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Re: [pct-l] Climbing Mt. Whitney during a thru-hike

On Tue, 14 Oct 1997 BLISTERFREE@delphi.com wrote:

> Hello all,
>   This post has nothing to do with horses, logging, ALDHA-West or Ray
> Jardine.  Instead, I'm now wondering about the possibilities for climbing
> Whitney as a spur adventure on next year's hike north from Campo.  Does the
> PCT run reasonably close to a connecting trail heading for Whitney's summit?
> Is it a day-hike out-and-back sort of deal?  Are any permits required?  I've
> heard something about a lottery system of issuing permits, and a maximum of
> 50 people allowed on the mountain via Whitney Portal, but how does this
> figure into the itinerary of a northbound thru-hiker?  Who out there has done
> this and can report the facts and figures?  Much obliged...
> - Blister>Free, GA-ME '96-'97, PCT '98

I'd say around half the thru-hikers this year took this side trip. This is
common enough a side trip that the guide book actually describes the
trails necessary in detail. As far as permits go if you get your
wilderness permit through the PCTA, simply ask for a Whitney stamp. 

The trail junction is at Crabtree Meadows. You'll head east from the PCT
up to Whitney Trail Crest. From there the trail heads north along the
ridge to the actual Mt. Whitney summit. When returning to Whitney Trail
Crest, you have the option of continuing back to the trail or heading
west to Whitney Portal. From there you can take a hitchhike to Lone Pine to
resupply. If you do resupply at Lone Pine, don't return to the trail via
Whitney Portal. Instead, return via either Cottonwood Pass or Trail Pass.
You'll have to rehike 6-7 miles of the PCT but it'll save you from having
to make the 3000'-4000' climb from Whitney Portal to Whitney Trail Crest.
For plannings sake, all of this should take about an extra day.

It's worth noting that even in an average year, there will still be plenty
of snow on the way to the summit. Don't let that worry you too much
though. By the time you reach Whitney you will have already gone over
Forrester Pass so you'll have plenty of snow experience.

You should take everything I've just said with a grain of salt since I
had climbed Mt. Whitney several years earlier so I skipped this side trip.
In fact, one of my few regrets about my trip is that I didn't take enough
side trips. The only significant one I did was up to the Sierra Buttes
fire lookout which I highly recommend. It's the last high peak in the
northern Sierras and has some spectacular views. Also, you might consider
Olanche (sp?) Peak. It's about a day north of Kennedy Meadows and is the
first high peak you'll reach in the southern Sierras. Anybody know any
other good side trips?

-Karl PCT'97

Karl Brandt                             Center for Integrated Systems
brandt@kibo.stanford.edu                Via Ortega Rd.
(650) 725-3686                          Stanford, CA 94305-4070

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