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Mount Whitney

salt lake city
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Mount Whitney

Re: hiking up Mount Whitney, I could use suggestions where to camp for first night on way up? Don't want to go too far and carry pack (I am 60 years old and weigh 110 lbs) but want to also reduce milage for next day. Also, is it advised to take diamox or no need, just be in shape? Also any other hints would be appreciated. thanks

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Mount Whitney

This site has a lot of good info:

timberlinetrails.net/WhitneyTrailhead.html

Menifee, California
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2. Re: Mount Whitney

For first timers to Whitney, check out the Whitney Portal Store website -- lots of good information on the message board: http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/

Manhattan Beach...
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3. Re: Mount Whitney

I was clobbered by the altitude. Something my fellow hikers did, which I did not, was to sleep in the back of their truck at the portal parking lot. This was to pick up some more time acclimating. I have no idea if you can still do that.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Mount Whitney

Also see http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/

San Anselmo...
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5. Re: Mount Whitney

I have made the trip you are proposing twice and never made the summit because of altitude sickness. I cannot suggest to much getting adjusted to the altitude before you make an attempt at the summit. That may require at your age 2 nights rather than 1. The first attempt was when I was in my mid 20's and my two companions were also. The second was in my 50's with my two children in their early 20's. Both times all of us were affected by the altitude such that making the last pull to the summit became to difficult so we did not do it.

I will say that both times were the beginning of attempting to complete the John Muir trail and summiting Whitney was a secondary concern.

salt lake city
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6. Re: Mount Whitney

Thanks for the reply. Did you ever take diamox before attempting the hike up Whitney? Also, this is a strange question, but we plan to be on the trail ~ 3 or 4 nights and wonder how we bundle and carry our "human waste bags?"

Manhattan Beach...
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7. Re: Mount Whitney

I'm not sure that your original question regarding which campsite to go to is answerable because it depends on how early you start out and how comfortable you are hauling your tent and sleeping bag. I read the information on Koda's website to refresh my memory and I recommend that you glance at it. There are two campgrounds on the trail up to the top, Outpost Camp and Trail Camp. Outpost Camp is lower so you don't have to go as far on the first day, and you don't have to lug your tent and sleeping bag so far. My memory is that it is also sheltered by trees. Trail Camp is higher up, near the start of the 99 switchbacks. My memory was that it was much more exposed, it is above the tree line. I did not have much trouble reaching Outpost Camp; it was not that arduous a hike. The next day, going to the summit was not pleasant. As we passed the higher up Trail Camp I remember thinking that it would have been so much better if we had camped there instead, but I'm not sure that would have been true because we would have been exposed to winds and it would have been a rougher first day hauling a load higher. So not much help on that part of your question.

Once you get done with the 99 switchbacks and are at the Trail Crest you still have a climb to the summit, but at a gentler rate. I almost did not make it to the top because you don't get much of an indication of how much further that you have to go, and in my case I was feeling pretty bad, with a headache, so I almost turned around within 100 yards of the top. One good thing is that the way down is very easy and my headache magically disappeared. The next day was also a kick - I went jogging at sea level and felt like the bionic man.

I also can't answer your second question, because I was constipated for the whole two days.

You have one advantage, it looks like you already live at a higher elevation. Best of luck.

Edited: 8:06 pm, July 11, 2013
San Anselmo...
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8. Re: Mount Whitney

A quick internet search showed that the composting toilets at trail camp are no longer are there. You are stuck with packing your solid waste in and out. It is the price one must pay for being in an alpine region that is overused.

San Francisco
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9. Re: Mount Whitney

I did it up and back in a day with my dad -- I was 38, Dad was 69. We had no altitude sickness although the altitude slowed Dad down a little.

We made sure we took sips of water almost constantly and nibbled on things a lot along the way as well. At 10,000-11,000 feet I got a bad headache and we stopped and I ate a bit more which helped a lot.

Odd thing was, it was the young people who looked to be in good shape who were barreling down the mountain as fast as they could.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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10. Re: Mount Whitney

When you get your permit, you will be issued human waste disposal packs. I saw an exhibit about the WAG Bag (Waste Alleviation Gel) at the Lone Pine Interagency Visitor Center, which is where you get the permit, but I don't know that it is the exact product you get. It's a toilet in a bag with several-use capacity, TP included, with a water-activated powder (works with P) that encapsulates and biodegrades human waste.

http://www.cleanwaste.com/wag-bag

Here is all you need to know (or all the USFS thinks you need to know) about the Mt. Whitney trail.

http://tinyurl.com/USFS-Mt-Whitney-page