Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Onion Valley to Whitney, 50 miles hike

After last year High Sierra Trail, which I hiked alone I certainly want someone else to share all aspects of backpacking trip and also to shorten it from 5 to 4 days, which is quite enough for my taste. After some considerations and negotiations my wife Karina agreed to join me. Logistics was much more easier then HST, we dropped car at Lone Pine, hitch hiked to Independence first and then to Onion Valley. I asked some random people at ranger's station where we got our permit and luckily they was going to Big Pine and had room for us. I left car at Dow Villa Motel overflow parking, they don't charge you anything, just ask to fill your info and date when you plan to return. At Independence there was 5-7 PCT hikers, some was going north, 1 was going south and 2 the same way as we to Onion Valley. We got a ride from PCT helper and camped at Onion Valley first night.
Onion Valley to Whitney trail
Day 1. Onion Valley to Central Basin, 11.5 miles, 3600' up
First part of the trail over Kearsarge pass we know very well and hiked it several times, so it was very easy going. Started at 7:30. Then trail descend to Kings Canyon and slowly climbed again toward Central Basin. Most spectacular point is from Kearsarge Pass:
Kearsarge Pass
We stopped at Bullfrog Lake for some fishing, which was successful. Very delicious lunch. We was done hiking by 5:00 pm.
Day 2. Central Basin to Tyndall Creek Frog Pond, 8.5 miles, 2800' up.
Again start hiking at 7:30 and it was challenging part over Forester Pass, but luckily it was very little snow on the north side of the pass.
North of Forester Pass
Forester Pass
Tyndall Creek Frog Pond Lake
South side was complitly snow free. We made it to Tyndall Creek Frog Pond at 4:45 pm. Enough time to try climb over Tawney Point ridge, but it was steep and lose and I run out of time. Good attempt though.

Day 3. Tyndall Creek Frog Pond to Guitar Lake, 15 miles, 2200' up
Easy day, so we started late at 8:30. A lot of up and down but mostly in the forest with a good shade. Stop for lunch near Guitar Lake ranger station and then at Timberline lake for fishing. Caught 2 trouts. Arriving to Guitar Lake at 18:15. Try to fish there, but no luck.
Deer near Guitar Lake ranger station
Guitar Lake
Day 4. Guitar Lake to Whitney Portal, 15.5 miles, 3300' up
Last day and hard push to Whitney in the morning, so start early at 4:30 am. Tag Whitney at 8:00 and down at Whitney Portal by 01:45 pm. It is tedious hike down, very painful for knees.
Hitchcock Lake
On Trail Creat
On Whitney
Overall it was very good hike and distance per day was right on, allowing enough rest every day. Good weather also made significant contribution and a little bit of luck with hitch hiking top out our trip. Here is our GPS track with major waypoints: Onion Valley to Whitney KMZ

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