Forum Index > Trail Talk > High Sierra Trail to Whitney or JMT from Kearsarge or other route?
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BlameTheDogz
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PostTue Sep 17, 2019 5:48 pm 
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Greetings!

I have to go to a family event in SoCal so I am continuing my tradition of combining travel for such events with a backpacking trip or other more fun excursion. I’m going to have 4 days (could maybe get another 1-2, but unlikely) and want to summit Whitney on the way out so I was thinking of starting at Kearsarge Pass and doing that section of the JMT SOBO. I just read about the High Sierra Trail, which also seems great, but poses more difficult logistics. Maybe the shorter JMT stretch with side trips? Any easy-ish class 2-3 summits to hit or awesome lake rambles?

Any advice/ suggestions/ recommendations are greatly appreciated ...

Cheers!

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striving to stand like mountain yet flow like water, and make the dogs happy
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drm
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PostFri Sep 20, 2019 11:08 am 
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Make sure you check into how hard it is to get permits for your trip since it sounds like your schedule will be very limited. It's been a long time since I've been there but I've heard it can be hard to get a summit permit now. There are other very worthwhile destinations in the area as an alternative. Even White Mountain just to the east, which I assume would have no permit issues at all.
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Kascadia
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PostFri Sep 20, 2019 5:26 pm 
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You'll need a permit to be in the Whitney Zone (along with a wagbag).  It's a lottery system, at this point you will need cancellations and have to be monitor daily/hourly for possibilities.  You're past the crush season and will probably be able to get a permit but flexibility is your friend. It's still a busy place, an Instagram site.

No permit for White Mtn required (although you have to be willing to drive your vehicle up the last of the notorious road).  It's the 3rd highest in CA, but a totally different experience on the east side of the Owens Valley - rolling open, high and dry.  You will pass a couple of bristlecone pine monuments/sites (including one which contains Methuselah) on this road, they are extremely worthwhile.

https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233260

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/the-worlds-10-oldest-living-trees/methuselah
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BlameTheDogz
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PostFri Sep 20, 2019 8:27 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback. I have a permit to enter at Kearsarge and an exit permit for Whitney. New plan is to head up to the Rae Lakes from Kearsarge then head SOBO, but still open to suggestions...

Cheers

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striving to stand like mountain yet flow like water, and make the dogs happy
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Sep 22, 2019 10:14 pm 
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Take warm clothes and gear 20 degrees last night at Rae lakes. Sierra storms are normal this time of year.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Eric Hansen
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 6:42 am 
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I didn't notice a date for OP's prospective trip but I hear ya on cautioning re falling temps, possible weather in the fall. I once spent 10 days near Bishop/Death Valley this time of year scanning for a weather window to do Mt. Sill and it never happened. Every few days a new round of snow hit the high country. Not big ones but 6" is a clear heads up you may not want to be miles in, on the backside of a 12,000' pass this time of year. Or scrambling sofa size talus.

I'd be checking this guy's forecast carefully. https://mammothweather.com
He's in Mammoth, been doing local weather for years

Good luck BlameTheDogz
PS Death Valley, peaks and canyons, are a fabulous plan B
Michael Digonnet's guidebook Hiking Death Valley is two thumbs up
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coldrain108
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 9:19 am 
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I got chased out of Dusy Basin by a big September snow storm a few years back.  I was ok with all my PNW gear but my partners were all CA guys and woefully unprepared for anything short of summer weather.  The wind ripped one guys tent open and no one had any suitable layerings.  So flee we did!   This was after about a week of shorts and t-shirts, overnight it just blasted us.  In the days before ubiquitous communication so we were unaware of the impending weather. Always be prepared for any weather possibility.

That being said, Center Basin/Golden Bear Lake is exquisite and lonely, it is a left turn off of the PCT/JMT about 2 miles south of Vidette Meadows. 

My wife and I met John Muir at Forester Pass on our honeymoon in 1990...what a long strange trip it's been.   He took our picture.  The Sierras have a thunderous amount of crazy magic, like many other places in California. 

California, Knock knocking on the golden door.

But like NYC, its a nice place to visit but I couldn't live there anymore.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 9:44 pm 
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I have rescued folks who climbed Whitney in September and skied Dusy. People in the NW underestimate the Sierra storms, just remember the Donner party do not be like them.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Roly Poly
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 5:32 am 
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Looks like Howard’s site is down?  My housemate has made a habit of going to the Sierras in late September and early October and reports very cold temperatures at night and very windy conditions on most trips at that time of year.  Water in the creeks is starting to freeze even though skies might be sunny.  I would be a little concerned about getting stuck between Forester and Whitney in the event of some unexpected snowfall but I suppose you could exit through Cottonwood if that were the case.
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BlameTheDogz
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 10:05 am 
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Ya, rethinking this excursion. There is currently a heat wave that will dissipate into a strong cold front over the weekend—and my plan is to hit the trail on Sunday. I’m not sure if I want to deal with 4+ days beneath freezing this early in the year with no snow and am still mulling this over. The prospective longer range forecast, though suspect, ironically shows another warmer front passing through next week. Ugh!

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Eric Hansen
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 12:57 pm 
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As mentioned Death Valley a great, other worldly alternative. One or two night trips, carrying water, tend to be the drill (water sources have high mineral content).

Ridge walk north from Dante's View to Mt. Perry is memorable. Reliable report of a primo bivy spot with sweeping views on Pyramid Peak's summit (haven't done yet, but high on my list.)
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Euler
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PostSat Sep 28, 2019 2:55 am 
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coldrain108 wrote:
My wife and I met John Muir at Forester Pass on our honeymoon in 1990...what a long strange trip it's been.  He took our picture.  The Sierras have a thunderous amount of crazy magic, like many other places in California.

That's some crazy magic all right. John Muir died in 1914.
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > High Sierra Trail to Whitney or JMT from Kearsarge or other route?
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