Just back from climbing Whitney the "deluxe" way. Emma and i just completed the whole 220+ mile John Muir Trail, bagging 3 CA 14ers along the way. If anyone has a chance to even do part of this trail, don't pass it up. And if you don't want to deal with the Whitney Trail lottery process, you can enter from Onion Valley (still requires permit, but easy to get), do the last 4 or so picturesque days of the trail and end up on Whitney without the red tape hassle. We and fellow JMTers were all pitying the Whitney Trail death marchers. (ok, we're smug.) I'll post a trip report link in a couple days. HP #34 at last! Next up, Humphreys? Anyone for a winter ascent?
Congratulations on your uber-hike of Whitney and the JMT! I will await your reports and photos with anticipation.
I'm one of those who got lucky with Whitney back in 1992 when you could pick up unclaimed lottery tickets the morning of the hike... but to do so meant you had to be in line hours beforehand. We 'camped' in front of the ranger station in Lone Pine. It did not make for a good hike day.
Good luck with Humphreys this winter. Maybe we'll actually get some snow this year.
I'm not sure where Onion Valley is; but I climbed Whitney from the west years ago.It was a 10-day round trip from Giant Forest (Trailways to Visalia then a connecting coach), out via Bearpaw Meadow, Kaweah Gap, Kern Canyon and Whitney (camped on top, along with several others and a Samoyed), then back via Colby and Elizabeth Passes and Bearpaw Meadow again. I went after Labor Day, and enjoyed perfect weather and had the High Sierra virtually to myself except for the summit of Whitney. As I remember I needed a permit but had no trouble getting one, and nobody checked it. It was back in the 70s; I don't know when this bureaucratic nightmare began for permits from Lone Pine. Again, I didn't go that way. When I got back the motor coach had stopped for the season--our rural public transport gets wever worse, Colorado lost its Trailways and much of its Greyhound service--and I had to hitch back to Visalia.
I've heard even climbs of Humphrey's are being rationed now. I climbed it a few years ago; I just went. No permits, rationing, nothing. A lot of this BS is just plain overpopulation.