Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

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Robert M yers
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Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#1 Post by Robert M yers » March 14th, 2020, 6:26 am

My brother, 10 years younger than my 47 wants to climb a mountain. Ive climbed lots of mountain trails and backpacked extensively all over the west in the late 90’s when I lived in Montana.

Brother throws out some crazy mountains we should climb. I suggest we do Whitney to simmer but keep the flames going! Hey that’s a big step down from Denali, Everest (base) ect ect ect. Never got to Sequoia when I was young so it seems like a great fit.

Questions!

I’m now an out of shape Clevelander. Yes I take my Newfoundland for at least a 2 mile average walk every single day up and down but not like anything in the west. I have 6 months to get ready..

I know this hike will be straight up.
I’m not going to a gym...
We already have a commercial elliptical and a Peloton that rarely gets used...but I will buy a stair machine and get my ass off the couch to make this possible.

For those that have used Stair masters ect. Are there any opinion as to the best.

If anybody has done the climb I’d love to hear your experience.

We put in a request...only 30% are granted. Happy to have the motivation but wondering if 6 months can get me back to 20 years ago?
Last edited by Robert M yers on March 15th, 2020, 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#2 Post by ClarkstonMark » March 14th, 2020, 1:12 pm

Interested in this ....
My gf loves the Chola trail at Camelback. We do this trail every morning when we visit Scottsadale
Was just there last week where I struggled to keep up with her, and hopefully will be there again in 4 weeks.
I plan to "train" on a treadmill every morning 30-60 minutes, 3-4 mph, starting at 5deg incline and moving up every couple days.
Hope fully I can keep up with here in 4 weeks
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#3 Post by Alan Rath » March 15th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Are you planning to do it in one day, or 2 (or more)? Strong, in shape hikers can do it in a day, though that’s quite a hike (22 miles, plus the elevation changes). I did it 40 years ago as a 20+ year old, as a two day hike, camping overnight on both the way up and down (should be easy enough to hike to the summit and back down all the way in a single day, from the 12000 ft stop on the first day).

As much training as you can do is mandated, especially climbing, like running stairs. I was in grad school, and would run stairs in the football stadium for an hour every day.

Even a single day hike needs you to carry enough gear to bivouac overnight if necessary. We had snow in august the day we hiked the summit. Not enough to slow us down, but that can happen. Or an injury that could keep you up there overnight, etc.

Do you have other mountain experience? This hike is not technical, and not particularly exposed, but there are parts that have some height exposure if I recall.
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#4 Post by Robert M yers » March 15th, 2020, 6:48 pm

We were planning on doing it in a day, but that seems like a Very long day. I didn’t know camps were available, so I’ll look into that as it seems like it might make it more enjoyable overall not to push so hard. As far as experience, I’ve hiked backcountry all over The west in my mid to late 20’s. I hiked Half Dome in my Birkenstock’s one time because I left my boots at the campgrounds the day before! 20 years later conditioning is my concern though, and I’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t quite understand the difficulty if your body is not ready. We talked about more this weekend and I think we will do a test hike this summer within driving distance.
If anybody has thoughts on a great difficult but not technical hike in WV, VA ect I’d love to hear some.

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#5 Post by Alan Rath » March 15th, 2020, 8:28 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
March 15th, 2020, 6:48 pm
We were planning on doing it in a day, but that seems like a Very long day. I didn’t know camps were available, so I’ll look into that as it seems like it might make it more enjoyable overall not to push so hard. As far as experience, I’ve hiked backcountry all over The west in my mid to late 20’s. I hiked Half Dome in my Birkenstock’s one time because I left my boots at the campgrounds the day before! 20 years later conditioning is my concern though, and I’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t quite understand the difficulty if your body is not ready. We talked about more this weekend and I think we will do a test hike this summer within driving distance.
If anybody has thoughts on a great difficult but not technical hike in WV, VA ect I’d love to hear some.
If I wasn’t clear, there aren’t camps just waiting for you to show up and sleep overnight (unless things have changed). Really just the normal notion of packing in and camping overnight. And beware of marmots, those little bastards chewed up our tent and got some of our food, even at 12,000 feet.

If you or your brother aren’t in pretty decent shape, I’d reconsider. At very least do a couple of easier hikes first to test out your stamina and establish your climbing legs.
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#6 Post by Wes Barton » March 15th, 2020, 11:08 pm

This involved a lot less weight to carry than our backpack trips. No issue there. But, even camping at 12k ft to acclimate - no issue getting to that altitude - going up the direct route is a steep ascent. Our bodies were ever adapting to the thinner and thinner oxygen. It was either take 2-3 normal steps, then rest a couple seconds or take slow half-steps like a 100 year-old. Very frustrating. Didn't have that problem the other route, which involves crossing a muddy stream a thousand times and takes hours longer. Didn't have that problem on Shasta, either, which is nearly the same altitude. That's why I think it was the rate of ascent. Anyway, spectacular view from up there.
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#7 Post by Mike Evans » March 16th, 2020, 7:24 am

Robert M yers wrote:
March 15th, 2020, 6:48 pm
We were planning on doing it in a day, but that seems like a Very long day. I didn’t know camps were available, so I’ll look into that as it seems like it might make it more enjoyable overall not to push so hard. As far as experience, I’ve hiked backcountry all over The west in my mid to late 20’s. I hiked Half Dome in my Birkenstock’s one time because I left my boots at the campgrounds the day before! 20 years later conditioning is my concern though, and I’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t quite understand the difficulty if your body is not ready. We talked about more this weekend and I think we will do a test hike this summer within driving distance.
If anybody has thoughts on a great difficult but not technical hike in WV, VA ect I’d love to hear some.
It has been almost 30 years since I’ve hiked it, but my recollection is that Old Rag in VA sounds like what you are looking for.

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advicer ?

#8 Post by M.Kaplan » March 16th, 2020, 10:02 am

Many years ago I co-led a YMCA middle school age camping trip to the Mammoth area that got snowed out the first night we were there. We decided to head down to Diaz Lake and camp there for the balance of the week long trip. The campers became restless, so we decided on the fly to hike up Whitney (before permits limited the number of hikers). Had the campers pack for an overnight in their sleeping bags. which we fashioned into horseshoe packs. Hiked from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp (then named Base Camp) where we overnighted, hiked to the summit from there, and walked down to Whitney Portal. It was a long day and the last half mile to the summit was slow going, but we got everyone up to the summit and back down to Portal that day. Ah, to be a teen again.
---Mark

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#9 Post by John S » March 16th, 2020, 10:40 am

I have not been on a stairmaster in a while but always preferred the ones with real stairs that rotated. It was just like climbing endless stairs which is not unlike climbing a big peak. Remember when climbing you start slow and go slower. To me personally planning to do this in a day seems like asking for trouble if there are two day options. I'd try to leave some gear at my camp and grab it on the way down. Not always possible but what i look for.

Altitude will be and always is an issue for people who are unable to train a good amount at elevation. If you can do some peak bagging at altitude it will be a huge help mentally and physically. Eating and drinking at elevation is often hard to force oneself to do.

FWIW, I've climbed many peaks in CO and Mount Ranier. Also mt. Whitney is generally not considered to be too steep or technical which is a plus.
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#10 Post by DavidFrankil » March 17th, 2020, 1:36 am

It has been probably 15 years or more since I did them, but two hikes in particular in Virginia would fit the bill, both not too far from Old Rag - Big Devil’s Staircase and Little Devil’s Staircase. There are lots of others in the area too.

When we lived in VA we used to go a couple of times a year, recall finding a pocket sized guidebook at REI that had info on trailheads, elevation gain, etc.
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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#11 Post by Kevin Porter » March 17th, 2020, 7:02 am

If you decide to stay east, the Adirondacks offer several challenging but not technical day hikes. Mt. Marcy is the tallest Mt in NY. The Marcy hike is challenging due to it's length - just under 15 miles - more than it's elevation gain (3,000 ft).

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#12 Post by brigcampbell » March 17th, 2020, 10:24 am

Robert M yers wrote:
March 14th, 2020, 6:26 am


Brother throws out some crazy mountains we should climb. I suggest we do Whitney to simmer but keep the flames going! Hey that’s a big step down from Denali, Everest (base) ect ect ect. Never got to Sequoia when I was young so it seems like a great fit.

Questions!

I’m now an out of shape Clevelander. Yes I take my Newfoundland for at least a 2 mile average walk every single day up and down but not like anything in the west. I have 6 months to get ready..
I did Whitney in a 1/2 day. Get on the trail head at Whitney Portal by 3am and scurry up and back before lunch. We left our house around 10pm and drove straight there and up/down and back home before 7pm the next day.

it's 22 miles round trip and the elevation gain is "only" 6000 feet.

Advice: pack light, then pack lighter. have lightweight layered clothing. you won't be cold because you'll be burning calories. you don't need much food, just a handful of bars, and water is most important. We carried a few gallons 1/2 way up and hid in the bushes and then hit the summit with just a camel back. I did it in very good running shoes and lightweight sweatpants with two jackets. I ditched one at sunrise.

As for exercise, climbing stairs will be your best bet. Squats are good too. And I'd climb double stairs, skipping over ever other one because there are sections where you're lifting your entire body weight up 18-24" on one leg stepping up.


Lots of information on the interwebz
https://lifeofdoing.com/hiked-mount-whitney-one-day/

https://onecoolthingeveryweekend.com/20 ... -in-a-day/

https://www.theoutbound.com/cameron-cat ... mt-whitney

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#13 Post by Robert M yers » March 25th, 2020, 10:53 pm

Thanks all for the Great guidance. I just learned today we didn’t win the lottery, might be a good thing for many reasons this year. Hopefully will try again next year.

I’ve suggested some of the VA climbs but brother seems infatuated with the # height. I’m going to work on that psychology. The ones Suggested to me are some 14ers in Colorado. If anybody has experience doing Elbert or Massive I’d love to hear the details. I’m quite sure it’s covered in depth on the web, but I’d much prefer to hear First from you guys who may have done them!

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Re: Mt Whitney advice and training - stair stepper advice?

#14 Post by dteng » March 31st, 2020, 7:49 am

I heard they also release a number of limited permits a couple days in advance.

As others have said, conditioning at altitude will be the main issue.
I went to Sonora pass a couple times (PCT trailhead starts at 9600 ft elev) last summer to ‘train’ for an 18 mile hike in Ansel Adams wilderness near Mammoth.
Dan

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