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 Forget the bucket list... let's just do it 
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Mountaineer
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
If you have 9 months that takes you into August (or at least July?) which expands your options esp.out West.

Banff - Haven't researched it that thoroughly but I'm fairly certain there are plenty of non-glacier hiking options (But then again those Grizzlies ... :wink: )


Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:41 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Granite Guy wrote:
A lot of the west does require backcountry permits, but you can apply for them months in advance and are first come first serve I think unless they don't like your itinerary or something. Whitney, Half Dome and sites like that have an actual lottery, which I don't think they even do until June. So have a backup plan in case June rolls around and you don't win.

The Whitney lottery is in Feb. to mid-March. http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055#timeline You know by late March if you got a permit or not. Stuff the application with as many different itineraries as you can manage (up to 15/application). There are other games you can play to help too.

It is potentially possible to do the Mt. Whitney Trail in May. But there can be some significant snow depending on the year (and this is an El Nino year, so there might actually be snow this winter, unlike last). I believe the permit system starts in May, before that I believe is handled differently, but it is also more mountaineering at that point. If you can slide a little later in the year and do say half or thereabouts of the JMT, that would be high on my to-do list.

Inca Trail is also one floating out there on my to-do list. But the JMT has been there since I did Mt. Whitney a couple years ago.

My folks were in Banff this Spring and apparently a lot of the trails out there that don't involve glacier are still fairly technical. But that's roughly 6th-hand info. It looks like an awesome place though.

A Grand Canyon trek? Go in early Spring or mid-fall to avoid the heat and crowds. Get off the main corridor (Bright Angel/S. Kaibab) for some quiet. You don't have to go far.

Heck, even a Western road trip would be on my bucket list, but I'd want more than a week/1.5 weeks to do it.

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Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:06 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
madmattd wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:

It is potentially possible to do the Mt. Whitney Trail in May. But there can be some significant snow depending on the year (and this is an El Nino year, so there might actually be snow this winter, unlike last). I believe the permit system starts in May, before that I believe is handled differently, but it is also more mountaineering at that point. If you can slide a little later in the year and do say half or thereabouts of the JMT, that would be high on my to-do list.


This has quickly jumped to the top of my list. A friend has hiked AT, PCT, and CDT, so I asked him if he had one week to do anything over again, what would it be. He responded High Sierras from Onion Valley Campground to Whitney. I've been checking out the trail, and it looks totally doable. It also looks like the chances of getting a permit are better (this trail starting point doesn't require a Whitney permit).

Whitney looks awesome. It does, however, look like it has some areas to challenge my tolerance (or lack thereof) of heights. It doesn't look like the trail ever gets any more technical than a typical WMNF trail.

Any comments on Whitney from those who have done it?

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Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:47 pm
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Peak Bagger
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
iagreewithjamie wrote:
madmattd wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:

It is potentially possible to do the Mt. Whitney Trail in May. But there can be some significant snow depending on the year (and this is an El Nino year, so there might actually be snow this winter, unlike last). I believe the permit system starts in May, before that I believe is handled differently, but it is also more mountaineering at that point. If you can slide a little later in the year and do say half or thereabouts of the JMT, that would be high on my to-do list.


This has quickly jumped to the top of my list. A friend has hiked AT, PCT, and CDT, so I asked him if he had one week to do anything over again, what would it be. He responded High Sierras from Onion Valley Campground to Whitney. I've been checking out the trail, and it looks totally doable. It also looks like the chances of getting a permit are better (this trail starting point doesn't require a Whitney permit).

Whitney looks awesome. It does, however, look like it has some areas to challenge my tolerance (or lack thereof) of heights. It doesn't look like the trail ever gets any more technical than a typical WMNF trail.

Any comments on Whitney from those who have done it?


I lived in the Eastern Sierra for several years, and hiked Whitney before and after. Have done it many times, both as overnights but mostly dayhikes via the Main Trail.

First - the USFS & USPS (yes, they both have jurisdiction) have outlined an area around Whitney called the "Whitney Zone". No matter which direction you enter it from, it requires an advance permit. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise. True, Onion Valley doesn't require permits per se, but if you hike south far enough on the JMT, and turn left at Guitar Lake - you'll be in the Whitney Zone, so ... you'll need one.

There is an El Nino forming, so predictions are that snow levels will be more normal or above in 2016. You need a permit after May 1st. If you want absolute certainty for a specific day, then pay your $15, enter the lottery and hope. If you're flexible, and don't plan to START your hike on Friday or Saturday, you can usually obtain one as a walk-in at either 11AM or 2PM. It's a complex process which I won't detail here as there are websites where you can glean that info. Here are two -

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthread ... topics/7/1
http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum ... cs&range=1

There's more activity on the first, especially this time of year, but the second one is moderated by Doug Thompson, who is THE expert on Mt Whitney. He's also the proprietor of the Whitney Portal Store, when you can get the biggest burger (and pancake) you've ever seen.

I have to disagree with the notion that most hiking in the West requires permits. Sorry, that's simply incorrect in this enormously vast area. A few hikes do - Whitney, Mt St Helens and Half Dome come to mind, and they're restricted. A few others do, but anyone can obtain one as a walk-in, such as Shasta, Hood, Adams and Rainier, although on Rainier you have to demonstrate that you and your party are experienced mountaineers. That means you've done glacier travel in the past and have demonstrated competent navigational skills.

If you have specific questions, either post them here or PM me.


Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:42 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
The USPS?!?!?! Does that mean I get special privleges there? Or would I get put to work :lol: :lol: :lol: ?


Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:43 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Beckie and Prema wrote:
The USPS?!?!?! Does that mean I get special privleges there? Or would I get put to work :lol: :lol: :lol: ?


You could ask a US Park Service Ranger if you saw one...! When you cross Trail Crest at 13.6K' you cross the boundary between FS and PS lands.


Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:59 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
iagreewithjamie wrote:
Whitney looks awesome. It does, however, look like it has some areas to challenge my tolerance (or lack thereof) of heights. It doesn't look like the trail ever gets any more technical than a typical WMNF trail.

Any comments on Whitney from those who have done it?


The Whitney Portal Trail is easier than a fair chunk of White Mountain Trails. It's a bit rocky and the footing above treeline is more like you'd find in the Northern Presis, but honestly, aside from the altitude leaving much less air (just acclimate in advance and you're probably fine), it is easier than the Whites for comparable mileage/elevation gain. Onion Valley to Whitney Portal is a fairly common backpack, we ran into many people doing that trek (early August mind you), its a bit under a week typically as I recall, but the scenery (from what I could see from Kearsarge Pass - 5 miles from Onion Valley - and from Whitney) is spectacular.

I did a bit of a trip report from my week out there if you are interested. http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=6753

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Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:21 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
I second the Grand Canyon, having just done my own "bucket list" hike there a few weeks ago for my 50th birthday. What I did was a mule assisted hike from Hualapai Hilltop, down through Supai Village and we camped 3 nights in the campground near Havasu Falls - total hiking was 36 miles over 4 days. BUT, it sounds to me as though a backpacking trip would be more well suited for what you are looking for. In any case, if you are looking to do this with a guide, I HIGHLY recommend Wildland Trekking Company http://www.wildlandtrekking.com

Our guide was extremely professional and made the trip one of the most memorable I've ever been on. Their prices are quite reasonable in my opinion.

No matter what you decide to do have fun!!!

Next on our list is either Bryce Canyon or Yellowstone - haven't decided yet :)


Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:43 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
psalisbury wrote:
Next on our list is either Bryce Canyon or Yellowstone - haven't decided yet :)


I'd have a tough time choosing between those myself. Yellowstone is more of the bucket list type of hiking in my book, but Bryce is just other-worldly awesome and my favorite of the canyons out west. Someday I hope to do more than camp and day hiker/sight see at both also. Only been to Bryce once but Yellowstone a few times and have never been farther than a couple miles from the car in either. :( If you get there throw up some reports if you have time. I (and probably others) would love to see them.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:18 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
And the winner is...

GLACIER!!!

The first or second week of August, my bro-in-law and I will be doing the horseshoe hike from Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, via Hole-In-The-Wall campground.

I REALLY wanted to do John Muir with a finish on Whitney. However, I found some videos of the Whitney hike, and I'm 100% certain that there are some areas of that hike that would leave me paralyzed with fear (nice little 1000 foot drop offs between Trail Crest and the Windows... and then the Windows themselves... not for me, at least not at this point).

Several hikes were considered: Rim-to-rim at GC, John Muir, Yellowstone, quite a few hike in BC and the Vancouver islands made the list, and the Kungsleden in Sweden. Ultimately, the prospect of viewing the glaciers at GNP before they all melt away was a huge seller. Not to mention the reported ease at which cutthroat trout can be acquired.

It should be a great trip... provided the excessive snow they're seeing this year doesn't linger too far into the summer.

Thanks everyone for the advice - in fact, Glacier wasn't even on my radar until it was suggested here. Great discussion - thanks for the help.

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Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop,
and an illustrated book about birds.
You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
Who needs actions when you got words?


Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:46 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
iagreewithjamie wrote:
I REALLY wanted to do John Muir with a finish on Whitney. However, I found some videos of the Whitney hike, and I'm 100% certain that there are some areas of that hike that would leave me paralyzed with fear (nice little 1000 foot drop offs between Trail Crest and the Windows... and then the Windows themselves... not for me, at least not at this point).


Granted I'm not you, so can't say for certain, but having done Whitney, I felt the drop-offs along the ridge were not nearly as bad as they look. There was one that took a moment of care, but otherwise there was room to walk without feeling like you would fall off the mountain (again, I'm not you). GoPro videos tend to make things look a lot worse than they are with the ultra-wide-angle lens (I'm assuming the videos you saw were shot with a GoPro, most hiking videos seem to be these days).

Most of the ridge up to after the windows (after which it widens much more) was like this at the worst (may or may not help you for the future):
Image


That said, Glacier is certainly not a poor choice! Certainly on my bucket list! Enjoy!

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:46 am
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Yep. That's the section. I found a couple of vids from that section, and you're right... they're go-pro.

This one shows a near fatal accident on some ice. While I'm sure the video was posted to show the "Oops" factor, my only focus was on the drop off on the side. Seeing guitar lake a couple thousand feet straight below would probably mess with my mind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y2YAo6DQxk

I remember when I did Lafayette for the first time ten years ago. I CRAWLED the entire 2 mile ridgewalk. I did it a few months ago with no issue... so I am getting better. However, I have some pretty bad anxiety when it comes to exposure - like this weekend, I almost had a heart attack driving over the Delaware bridge. Bridges, exposure, great voids (like being in the middle of the sea with no land in sight) all produce heavy anxiety... heart racing, sweaty palms, can't concentrate, etc. Even looking at videos of high-altitude ledgy areas produces the same effect. I get really worked up just thinking about. I've started seeing an anxiety specialist who is also a hiker, and focuses on the fear of heights thing... so hopefully soon, I'll be in the right frame of mind to actually ENJOY things like Whitney. I did the 48 to help conquer the fear - it's tempered, but it's still there and tends to be way worse when I have any stress in my personal life. Quite weird. I hate it.

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Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop,
and an illustrated book about birds.
You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
Who needs actions when you got words?


Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:52 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
Yea...I'd have been wearing traction in those conditions. Not necessarily crampons, but bare-booting? Heck no! I'd be pretty nervous there in such conditions too. (Side note, the person filming is a tailgating jerk! If she had slipped, they both may have ended up in a bad spot! I hate people that crowd on tricky spots like that!)

Obviously the snow is covering much of the trailbed, but there is certainly some exposure. If you are still having some trouble with such spots, definitely hold off for now. Whitney isn't likely going anywhere, and it is definitely something to be enjoyed. The glaciers in GNP might not be around much longer. Can't wait to see some pictures ;)

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:37 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
We spent a week in Glacier this summer and it was amazing. We scored a permit for hole-in-the-walland it was pretty epic. We started on the east side at goat haunt and spent two days getting to hole-in-the-wall. We were in no rush with gorgeous mountain lakes to enjoy on the way. Check their website about permits. I recently got an email saying they had updated the reservation system ( thank God b/c I had to fax everything and then cross my fingers and got turned down on everything I applied for) and I think it said they were opening up the reservations soon. We arrived at Glacier with no permits in hand but we got to the backcountry office about an hour before they opened and worked out an awesome itinerary. We heard about a lot of bear activity over at bowman but we didn't see any. Goon luck!


Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:08 pm
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 Re: Forget the bucket list... let's just do it
And yes Granite Guy Havasu Falls is pretty awesome. There are actually several falls,all beautiful. The pic you posted was prior to a flood they had about 10 years ago. Now there is only one stream of water not 2 The farthest Falls called Beaver Falls is about 5 miles from the Indian village andthere is a creek/ stream you follow for part of the way with swimming holes and smaller waterfalls. Its like a resort in the middle of nowhere with no other guests but you!


Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:22 pm
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