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					By: Brandon Wood
     For Kpea 119
    April 17, 2009
   A Wilderness permit is required for each person on this trip and they can
    be purchased at the forest service ranger station in Lone pine.

   If you would like to have a fire on this trip you will also need a separate
    California fire permit that can be obtained from any U.S. forest service
    ranger station. However fires are only allowed below 10,000 feet and
    you will only be below 10,000 two nights during this trip.

   You must reserve your permit by phone or internet from the Inyo-kern
    forest service ranger station 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE.

   When submitting your request you must give them your itinerary, which
    includes where you will hike and camp each day of the hike and what
    day you will be there.

   A fee of $15.00 per person is required for each permit.

   A car shuttle is necessary for this hike because you will be ending at a
    different place then you start. A car needs to be left at Whitney Portal
    which is the end of the hike and then one car has to go back to the
    Cottonwood Lakes trail head so you can start the hike.
   Taking other hikes that challenge your physical abilities is very
    important for this hike. This hike is very difficult and 55 miles
    long so making sure your boots and pack are comfortable prior
    to the trip is extremely important.

   Pack light and make sure all gear fits in the pack and make sure
    the week’s worth of food fits into a bear canister (Mandatory).

   Packs should weigh as close to 40 pounds as possible for this
    hike. I have done this hike twice and my pack has weighed 42
    pounds the first time and 45 the second so it can be done.

   The best time to go on this hike is either July or August due to
    snow. But remember that permits need to be reserved 6 months
    to the day! So plan ahead and prepare thoroughly.

   Getting a topo map of the area is a wise idea. Some names of
    possible maps: USGS Olancha, Kern Peak, Mt. Whitney & Lone
    Pine, CA or Tom Harrison maps- Mt. Whiney High country trail.
   The ten essentials are a must!
   1) Map
   2) Compass
   3) Sun Screen/sunglasses/Chap stick
   4) Food & Water
   5) Extra Clothes
   6) Flashlight
   7) First aid kit
   8) Fire starter
   9) Matches
   10) Knife
   Backpack                 Rain gear
   Cup/mess kit/spork       Wool socks
   Ground Cloth             Survival kit
   Hiking boots (wear)      Water filter
   Beanie/gloves            Whistle
   Jacket                   Toilet paper & shovel
   50 ft of nylon rope      Tooth brush & tooth
   Bug repellent             paste
   Sleeping bag             Stove & pot set
   Sleeping pad             Tent
   Trash bags               2 one quart water
   Water Shoes               bottles
   Breakfasts: Cereal bars, Nutri-grain bars, Pop
    tarts, Oatmeal, Cliff bars, Mountain house
    breakfasts, etc.

   Lunches: Beef jerkey, trail mix, peanut butter
    with tortillas, cliff bars, dried fruits, Cheese
    wiz with crackers, summer sausage, tuna and
    crackers, etc.

   Dinners: Mountain house dinners, bear creek
    soups, MRE’s, etc.
   After picking up the wilderness permit from the
    ranger station the day before, day one of hiking
   Cottonwood lakes trail head is at 9,660 ft. in
   Long lake which is at the base of New Army pass
    is at 11,140 ft. in elevation and 6 miles from the
    trailhead. And a gain in elevation 1,480 ft.
   This day is a pretty easy day and there is water
    that you can filter all along the way.
   Long lake is a very nice place to camp! Close to
    water and in the trees.
   Hike from Long Lake to Rock Creek ranger
   This is a much more difficult day because New
    Army Pass must be climbed.
   This day is ten miles long and is pretty strenuous
    due to a 1,170 ft. gain in elevation.
   New army pass is at an elevation of 12,310 ft.
   After climbing three miles to the summit the trail
    descends through a couple meadows and on to
    the Rock Creek ranger station were you stay the
    night next to a creek.
   Barely making it at 9,990 ft. this is the only night
    on the trip where you are below 10,000 ft. so this
    is the only night you can have a fire.
This is a marmot found near the top of New Army pass.
This is me at the top of New
Army pass. This snow field
covered the trail so we had to
make our own.
   Day three takes you from Rock Creek to
    Guitar lake.
   It starts out with a steep climb over Guoyt
    pass, but for the most part it is either flat,
    down hill or very mild climbs.
   This day is also ten miles long with 1,469 ft.
    in elevation gain.
    After the top of Guoyt pass there is no water
    around until you get to Crabtree meadow. So
    making sure you have plenty of water at every
    creek you pass on the way is a good idea for
    this day.
This was a creek
crossing were the
river was moving to
fast to go across so
we used this log.

We had to use our
rope to tie a hand
rail going across to
give support for
weary crossers.
This was a creek
crossing where
we had to put on
water shoes and

This is me
carrying a scout
that did not want
to take his boots
These are pictures of my friend
and I at Crabtree meadow in 2003.
This is two miles from Guitar Lake
and there is a ranger station at the
upper meadow. This is also a
possible place to stop and camp if
you are too tired to continue.
   Guitar Lake which is at11,459 ft. is called guitar lake
    because it is actually shaped like a guitar.

   The water in this lake is freezing cold so you cant swim for
    very long at a time, but it is nice and refreshing.

   There is a little stream that runs into the lake that has
    small fish in it that you can try to catch if you bring a
    fishing license.

   This day is a great day to rest and recuperate because the
    next day is the day you summit Whitney.

   Laying out in the sun or in your tent and playing cards
    with your buddies is perfect for relaxing and resting for
    the hard day to come.
This is a
picture of the
west side of
Whitney taken
from Guitar
   Due to the fact that the climb from Guitar Lake to
    trail crest pass is 3 miles long plus a gain of
    2,021 ft. in elevation it is necessary to get up
    very early to beat the crowd to the top.
   Many people climb Mount Whitney every day so
    getting up around five and leaving early is smart.
   Once at trail crest everyone usually drops their
    packs and puts on smaller day packs for the final
    2 mile trek to the summit, which is at 14,497 ft.
    in elevation.
   These two miles are fairly easy and many pictures
    can be taken of the amazing views of the valley
   Once at the top there is a lightning shack that
    can be used as a last resort in case of a severe
    storm. However it is not recommended that a
    person stays in the shack, because it wont
    protect you very much, the best thing to do in a
    storm is to get to a lower elevation as fast as you
   There is a book to sign your name in to let
    everyone know you made it to the top.
   Some cell phones even get enough service to call
    home from the highest point in the Continuous
    United States.
   The view from the top is one of the best views in
    the world!
   Once done at the top you hike the two miles back
    to trail crest and pick up your packs and head to
    Out Post camp.
   There are 99 switchbacks down from trail crest to
    trail camp and they seem to take forever!
   Once at trail camp there is a lake and campsites,
    but often times it is too crowded to camp by the
    time you get there so continuing on to outpost
    camp is a good idea.
   This is the longest day yet with a grand total
    eighteen miles and a gain of 3,038 ft. in
    elevation from guitar Lake to outpost camp.
                  My dad and I at
Lightning shack   the top in 2003
                          Plaque establishing the
                          mountain on a rock on
                          the summit

Sign on the door of the
lightning shack
   Day six is the easiest day of the entire hike
    because it is all down hill to Whitney portal.
   From outpost camp to the portal is only three
    and a half miles.
   At the portal there are showers for a very high
    price. So most people wait until they get home
    to shower.
   But they have the best tasting burgers and fries
    in the world. After six days of hiking this burger
    tastes so good and is well worth the cost.
   There is a gift shop to buy your “I climbed Mount
    Whitney” shirts, and any other Whitney
    memorabilia you want.
   After eating your burger and buying your
    souvenirs it is time to drive back over to the
    Cottonwood lakes trail head where you began
    your hike to pick up the other car.
   Once you get the other car it is time to head
    down the mountain to lone pine and back home.
   For every 1,000 ft. in elevation that you gain you
    add a mile, so for this trip we take 7,156 ft. (7
    miles) and add that to 47.5 miles and we get a
    grand total of 55 miles for this hike.

            THE END
   Inyo national forest website

   Schneider, Russ, and Bill Schneider. Backpacking Tips :
    Trail Tested Wisdom from Falconguide Authors. 2nd ed.
    Helena: Falcon, 2005. 85-88.

   Seamands, Mark.“Mt. Whitney—West Side.”Where To Go
    Backpacking Guide.“1st ed.”2009.Print.

   "Wilderness permits.” 15 Apr 2009

   Wood, Matt. Personal interview.10 Apr 2009.Interview