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Thread: Backpacking

  1. #331
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Unbelievable.

    I was waiting by the computer all morning today, finger on mouse, ready to click and reserve a campsite in Yosemite valley for this summer. I clicked at exactly 7:00:00. By the time the reservation page had loaded, no more than 5-10 seconds, the campsite was gone. Reloaded the site page to get a different site and the entire place was emptied out. Within a minute about 500 sites in Yosemite valley were gone.

    Looked further outside the valley and found a few sites at crane flat, about 17 miles from the valley. Booked one site, then texted steelblue to see if he wanted one as well. He responded within a minute and I returned to the reservation page just in time to grab the last site in the park for that weekend. 5 minutes, and the place was cleaned out. Unreal.

    Now my fingers are crossed that I get drawn in the half dome lottery for that weekend.


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    Which weekend?


    Would love to do Half Dome again.

    And the Yosemite reservation system is terrible. It has been broken for years.

  2. #332
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Unbelievable.

    I was waiting by the computer all morning today, finger on mouse, ready to click and reserve a campsite in Yosemite valley for this summer. I clicked at exactly 7:00:00. By the time the reservation page had loaded, no more than 5-10 seconds, the campsite was gone. Reloaded the site page to get a different site and the entire place was emptied out. Within a minute about 500 sites in Yosemite valley were gone.

    Looked further outside the valley and found a few sites at crane flat, about 17 miles from the valley. Booked one site, then texted steelblue to see if he wanted one as well. He responded within a minute and I returned to the reservation page just in time to grab the last site in the park for that weekend. 5 minutes, and the place was cleaned out. Unreal.

    Now my fingers are crossed that I get drawn in the half dome lottery for that weekend.


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    Yosmeite is such a zoo in the summer. We only go, now, in shoulder seasons or winter. It helps that we have friends that live and work in the Valley so we have a place to stay. but even so, I am not a fan of sitting in a traffic jam and that is pretty much the story all summer long there now.

    Its also easier to get the half dome permit in the shoulder seasons. Good luck on the lottery.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  3. #333

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    Which weekend?


    Would love to do Half Dome again.

    And the Yosemite reservation system is terrible. It has been broken for years.
    Aug 4-7. I put in for the half dome lottery for aug 5-6. Hopefully we get one of those. Lottery closes the end of this month and then results are sent out the middle of April.

    Get a half dome permit for that weekend and let's go for it! You can squeeze into our campsite at crane flat.


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  4. #334

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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Yosmeite is such a zoo in the summer. We only go, now, in shoulder seasons or winter. It helps that we have friends that live and work in the Valley so we have a place to stay. but even so, I am not a fan of sitting in a traffic jam and that is pretty much the story all summer long there now.

    Its also easier to get the half dome permit in the shoulder seasons. Good luck on the lottery.
    They have a graph in their site showing the number of lottery bids are placed for each day if the open season. Entire month of July is crazy - something like 7,000-10,000 people apply for the weekends. August is a little better, but not much.

    Our problem is once school starts we are pretty much toast. Too much happening with the kids and my wife's work. Otherwise I would go in September.


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  5. #335
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    They have a graph in their site showing the number of lottery bids are placed for each day if the open season. Entire month of July is crazy - something like 7,000-10,000 people apply for the weekends. August is a little better, but not much.

    Our problem is once school starts we are pretty much toast. Too much happening with the kids and my wife's work. Otherwise I would go in September.


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    Yes, it can be tough with kids. We are planning on doing Whitney in August, but our friends put in for the permit so hopefully they are on top of it. Otherwise who knows, maybe Ill try to squeeze into your camp site too!
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  6. #336
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Yes, it can be tough with kids. We are planning on doing Whitney in August, but our friends put in for the permit so hopefully they are on top of it. Otherwise who knows, maybe Ill try to squeeze into your camp site too!
    Trail or Mountaineers Route? And if the trail are you planning on staying at trail camp or doing it all in one day?

  7. #337
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    Trail or Mountaineers Route? And if the trail are you planning on staying at trail camp or doing it all in one day?
    Trail route and the plan is to do it in one day. I am a Little worried about the one day plan one of our friends has a demonstrated issue with altitude. But she is planning on taking Diamox and hopes that it will get her through. Do you have any suggestions?
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  8. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Trail route and the plan is to do it in one day. I am a Little worried about the one day plan one of our friends has a demonstrated issue with altitude. But she is planning on taking Diamox and hopes that it will get her through. Do you have any suggestions?
    One day is really hard. Especially for you sea level people.

    I have done it up the trail, from the west on the trail, and up the Mountaineers Route a few times as well. In all cases start early. 2 years ago I did the Mountaineers Route (first done by John Muir, btw) and we were on the trail at 6 I think. Due to some slow people and altitude sickness we did not summit till 3 or so. Went down the main trail that time and thanks to headlamps made it to the car by 8 or so.

    The key to Whitney is starting early if you are doing it in one day. I may be repeating myself... I don't know if you are planning on setting a turn around time, or just doing it no matter what, but it is a long day. 22 miles round trip with close to 5500 ft of elevation gain during that.

    As for going up the main trail. After Trail Camp the hike is brutal. From there to Trail crest is really tough. And even those last 2.5 miles are hard even though you aren't climbing much, you are at 14000 ft and it hurts.

    It is a lot of fun, but there are way too many people on the main trail, hence my preference for the more direct route.

    Here is a good reference.
    http://www.dayhiker.com/directory/MtWhitney.htm

  9. #339
    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    One day is really hard. Especially for you sea level people.

    I have done it up the trail, from the west on the trail, and up the Mountaineers Route a few times as well. In all cases start early. 2 years ago I did the Mountaineers Route (first done by John Muir, btw) and we were on the trail at 6 I think. Due to some slow people and altitude sickness we did not summit till 3 or so. Went down the main trail that time and thanks to headlamps made it to the car by 8 or so.

    The key to Whitney is starting early if you are doing it in one day. I may be repeating myself... I don't know if you are planning on setting a turn around time, or just doing it no matter what, but it is a long day. 22 miles round trip with close to 5500 ft of elevation gain during that.

    As for going up the main trail. After Trail Camp the hike is brutal. From there to Trail crest is really tough. And even those last 2.5 miles are hard even though you aren't climbing much, you are at 14000 ft and it hurts.

    It is a lot of fun, but there are way too many people on the main trail, hence my preference for the more direct route.

    Here is a good reference.
    http://www.dayhiker.com/directory/MtWhitney.htm
    Thanks for the advice. We are doing it with the same people we did Salkantay with (at about 15.4k feet) and we managed that with the day when we went over the pass being about 18 miles. But it was a hard day, to be sure. And we had a few days in Cuzco to acclimatize at altitude as opposed to driving straight to the trail head form sea level. SO we will see if maybe we consider changing the approach.
    PLesa excuse the tpyos.

  10. #340
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Thanks for the advice. We are doing it with the same people we did Salkantay with (at about 15.4k feet) and we managed that with the day when we went over the pass being about 18 miles. But it was a hard day, to be sure. And we had a few days in Cuzco to acclimatize at altitude as opposed to driving straight to the trail head form sea level. SO we will see if maybe we consider changing the approach.
    I think you will be good, just really tired. Hope you have no thunderstorms and make sure to bring headlamps. Also make sure you poo before you go, because you don't want to have to carry that crap out.

  11. #341

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    Had a couple of people die from exposure this last weekend in the Trinity Alps. The details are still a little fuzzy, but from what I understand, they were initially camping at the Trinity Lake KOA and decided to head into the wilderness last Friday or Saturday. We had a freak cold storm move through last weekend, in which the higher elevations got up to 6 inches of snow. Plus, with all of the snow we got this winter there is still quite a bit of snow covering the trails in the Alps. I'm guessing they lost the trail in the snow and lost their way. Teenage girl survived and was rescued earlier this week. Her mom and aunt passed away. Very sad.

  12. #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    Had a couple of people die from exposure this last weekend in the Trinity Alps. The details are still a little fuzzy, but from what I understand, they were initially camping at the Trinity Lake KOA and decided to head into the wilderness last Friday or Saturday. We had a freak cold storm move through last weekend, in which the higher elevations got up to 6 inches of snow. Plus, with all of the snow we got this winter there is still quite a bit of snow covering the trails in the Alps. I'm guessing they lost the trail in the snow and lost their way. Teenage girl survived and was rescued earlier this week. Her mom and aunt passed away. Very sad.
    That is terrible.

    Going to be a late start to backpacking this year with all the snow. My wife and daughter headed out this morning for the first trip of the year. 4th year hike.

  13. #343
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Went into the cottonwood lakes basin this weekend with the whole family. To many mosquitos but still great. I carried my three year old up to the top of Cirque Peak(12900). New army pass was too snowed in otherwise we might have attempted My Langley.

    Cirque peak from the basin

    My youngest up on top



    Langley, Whitney and Russell from Cirque.

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    Nice! I bet that was a lot of fun.

  15. #345
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    Went into the cottonwood lakes basin this weekend with the whole family. To many mosquitos but still great. I carried my three year old up to the top of Cirque Peak(12900). New army pass was too snowed in otherwise we might have attempted My Langley.

    Cirque peak from the basin

    My youngest up on top

    Langley, Whitney and Russell from Cirque.
    Awesome. Love that shot of your little girl.

    Speaking of Whitney, my son climbed it a week ago. 22 miles r/t. Started at 3 am, finished at 8 pm. He was sore for a couple of days.

    He is doing Ranier next week.



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  16. #346
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    Piney your kids are little bad asses. Looks like it was an awesome trip.

  17. #347

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    I'm not sure where that is, but as with all of your backpacking pictures, it looks amazing.


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  18. #348

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    Marble Mountains trip report



    Had an awesome backpacking trip into the marble mountains this last weekend. Took a handful of young men from the ward, as well as 3 other adult leaders.

    Set out on Wednesday night after work. Fortunately, one of our guys called the forest service office beforehand to learn that the road to the trailhead was closed due to a mudslide. So they left a map with the alternate route to the trailhead along some little-used forest service logging roads. It added about 5 miles, but about 40 minutes to the drive. So rather than explore unfamiliar roads at midnight we decided to camp in an earlier campground that night and head out for the trailhead at first light.


    We hit the trailhead at about 8:00 for the 6 mile hike into our base camp. A light rain the day before left the trail in perfect hiking condition. It is a fairly easy trail for the first 5 miles. The last mile is up horse steps and gains most of the 2,000 feet of elevation. One of the leaders in our group was really poorly prepared, not only with his gear but also his fitness. He showed up with about 90 pounds on his back, including a cot, and a 10'x14' tarp, in addition to his 4 person tent. He also had 3 pairs of Levi's and a weeks supply of food for our 3 day trip. He struggled mightily on the relatively easy hike, taking over 5 hours for what should have been a 3 hour hike. And of course he was harassing the boys all weekend for not having as much gear as he had around camp. Oh yeah, he didn't carry a bit of climbing gear, when the rest of us carried between 8-18 pounds of climbing gear, in addition to our own gear.


    The last time that we visited this area was for caving 14 years ago. We had previously camped out in the open on the granite face to be able to enjoy the stars. There was a chance of rain, so we opted for a nice campsite in the trees about a quarter mile from the old location. Good move, as our first night we got blasted with several hundred lightening strikes in about 4 hours.

    With all of the rain and snow that we got this winter there was still a ton of water in the area. And everything was green. We crossed probably 7-8 creeks on the hike in, and the meadow next to our camp lush and green.





    Very few other campers in the area, but we did see and talk to about 20 PCT thru-hikers over the weekend.

    The main reason for going to this area was the caving, as it is littered with caves of all shapes and sizes. We repelled into 3 caves over the weekend. The biggest of the bunch involved a 60 foot scramble down underground, followed by a 65 foot rappel down the narrow drop. It opened up for about a half mile of wandering and scrambling under ground.









    The kids did awesome. Two of the boys have a lot of experience with climbing and rappelling above ground, but this was their first trip rappelling underground. The other two this was really their first time on real ropes in the outdoors. One kid was a little freaked out and opted out altogether. But he still had fun.

    We had hoped to drop into Bigfoot, a 300 foot vertical drop, into 18 miles of mapped underground caves. We combed the area for an hour looking for the entrance. But no luck. I could've sworn I would have been able to walk directly to it, but I guess 14 years of undergrowth and a failing memory did a good job of hiding the entrance.



    All in all, an awesome trip and a great way to end the summer. Already have a few day trips planned this late summer and early fall for some more local climbing and rappelling trips.






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  19. #349
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Wow! That looks like a bast.
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  20. #350
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Looks like an awesome experience. I can see myself as the poorly prepared dude. Except the part about bringing a cot, large tarp, and multiple pairs of jeans.
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
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  21. #351
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    That looks awesome. Shouldn't have to do pack checks for leaders. SMH.

  22. #352
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Last week my son and I (along with some others) summited Mt Whitney. It was interesting to say the least. I got a call from a friend a month ago saying he had space on a permit so we decided to come along since my son had not been on the top of the cool mountains around here.

    We had a few things that made this more difficult this week. The monsoon rolled in this last week, so major thunderstorms show up. Also a wildfire started from a lightening strike on Sunday just above Manzanar that ended up closing Whitney Portal Road and they evacuated the campgrounds up there.
    Out plan was to start our hike at the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead and come out Whitney portal, so we had to change our itinerary the morning of departure from a loop to an out and back.

    It ended up working out but it made our days harder and longer.

    Day one was easy. 6.5 miles to Long Lake in the Cottonwood lakes basin. The marmots here are plentiful and will eat your stuff if you leave it out. On the last night one at them nibbled the ¼ inch off the high tops of one of the girl’s boots. And they were in her vestibule. Crazy little things, but so cute.




    Day two way a killer. 12 miles, most of it cross country. We went over New Army Pass and went cross country over the flank of Mount Langley and dropped into Miter Basin. Passed through Miter Basin, past Sky Blue Lake and then up and over Crabtree Pass to an unnamed lake. About 1 in the afternoon in the process of this hike we got hit with a hail storm, so we set up a few tents and played some cards for an hour to lets this pass.



    I tend to get my butt kicked by elevation and over exertion, at least on one day when I go out, and this was the day. It just ended up being too much for me. The climb up Crabtree pass which sits at 12,500 ft just killed me. I was able to limp into camp in the rain, but was done for the night. I set up the tent, crawled into my sleeping bag and did my best not to puke for the next 3 hours. I ended up skipping dinner and had a cup of apple cider and two jelly beans just before bed.



    Day 3 we got up at 4:45 am to beat the storms that were sure to come. This was a day hike without packs to the summit, so we were on the trail by 5:30 am. From our lake (12,000 ft) we climbed what is affectionately knows as “the sand hill”. 1500 ft climb up scree and boulders up to Discovery Pinnacle. From here it is a 30 ft descent to the Whitney trail right at Trail Crest. It was then a 2-mile hike on the trail to the summit. We were on the summit, in the clouds, by 10 am. All 8 of us made it: my son, his friend, my friend, his 2 kids (15 and 13) and his nieces (18 and 13).





    We got off that peak pretty quick, seeing as how we were already in the clouds. On our descent we started hearing thunder in the distance so we got down as fast as we could. We got back to the lake and tents for lunch and then the weather got worse. Another afternoon/evening spent in the tents playing cards amidst a downpour. From 4 till about 8:30 it dumped an ½ inch of rain in that little basin (I had left out my cooking pot). There were not a lot of tent spaces among the boulders at 12,000 ft. The spot that we had selected was in the low point apparently. And after that much rain in such a short time, what was a low point previously, became a 5 inch deep, 8 ft wide creek that ran into the lake. And yes our tent was right in the middle of that. It was like sitting on a water bed.

    Big Agnes, your tents, even the cheap ones are great.

    Luckily the rain did eventually stop. We could move the tent after moving some pretty big rocks and made a new tent spot and had some dinner. We ended up somewhat dry and comfortable for that night of sleep.

    Day 4 was 12 miles returning over Crabtree Pass, through Miter Basin which was sunny this time and beautiful, down Rock Creek and then finally on the trail where we climbed back up over New Army pass back into Cottonwood Lakes basin.

    Day 5 was 6.5 miles back to the trailhead.

    Quite the adventure.

  23. #353
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    THis is what it looked like as we got back to camp. You can barely see the tents on the other side of the lake:



    This is my tent in yellow. As you can see, no real place to put it.



    Another view:



    Then the rains came tumbling down. Here you can see the creek running under the tent:


  24. #354
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Wow, quite an adventure. You're just about the last person I'd think would have elevation sickness, so it goes to show that it can happen to anyone. Thanks for the write-up and pictures.

  25. #355
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker View Post
    Wow, quite an adventure. You're just about the last person I'd think would have elevation sickness, so it goes to show that it can happen to anyone. Thanks for the write-up and pictures.
    It gets me just about every time. I always feel terrible that night and am fine by the next morning. Usually it involves puking in the middle of the night, so I was glad to about that this time.

  26. #356
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Very cool, BP!

    My son is climbing Rainier again this week. I worry about that kid.
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  27. #357
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    Last week my son and I (along with some others) summited Mt Whitney.
    Very cool. How old is your son?
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
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  28. #358

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Very cool. How old is your son?
    Great trip report and incredible pictures.

    I am the same at elevation. Last time I was above 13,000 in the big horns of Wyoming I was nauseous and puking on and off for 2 days.

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    Great pics and report, BP. It sounds like a great but challenging trip.

    Careful with the altitude sickness, fellas.

  30. #360
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    Very cool. How old is your son?
    17. Going away to school this fall. That is a pic of him near the summit hut.

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