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#79765 - 08/31/10 11:38 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: DUG]
quillansculpture Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 236
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: DUG

I'm supposed to go back up the MR route in September - in the day light. We'll see if it bothers me then. It was easy in the dark................................DUG


What dates?
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#79773 - 08/31/10 06:33 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: quillansculpture]
bulldog34 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 556
Loc: Atlanta
Bob, we may not be too far adrift from topic here - we are talking first time for the MR, after all . . . even though Doug probably intended the thread for the main trail smile

Interestingly enough, Kent Williams (Kent W I believe on this board) contacted me this morning from Orlando about being in town on business next week, and we've made plans to get together for dinner and to compare notes and photos on our Whitney summits last month - his being up the MR with his teenage son on their first trip ever to the Sierra. Kent and I had corresponded before his trip, and I learned his background as a technical climber (currently in Florida - what a waste). I'm sure some of that dinner conversation will focus on the MR and the details. And I'm equally sure I'll get the bug to check out some climbing facilities over the winter. One that advertises itself as the largest in the country opened a few months ago in the ATL northern burbs. We'll see.

The MR intrigues me, and many others I'm sure, because it's a non-technical climb (in summer - let's be clear) with only two sections that are mostly described as class 3 scrambling. I'm not a mountaineer in the technical sense, and probably never will be, but I've done my share of easy class 3 stuff - just not with the exposure the Final 400 or the E-ledges offer. I have a healthy respect for heights, but they don't wig me out. Hell, most falls over 30 feet are fatal anyway, so what's the diff if it's 30 or 1030? DUG's comments about being a true climbing novice and the MR not bothering him are encouraging to hear.

I'll see if the spirit moves me this winter to take a few classes, or head for some walls and crags in the mountains north of Atlanta with people who have a clue what they're doing - just to get comfortable with exposure and the basics. Joe, we may need different permits next summer dude . . .

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#79789 - 09/01/10 03:51 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: bulldog34]
Kent W. Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/10
Posts: 20
Loc: FL


"his background as a technical climber (currently in Florida - what a waste)".

Yes, a rock climber marooned in Florida is a like a surfer living in Nebraska....makes it kind of tough to keep the fire burning.

Kent

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#79793 - 09/01/10 06:02 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: bulldog34]
Lady Bulldawg Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Marietta, GA
Originally Posted By: bulldog34


Joe, we may need different permits next summer dude . . .



hey! don't go forgetting about me- I think I should concentrate on doing the MT first and maybe I will be ready for the MR after a days rest! wink

........it's going to be a long year until July rolls around cry

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#79826 - 09/03/10 12:35 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Doug Sr]
bconrey Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 1
Loc: San Diego, CA
Summitted successfully in one day on September 1st, but not without challenges and a little learning along the way.

Gary and others have shared some fantastic advice. I want to extend a big "THANK YOU" to this entire community of folks - I've been lurking for the past 6 weeks or so, learning everything I can, in the interest of being prepared.

A few random tips, in no particular order
- Have a back-up plan for your most critical gear. In our case, one of the members of the group brought a water filter which was unusable and we didn't discover this until Trail Camp. Fortunately I had Portable Aqua iodine tablets as a contingency - cheap, relatively light, and enough to sterilize 25 liters of water

- Train AT ALTITUDE. I'm a modestly experienced backpacker, and even spent a handful of days just south of Whitney a couple years ago (Cottonwood, New Army and Siberian Pass, across to Chicken Spring Lake). I never had altitude problems on that trip, but all three in my group were sucking wind once we hit ~12,500 or so. This made our summit attempt take significantly longer.

- Consider Diamox if you're coming from sea level (as we were). Despite sucking wind at the highest of altitudes, none of us showed any signs of AMS. I'm convinced Diamox gets credit for that.

- You may come across those who need aid. Do as you wish, but also remember what you need to take care of yourself. We came across two hikers still ascending at Trail Crest who were virtually out of water. One in our party gave them 2/3 of a liter of water, only to later realize there was a problem with the volume of his Camelbak which meant he was basically out of water. Me and the other person in our party had enough to make sure our group made it up and back safely, but my Good Samaritan friend's decision to help out put our safety at risk. (My words are a bit strong here because those two hikers we helped didn't turn around at that point - they pressed on to the summit with precious little water)

- Fueling is important, as mentioned by others. I didn't do a great job of this, despite knowing better. Also, make sure you fuel up at Outpost Camp before the last leg of your descent. The last few miles is a grind and you're not going to want to stop because you'll want to finish the hike. Setting off from Outpost with food in your belly will 1)ensure you have the energy to complete that last stretch, and 2)keep you in a better mood about it.

- Try to keep your pack light, but don't compromise on safety. Even though we were day-hiking, I had the gear to spend the night on the mountain (even in the 20s as Trail Camp campers had described) if anything went wrong. Make smart choices when deciding what to bring and what to leave behind.

- It ties in to some of the other tips, but plan to be on the trail in the dark. It sounds silly to say, but we came across a couple a couple miles before the end of the trail with one light between the two of them. I carry an e-lite as a backup, which I shared and we hiked out as a group. There are roughly 13 hours between sunrise and sunset, which is a narrow window.

Have fun. Enjoy yourself!

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#80112 - 09/20/10 03:38 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Doug Sr]
cbear Offline
Member

Registered: 05/13/10
Posts: 16
Loc: Mountain View
1. Get up early and take your sweet time
I woke up an hour before dawn and hit the trail, it let me move like a slug all day long and slowly get used to the altitude change. It was really nice not having to push against the clock. If you take it slow and easy you can let your body worry more about adjusting to the altitude than getting you to camp quickly. If you can time it so you're at the base of the switchbacks at sunrise you're in for a real treat.

2. Drink water like crazy
I drank 6 bottles of water on the first day alone, other climbers who drank just a little bit less but were in better shape than me seemed to get hit by altitude much worse than I.

3. Don't be afraid to go alone
You're not really alone on Whitney, and if you know what you're doing you should be fine. I got talked into going solo by the folks on this fourm and its one of the best decisions I made on the trip.

4. Acclimate
Something I didn't do was acclimate. It really hits you once you depart the tree line above Mirror Lake, the altitude isn't even really so bad up until that point.

5. Remember it will be there next year
With all the permitting hassles and trip planning it's easy to get summit fever. The best decision I made overall was turning myself around and heading down.
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#80118 - 09/20/10 05:55 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: cbear]
bulldog34 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 556
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: cbear
Remember it will be there next year . . . the best decision I made overall was turning myself around and heading down.


"The summit is optional, but the parking lot is mandatory" - one of my favorite quotes. Good call cbear.

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#80131 - 09/21/10 07:23 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Kent W.]
+ @ti2d Offline
Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 717
Loc: Oh Cursed pron Oakhurst
Originally Posted By: Kent W.
...a rock climber marooned in Florida is a like a surfer living in Nebraska...

laugh

Have fun...
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#81338 - 11/27/10 09:41 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: bobpickering]
helptheirishgirl Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/10
Posts: 2
Loc: ireland
Hi all.
This is my first time on this post. I am from Ireland and will be travelling in America in march and April. I am hoping to climb the whitney trail in one day to raise funds for a small boy that I care for. As I am totally unfamiliar with the area and a beginer climbing I was hoping to get a guide or join a group climb. However I am having trouble finding relevant information, I hope to do the climb in early April. Please any help or information would be useful.
Thanks.

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#81910 - 12/29/10 08:51 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Doug Sr]
czrswyyf Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1
Loc: So.California
I was fortunate enough to summit (in one day) on my first attempt on Sept. 6, 2010. Here are my tips for summitting:

First, tell yourself you WILL succeed. From the moment I decided to hike Whitney, I made a committment to myself I was going to make it. No room for doubt. None. Obviously if I had become injured or the weather turned, I would have given in. But, shy of that, I promised myself I would make it, so that I would never entertain a doubt. It's too easy to turn around if you carry the possibiity that you can.

Second, train at elevation. I hiked Mt. Pinos (8800), Mt. Baldy (9500+), Mt. Gorgonio (10,000+) once each time before going, plus I hiked a 5 mile RT local trail twice a week that had a constant elevation climb on the front end. I trained the local trails without trekking poles, but used them on the elevation climbs. Not that everyone wants to make a six month investment, but I happened to be taking a pilates class two nights a week before the hike and I believe this really gave me an advantage when it came to quad/core/back strength and endurance.

Third, food. I brought along cliff bars because they were great during my training. But they were ash in my mouth on the trail. The best thing I had going was PayDay candy bars, pretzel M&Ms, two bagels with peanut butter and jam. And most importantly, I had a Starburst candy in my mouth about every 30 minutes for a constanct source of sugar and to keep my mouth wet.

Fourth, water: Start drinking the week before, and no soda or beer or booze the two days before. You can't hydrate enough in advance.

Fifth: I got Diamox from my doctor as an insurance policy against AMS. I was so glad I did because I had NO symptoms and it was one less thing to deal with. I did experience AMS on Mr. Gorgonio until I got back under 10k, so I know what it felt like. I STRONGLY recommend going with Diamox if you want to increase your chances of summitting. You will need to take it starting four days prior to your hike, so don't wait until the last minute to see your doctor.

Six: The right boots, with the right inserts, with the right lacing. It took me three weeks to get my feet right. The people at REI were wonderful, and I didn't buy the most expensive of everything. And trekking poles, you really have to have them. I got mine at WalMart for $15.00. They did fine.

Seven: Wear your gear in advance. This may sound silly, buy I wore my pack around the house while I did my house work, and put a seven pound bag of cat food in it to simulate the weight.

I was so overwhelmed with my accomplishment that I broke into tears at the summit. It really was a moment in my life I will never forget. At first I didn't think I would do it again, but now, I believe I will, but this time I will probably stay over night at Trail Camp. I look forward to it!

Good luck and enjoy the adventure! YOU CAN DO IT!

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#82316 - 01/20/11 08:54 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Doug Sr]
Idaho Yeti Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Idaho
Just climed Mt Whitney for the first time. I have spent a lot of time cimbing/hiking Idaho's Sawtooths, so I planned for this trip along those lines. Trekking poles make a huge differance, you don't need to spend a fortune on them, I picked up a set for $20 that worked great. I read from other posts that the last 3 miles are likely to be dry, I bought a 100oz bladder for my summit sack and filled up at trail camp. Pack light-weight layers for wind and rain, I kept two MRE's with me just in case. Have a light summit sack in your gear, leave the bulk of your load at Trail camp. We chose to make it a two day trip so we could enjoy it, first day an easy climb to Trail camp, summit and out to the portal on the second day. The only error I am aware of making was wearing light trail shoes, after 20 miles of walking on rocky trail, my feat were hammered, soaked them in the creek at the portal for 20min while I ate my burger. People met on the trail were great! Disapointed to see several "WAG" bags tossed off the side of the trail, bag it up and pack it out!. Making the trip again this year with a new group of first-timers!

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#82322 - 01/21/11 01:47 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Idaho Yeti]
AsABat Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 354
Loc: www.4jeffrey.net
Originally Posted By: Idaho Yeti
Just climed Mt Whitney for the first time. ... We chose to make it a two day trip so we could enjoy it, first day an easy climb to Trail camp, summit and out to the portal on the second day. The only error I am aware of making was wearing light trail shoes, after 20 miles of walking on rocky trail, my feat were hammered,....


Either a massive heat wave melted all the snow, or this trip was done last summer.

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#82331 - 01/22/11 01:52 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: AsABat]
Idaho Yeti Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Idaho
Yep, climbed the end of July, perfect weather!

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#83817 - 04/20/11 10:21 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Idaho Yeti]
Hiiro24 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
MR for 1st timer on Mt whitney? Good ideas or bad ideas for someone who is afraid of height?

is there a MR 1st timer thread like this thread for MT thread?

Thanks

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#83821 - 04/20/11 10:57 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Hiiro24]
dolbybear Offline
Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 27
Loc: Beaumont, CA
Don't look down...

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#83961 - 04/27/11 01:58 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: dolbybear]
saltydog335 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/11
Posts: 155
Loc: Cape Cod
This is something I am looking at from a similar perspective, and here is what i have found. I am not a first timer on Whitney, but I no longer enjoy exposure, and am looking at the MR for the first time.

Do some research on the "Ebersbacher Ledges". There is film available of the whole pitch. It's the one area that gives me pause. I think any exposure on the MR can be avoided except for here. (Secor even notes a way to avoid the class 3 on the "last 400" near the top.) Most of the E-Ledges appears easy class 2/3, but one spot -- "the Narrows" -- is both narrow and exposed for 20 feet or so.

ALso plan your trip for as little snow as possible like late August. Guides practice roping up for the snow in the chute and possibly above.

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#83963 - 04/27/11 04:21 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Hiiro24]
thenine Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 12
Loc: san diego, CA
My friends and I where all first timers last year when we summited via the mountaineers route.

With regards to exposure I think this will be different for everyone. I had no problems with the e-ledges on the way up but was nervous on the way down. I had one buddy get nervous because he was slipping on the scree on the way up the chute. He almost turned back. We all handled the last 400 fairly well. So I guess my point is... you will notice the exposure, it's impossible not too... but we set our minds to it and got through it.

In terms of what I would do differently:

[*]train harder.... it was a hell of a climb
[*]drink and eat more than you think
[*]Wear a helmet up the chute / last 400 hundred... I slipped on some snow and almost cracked my head on a boulder on the way down and I was nearly hit in the head by a loose rock on the last 400... I would wear a helmet if i did it again.


Final piece of advice... and this can't be said enough... SAVE ENERGY FOR THE DOWN CLIMB.... for us down climbing the chute was the hardest part. Down Climbing on scree with tired legs sucks.


Edited by thenine (04/27/11 04:21 PM)

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#83967 - 04/27/11 06:53 PM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: bulldog34]
Rodney51 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 22
Loc: Northern CA
Thanks Bulldog34 for the info. I too will be a first timer come June 28, 2011... I'm stoked. Being from Northern California we don't have any peaks the elevation of Mt. Whitney. Highest for me was 10,300 ft. on Carson Summit.
I have been trainning for a year now i.e. aerobics, anaerobics, some weight trainning. I'll be 52 this year and you could say it's on my "Bucket List". I've read countless books and posts on this website. I beleive I'll be ready when the time comes.

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#83970 - 04/28/11 05:34 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: Rodney51]
bulldog34 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 556
Loc: Atlanta
Thanks Rodney. Day or overnight? A 6/28 date this particular year may mean a good amount of snow still on the mountain and the necessity of heading up the chute unstead of the switchbacks, so hopefully you've got a comfort level with winter gear. Last year the snowpack blocking the cables section of the switchbacks was in place till almost mid-July, and the snow field near the summit was still pretty large. Otherwise, the trail was mostly clear (but very wet with melt).

Keep an eye on other's trip reports for conditions the latter half of June - this will be your best source of information in knowing what conditions to plan for. TRs really begin to surface on the board about that time of year. A heat wave can change the snow/ice presence on the mountain very quickly, and you may find you have a mostly dry-footed hike ahead of you instead of a snow-slog - but I wouldn't bet on it, given this year's snow level. To be safe, I would tailor my training with the thought in mind that I will be climbing 1600 sustained feet of 35-degree snow slope.

Best of luck, and be sure to post a TR!

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#83972 - 04/28/11 11:40 AM Re: Tips for First timers by First timers [Re: bulldog34]
Rodney51 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 22
Loc: Northern CA
Bulldog34,
We are going to make it a weeklong adventure. 2 nights @ WP, then a night at Outpost camp, then a night at TC, then who knows.
I don't have any experience with snow/ice gear, so if the chute is the only route up we may have to turn around. Even if this is the case I'm sure it will be an enjoyable time.

Rodney

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