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I did this with two friends on October 26, 2018. We are all in our mid thirties. It was a bluebird day with not a cloud in the sky, and I think it was probably averaged around 40-45 degrees for the entire day. The summit was above freezing for sure when we summited at noon.

Timing:
We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Lone Pine the night before and the night after the hike. We got on the trail at 3 a.m. and summited right around noon. We started our decent at 1 p.m. and got back to the trailhead at 8 p.m. So that’s 9 hours up and 7 hours down.

Dealing with Altitude:
I live in Salt Lake City, so I have access to some elevation and did a bunch of training hikes to 11,000 feet on the weekends to get used to the altitude. The two other guys live at sea level but did their best to hike as much as they could before our attempt. We all ended up getting prescriptions for acetazolamide and starting cycling on that and 400-600 milligrams of ibuprofen every six hours starting about 12 hours before we started out. For two of us, we really had no symptoms of altitude sickness beyond very mild headaches at the top. The other guy got a pretty decent headache that subsided during our decent.

Food:
I think we all ate much less food than I thought we would. I ate two sleeves of Clif Bar Shot Bloks and took a caffeine pill on the way up (which might have contributed to an upset stomach). And I also ate 4-5 Clif Bars, some beef jerky, a pretty good-sized bag of gummy bears, and some nuts. I brought I peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I never even ate, but the other two guys ate their PB & J at the summit.

Water:
I brought four liters of liquid with me. Three liters of water and one liter of Gatorade. My doctor told me to drink a sports drink with the acetazolamide. I ended up drinking 2 liters of the water and the Gatorade and gave the rest of the water to my hiking buddies on the way down. We actually got back to the parking lot with nothing to drink between us all, which is probably not the smartest play. I did bring a filter with me though just in case things got real out there.

Gear:
We all used adjustable hiking poles. We have backup batteries for our headlamps since a good amount of the hike was in the dark. Sun lotion. I had a wide-brimmed hat for the sun. I had four layers on the top and three on my legs and was overdressed for most of the day. I was prepared for the day to be 10 degrees colder than it was. We all had microspikes, but I think I was the only one who used them.

Overall:
The 99 switchbacks might get you down, but once you top out after those, you are pretty golden. That where the trail gets super interesting and the views are ridiculous. The only thing I might do different if I did this again was to try to move a bit faster to get down before dark since spirits were running low for the last couple miles of the decent. Reach out to me if you have any questions about the hike. I’d be happy to talk about it.

If you can break this up into two days do it. We day hiked it, left at 2am and back by 6pm. Super long day. Camped at Alabama Hills on the way out.

enjoyed this climb a lot! An plan on doing it again soon for better time now that I know the trail. pretty well beaten path, and when I went there was a good bit of water on the trail, early August, but totally with it 12hr up an down ... I can get that into the single digits though ;)

This hike is amazing. Completed back in August, make sure to leave early, because thunderstorms, snow, etc are big issues. Hiked in a group of 6, and we had such a blast. 7.5 hours up, 5.5 hours down. Beautiful trail, and so many good photo moments. Sunrise, etc.

Amazing... Simply AMAZING

Dayhike: 10/27/2018

This was such a huge accomplishment. We had beautiful weather and I was able to hike in a long sleeve and long pants the entire time. I would recommend a brimmed hat and something to cover your mouth and nose for the occasional winds. Once we got to the summit, I put on my down jacket. Going down I was really glad I packed microspikes. It gave me piece of mind sailing down the icy patches, otherwise, it would have been slow moving on those parts due to safety concerns.

We started at 4:30am and summited at 2pm. Made it back to the car by 7pm. The last 1.9 miles to the summit was torturous with many thoughts on what I’m doing with my life, why am I doing this to myself and just turning back around. But once you get closer to the skyline and you see the top of the shelter/building, it’s all worth it! You made it to the top!

Final notes:
- I only drank 1.5 liters of the 3 liters packed.
- Walking poles really helped my knees and I’m not as sore as I was expecting after 2 days.
- Trail is very well defined and maintained.
- Better to have an early start so you’re not rushed on time. We had a few people not able to summit due to the late start time and it would have been dangerous for them to go down the icy areas without microspikes in the dark.
- Lastly have fun and be safe! It’s such an great experience!

10/24/2018 -- Day Hike Summited 9:15 , departed 3am from Whitney Portal, Summit 9:15am, returned to portal 3:45pm.

WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
Base weather low 40s, no wind, bright full moon; Summit weather low 40s, sunny, no wind. Trail camp was coldest at dawn in low 30s, slight wind. Packed snow on the 97 switchbacks. A few patches of ice around trail crest. Yaktrax were used only on the descent starting at the snowy section of the 97 switchbacks.

GEAR
Pack was about 12lbs with 48 oz of water, about 2.5 lbs of food. Hiking poles & boots were used. I wore pants, long sleeve, base layer, wind breaker plus a buff and a sun hat. I brought a down jacket and full gloves for emergency--neither were used. Navigation was mostly using BackCountry Navigator app, also had paper map and compass (which helped when I missed a turn on the ascent)

WATER
Started with 48oz in 2 bike bottles. Refilled water upon descent at Trail Pond using a squeeze filter. In hindsight I should have also refilled during the ascent.

HIGHLIGHTS
The full moon made the hike up clear and majestic. Sunrise at Trail Camp was breathtaking. The ascent of the 97 switchbacks was pleasant due to the snow leveling the grade--it felt like walking up a treadmill. The ascent felt quick and painless, but the descent mentally dragged on -- mostly due to foot pain and sun exposure. Nothing unbearable, just less pleasant than the ascent. The sign at the bottom warning that "the summit is only half way" is right on.

OTHER TIPS
* Bring spare socks and rotate every 3 hours. Hang the sweaty ones on your pack to dry and disinfect while hiking. No blisters! Dry socks also improve morale.
* 3/4 of this hike is exposed. Sun protection is a must -- wide-brimmed or desert hat will help both with sunburn and improve morale.
* Buff helps you manage quick temp fluctuations -- cold ears, lips, nose etc
* Hiking with a red lamp will preserve your night vision and let you see farther at night
* 80g / hr is a good rough estimate for food quantity.

Also want to give a shout out to hikingguy.com -- his guide made the trek up really predictable -- every thing you need including trail features and turns are there.

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/best-la-hikes/mt-whitney-hike/

Summited 10/22/2018
Most difficult and rewarding hike I’ve ever done! This was my 2nd try. Trail camp was very cold the first night and there was snow up half the 99 switchbacks. Camelback valves froze in the morning. Still not bad for late October. Altitude and grade are the hardest parts of this hike. Best to acclimate yourself as much as you can before hand and try it in 2 or 3 days like I did. Go slow and breath.

I have holes this 1.5 times and loved it. It is a little steep and there is some elevation gain but it's worth it. My first attempt wasn't successful because a thunderstorm rolled in just after sunrise coming from the East. We were just about to trail crest when it hit. The thunder and lighting were almost instantaneous and then it started to hail. It was scary and a great reminder of the power of nature.

Hiked: 10/20/18

It was great, at the top of the switch backs is when the altitude starts to set in. Just take it easy, it was freezing the majority of the trail, we started at 2:30 and I summited at 2.

It is a very enjoyable hike up, take your time! I descended in only 5 hours so it came out to about a 16 hour trip. My camel back valve froze so bring some warm water and thermals.

It was really icy, if you do not have micro-spikes then take the infamous switchbacks slow!! Have fun and goodluck!

The hike itself isn’t too crazy it’s the elevation gain. I did a day hike in 16 hours but I would suggest acclimation to make it more enjoyable

Complete 10-19-18. Most challenging and rewarding hike I’ve ever done.

We started at 430am, summited 11 hours later at 330pm, sat up there for 30 min, headed back down at 4pm & got back to the car at 1030pm so it was an awesome 18 hour day on trail.

It was definitely hard to breath once we got to about 10k ft. Luckily neither of us got altitude sickness or vertigo. We were glad we had micro spikes for the descent. Wear as many pairs of gloves you can fit and the warmest ones you can find. Only thing I wish I’d brought was a buff or any other kind of face covering.

Brought 3 liters of water & a filtration system. Only drank 2 liters, never checked to see if my sawyer squeeze froze but I heard other people’s systems did. Mostly brought proteins to eat, wish I’d brought more carbs.

Check out www.whitneyzone.com before you go!

Completed in one day on the 19th. We started at 3am. There were no online reservations available for camping at Whitney Portal but we drove up anyways to see. There were plenty of walk in sites available as well as one-night only camping next to the overnight parking which was perfect. Make sure you bring tags for anything you leave in the bear boxes.

Hiking in the dark on the trail was incredibly easy and fun. You look up and see a line of headlights but can’t see anything else. It’s nice to not be able to see the elevation you have to climb up and made it go by quicker but at the same time I know we were missing the beautiful scenery.

Once we hit trail camp, it got COLD. Like the other posts, our camelback straws froze and so did our filtration system so we were very appreciate of the people that lent us their help. We kept one straw in our jackets to keep it warm and switched straws out when the other froze. We used micro spikes on the way up and down when there was snow. It made us feel comfortable and it I didn’t have them, we would have turned around. In fact, we passed multiple people who turned around because they didn’t have micro spikes but we all may be just a novice group of hikers.

The last 2 miles were the hardest. It took us 3 hours due to putting on and taking off microspikes and scrambling up parts of the trail.

Overall, a great hike! Completely doable, you just need to be prepared for the worst and want it enough.

Completed same day on October 17th. Started at 0315 Took 11.5 hours. Great conditions - no winds the entire time. Incredibly cold in early morning while dark - camelbak froze many times. Required lots of layers. Once the sun same out a t-shirt was fine. Snow / ice at top of switchbacks and to summit. We wore microspikes down but wasn’t needed on way up. Could have been done entirely without spikes. Long day but rewarding.

Just spent the weekend on this trail. Fishing was amazing at the Kearsage Lakes! Hiking in from onion valley was rough but a huge accomplishment when we reached the top of the pass. The decent into the Kearsage Lakes from the pass is very fast. When we packed out it only took us 3 hours because most of this 11 miles is down hill on the onion valley side. This was my first time backpacking in the Seirras and coming from the east coast this trip was a real eye opener. I would recommend this trail to anyone that thinks they can tough it out. Weather is getting a bit cold this time of year now. Low’s were in the teens at night and there was some snow at about 10,000 feet.

One of my favorite hikes!

Snowy and gorgeous. That 300 ft drop before the switchbacks is somewhat demeaning at altitude, but oh well. Saw a herd of bighorn sheep! Views from the top are awesome.

Did this hike on October 6 2018. It snowed before, during, and after. We lucked out and got clear skys at the summit. Summited around 11:00am passed tons of people that turned around because it was too sketchy as it was icy and cold. I didn't have spikes or crampons so was super bummed as I didn't think I had a prayer to make it. The trail was icy and slippery but it wasn't like you were going to fall to your death if you slipped and fell. It was easy to spot the icy areas and I just used the trekking poles and took my time.

Day hike to Kearsarge Lakes after three inches of fresh overnight pow. The trail is super gradual and easy on the knees as you climb to Kearsarge Pass (compared to other high elevation trails in California). Don’t stop at the pass! Descend to the lakes and be treated to the reflection of the mountains towering above you. Definitely in my top three favorite hikes.

Mount Whitney Trail
03 OCT 2018, Wednesday

I hiked from Whitney Portal Trailhead to within three-quarters of a mile of the Summit and back--about 20 miles. I did not reach the Summit, unfortunately. I opted to turn back and descend, due to a sudden snow and lightning storm. Lots of wind and falling snow (corn snow?) made footing a challenge, especially between Keeler Needle and Trail Crest.

Started my hike at 3:30am under a clear sky. Lots of stars in the sky, those first three hours. Beautiful sunrise and fantastic views. It was sunny and pleasant when ascending the 97 switchbacks. That morning, the trail was clear of ice most of the way, with some ice present on the highest one-third of the switchbacks. I put "yak traks" on my boots and found them helpful.

Clouds started to build just before noon. By 12:30pm the sky darkened and snow began to fall, so I decided to turn back. At 12:45pm, snow and wind were intense as I descended from Keeler Needle to Trail Crest and then down the 97 switchbacks. Snow continued to fall as I hiked through Trail Camp, through Outpost Camp and halfway to Lone Pine Lake. This storm was a remnant of Hurricane Rosa, I later found out.

Lightning all around. While descending from Trail Crest and through the 97 switchbacks, clearly visible lighting bolts crossed the sky. I hiked through heavy snowfall, instantaneous thunder and much too close views of lightning veins for the hour it took to descend the switchbacks. I dove to the ground a couple of times, out of some kind of instinctive survival reaction. There's no place safe to take shelter from lightning anywhere between the base of the 97 switchbacks and the Summit. Keep in mind, the air is very thin above 13,000 feet and it will take you longer than you think to get from point A, to point B and then to C.

I carried a very heavy day-pack containing extra all-weather clothing, wool head coverings, food and water, headlamp and batteries, etc... My body temperature remained warm, I was hydrated and had the energy to remove myself from a "not good" situation. A memorable journey.

Oct 2, 2018, windy and snow storm above 3800m.
I lost my way off the trail before 99 switches simply following other two climbers ahead. It is extremely dangerous to climb short-cut of the switches, because the stone slope up to the top is too loosen to fall in a snowy day together with stones! It took me two extra hours to cut back to the switches safely using All Trail map, but fail to the summit before deadline for closed time.
I will come back to Mt Whitney because The Mountain is there!
Thanks a lot to my son and daughter in law, and my wife for their understanding and support.

This trail came in on my Suunto as 14.8 miles RT and quite a bit more elevation gain/loss than is shown here. Like others have said the gate adds on 1.82 miles each direction. Also like others have said the elevation gains and losses are all fairly gradual so if you're a fit and experienced hiker this one is incredibly enjoyable and you can make good pace! We were done with the whole thing in under 7 hrs which included a 35 minute lunch on the summit. This trail far exceeded my expectations on scenery as well!

My. Whitney, CA
20 September 2018

Success!!!

Our group of 10 met up in Lone Pine, CA on September 18th. We came from Virginia, Texas, Pennslyvania, Kentucky, Tennessee & Arizona. Two were related, some were old friends, some were new friends, and some had never met. Barry from Orange County join our group last, at 2:00am on the 20th, and we were stronger for his company.

I had been invited at the last minute, to fill a vacancy. 53 years old, not a hiker, and certainly not in pristine shape, but the mind was willing. We’d find out if the body could keep up.

Obersvations: 1 - Spectacular scenery and views. 2 - I overestimated my ability, and underestimated the mountain. 3 - The lack of Oxygen is real. 4 - The 99 switchbacks are harsh. 5 - The last 1.9 miles is the longest ever walked. 6 - Coming down is every bit as difficult as going up. Finally, and most importantly 7 - I wouldn’t have made it without the help, support, advice and encouragement of friends, acquaintances and strangers alike.

We left the Portal as a group at 2:00am, drowsy, happy and excited. We summitted independently, as pairs and in small groups, to the cheers of those in our group who had reached before us, as well as people we had never met. I summitted at noon (last of my group) as the final pair with a true friend who waited an hour for me to start his final two miles with me. We were all back at the Portal by 7:55pm, again, with me in the last pair, and the rest of the group cheering on our group achievement. 23.4 miles, 18 hours, 78,000 steps. Almost 6,000 feet up... and then down. A very long day indeed.

Jeff, Cindy, Nicki, Amber, Katie, Amay, Joe, Jenn, Summer, Barry & Scott. 11 started, 11 summitted and 11 finished.

We had no injuries, and only minor setbacks. We are all tremendously thankful for that.

As one of my ‘new’ friends just pointed out, a week ago we were on top of that granite rock. Today we’re all spread out across this great country. I count this as one of the greatest personal accomplishments of my life (children, marriage notwithstanding). Not necessarily summitting, but being a part of an amazing group of people who came together to reach new heights, and left richer for the experience and the friendships gained.

Carpe Diem

Absolutely beautiful! Perfect for a day hike, completed within 10hours (12 hours if my chit-chat time at the summit is added). Started at 01:25am and made it up all the switchbacks by 06:08am, saw one of the most beautiful sunrises!!!
Food wise, I carb-loaded the day before (around 2-3pm). I ate a banana and a little of trail mix up the summit and ate a meal after completing the hike. Carb loading the day before and going in a fasted state was probably my best decision, I had a ton of energy and did not feel nauseous. I only needed about 1.5L of water total (but I did hike most of the trail during night).
ALSO, thank you whoever takes care of the trail, during full moon (as it was last night) I did not even need to use the headlamp to find my way up.

My son and I drove out from LA to Lone Pine Friday morning, retrieved passes after 2pm (many were available) and checked into a hotel.

Sat 3am the journey commenced and approx 7 hrs later we hit the summit shortly after 10am. High winds and cold temps up top made clothing options crucial. Glad as well that w had altitude meds (diamox) so as to avoid AMS. (No acclimation)

The descent was fun and enjoyable since anything below the 99 switchbacks was dark on the way up. We watered up at Trail Head camp, cooked a nice “campers stew” about halfway down just past Outpost Camp, then cruised the final 6 mi. We were in the car by 5pm so all in all including stops a 14 hr journey.

The ride home was a breeze. The journey nothing less than epic. We both vow to return - Whitney is a beast but beautiful !

The views are nothing to brag about. This hike was more mentally demanding than it is physically. The sad part is that I didn't even get to enjoy getting to the top because my first thought was that I have at least another 6 hours to retrace every step in order to get off this mountain. If you are doing this as a dayhike, make sure to set a schedule to get enough carbs. We set a schedule to eat energy chews or gels every hour, which we were doing well with until we reached Trail Crest. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen but we couldn't get ourselves to eat after that. On the way back down, I crashed hard at around Trail Crest. Finally forced myself to eat some energy chews and within 10 minutes I was feeling a lot more energetic. We had Clif Bloks with caffeine and Honey Badger Gingsting gels which were both lifesavers.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a good beginner 14er. I hiked this trail then drove to Nevada and hiked Boundary Peak the same day. Started at 6:57AM got to the summit and back to the car in 4h 23 minutes including breaks, lots of photos and videos (4 h 3 min moving). I stayed in Big Pine area and drove up in the morning. A better approach is to get to the trailhead before sunset so you don't have to drive the dirt/rocky road in the dark and camp or sleep in the car before hiking this trail.

I got a flat tire on the way when a rogue rock puncture the side of one of the tires. Make sure you have a spare tire that is aired up and ready. Luckily my rental SUV had a good spare tire and I was able to switch it out and was on my way. Go slow on the road.

Because it is easy 14er, it is still a 14er and you need to train and be prepared for this mountain. It can be windy and cold. Also hiking 13-14 miles is a slog. Take your time and have fun.

hard ...but amazing

First summited on my 60th birthday, as a dayhike. 22 hours, exhausted but no blisters or other injuries. Made it my annual thing. 2 nights at the portal campground, short hikes to Lone Pine Lake helps keep the altitude sickness at bay. Always an enjoyable trek, hope one day to score an overnight pass. Bucket list item. Beware the marmots!

Experience of a lifetime, thanks to all the people who encourage me to do this, Angel, Dan, Don and my wife. By far the hardest hike I’ve ever done
But we reached the summit, and I’m blessed beyond words

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