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Onion Valley - Whitney Portal - 8 days

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Joined: 27 Feb 2008
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Location: Monrovia, CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:35 pm    Post subject: Onion Valley - Whitney Portal - 8 days  Reply with quote

Have checked the report page for a while, I was surprise to see quite a few of us on this forum went on the same trail in the last month.

I took my 9-yr old son Matthew and my friend and his three boys to do climb Whitney the long way, since my friend could not acquired the lottery permit to use the Whitney portal trail

So we opt for 8-days trip from Onion Valley 8/10/13-8/17/13.

Day 1: After do dropping of the car at other trail head, we headed up Onion Valley trail head at 2:30pm. My son was struggle when we got to about 10,000 feet level, so I took his sleeping bag to lessen his pack weight.  We finally made to Kearsarge Pass around 5-6pm. The introductory to wilderness view on Onion to Kearsarge pass trail is quite pretty and promising.  We descent to Kearsarge Lakes and camped near one of the lakes with several campers already there.  There was an interesting group near us with pot smoking and occasional foul languages.  However, our kids were tired of the 1st day, so they fall asleep really quick.

Day 2: hike from Kearsarge lakes to the junction, I told my friend we should take the lower trail to save some milleage, but he thought they are the same.  We ended up hike an extra mile to go to the junction with JMT trail.  And I got lost and we ended up at the end at Charlotte Lake.  It was a nice scenery though.  We ended up going back and go to Vidette Meadow and called it a day there.  VIdette Meadow was really nice.

Day 3: Hike along Bubbs Creek to the base of Forrester Pass.  We found the camp there were packed with thru hikers doing the JMT.  One guy offered the 2 camp sites next to them, it was wonderful and everyone seems to be friendly and helpful.  Especially, when they saw me with little kids.

Day 4: we overestimated our group capability to go over the Foresster pass, my friend was late getting out, so we did not start till 11am.  It took us 5 hrs to get to Forrester Pass.  My son again had some breathing problem with thin air at 13,000 ft, but he was able to keep going.  I really felt my backpack at 53lbs.  We dropped down and the kids were doing marathon to next camp near Tyndall Creek ranger station.  I of course can't keep up with young legs on the way down.  The view after Forrester Pass was so pretty everywhere, and so remote feeling being there.

Day 5: Going from Tyndall Creek to Crabtree Meadow, after we passed the Big Horn Plateau then we could sigh that Mt Whitney is inviting us from the South.  So we know we are heading at the right direction@.  We got to lower Crabtree Meadow camp ground late, and my friend sprained his ankle, so tomorrow and the next 2 days will be slower.

Day 6: wake up early and I was reward with the frozen meadow and a beautiful sunrise at Crabtree Meadow.  Small breakfast and we headed up to Guitar lake for our next camp.  Now we are heading up higher eleveation and the trees starte disappeared and more rocks boulders.  Got to Guitar Lake, caugh three nice brook trouts and they were tasty: out fresh protein last 6 days.  I was happy like a kid that 1st time I caught fish at that high elevation.  The moon that night was so awesome from my tent window.  I found my son was enjoying the moon at the lake too.  I told him that all the hardworks pays off.

Day 7: Me and my son got a little early start at 9:30am to push for the Trail Junction.  We got there at 3:30pm and wait for the rest of the group at 4:30pm.  We summitted Whitney at sunset; it was a nice experience with the color changing in all direction. The weather this year was a blessing for our whole trip. Not even rain nor thunderstorm compared to last year encountered.  We dragged our pack down to Trail camp at 11pm.  It was a little too much for my young son since he is a morning person.

Day 8: the kids would not want to eat left over oatmeal and they wanted to get that burger and hotdogs waiting at the Portal.  My son kicked my rear end on the way down, since he craved for the "civilized" food.
Made to whitney portal around 4pm and I shared a hamburger with my son and a cold Stone Pale Ale.  It was a reward.  

Overall, JMT is awesome with the view and the trail is well-maintained.  Kudos to the crew there.

Here are some pics:

Gilbert Lake

The inviting peak

My son moving slow to keasarge pass

At Kearsarge Pass

Kearage lakes

Dropping down to Vidette meadow.  The view is so rewarding


Bubbs Creek

Near the base of Forrester Pass

Forrest Pass switchbacks

He glad it was over

The other side of Foresster Pass

Tyndal Creek camp


Big Horn Plateau

Wallace Spring, my 1st semi bath in 5 days

Crabtree meadow camp late!

Crabtree Meadow in the morning

Timberline lake

Guitar Lake

Morning leaving Guitar lake to Whitney junction

Looking back Guitar lake and beyond where we came from

Hitchcock lakes

Whitney summit Junction

This nice fat fellow wanted to take some snack from a backpack left by some Whitney summiteer

Few hundred steps to the Whitney summit

Looking South from the top in the sunset  

The hut with the Red-White-and Blue flag made me felt blessed to be able to walk on these trails

Panaroma of the south and west

Sunset on those Keeler Needle

The portal, gate to the enchanment

I went out to the country so i could examine the simple things in life.   Henry Thoreau

Last edited by calicokid on Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Location: palmdale ca.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome ! cant wait to see more  Very Happy
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Silverdaddy AKA DILF

Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pictures and Trip Report. I'm sure we passed you on that Sat in the Trail Camp to Mirror Lake area. Hope to see you out there again soon.  Very Happy
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