*** Official Backpacking Thread ***

tacos

Michael Peterson status
Feb 12, 2006
3,439
273
83
Rotting away on the 405
Hiked to Mt Whitney summit yesterday, total time was 13 hours flat. Embarrassingly/recklessly/insanely last minute—my buddy started trying to convince me at noon, he got permits at 4pm, I bought proper footwear at 5pm, we left OC at 6pm, got poor sleep in Lone Pine from 11pm-3am, and started on the trail at 4am.

I found the ascent to be tough but enjoyable, I think in major part due to excitement, seeing the sunrise, and altitude sickness hadn’t hit me. I felt a little off at the start of the switchbacks but then stopped for a few minutes to refill water around 24th/25th switchback, the rest of the switchbacks I felt pretty good. The final ascent to the summit I definitely felt the altitude, fatigued and slightly lightheaded. Being at the summit with the 360 degree view and feeling of accomplishment was incredible.

The descent sucked. Felt great coming down from the summit, but then felt awful at the part where you have to go back up a little to the crest. Pretty bad headache, fatigue, and nausea set in. I had to take that uphill part slowly. The headache and nausea persisted the rest of the way down, and my headache didn’t subside until about noon today. Going down felt 3x as long as the ascent.

I was running my head under the spigot in the parking lot when some random dude (saint) gave me a beer as a congratulations for my first time. Best tasting beer I’ve ever had.

I won’t say I will never do it again, just not anytime in the immediate future. I’m glad I did it and it was an awesome (and grueling) experience. I enjoy hiking but I don’t regularly do it. I’m in somewhat decent shape with moderate weight training, grappling, surfing. I felt the 22 miles was what I expected—it was the altitude that kicked my ass. Oh and I have no blisters and my feet didn’t feel sore until the last mile or so… so I guess I’d have to recommend Darn Tough socks and Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes.

If I were to do it again I would bring more caffeine and it might be nice to break up the hike by camping—although I’ve been told not to do that since it’s hard to sleep at high elevations.
 

tsenn

Gerry Lopez status
Feb 11, 2004
1,320
145
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san diego
Heading up to Cottonwood lakes next Thursday, chill a day, then do Mt Langley on Saturday...looks like weather will be on the cool side. Anyone with recent trips up there? Conditions?
Thanks
 

kool-aid

Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
2,909
2,325
113
San Francisco
Hiked to Mt Whitney summit yesterday, total time was 13 hours flat. Embarrassingly/recklessly/insanely last minute—my buddy started trying to convince me at noon, he got permits at 4pm, I bought proper footwear at 5pm, we left OC at 6pm, got poor sleep in Lone Pine from 11pm-3am, and started on the trail at 4am.

I found the ascent to be tough but enjoyable, I think in major part due to excitement, seeing the sunrise, and altitude sickness hadn’t hit me. I felt a little off at the start of the switchbacks but then stopped for a few minutes to refill water around 24th/25th switchback, the rest of the switchbacks I felt pretty good. The final ascent to the summit I definitely felt the altitude, fatigued and slightly lightheaded. Being at the summit with the 360 degree view and feeling of accomplishment was incredible.

The descent sucked. Felt great coming down from the summit, but then felt awful at the part where you have to go back up a little to the crest. Pretty bad headache, fatigue, and nausea set in. I had to take that uphill part slowly. The headache and nausea persisted the rest of the way down, and my headache didn’t subside until about noon today. Going down felt 3x as long as the ascent.

I was running my head under the spigot in the parking lot when some random dude (saint) gave me a beer as a congratulations for my first time. Best tasting beer I’ve ever had.

I won’t say I will never do it again, just not anytime in the immediate future. I’m glad I did it and it was an awesome (and grueling) experience. I enjoy hiking but I don’t regularly do it. I’m in somewhat decent shape with moderate weight training, grappling, surfing. I felt the 22 miles was what I expected—it was the altitude that kicked my ass. Oh and I have no blisters and my feet didn’t feel sore until the last mile or so… so I guess I’d have to recommend Darn Tough socks and Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes.

If I were to do it again I would bring more caffeine and it might be nice to break up the hike by camping—although I’ve been told not to do that since it’s hard to sleep at high elevations.

Nice. Is that round trip actually 22 miles? Can attest to the decent feeling like it takes forever. Very solid showing of effort if you're not a very very regular intense hiker. I think that's 6K in elevation gain and loss for a total of 12K in one day. Always bring some ibuprofen and electrolytes to combat fatigue and altitude sickness. Altra LP 6s and Darn Toughs are an awesome combination. Just did 150 miles in that setup. Not a single blister and I've been very very prone to blisters in the past.
 
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tacos

Michael Peterson status
Feb 12, 2006
3,439
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Rotting away on the 405
Nice. Is that round trip actually 22 miles? Can attest to the decent feeling like it takes forever. Very solid showing of effort if you're not a very very regular intense hiker. I think that's 6K in elevation gain and loss for a total of 12K in one day. Always bring some ibuprofen and electrolytes to combat fatigue and altitude sickness. Altra LP 6s and Darn Toughs are an awesome combination. Just did 150 miles in that setup. Not a single blister and I've been very very prone to blisters in the past.
Thank you! Yeah 22 miles round trip, might actually be 21.8 or something. You’re right about the elevation too. I took 600 mg ibuprofen at the start and then halfway through the switch backs. I should’ve taken it again on the way down but decided F it I’m descending anyways. I tried to down at least 1 gel packet every hour— I’m good on eating those for a while now haha.

It’s been (deep down) on my bucket list for a while now and I’m not going to have much time in the next 3 years so I’m glad I jumped at the opportunity. Also stoked to check out some of the Bay Area hikes posted in this thread, moving up there in 10 days.
 

One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
11,201
6,054
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33.8N - 118.4W
Hiked to Mt Whitney summit yesterday, total time was 13 hours flat. Embarrassingly/recklessly/insanely last minute—my buddy started trying to convince me at noon, he got permits at 4pm, I bought proper footwear at 5pm, we left OC at 6pm, got poor sleep in Lone Pine from 11pm-3am, and started on the trail at 4am.

I found the ascent to be tough but enjoyable, I think in major part due to excitement, seeing the sunrise, and altitude sickness hadn’t hit me. I felt a little off at the start of the switchbacks but then stopped for a few minutes to refill water around 24th/25th switchback, the rest of the switchbacks I felt pretty good. The final ascent to the summit I definitely felt the altitude, fatigued and slightly lightheaded. Being at the summit with the 360 degree view and feeling of accomplishment was incredible.

The descent sucked. Felt great coming down from the summit, but then felt awful at the part where you have to go back up a little to the crest. Pretty bad headache, fatigue, and nausea set in. I had to take that uphill part slowly. The headache and nausea persisted the rest of the way down, and my headache didn’t subside until about noon today. Going down felt 3x as long as the ascent.

I was running my head under the spigot in the parking lot when some random dude (saint) gave me a beer as a congratulations for my first time. Best tasting beer I’ve ever had.

I won’t say I will never do it again, just not anytime in the immediate future. I’m glad I did it and it was an awesome (and grueling) experience. I enjoy hiking but I don’t regularly do it. I’m in somewhat decent shape with moderate weight training, grappling, surfing. I felt the 22 miles was what I expected—it was the altitude that kicked my ass. Oh and I have no blisters and my feet didn’t feel sore until the last mile or so… so I guess I’d have to recommend Darn Tough socks and Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes.

If I were to do it again I would bring more caffeine and it might be nice to break up the hike by camping—although I’ve been told not to do that since it’s hard to sleep at high elevations.
Last minute? Don’t you have to win a lottery for a wilderness pass?

Are there vertiginous spots? Like, one slip and you’re dead? Could/ would you do it solo?
 

r32

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 1, 2005
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Last minute? Don’t you have to win a lottery for a wilderness pass?

Are there vertiginous spots? Like, one slip and you’re dead? Could/ would you do it solo?
Have to enter lottery between Feb 1 and Mar 1.
20% win rate for day permit apps
14% win rate for overnight permit

There are a couple areas you wouldn't want to fall but they aren't bad. All the boulders would break your bones and your fall, so you probably wouldn't slide far unless there is still snow.

Yes you can do it solo, no problem.
 
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tacos

Michael Peterson status
Feb 12, 2006
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Rotting away on the 405
Last minute? Don’t you have to win a lottery for a wilderness pass?

Are there vertiginous spots? Like, one slip and you’re dead? Could/ would you do it solo?
Lottery is normal but he found 2 permits for Monday 7/11 on Sunday 7/10. They must‘ve been last minute cancellation. I assume they’re rare but they occasionally pop up and it just happened to work for us.

There are some spots where if you slip you’d be dead/nearly dead but fortunately the trail is fairly wide for most of it, so it would take quite a misstep for one to fall down.

Could I do it solo? Possibly, now that I’ve already done it. Would I? No. I’d need moral support for the grind.
 
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One-Off

Tom Curren status
Jul 28, 2005
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33.8N - 118.4W
Have to enter lottery between Feb 1 and Mar 1.
20% win rate for day permit apps
14% win rate for overnight permit

There are a couple areas you wouldn't want to fall but they aren't bad. All the boulders would break your bones and your fall, so you probably wouldn't slide far unless there is still snow.

Yes you can do it solo, no problem.
Do they assign you a day or do you choose?
 

Mr Doof

Duke status
Jan 23, 2002
23,090
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San Francisco, CA
Last minute? Don’t you have to win a lottery for a wilderness pass?

Are there vertiginous spots? Like, one slip and you’re dead? Could/ would you do it solo?
Depends on what way you go:





But if you take the regular path, there are some "windows" that could freak some people out:
(this is not me)


I have yet to hike to the top, but maybe when I actually get off my butt and make a plan to approach it from the west side...
 

San Gabriel Valley local

Michael Peterson status
Nov 14, 2002
2,054
73
48
San Gabriel Valley, CA
Do they assign you a day or do you choose?

For the lottery which is open from Feb. 1 through Mar. 15, you can enter up to 15 dates like r32 mentioned, and select either day hike permit (100 permits each day) or overnight permit (60 permits each day). If you win the lottery, you'll get one of those 15 dates. You've got to claim the date by April 30th. All unclaimed dates go up for grabs on May 1st at 7:00 a.m. pacific time on recreation.gov and there are tons of dates and options available for both day hikes and overnight permits, but you've got to be on it because they go pretty fast. After May 1st, permits will appear periodically on recreation.gov, either when someone cancels their permit or reduces the number of persons on their permit, or if there are no shows. The no show deadline for day hikes is 12 noon the day before the entry date, and for overnight permits it's 10:30 a.m. on the entry date. It's 12:18 p.m. on July 13th now and a few minutes ago there were 5 day hike permits available for tomorrow, July 13th, 4 went right away:


IMG_20220713_121700.jpg

Lottery info from 2021 is here: 2021 lottery result info is here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd896452.pdf
 
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_____

Phil Edwards status
Sep 17, 2012
6,779
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I did it by myself. Stayed lower at empty Lone Pine lake (10kft) instead of trail camp where it’s crowded and sorta nasty (mirror lake would be great too). The cables section could be sketchy if it were icy, and the windows mentioned above were a little freaky to me. Got denied this year in the lottery. Wanted to camp the lakes and explore but not summit.
 

San Gabriel Valley local

Michael Peterson status
Nov 14, 2002
2,054
73
48
San Gabriel Valley, CA
This is so awesome...13 hours round trip is really impressive for not having trained or acclimated!

For day hiking Mt Whitney what has worked for me is to spend a couple days at elevation (~9000 feet or higher) before the day hike. Onion Valley is great place to do that, it's at ~9200 feet and you can do an easy warm up hike on the Kearsarge Pass trail to one of the lakes along the trail. It's less than an hour drive to Whitney Portal so you can spend a couple nights at Onion Valley and drive to the Portal trailhead in the wee hours of the morning of your day hike, or camp at the Portal campground the night before the hike.

For an overnight permit, I think Outpost camp is great...there's a waterfall and trees and it's just a really nice place to camp. I think it's about 10K feet. Not super easy to sleep at 10K but Trail Camp is higher (at ~12K) colder, windier, with more people and trash etc.


Hiked to Mt Whitney summit yesterday, total time was 13 hours flat. Embarrassingly/recklessly/insanely last minute—my buddy started trying to convince me at noon, he got permits at 4pm, I bought proper footwear at 5pm, we left OC at 6pm, got poor sleep in Lone Pine from 11pm-3am, and started on the trail at 4am.

I found the ascent to be tough but enjoyable, I think in major part due to excitement, seeing the sunrise, and altitude sickness hadn’t hit me. I felt a little off at the start of the switchbacks but then stopped for a few minutes to refill water around 24th/25th switchback, the rest of the switchbacks I felt pretty good. The final ascent to the summit I definitely felt the altitude, fatigued and slightly lightheaded. Being at the summit with the 360 degree view and feeling of accomplishment was incredible.

The descent sucked. Felt great coming down from the summit, but then felt awful at the part where you have to go back up a little to the crest. Pretty bad headache, fatigue, and nausea set in. I had to take that uphill part slowly. The headache and nausea persisted the rest of the way down, and my headache didn’t subside until about noon today. Going down felt 3x as long as the ascent.

I was running my head under the spigot in the parking lot when some random dude (saint) gave me a beer as a congratulations for my first time. Best tasting beer I’ve ever had.

I won’t say I will never do it again, just not anytime in the immediate future. I’m glad I did it and it was an awesome (and grueling) experience. I enjoy hiking but I don’t regularly do it. I’m in somewhat decent shape with moderate weight training, grappling, surfing. I felt the 22 miles was what I expected—it was the altitude that kicked my ass. Oh and I have no blisters and my feet didn’t feel sore until the last mile or so… so I guess I’d have to recommend Darn Tough socks and Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes.

If I were to do it again I would bring more caffeine and it might be nice to break up the hike by camping—although I’ve been told not to do that since it’s hard to sleep at high elevations.
 
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Kento

Duke status
Jan 11, 2002
64,767
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The Bar
Trek 1:

Drove my daughter down to LA to visit with my mother for a week, figured I would get some hiking when I was down there (brought board but surf was not worth it). Grew up in Palisades Highlands (Santa Ynez Canyon) and funny enough, had never hiked the fire break there so decided I would go up that, even if it is way overgrown, circle through Topanga and come down the other side via Temescal Peak to the Highlands Summit and then down. Probably about 17-18 miles or so. A good warmup hike for the San Bernardino 9 Peak Challenge (Trek 2).

Weather was mid-60s and foggy when I started around 8ish but was humid and a bit stifling, especially on the firebreak trail, which was practically a tunnel of poison oak and brush. Got up it pretty fast though, maybe 20 minutes but it was a pain in the ass and I am amazed that I didn't get either poison oak or wear about 90 ticks. Probably not doing that one again anytime soon but had it to myself. At top, looped over to Parker Mesa Overlook, ton of people which is not really to my liking but as went towards Trippet Ranch and then further on to Eagle Rock, it got a lot less crowded, just me, a couple other hikers, and a handful of mountain bikers. It was also really exposed, mid to high 80s with an intermittent breeze. Brought 3.5 liters of water and it was barely enough for 6 hour hike.

Weather was still kind of hazy which was a shame but fall Santa Ana day, yeah, Temescal Peak would pack a pretty awesome 360 degree view. It was cool to finally do that loop. And not too much the worse for wear, strategic moleskin + Darn Tough socks (2nd the recommendation) + Salomon Ultras are a good combo. Good to get the InReach tested out too, which came in handy bigtime a few days later.

Trippet Ranch, Topanga
1659207843575.jpeg

Looking down into Santa Ynez Canyon and towards ocean from near Eagle Rock
1659207901086.jpeg

Eagle Rock (and yes, that's someone sitting at the top)
1659207952132.jpeg

Temescal Peak
1659207990244.jpeg

Near end. Firebreak trail snaking diagonally to left; reservoir looking very empty. Not good for fire season.
1659208016265.jpeg

I apparently had to go all of 50 yards further to find Skull Rock but was motivated to get back down and then on with my day. Thought this might be it but was wrong but the shadow does sort of look like Richard Nixon in profile and that was good enough for government work.
1659208085435.jpeg
 

Kento

Duke status
Jan 11, 2002
64,767
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The Bar
Above hike was just a warm-up for the San Bernardino 9 Peak Challenge, which I had been looking at ever since first hiking San Bernardino Peak a few years back and seeing San Gorgonio deceptively close. The best way to do this is to hike up Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio, do the traverse, and then descend from SB Peak down to Angelus Oaks. But you need 2 cars for this so the other option is descending via Momyer Creek Trail and then walking the 2 miles from there back up to Vivian Creek.

Car-camped up at Barton Flats the night before to acclimate to altitude a bit as I knew I'd be spending a huge chunk of the next day above 10,000'. Had solid chile verde dinner and couple Negra Modelos at El Mexicano in Forest Falls to scope out everything for next day as I knew I would be getting started in the dark. Got up at 3:45, couple mandatory morning dumps, light snack breakfast, and started on Vivian Creek exactly at 5:17 AM.

A bit of a walk up the dirt road and then across the wash, had the headlamp as it was still dawn but trail was easy to find and up I went - the first section is relatively steep for a mile or so but then evens out a lot over next few miles until you get to High Creek Camp. Talked with a father and two kids who had camped, summited, and were chilling back again. Another camper/hiker I saw descending from Gorgonio a little later but other than a few hikers I glimpsed who crossed from Dollar Lake Saddle, wilderness was empty. Total of 7 people that I saw in the mountains all day. Crazy considering the permits get all taken on weekends.

Ended up summiting in 4.5 hours, about the same time it took to drive from West LA (did NOT miss the traffic and vehicular idiocy), would have liked to chill on the top for a bit and take it in but there were some nasty clouds above I did not trust at all so jetted out of there pretty quickly. I was starting to get a blister on my left achilles heel so I had to wait until Jepson Peak to put some bandaids and moleskin on it.

That one was pretty mellow, getting up at down. Charlton and Little Charlton, less so. Lot of scree and I should have backtracked all way back to trail but I cheated a little and had to deal with a lot of scree and manzanita to scramble over/through. Sure beat going over the back end of Charlton, which would have been 30+ degrees steep of football-sized scree. At least Shields Peak was relatively stable although just a giant jumble of rocks. Alto Diablo and E. San Bernardino Peak were practically on trail, maybe 50 feet above but it was a slog at the end to get to San Bernardino Peak, especially knowing I had to go BACK up E. San Bernardino Peak (technically this was 10 peaks since I had to hike to top of it twice - bitterness was strong) and down Momyer, which I knew was bad but not how bad.

Momyer... :roflmao: I knew what I was getting it, kind of. Downed trees, tight trails through thorns and manzanita, occasional scree, OK. But the hard part was the overall vagueness of the trail, so easy to find yourself off it, if not for the InReach, it would have been easy to get lost. I had to really hunt for the trail sometimes. The mantra was: it will only get worse before it gets better. Plus, the switchbacks were long; I'd descended for what felt like a few miles already and I thought WHAT DO YOU MEAN I am still only at 9,700 feet elevation with 4,300 feet down more to go. That was a long trail and I can't imagine going UP it. fook that. In fact, you could end crime by making offenders descend and then ascend - there would be zero recidivism and Gitmo would also close down. It was mentally and physically brutal. And then you get to Alger Creek trail and it's ANOTHER few miles to the wash.

But I made it through it and to the bottom just before dark and there was one couple in the parking lot with a pickup truck. Not just good but GREAT Samaritans as they gave me a ride back up to my car, saving me a 2 mile road walk, 700' ascent in the dark. So grateful for that.

TL:DR - 9 Peaks, 30+ miles, 14 hours 53 minutes total. Absolute awesomeness. Easily the greatest trek I have ever done. I would do it again in a heartbeat but have a second car at Angelus Oaks next time.


Steep switchbacks coming out of Vivian Creek
1659228450292.jpeg

Approaching High Creek Camp on San Gorgonio ascent
1659228596725.jpeg

Fire scars along ridge above High Creek Camp
1659228647790.jpeg

Last stretch to Gorgonio - there were a few rock shelters for campsites but everything was utterly deserted.
1659228689173.jpeg

Victory - 4.5 hours to get the 9.2 miles to the peak
1659228746926.jpeg

But the day had only just begun: Jespon in front, Little and Big Charlton on the right and on the ridge behind from right to left, Alto Diablo, Shields, Anderson, E. SB Peak, and SB Peak.
1659228871696.jpeg