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#15335 - 05/12/05 11:45 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
felipe Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 52
Loc: Mt. San G., Cal.
Don't have a SUV but,....
Do they have Sherpa or Inca guides
who'll carry ya pack included; for a couple of bucks
like in Nepal and Peru????
Since I GOT SLAMMED on my permit
maybe I'll open a stand and bring some
in and put'm right by the store and make
a few bucks!

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#15336 - 05/14/05 01:32 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
deltatech Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 22
Q- Can I rent a bear container from the portal store/ranger station or somewhere close to lone pine? I have most gear but I can't see coughing up $50.00+ for something I will use once.

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#15337 - 05/14/05 12:17 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
A: Yes to both. I got 11 hits when I searched the site for 'bear rental.' Here are some posts on the subject: <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002088">Acquiring bear proof canisters</A> and <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000533">Where can you rent Bear Canisters?</A>
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#15338 - 05/21/05 02:25 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What is the drive like from Reno Airport?

A: The route from Reno is at higher elevations than the southern route, and the route is more scenic than the desert route to the south. US-395 starts at around 4500 feet in Reno and climbs as high as 8138 feet at Conway Summit just north of Mono Lake before going back down to around 4000 feet around Bishop. The highest elevations are between the California-Nevada Line and Sherwin Summit (just south of Tomís Place). Here are the approximate milages from Lone Pine of several landmarks:
<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 8pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM LONE PINE</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH>Miles<TH align="center">Landmark
<TR><TD><font size="1">257</font><TD><font size="1">Exit 65 (Terminal Way in Reno)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">230</font><TD><font size="1">Carson City (at US-50 E)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">227</font><TD><font size="1">Carson City (at US-50W to Lake Tahoe)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">191</font><TD><font size="1">California-Nevada Line </font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">148</font><TD><font size="1">Bridgeport</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">123</font><TD><font size="1">Mono Lake Visitors Center & Lee Vining</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">122</font><TD><font size="1">Cal-120W (to Tioga Pass/Mt Dana/Yosemite)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">103</font><TD><font size="1">Crestview Rest Area</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 96</font><TD><font size="1">Cal-203 (to Mammoth Lakes and Devilís Postpile)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 86</font><TD><font size="1">Crowley Lake</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 82</font><TD><font size="1">Tomís Place (to Little Lakes Valley and Mono Pass)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 57</font><TD><font size="1">Bishop (at Cal-168W to Lake Sabrina)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 43</font><TD><font size="1">Big Pine (at Cal-168E to Bristlecone Pines)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 26</font><TD><font size="1">Division Creek Rest Area</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 16</font><TD><font size="1">Independence (at road to Onion Valley)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 4</font><TD><font size="1">Alabama Hills</font>
</TABLE>
Here are links to several attractions along the way:
<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 10pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">VARIOUS ATTRACTIONS</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="left"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH align="center">Area<TH align="center">Links
<TR><TD>Lee Vining Area<TD><A href="http://www.leevining.com/">Visitors</A>, <A href="http://www.monolake.org/">Mono Lake</A>, <A href="http://www.tiogapassresort.com/">Tioga Pass Resort</A>, <A href="http://www.summitpost.org/show/mountain_link.pl/mountain_id/108">Mount Dana</A>
<TR><TD>Yosemite NP<TD><A href="http://www.nps.gov/yose/">Park</A>, <A href="http://www.yosemite.com/">Services</A>, <A href="http://www.nps.gov/yose/now/conditions.htm">Road Conditions</A>
<TR><TD>Mammoth Lakes<TD><A href="http://www.visitmammoth.com/">Visitors</A>, <A href="http://www.cityconcierge.com/">Area Info</A>, <A href="http://www.mammothmountain.com/">Ski Area</A>, <A href="http://www.nps.gov/depo/">Devils Postpile NM</A>
<TR><TD>Tom's Place<TD><A href="http://www.tomsplaceresort.com/">Tom's Place Resort</A>, <A href="http://www.rockcreeklake.com/">Rock Creek Lake area</A>
<TR><TD>Bishop<TD><A href="http://www.bishopvisitor.com/">Visitors</A>, <A href="http://bishopcreekresort.com/contact.htm">Bishop Creek area</A>
<TR><TD>Lone Pine<TD><A href="http://www.lonepinechamber.org/">Visitors</A>
</TABLE>
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#15339 - 05/27/05 09:51 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What is the drive like from Ontario Airport?

A: After leaving Ontario Airport, the route is urban until I-15 starts gaining elevation. Once you go over Cajon Pass, the remaining route up US-395 is mostly desert with only a few places to stop for gasoline (also parts of the road are two-lane highway). There are gas station/convenience stores at Pearsonville, Coso Junction, and Olancha (June 2005 note: The Jot Em Down store in Olancha no longer has gas pumps). You can stop at the <A href="http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/contact/index.shtml">Interagency Visitors Center</A> for general information on other attractions in the area. Here are the approximate distances of several landmarks from Lone Pine.
<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 8pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM LONE PINE</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH>Miles<TH align="center">Landmark
<TR><TD><font size="1">196</font><TD><font size="1">I-10 exit 54 (Archibald)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">193</font><TD><font size="1">I-10 exit 57 to I-15 N (I-15 exit 109 going back)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">163</font><TD><font size="1">I-15 exit 139 to US-395</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 70</font><TD><font size="1">Inyokern Airport (IYK)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 65</font><TD><font size="1">Cal-14 merge (from LA)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 58</font><TD><font size="1">Pearsonville</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 44</font><TD><font size="1">Red Hill (a colorful landmark)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 40</font><TD><font size="1">Coso Junction Rest Area</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 23</font><TD><font size="1">Olancha (Cal-190)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 2</font><TD><font size="1">Interagency Visitors Center (Cal-136)</font></TABLE>
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#15340 - 05/28/05 08:20 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
napman9 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 45
Just want to thank "VersatileFred", for this one. You might not realize how precious your info. is but to me it is very very handy useful.
Thanks again.

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#15341 - 06/01/05 10:19 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What is the drive like from Burbank (Bob Hope) Airport and LAX?

A: From Burbank Airport, I-5 north (Golden State Freeway) merges with Cal-170 (Hollywood Fwy), crosses the 118 freeway, merges with I-210, and merges with I-405 (San Diego Fwy) before the exit to Cal-14 (Antelope Valley Fwy). From LAX, I-405 crosses two other freeways before merging with I-5 (Note: from rental car agencies you can also take Airport Blvd north, turn right on La Tijera, and left on I-405 to avoid a lot of airport traffic). All the freeways can be jammed during rush hour. Once you get on the 14 freeway, you leave LA and enter Santa Clarita before going into less developed canyon areas after Sand Canyon Road. As you approach Palmdale, the route leaves the mountains and becomes desert the rest of the way. Mojave is the last major stop before Lone Pine and is where the freeway becomes two-lane road for part of the remaining way. Red Rock Canyon SP is a popular OHV area (and there is an info station at Jawbone Canyon). Route 14 eventually merges with US-395 after Inyokern Airport. Here are the approximate distances of several landmarks from Lone Pine.
<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 8pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM LONE PINE</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH>Miles<TH align="center">Landmark
<TR><TD><font size="1">214</font><TD><font size="1">I-405 Exit 46 (Century Blvd., LAX)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">197</font><TD><font size="1">I-5 Exit 149 (Hollywood Way, BUR)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">187</font><TD><font size="1">I-5/I-405 merge</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">183</font><TD><font size="1">Cal-14 exit</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">165</font><TD><font size="1">Escondido Summit</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">140</font><TD><font size="1">Lancaster</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">114</font><TD><font size="1">Mojave</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 89</font><TD><font size="1">Red Rock Canyon SP</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1"> 65</font><TD><font size="1">US-395 merge</font>
<TR><TD>-><TD><font size="1">(see previous table for remaining landmarks)</font>
</TABLE>
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#15342 - 06/05/05 09:43 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What is the drive like from Lone Pine to the Portal?

A: Whitney Portal Road starts at the traffic light in Lone Pine and gains about 4,600 feet in about 12 miles of road as you head west. The rise is very subtle at first, since the terrain is at a fairly constant slope of about 300-400 feet per mile. (It is easy to think that you are level, until you try accelerating, plus you will need to watch your downhill speed when coming back). When you reach the end of the Owens Valley, the road traverses across the first cliff face (right for almost a mile and then left) and then enters the canyon leading to Whitney Portal along Lone Pine Creek. The main Whitney Portal Campground is about half a mile from the trailhead and the WPS. Beyond the WPS there is a parking loop for visitors that is only open during the day. On the left side of the trailhead area there is parking for hikers and backpackers (and the walk-in camp area).

Here are the approximate distances of several landmarks from US-395 in Lone Pine.

<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 8pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">APPROXIMATE DISTANCE FROM LONE PINE</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH>Miles<TH>Approx.
Elev.
(ft.)<TH align="center">Landmark
<TR><TD><font size="1">0</font><TD><font size="1">3730</font><TD><font size="1">US-395 (at Whitney Portal Road)</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">3.1</font><TD><font size="1">4550</font><TD><font size="1">Horseshoe Meadows Road</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">6.5</font><TD><font size="1">5700</font><TD><font size="1">Lone Pine Campground fork</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">8.4</font><TD><font size="1">6600</font><TD><font size="1">Right Traverse</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">9.2</font><TD><font size="1">7050</font><TD><font size="1">Left Switchback</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">10.0</font><TD><font size="1">7500</font><TD><font size="1">Canyon Entrance</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">11.0</font><TD><font size="1">8000</font><TD><font size="1">Family Campgrounds</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">11.2</font><TD><font size="1">8100</font><TD><font size="1">Group Campgrounds</font>
<TR><TD><font size="1">11.7</font><TD><font size="1">8360</font><TD><font size="1">Whitney Portal</font>
</TABLE>
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#15343 - 06/07/05 11:07 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
Fred98 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 288
Loc: pacificnorthWET
I would not consider me the non-versatile-Fred but that is another story. (g)

I was reading another thread about a recent trip and the writer noted that he used gloves.

I notice above a mention of covering your hands and head if cold.

I would like to add that even in summer, gloves should probably be taken by most hikers to the summit. In the early morning, once you cross to the west side of the crest at Trail Crest, you enter the shade and the temperature drops considerably even if you were warm climbing the many switchbacks.

While camped at Trail Camp, one of the folks who had come down mentioned that he wished he had had gloves that morning. I remembered mine (wind mitts, actually) were in the car. But I had a clean pair of socks and took them along and used them as mittens. I was very glad I did.

Layered clothing is a really good idea. I took stuff off and put stuff on during my summit walk. The summit was pleasantly shirt-sleeve weather when I did it but it was cold on that west side of the crest. (oh, I did the trip mid-July)

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#15344 - 06/08/05 10:00 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Good point. Last year in July it was windy and cool when we got to Bighorn Park just after 5 AM. I was glad that I hade some polypropylene gloves with me there. In the store where I bought them they were marketed as lightweight garden gloves, but they did the job on the trail. I also was glad to have a hat with a chin strap when we went across the west ridge to the summit. It was pretty windy up there until we reached the summit.
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Orientation Notes for Whitney First Timers

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#15345 - 06/15/05 06:52 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What other web sites can we go to for additional information?

A: Here are some web site links that have been posted on this board by other members:

<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 10pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">OTHER USEFUL LINKS</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="left"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH align="center">Topic<TH align="center">Links
<TR><TD>Mount Whitney Info<TD><A href="http://www.summitpost.org/show/mountain_link.pl/mountain_id/45">Summit Post</A>, <A href="http://www.mt-whitney.info/">Mt. Whitney, The Sierra Nevada & Beyond...</A>,
<A href="http://home.earthlink.net/~bclk/dayhike.htm ">The Mt. Whitney Day Hike & Backpacking Page</A>
<TR><TD>Snow Information<TD><A href="http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/current/PLOT_SWC">Water Content Plot</A>, <A href="http://www.nps.gov/yose/now/tioga.htm">Tioga Road</A>
<TR><TD>Bus Transportation<TD><A href="http://www.inyocounty.us/transit/transit.htm">Inyo-Mono Transit</A>, <A href="http://www.inyocounty.us/transit/CRESTpage.htm">CREST</A>, <A href="http://www.yarts.com/">YARTS</A>
<TR><TD>Road Conditions<TD><A href="http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/">State Highway Status</A>
<TR><TD>Inyo National Forest<TD><A href="http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/contact/">Offices & Visitor Center</A>, <A href="http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/wild/whitneyavail.shtml">MW Permit Availability</A>, <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003163">Walk-in Permits</A>
<TR><TD>Campground Info<TD><A href="http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/campgrounds.shtml">Inyo NF Campgrounds</A>, <A href="http://www.reserveusa.com/">NRRS</A>, <A href="http://www.reserveusa.com/jsp/commonpage.jsp?goto=/nrrs/ca/whtp/newindex.html">WP Campground</A>
</TABLE>
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#15346 - 06/16/05 08:22 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
kozesq Offline
Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 6
What's the drive like coming from the West, from Oakland or some place nearby? Scenic enough to warrant what MapQuest says is a little more time? How about getting out of Oakland, as opposed to escaping the traffic in LA? Thanks in advance.

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#15347 - 06/16/05 09:33 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
braingoo Offline
Member

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 54
Loc: Calif
The drive up HiWay 120 over the Tioga Pass and then down 395 is spectacular. Stop to look at Mono Lake. There are some reasonably good restaurants in Mammoth.

That's the fastest route from the Bay Area. Right now 120 is closed, but it may be open in the next couple of weeks.

Otherwise, it's south on 5 to Bakersfield, Mojave, up 14 to 395 North. Very long drab drive most of the way. Some interesting desert North of Mojave.

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#15348 - 06/20/05 06:21 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
A: It is not any shorter coming from the west. As stated, the closest route is Cal-120, and in 2005 it was closed until June 24 (from the winter snow). Cal-108 through Sonora Pass is also closed in the winter, but it usally opens earlier in the spring (check the road condition link above for the current condition). The most reliable route is to head south and take Cal-58 through Tehachapi, since that route is mostly freeway and four-lane highway, and any winter storm effects are only temporary. Of course, you have to go out of your way for that convenience (see <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003270">quickest route from SF</A>).

Yosemite National Park has some beautiful views along the way. If you go that route (and pay a $20 park entry fee), you might as well add 34 miles to your trip and visit Yosemite Valley if you have the time (by going straight at Crane Flat).

Here are some approximate milages from Lone Pine for Cal-120 starting with the freeway exit in Manteca (east of Oakland and south of Sacramento).
Code:
<font size="2">
	276 Manteca (Cal-99 exit to Cal-120E)
	257 Oakdale (Cal-108 merges with Cal-120)
	228 Chinese Camp (Cal 49 merges with Cal-120)
	211 Groveland
	188 Yosemite National Park (W Entrance)
	180 Crane Flat (Left turn)
	149 Tenaya Lake
	141 Tuolumne Meadows
	133 Tioga Pass (E Entrance, Mount Dana)
	122 US-395 (continue route from Reno)</font>
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#15349 - 06/21/05 06:45 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
kozesq Offline
Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 6
Thanks for the info! I'll be coming out in late August, so it's probably a safe bet that seasonal roads will be open by then, but I'll check, of course. Right now I'm watching airfares to several different cities/approach directions, but I hadn't seen much on the Western approach until now. Thanks again.

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#15350 - 06/21/05 10:44 AM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
Bob T. Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 70
Loc: East Bay, California
Depending on what time of day you are going, and whether you have any stops or side trips to make along the way, it can be better to go 108 from the west than it is to take 120.

As VersatileFred's mileage figures show, it is about 154 miles, give or take, to go from the exit to CA-120 off CA-99 in Manteca through Yosemite Park and across Tioga Pass to where CA-120 hits US 395 at Lee Vining.

If, instead, you leave 120 to go up 108 to Sonora Pass, and down 395, it is only about 175 from that exit in Manteca to the 120-395 junction in Lee Vining. The most annoying thing about the trip up 108 is the few lights you hit in Sonora. The road a few miles on both sides of the Sonora Pass is also pretty darned steep, curvy, and slow.

But taking Tioga Road through Yosemite means having to wait who knows how long at west entrance station at Yosemite (go at the right time, no wait, go at the wrong time, over half an hour), and depending on the time of day, the number of really slow vehicles going on Tioga Road that are impossible to pass.

The first time I had a really bad wait at the west entrance station coming into Yosemite, I noted the overall driving time of my trip (and I did get behind a lot of slow RV's up Tioga Road that time). The next time, I took Sonora, and in spite of the extra 22 miles or so, I got to the 395-120 junction around a half hour faster than I did the previous time. Sonora Pass is probably around 25 minutes slower than Tioga Road if there is no wait at the entrance station and no traffic on Tioga Road to get stuck behind. But those are BIG ifs.

If I'm going through at night, I'll take Tioga Road. If I'm going to take a slow trip, a side trip to Yosemite Valley or a warm up hike up Mt. Dana, I'll take Tioga Road. If I'm going through when there might be a nasty wait at the entrance station, and I'm just going straight through to Mammoth or Bishop or Independence or Lone Pine, I'll take Sonora Pass. That road is amazingly beautiful, too. And I love the views of Mono Lake coming down into Lee Vining on 395. And I avoid the aggrevation of dealing with a long wait at the entrance station and getting behind too many slow vehicles, even if sometimes, I may lose a little time taking Sonora Pass.

Of course, right now, Sonora Pass is open, Tioga Pass is not, making the choice a very easy one until Tioga Road is open through to the other side.

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#15351 - 06/22/05 10:57 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: What can I go for information on altitude conditioning, water conditioning, and weather?

A: Here are some topics that were posted by other members recently:

<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 10pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">CONDITIONING LINKS</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="left"><COLGROUP align="left">
<TR><TH align="center">Topic<TH align="center">Links
<TR><TD>Water Conditioning Info<TD><A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003019">Water Quality</A>, <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003056">Water Filters #1</A>, <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003118">Water Filters #2</A>
<TR><TD>Altitude Conditioning Info<TD><A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002950">Diamox for mountain sickness</A>, <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003182">Altitude sickness medication</A>, <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002858">Getting ready for the altitude</A>
<TR><TD>Weather Info<TD><A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002923">Good area weather links</A>
</TABLE>
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#15352 - 06/26/05 10:34 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: The campground at Whitney Portal is only at 8,000 feet elevation. Where can we camp above 9,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra?

A: Go to the Inyo NF <A href="http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/campgrounds.shtml">Campground page</A>. Here are some areas to look for (starting with the campgrounds closest to Whitney):

<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 10pt">
<CAPTION><font size="2">INYO NF CAMPGROUNDS OVER 9000 FEET</font></CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="left"><COLGROUP align="left">
<tr><th align="center">Campground<th align="center">Elevation
<tr><td>Horseshoe Meadow Area<td>10,000 feet
<tr><td>Onion Valley<td>9,200 feet
<tr><td>North Lake<td>9,500 feet
<tr><td>Rock Creek Lake<td>9,600 feet
<tr><td>Saddlebag Lake
(and other campgrounds near Tioga Pass)<td>10,000 feet
</TABLE>

Horseshoe Meadow is a fairly popular acclimation point for Whitney hikers. Here is a link to a discussion on <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003576">Horseshoe Meadow</A>.

As for warmup hikes, there are high altitude trails near many of those campgrounds. Look at the following topic on <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003518">hiking options</A> for several ideas. It all depends on how high up you want to get (and how far away from Lone Pine you are willing to drive). A hike to Lone Pine Lake or to Meysan Lake is very convenient for people staying at Whitney Portal.
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#15353 - 06/27/05 02:26 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
Bob T. Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 70
Loc: East Bay, California
Minor update to information on taking 108 from the west.

In the last couple of years, a two lane bypass has been built through much of Sonora. You can't pass vehicles on it, but the speed limit is 55 on it instead of the slower limits on the old route through town, and it bypasses a few lights. The locals seem to dispute whether it really saves any time, but it seems to me like it does. Even at peak Friday night getaway time, it was pretty easy getting through Sonora this past weekend.

Coming back at peak time on Sunday afternoon was also pretty easy through Sonora itself, but there was almost a five minute delay getting through the light at Jamestown, west of Sonora but east of the turn off to go Tioga Road.

Unless you are heading back west from the mountains at peak time Sunday afternoon, however, I think the new bypass will save a few minutes getting through Sonora (although if I want to go to that good pizza place on Mono Way, I have to avoid taking the bypass). In any event, the new bypass would not change my overall feelings I posted earlier about 108 versus 120.

One thing I perhaps should have mentioned earlier is that there are some good warmup hikes available along 108. Leavitt Peak is a good one, getting up to 11,570 going south on the PCT from Sonora Pass (the north facing slope at the start of the trail going south does mean that early in the season, or even in August in a late snow year). The Blue Canyon hike starting at an unmarked place around 9,000 feet just west of the pass is also nice, and if you are in decent shape already, you can combine the two and get to Leavitt Peak through Blue Canyon (summitpost.org has some information about that route). Although Leavitt Peak is not 13,000+ like Mount Dana, taking the Blue Canyon route is a more strenuos hike than Mount Dana is, and going to Leavitt from Sonora Pass is a longer, but easier, hike than Mount Dana (although not a ton easier).

Like going up Tioga Road, there are plenty of other good day hikes at some elevation along the road to Sonora Pass. Many of the good ones well west of Sonora Pass, however, require driving a few miles on lousy dirt roads, whereas most of the good hikes west of Tioga Pass have trailheads right off 120. There is some other good hiking right off 108 east of Sonora Pass, mostly at Leavitt Meadow.

Both Tioga Pass and Sonora Pass routes take you right by some good warm-up hike opportunities.

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#15354 - 07/04/05 10:41 PM Re: Frequently asked questions by first timers
VersatileFred Offline

Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 1309
Loc: SoCal
Q: How large are the campsites in the family campground? How much storage is available in the bear box lockers?

A: You can learn more about individual sites at the <A href="http://www.reserveusa.com/nrrs/ca/whtp/">Reserve USA</A> web site. Some sites are larger than others, and several sites do not have a lot of space for tents (and are designed for short RVs). Some sites are also not reservable (About 16 sites, shown on the web site with question marks, are first come first served. There are also 10 walk-in backpacker sites located across from the trailhead that are first come first served, if there is no room in the campground). There are water spigots in several locations, but the only restroom facilities are pit toilets (that were installed in 2003). The only shower in the area is half a mile up the road at the WPS.

The Reserve USA site states that the bear boxes are 18" high, 18" deep, and 50" long, but they have been upgraded at a number of sites in the past few years. A <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002990">recent post</A> suggests that the new boxes are similar in size to the boxes in Yosemite Valley that are 45"W X 18"H X 33"D. July 2005 update: The new boxes are higher than 18 inches and look the same as the boxes that were originally installed in the group sites. The old boxes could barely hold a medium sized ice chest, but the newer boxes should have enough room to store your toiletries and scented items as well as your food. You definitely want to make sure that your bear box is properly latched since bears are very active in the area. In 2004 they got in one of the boxes that was not properly latched and somebody reported a <A href="http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002271">missing camera</A>.
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