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  1. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by chknfngrs View Post
    I’m confused with permits. I’m trying to go from from Onion Valley into the section of JMT south to Mt Whitney.

    Night one is going to be flower lake. What do I call it in the permit reservation?

    Night two bubbs creek, night three Tyndall creek, night four Crabtree, night five guitar lake, then exit North Fork Lone Pine creek. Gonna summit Whitney but come back down to guitar lake. Then exit via mountaineer route

    Sounds logical, right?
    N Fork LP Crk/Iceberg and Guitar are on different sides of the ridge between Mt Russel and Trail Crest which Mt W summit resides. I don't think you're coming back down to Guitar Lake on the different side of the ridge.

    Is this only agenda you could get a permit which is why the choice?

    You might want to research the route some Low to High Route thrus take from the east side of which you could possibly descend which sounds like you're doing. This takes you from Iceberg to Upper Boy Scout to N Fork LP Creek Tr which was a somewhat intermittent trail. Once near Upper Boy Scout it becomes an easier trail. That's my old assessment though several yrs old. If you can read a map and compass or have GPS it's not hard though although descending is riskier the steeper and perhaps icier and heavily laden it and you are. This way is more adventurous but requiring more mindfulness on the east side rather taking the WP to Trail Crest Single track with umpteen narrow switch backs.
    Enhance/blow it up. I think this depicts most of your hike.

  2. #22


    I am hiking with a friend who designed this route, but I do think it was made this way to avoid crowds and easier permit. So, as it I understand we would summit Whitney, return to Guitar Lake and camp. From Guitar Lake ascend the pass between Whitney and Russell and then descend picking the mountaineer route on North Fork LPC

  3. #23


    I get everything other than why you'd want to come back down to Guitar Lake after summitting Mt Whitney if you're exiting via the Mt W mountaineer's route to Iceberg Lake and out the N Fork Lone Pine Crk Tr? That's elevation redundant. Maybe your friend is elevation sadistic? After submitting Mt W why not just descend via the Mountaineers Route from the ridge to Iceberg rather than descend off the ridge down to Guitar and then re-ascend the ridge to descend on the other side of it to Iceberg on the last day making the last day your most strenuous? Instead of camping at Guitar camp near your exit TH at Iceberg or Upper Boy Scout on night 5? Day 6 will be a short walk. It doesn't change making the permit easier to obtain. Mountaineer route Mt W summit permits are/were easier to obtain. It's something like a 3K ft elev difference between Guitar Lake and top of Mt W.

    BTW, there is more than one named Iceberg Lake in the Sierra. For example, there;s another on the SHR near Banner and Minaret peaks. BEAUTIFUL! It usually has ice in it even during summer.

    FWIW, IMO Guitar Lake is OK scenically. It is in the 'shadow' of Mt W. It is a reliable water source for summitting Mt W and cuts down the elev gain from Crabtree to the summit but it's exposed and IMHO over relied upon. You're always in view of the JMT masses ascending/descending Trail Crest. Iceberg and Upper boy scout lakes are far less visited and not in immediate vicinity of the JMT. After summiting I'd want to contemplate the trip with a friend at the one of the later lakes.

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding your plan needing more caffeine or you're getting something wrong? Pull up some topos and look at what I'm referring.

    Do you know if the Crabtree CS you're referring is Crabtree Meadows, which I assume it is, camping the next day at Guitar Lake is only like 2-3 miles away on the JMT and something like less than 1k ft elev gain? You have some really really short days followed up by a really strenuous day if you descend back to Guitar after summitting followed by your last day ascending 3k ft again going back over the ridge and descending out the mountaineer's route to Iceberg? I get the really short day on day 1 if you're anticipating getting to Onion Valley TH and over Kearsarge Pass later in the day but that is also like a 3-4 mile hike. Flower lake is nice but if I'm recalling all this stuff correctly it is a scree scramble from the trail to the lake as it also is over Kearsrage Pass on the OV TH side. FWIW I never liked ascending Kearsarge Pass with a heavy load as it's basically a slippery shifting loose scree scramble. Friend has picked some great places to camp, soak in the Sierra, and Sierra explore though.

  4. #24


    Here's another thought after camping at Crabtree the next day you could vie for a small flat camping area near Trail Crest that holds maybe 3-4 small tents. You will not be alone. There's a fantastic view from here at a much higher elev than Guitar making the summit day and descent to Iceberg less of a big day. Unless snow or rain you'd have to bring H2O. Sometimes there's an unreliable trickle across the JMT between Guitar and Trail Crest. *AND, if you don't get a spot here you're forced to re-evaluate and adapt to possibly summit and a new CS along the ridge in the rocks with exposure and/or descend the Mountaineers route. Mountaineer's Route is a step descent with exposure and made harder IMO when on scree.

    Take note about the advise about preferring to travel on snow and ice with crampons and ice axe rather than on loose scree so MR is preferred by climbers early season. ALSO, please be aware your party may not be the only ones around the couloir so hastily descending with scree and rock fall can impact others below or from others above that might not be aware of safe protocols. The MR has become more popular with novices wanting to obtain Mt W summit permits. Do know the Mt W quota system is seasonal.

  5. #25


    I appreciate the info! I’ll admit I am not 100% certain what the plan is, I am meeting a friend who is southbound on the jmt and finishing his hike with him and then am the getaway car.

    All information is definitely more than awesome!! What maps are best for this section?

  6. #26


    If it's both your first MR have topos.

    At least you have a car. When I'm usually in the Sierra I'm thumbing my way around.

  7. #27


    Initial plan was to camp at OV cg the night(8/17) before my permitted entry date (8/18) but see it is already full. Planning to drive to Alabama Hills and sleep in my car and then go. A part of me says start hiking ASAP 8/18 and camp under the radar but want to be a good people about it and will start when my permit says. h yer own h.

  8. #28

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by chknfngrs View Post
    I am hiking with a friend who designed this route, but I do think it was made this way to avoid crowds and easier permit. So, as it I understand we would summit Whitney, return to Guitar Lake and camp. From Guitar Lake ascend the pass between Whitney and Russell and then descend picking the mountaineer route on North Fork LPC
    I follow the less people. But not the easier permit.
    Exit lone pine creek is still mt whitney exit.

    Btw, easiest way to permit for whitney is from west side in SEKI. All trailheads there automatically get mt whitney exit....not in lottery or quota. Ssshhhh. Yeah, its longer walk

    Im going back to seki in aug. Plan is up deadmans canyon, down cloud canyon, up around lake S america, and out over whitney again....3rd time.

    When get to trail crest , you 4 hrs (8.8 mi) from hamburger. No reason to go back to guitar lake imo.

    The shizzle is to do it in snow cover and glissade the whitney chute instead of taking the 99 switchbacks .
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-07-2019 at 09:18.

  9. #29


    Check out west side of Lake S America!

  10. #30


    Got back from this trip a week or so ago. Here’s how it went down. Onion Valley to Matlock lake for night one. Peaceful place to spend the night alone for sure. Up at 4:30, at Kearsarge Pass at sunrise. Down to Charlotte Lake Trail/John Muir Trail junction and met my group at 11am. They resupplied via pack team, which looked intricate and complicated. Then together we hiked down to Bubbs Creek to spend the night. Up the next day, over forester pass. No big deal if you don’t mind Lamaze breathing. Down the other side and found a campsite at Tyndall Frog Pond. Wasted so slept well. Up the next day and easy cruise to Crabtree Meadows. Mellow afternoon off. I think my guys were getting tired of backpacking. When I met them they had 15 days of hiking under their belts. Up early the next day to get up to guitar lake. As indicated earlier, we set up tents and dropped main packs, carried food and water with the intent of summiting Whitney. That would close their SoBo thru of the JMT. I made it past trail Crest and up another several hundred yards but screeched to a halt at 13,986’ when I saw the needles forming and the trail had steep drops on the western side. Feeling the heights and the exhaustion decided to sit and wait for the guys to go summit. What if I slipped because I was so juiced? They summited, we returned to camp. I slept well, but felt I let myself down just a little. I had never experienced that kind of exposure anywhere else before so I freaked myself out a little. Up before dawn the last day, climbed up past arctic lake, scrambled on scree and talus that had no regard for my unprotected ankles. The dudes summited Russell, while I napped under a large boulder in the saddle between Whitney and Russell. We climbed up a few hundred feet to the opening just above iceberg lake, descended rocks and dust from hell almost straight down, into misery. Made iceberg lake and knew this was the hardest hiking I’d ever done. Below iceberg lake lost the way a few times so mentally I was buckling. Felt secure for the most part until just past lower Boy Scout lake when we got to the ledges. Long story short I did it, but hated the exposure again. I focused on my hands and feet and ignored the open air, because if I didn’t how else would I get home? Or get beer And French fries at Whitney portal?! Made it past the ledges and cursed under my breath because out loud was too hard. Straight down for several miles. Made the junction of the mountaineers route and mt Whitney trail and auto pilot the rest. Hardest day. Probably only 10 miles total, but hard. A good challenge I may not replicate.

    But to answer your question of why ascend and descend the same side only to ascend and descend another way?! My guys are crazy nutbags. Bottom line. Next time I won’t be so meek and find another route if the planned section is sketch.

  11. #31


    Mosquitos out in force. Water everywhere. No precipitation. The hike began 8/19 and concluded 8/23.

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