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Mt. whitney trail difficulty

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby betterhigh » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:45 pm

So I am one of the lucky ones who has a permit - this upcoming week - for Mt. Whitney. I have read lots of tales of just how horrible/ grueling (difficulty) the hike is. How does it compare with Pikes (Pikes is similar length/ more elevation gain) /other Colorado 14ers? Seems Pikes via Barr (just did as day hike last month) was not that difficult, just long...thought hardest part was just after the parking lot. Appreciate your input!

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby schrund » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:53 pm

Pikes is probably a fair comparison. You can actually see the summit hut from the swictchbacks leading up to Trail Crest if you look in the right direction. I remember it seeming really far, but I lived at sea level at the time. The swtichbacks above Trail Camp were the "crux" as I recall.
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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby sad2 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:59 pm

Betterhigh, When is your permit day?

I'm hiking on the 28th (SUNDAY).

Enjoy it.

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby bj » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:12 pm

If you climbed Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn Peak in the same day, it'll be a bit harder.
Just a drinker with a climbing problem..

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby betterhigh » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:22 pm

I am wednesday 8/31. Very excited - should be a great day. Have a good week planned prior - Cloud's rest, Bishop pass, Big Pine Lakes area and Mammoth lakes (Lake ediza loop) area all starting tomorrow. Oh and then a few in Vegas! Good luck Sad2. Hey what time are you starting out in the morning...I hate starting super early plus driving down from Mammoth Lakes...I was thinking on trail by 430??

I did uncompaghre/ Matterhorn from matterhorn creek (that was a FULL day) and then Wetterhorn on a seperate trip - beautiful area/ hikes.

thanks for the responses

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby steelfrog » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:29 pm

Get on trail by 2 a.m. or so. 22 miles RT.

Are you climbing up Bishop Pass from South Lake? Have fun with that! Have you done your stair climbers lately!?

It is gorgeous out there. We just did the North Lake to South Lake loop via Lamarck Col last week, as well as some stuff in Yosemite. The air is clear down by Bishop, but in Yosemite, there are a bunch of controlled burns goign on that really haze out the views, esp. around CR and HD. Evolution Basin, Darwin Canyon, Humphreys Basin, LeConte Canyon, all are incredibly gorgeous. Snow and ice cups are still in abundance and water crossings are high.

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby sad2 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:15 pm

I'm thinking 3:00 AM. Maybe a bit too early, but I'm driving to Vegas that evening/night.

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:55 am

I thought you didn't have to get a permit if it was just a day hike? I thought the permits were required if you were going to camp on the way up.

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby bj » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:16 am

Permits are required for ALL trips in the "Whitney Zone" including day trips.
Just a drinker with a climbing problem..

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby peter303 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:59 am

Class 1 trail all the way to the summit. Not even Pikes Peak is that good.
Its just very long at 21 miles round trip. And the infamous "97 switchbacks".

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby Tory Wells » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:43 am

The hikes up Pikes Barr Trail and Whitney's standard route are very similar...the biggest difference is you can't buy donuts in the summit hut on Whitney.

As a trailrunner, I've done both Pikes Barr Trail and Whitney's standard route as dayhikes. Barr Trail took me about 7 hours, Whitney about 8. Whitney has about 8 bazillion switchbacks for the entire trail, which was frustrating coming down but does save the legs going up. The trail is immaculate though, much like Barr Trail. You'll have fun, enjoy!
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, am I." -David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

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Re: Mt. whitney trail difficulty

Postby PatsSox09 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:49 pm

just did it last week.

The trail is in great condition...better than anything I've seen in Colorado, New England, or anywhere else out west (though I have not done Barr yet). It's a lot of elevation gain, but if you're in decent shape it's less than a cakewalk.

If you have time/energy make sure you tag Muir on the way up; it's an official and ranked CA 14er. Supposedly it's class 3, but really IMHO California class 3 is class 4 anywhere else, and it's a little exposed too, but still a fun scramble, and only 300 ft additional gain!

As for the permit situation, we didn't have one (we were doing it for a bachelor party, and had no concrete plans back in Feb), but there definitely are a lot of cancellations every day, esp middle of the week, so every day you have probably 5-15 last minute openings (plus, they're free too!). We had no problem getting 4 last minute permits for our trip.

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