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My first Whitney ascent. Seeking experience and advice.

 
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kylemypaa



Joined: 22 Dec 2014
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Location: Huntington Beach

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: My first Whitney ascent. Seeking experience and advice.  Reply with quote

Hey y'all.

I've been planning on summiting Whitney for a couple of months, and i'm looking for advice, experience and help. I'm looking to do this in late January or early Feb. I'm planning on taking the Whitney Trail, and plan on doing the trip solo. The trip will be a multi-day backpacking trip.

I have little mountaineering experience, but lots of experience with solo camping, hiking, and some experience with hiking in snow, ice and snowshoeing. I'm 25 and in the best shape of my life. I run 8 miles a week, and hike 8-13 each weekend. In the past weeks i've done San Antonio (No snow) and Cucamonga (1-2ft of snow). I'm going to do Baldy again tomorrow. I want this to be my first serious mountaineering trip, but not my last.  

As far as gear, i'm currently piecing it all together. I've got about 1/3 of what i'll need. I plan on getting practice in with crampons and an ice axe.

Here's what i'm looking for -

Your experience with camping at 10-12k feet in in these months. What should i be prepared for, aside from the obvious? I expect to see temps in the -10 to +5* range at night.

Your experience summiting in the winter months? What should i be aware of?

Am I being reckless in planning this, particularly solo?

Another question, as far as gear is concerned, i've been going off of this. It seems to be pretty comprehensive.

https://www.alpineinstitute.com/m...ermountaineering_ca_equipment.pdf
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AW
Canyon Man


Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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Location: North Hollywood, CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That list.....is for what someone wants you to buy on a guided multi-person  trip...not a solo ascent.

I dont know about the word reckless. If you stay safe then theres nothing wrong. But if you insist or even plan on summiting, then yeah, your plan is reckless and horrendous. Try the whitneyzone forum for advice on how high you should go considering your experience and gear. Maybe up to Boyscout lake...i dont know. Since you havent practiced with crampons or ice axe, probably less elevation.

Taco is running a free mountaineering day in January at MtBaldy, assuming weather permits such an outing....check that out.
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kylemypaa



Joined: 22 Dec 2014
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Location: Huntington Beach

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely plan on getting familiar and comfortable with my gear prior to using it. I posted in the mountaineering thread earlier today, and definitely plan on going. I don't plan on summiting if conditions don't permit. I'm not so prideful that I can't turn around when it's time to do so. The mountain isn't going anywhere.

When you say the gear list if for a guided trip, not a solo trip, what else would i need?

Also, I'm definitely willing to go with a group. I just don't know anyone who'd be interested.

Thanks for the input. I also posted on the WZ.
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JerryN



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Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:16 am    Post subject: Whitney Reply with quote

I would plan on a scouting trip first.  Start with a day hike as high as daylight permits.  Then follow with going to Trail Camp and after you have that experience (as well as some practice on the chute) think about an ascent.

In the winter you can't really go up the trail so there is a steep snow chute from Trail Camp at 12,000' to about 13,500'.  That will take you to Trail Crest.  I have not been farther than that in the winter, but it is a narrow trail for a while with a good bit of exposure.  

If you do it in stages you will get experience and have a good time…just going for it…I'm not so sure.

Also, you are really optimistic on the night temperatures.  You can get winds and extreme cold.  Moreover mountain weather is unpredictable so you have to be prepared for much worse than -10 with still air.
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Canyon Man


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Location: North Hollywood, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylemypaa wrote:

When you say the gear list if for a guided trip, not a solo trip, what else would i need?


I dont know what gear to bring since Im not a mountaineer.
Bringing the whole kitchen sink can be dangerous to you as well....slowing you down. I dont like that list anyway. It looks like a backcountry catalog of pretenders. Black Diamond Guide gloves for a $170? LOL. What is the commission on those?
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kylemypaa



Joined: 22 Dec 2014
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Location: Huntington Beach

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Whitney Reply with quote

JerryN wrote:
I would plan on a scouting trip first.  Start with a day hike as high as daylight permits.  Then follow with going to Trail Camp and after you have that experience (as well as some practice on the chute) think about an ascent.

In the winter you can't really go up the trail so there is a steep snow chute from Trail Camp at 12,000' to about 13,500'.  That will take you to Trail Crest.  I have not been farther than that in the winter, but it is a narrow trail for a while with a good bit of exposure.  

If you do it in stages you will get experience and have a good time…just going for it…I'm not so sure.

Also, you are really optimistic on the night temperatures.  You can get winds and extreme cold.  Moreover mountain weather is unpredictable so you have to be prepared for much worse than -10 with still air.


The message i'm getting (from this and one other board) is loud and clear. Don't do it alone, or without experience.

Honestly, I'd love to find an experienced group of guys who'd be willing to take me under their wings. I have an honest desire to learn, and to grow.

Until then, where would be a good place to develop winter skills, and familiarize myself with gear?

I like the suggestion that I first try to make it up to Trail Camp to familiarize myself with the area and conditions, without plans to summit.

Thank you guys for your support thus far. I appreciate it.
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Canyon Man


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Location: North Hollywood, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Checked out any of the meetups?

Socal Mountaineering
Socal camping above 10,000
Sierra Mountainering Club
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Taco
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Site Admin


Joined: 27 Sep 2007
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the clinic will answer a lot of questions. There will be a lot of experienced cool folks there if everything works out, and maybe a clown or two like me if it doesn't. Wink

I would advise against going solo for most anything you're not very experienced in for a variety of reasons.
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