Mt Whitney – I’m Coming for YOU! (Part 2)

Link to Part 1

Our itinerary is for a 5-day, 4-night trek starting at Horseshoe Meadow, ascending over Cottonwood Pass to connect with the PCT, then continuing on to Crabtree Meadow where we’ll depart the PCT for the Mt Whitney Trail and then exit via the Portal. This will be about 8,000′ of elevation gain over 40 miles. 

Day 1 – Saturday, 6/4/16

With a fairly leisurely hiking schedule our first day, we were able to take our time getting ready and on trail.

The group name, Magnificent 7 was a big improvement over the first suggestion, 7 Dwarfs (although with that name it was entertaining to assign characters).

My pack had a few extras this trip including a bear canister, microspikes and an ice axe.

Cottonwood Pass at a little over 11,000′. Looking down at Horseshoe Meadow where we’d started the day. Trail was free of snow unlike a week or two previous when according to our new PCT friend, Reject, it was a scary crossing requiring microspikes.

Soon after Cottonwood Pass, the trail joins my beloved PCT, at about mile 750.

Do you see my peek-a-boo friend?

Got food?

Chicken Spring Lake

Camp night #1 was about PCT mile 753. I use the Gossamer Gear Polycro ground cloth. Boy was I surprised to find I’d brought a pack liner rather than a ground cloth. Hmmm, what to do? well yes that solar blanket will work.

I’d had a great day of hiking. The climbing was steady and I was pleased with my performance in the elevation and heat. HOWEVER, when I got to camp, I started feeling quite nauseated. It took several hours of lying down with my umbrella providing shade and my buff providing damp relief before I felt like I could sit up. One of my dinner options was mashed potatoes and I was happy for that bland meal which I was able to keep down. I suspect I’d over hydrated. I’d been hiking bigger miles and normally drink a liter at water crossings. I also was using AquaMira as my water treatment which is new to me. I’ve always used a filter but my Sawyer froze while on the Arizona Trail and I decided I didn’t want to deal with that problem this trip. Thankfully, I felt fine in the morning.

Day 2 – Sunday, 6/5/16

Everyone was in good spirits and raring to go. What a great way to start day #2!

Taken at Siberian Pass

My first steps on trail in Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs.

First major creek crossing. Since I wear trail runners, I typically just walk through the creeks vs going barefoot and risking injury. If it’s really cold though I might take off my socks and remove insoles before tromping through, as I did in this instance.

At 4pm, the group was resting and making a decision of how far to proceed. Initial decision was Guyot Flats however if no water we’d need to continue on to Crabtree Meadow.

Tree colors and shapes were mesmerizing . . . when will it fall?

Who knew root balls could be so beautiful?

Our first glimpse of Mt Whitney (the pointed mountain in the far back of photo).

We camped at Lower Crabtree Meadow . . . . with dinner entertainment provided by deer and marmots.

And watched the mountains around Whitney bask in the last of the evening light.

After fitful dreams of my Whitney ascent, I awoke at first light to this taunting silhouette.

From my tent I watched as the round orange ball peeked above the mountain to shine it’s rays into our peaceful meadow.

With few miles to make, it was easy to laze around watching the deer and marmots play.

Good morning!

Day 3 – Monday, 6/6/16

We missed our morning group shot.

It’s a foot bath! Ahhhhh. . . .

Teamwork comes in all flavors, whether a little help with boot laces, crossing a creek or snowfields, filtering water,  . . . our team excelled in this skill.

Timberline Lake (the last area outside the Whitney Zone, which means the use of Wag Bags until near the Portal). WAG (Waste Alleviation and Gelling) are poo bags that must be carried out. Gross but necessary above tree line in heavy use areas.

Looking down at Timberline Lake

The final time we’ll see Mount Whitney until we are upon her shoulders.

Our first on-trail snowfield

Welcome to Guitar Lake; Mt Whitney is up there somewhere.

Spring melt is in the works. I actually saw a few hikers take a quick dip in these ice covered waters.

Night #3 was filled with anxiety as we prepared to ascend Whitney in the morning.

Before settling in for the night, we’d been advised to scope out where we’d be hiking in the wee hours of the morning as the trail is snow/ice covered and non-existent with few if any footprints to lead the way.

 

To be continued . . . .

Link to the rest of the story:

Link to 2 More Miles Related Posts:

Jan’s Tips:

Resources:

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3 thoughts on “Mt Whitney – I’m Coming for YOU! (Part 2)

  1. I’d love to compare pack items. I don’t carry a ground cloth but if I am crossing rivers I always carry a super light pair of sandals. Worth it to me not to have wet shoes. But that’s horrifying to ultralighters. Hyoh!

    • I really hate taking the time to change shoes and I’ve found with my merino wool socks they walk dry quickly.

      I’ve found I’d prefer the lightweight polypro to be wet, muddy or full of sap rather than my tent. I also use it to sit on during breaks in stickery prickery or damp areas where I don’t want to use my foam mat. I’ll usually put my mat on top of it.

      Here’s a link to my mostly current gear list. https://lighterpack.com/r/f9kenh

  2. Pingback: Mt Whitney – I’m Coming For YOU! (Part 1) – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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