zone winter season starts Nov 2, and Nov 1 still requires a permit. I'll see if getting a permit is possible.

    • Mountaineers route is most direct, far shorter than the trail, and more exposed. Last 500' is high 3rd class scrambling. Very steep and slightly dangerous, but safe if slow and careful.

      I would suggest going up the Mountaineers and down the trail. Cuts hike down to 15 miles from 22. Down climbing class 3 much more dangerous than going up, so trail makes for a safe descent.

    • Agreed. Approaching Whitney in or before a winter storm is asking to die.

      My criteria:
      - It's sunny.
      - There's no wind. The absolute atmospheric temp is not a problem. Below freezing on the summit is bearable in the sun, but with high winds, the wind chill could bring temps way below zero. No thank you.
      - It's dry. Water and ice are mostly why people slip and die on mountains.
      - No perception or wind in the forecast the day we go up. Don't want to get stuck up there.

      The 2cd looks perfect.

    • Thursday 7am summit would be perfect. Here's a forecast from the western edge of Sequoia. More accurate than the east side forecasts because they are protected by the Sierra crest, so they get less intense weather from the storms.

    • I decided to spend an extra night acclimating to the altitude because last time I climbed Whitney I got a sharp headache above 13,000’. I had no acclimation then. Horseshoe Meadow Campground is at 10,000’ but it might close October 30. Gotta call the park service and see.


    • Hey Kevin, my buddies say Mt. Langley is a prettier hike with the lakes and all. It’s still >14,000’ and has good rock climbing. We’ve both been up Whitney before. What say you?

    • Hmmm, I read up on the Mountaineer's Route and it does look pretty appealing. I didn't realize John Muir pioneered it because he thought the main trail was "for soft, succulent people."

      This looks like a pretty good description except we shouldn't have any snow. But you are thinking of doing it in the dark?! Looks like navigation is tough.

    • Chris, I think we're in agreement. Since we've both done the Whitney Trail before, Mt. Langley and Mountaineers route are more appealing. I'd prefer to do a different route on Whitney or another 14er.

      Before we rule out Mountaineers to snow, I'll call the ranger station tomorrow to ask about the conditions.

    • I’ve always been extremely opposed to trekking poles. I see the as a hazard to others, because the hikers I see use them are often ignorant and hog the trails. They’re extra weight. Why waist energy in your arms and shoulders catching weight your legs are designed for?

      If we’re doing this nest week, we’re talking more than a mile up and down, near-marathon distances, extreme temps, a ledgy, stair-like granite trail, and my joints are older than last time I was up there. I find the idea of using trekking poles more appealing. I would only use them specifically for the last few miles of the descent to take a few pounds of my knees. Have you ever used them?