Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Mt. Whitney Hike: Part II {The Hike}

If you are just finding this post and didn’t read Part I of our adventure, feel free to check it out HERE. It shares all about how the hubby and I did our best to acclimate to the higher elevations we'd be encountering on our hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney, which is the tallest peak in the continental US, topping out at approximately 14,505 feet above sea level.

We hiked to Lone Pine Lake, which sits at 10,050 feet above sea level the day before to help acclimate and get a lay of the land.

And, if you read the previous post, you know I pressed pause when we were hitting the hay (or the camp pads) early Saturday evening in preparation for our Sunday morning hike. Our plan was to wake up around 2:30am so we could be on the trail by 3. (It takes us about 15 minutes to roll up sleeping bags, deflate our sleeping mats, take down the tent, pack everything in the car, etc, so that'd give us another 15 minutes to change, eat breakfast and use the potty before hitting the trail.) It seems as though most people tend to hit the trail between midnight and 2am if they're doing a single day hike, but the hubby and I were hoping to be faster than the average bear and didn’t think we'd need to leave ‘that’ early. (We did notice headlamps start shining around midnight in the campground, though, so we can attest that folks do head out early.)

Let's get this party started!

Dark pictures rarely come out crisp, but I'll share them anyway because it's a memory! 

Stoked to tackle this mountain!

We didn’t have a goal for the hike, we just wanted to enjoy it (and conquer something that most people wouldn’t even dream of doing). I knew slow and steady would win the race get us to the summit and back down so planned to take our time, stop when we needed to, make sure to fuel every two-ish hours, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, etc.

Our first fuel stop about 2 hours into the hike. PROBAR BOLT Chews are my JAM!

Of course we don’t have a ton of pictures for the first few hours of the hike because it was pitch black out. Well, that’s not entirely true. The sky was clear so the stars were out in full force. It is crazy how bright and brilliant they are when there is no ambient light around to drowned them out. It was hard not to look up and get lost in the sky every so often.

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I have some friends who recently hiked Mt. Whitney so I had been picking their brains as to what to wear for the trek. The weather looked like it was going to be pretty perfect {when we were getting our permit we heard one of the rangers saying this was probably the last weekend before the freezing temperatures rolled in for the rest of the year}, so the hubby and I both decided on shorts (with our long PRO Compression socks), along with a couple layers on top (normally if I get cold it isn’t my knees/ quads that are chilly, so I figured my legs would be okay with less layers, especially since I knew it would get warm in the afternoon sun and I would be thankful I wasn’t wearing pants later in the day).

We kept an eye on the weather from multiple sites. Mountain Forecast and National Weather Service were both helpful!

Obviously weather at high altitudes can change drastically at a moments notice, so we were sure to pack Mylar blankets and other "just in case" items but thankfully we didn’t need any of our emergency equipment on the hike.

I’d say probably an hour or two into the hike I actually started getting a little too warm (on top I had a muscle tank, a long sleeve running shirt and my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket) so unzipped my coat (but still kept it on because I figured it'd be a hassle to take it off with my hydration vest on and figured I’d get cold again soon enough anyway). I'd say I didn’t start getting chilly until we got closer to Trail Camp, but thankfully around that time the sun was coming up so that helped a bit.

There were some wildfires in the valley and you could see the smoke once the sun started to rise.

I thought this water looked like it was the shape of a heart.

Looking back at Trail Camp with the sun rising in the background (you can see the hazy smoke on the horizon)

Can you tell we are excited the sun is making its presence known?!

If you know much about Mt. Whitney, you’ve probably heard of the “99 Switchbacks”. There is a section of the trail, after you hit Trail Camp (where most people who have two-day permits will camp the first night), that is literally 99 switchbacks back and forth across the face of the mountain. The switchbacks help so you aren’t climbing quite as vertical, but man can they be monotonous. Anywho, because we left before the sun came out and because there is free flowing water on the mountain (due to snow melt, lakes, waterfalls, etc) some of the switchbacks were covered in ice. There was actually one section where we had to “skip” a switchback or two and climb off trail because it was safer to go around the slick ice than to slide off the mountain. (I know this might sound a little dramatic, but it was sketchy. I actually had doubts that we were going to make it... but thankfully the ice didn’t last for too long. There were even folks at this point in the hike who decided to abort the mission and turn around because they did not feel comfortable pushing on.) (Note: I do my best to stay on designated trails 99.99% of the time {you never want to impact the environment by crushing the brush, effecting nature, etc}, but this was one instance where I felt like it was better to be off the trail than it was to be on it. Not to mention, we were above the tree-line at this point so there was no nature we were hurting... just a different rock path we were taking.)

The hubby dislikes this photo because his glasses and headlamp are under his beanie, but
I think he looks like an explorer and love the way the sun is shining behind him. 


The higher we got, the colder it got (uh... duh). I was thankful to have my gloves, but probably could have done with an even thicker pair. Once we got past the 99 switchbacks and you have to go on the “backside” of the mountain it got extra windy and chilly (I would say I wasn’t nervous about getting blown off, but the wind definitely had a cut-you-to-your-core chill to it). I brought hand warmers with me and they were definitely put to good use on this section of the hike. (The hubby didn’t have any hand warmers, but did have extra buffs around his wrists he used sort of like mittens to cover his hands.)

Buffs are a must have when you're hiking!

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering about fueling/ food, let me mention it before I forget. The hubby and I tried to eat every 2-ish hours. The first fueling stop we had a serving of PROBAR BOLT Chews (I love the Pink Lemonade flavor and the hubby prefers the Berry Blast, especially since it has caffeine in it). Around four hours in we each had an Uncrustable (the Peanut Butter and Honey on Wheat is my go-to during relay races and ultras!). Six hours in we had the second serving of our chews (each package has two servings, so we just finished our own pack). Eight hours in (we were on our way down at this point) we had some trail mix. Then around the ten hour mark (I know, I know, seems like such a long day, right?!) we munched on dried pineapple. I find it helpful to switch up the types of foods and flavors I am eating throughout long hikes/ runs. Sometimes I do your traditional “fuel”, other times I do “real food”. Sometimes my body craves salty, other times my body needs sweet. I try to listen to what my body is saying, and I always tend to bring way more food than I need because I never know what I will feel like in the moment.

Get in my belly!

After we came aground the backside of the mountain we ran into some friends (how awesome is it to see a friendly face at 14,000 feet above sea level?!)! It was great getting to chat for a few minutes, although we didn’t want to linger long because it was chilly and we wanted to get to the summit (they had started at midnight and were already on their way down at this point). They did give us a heads up on the “snow crossing” we would be coming to… WHAT THE WHAT?! I mean, I remember my friends who did the hike a month or so before mention a sketchy snow pass towards the top, but I was hoping that it had melted in the meantime... Apparently it had not... The hubby got a picture on the way down, after I had already gone across it (TWICE - once on the way up and once on the way down), and it is hard to tell from the photo, but it was fairly sketchy. Because the sun was up at this point, it seemed like the top layer was now ice, which made it slippery and I was freaking the frick out. There were some little grooves that you could make your way across, and thankfully I had trekking poles to plunge into the snow to try and stabilize myself, but man I was pretty nervous.

Like I said, the snow may not look that crazy in the background, but I was freaked out!

Thankfully once we made it past the treacherous snow (okay, again, it might sound dramatic, and maybe it wasn’t a big deal to some folks, but I just kept pictured myself sliding off the side of the mountain and honestly thought maybe I came that far to only come that far) it was smooth sailing to the summit. Well, maybe that's a little wishful thinking. The winds were howling and you sort of had to hunker down a bit when the gusts would blow, but eventually we made it to the hut!

I FREAKIN' DID IT!!

We jumped into the hut for a few minutes to warm ourselves before making our way to the tippy top to snap a few photos.

Trying not to get blown off the edge ;) 

The smoke from the wildfires made the views less than perfect, but I don't care!

(FYI: There is no official sign at the top of the peak {I believe it has been stolen and not replaced}, so I made my own on a piece of cardboard {thank you, Amazon Prime box} and packed it in my hydration vest to bring with us on the climb.)


After we got our pictures it was time to hit the trail again. Don’t get me wrong, I would've loved to stay up on the summit to soak in the moment longer, but the cold (it was probably 25* and 50mph wind gusts) played a role in our quick departure.

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Originally the hubby wanted to run some of the downhill, but I told him I think I would prefer to hike. My thought was that I had everything to lose and nothing to gain. You see, for me, it didn’t matter if we finished the hike in 10 hours or 14 hours, but I didn’t want to potentially injure myself and not be able to run my fall goal marathon. He was a little disappointed because he loves bombing downhill, but I think he understood (and eventually enjoyed the extra time with his wife ;)).

I loved seeing the snow patches pop up along the trail. 



It was great getting to see everything we “missed” in the dark (not to mention when the sun came out it definitely helped to warm up the temps!). We even saw a couple marmots at Trail Camp (the ranger who was checking us in the previous day said they have been getting so bold that it has been reported that when people sit down to take a break, they’ll actually climb on a hiker’s bag WHILE THEY ARE STILL WEARING IT to see if they can get food out of it!).

They're like giant squirrels... 

The views are pretty spectacular on the hike (although during the 99 switchbacks it can feel like you are sort of on the moon, with all the barren rock and lack of much around). I know some people say that when you day hike Mt. Whitney you are missing the views because you are doing some of the journey in the dark, but I definitely didn’t feel like I missed anything since we were able to see everything on the way back down the mountain in the daylight.

Looking down at Lone Pine Lake.

Also, once the sun came out, it started melting the ice on the trail, which meant it was more like slush and made it much more walkable so we didn’t have to veer off the trail again. We were even able to de-layer around the switchbacks!

We appreciated when the sun came out and started to warm us up.



We saw that with taking our time and even without running (we didn’t push the pace and took as many stop breaks to either catch our breath or just enjoy the views as we wanted) we would probably finish right around 12 hours - SCORE!

I WAS JUST UP THERE!!

The stream looks like mud, but it was so clear and gorgeous!

Can you believe I was up on this peaks in the background just a couple hours before?!

Again, we didn’t have any time goals, but we were pretty proud of keeping it around a 33 minute per mile pace. (Side note: My COROS APEX Watch had us at 21 miles {and I had to walk around the parking lot a bit to even hit that} while the hubby’s Garmin Fenix had us closer to 23.5 miles. The official info says 22 miles, so I guess we split the difference ;))

We started just before 3am, finished just after 3pm, got in 21 miles (on my watch... 23.5 miles on the
hubby's), climbed close to 7,000 feet in elevation and crossed a major item off my bucket list! 

By the time we were getting close to the end, the hubby was spent (more from being on his feet for 12 hours than anything else), but surprisingly I felt great. I’m not sure if it was the acclimation to the elevation, my cardio base or just the luck of the day - but I was pleasantly surprised my body held up as well as it did. (FYI: I used CBD salve on my lower back and took caffeinated acetaminophen before we started, but did not need to use any additional “aid” throughout the hike.)

AWWWWWWWW YEAH!!

WHOOOO HOOOO! We did it! I don’t think I ever questioned whether or not we would actually finish it once we started (although there were a few hairy moments on the ice and snow), but I was more worried how I'd feel during the journey. It was amazing to have the hubby along with me for every step. I couldn’t have picked a better {life} partner if I tried ;)

WE DID IT!!

Once we clicked our watches off, it was time to grab our goodies from the bear box, take off our shoes and revel in our accomplishment for a moment. It definitely felt great to sit down for a minute. We each cracked open a Local Roots Kombucha to celebrate (#RealTalk - we normally would have enjoyed the “hard” kombucha, but because we didn’t have a ton of food in our stomachs we thought it might be best to save those for after we had a real meal.).

Scrum-didily-umptious!




And, because I am sure a ton of you are wondering (just kidding, but there might be one or two of you), neither of us needed to use our WAG bags while on the hike. Thankfully we were each able to “relieve” ourselves in the restrooms before we set out for the morning and were able to ‘just urinate’ on the side of the trail throughout the day.

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Oh yeah, and the last thing to mention, because this is also important - water. The hubby and I both had 2 liter bladders in our hydration vests, as well as two 20 ounce soft flasks in our front pockets. We were able to “get away” with not having to refill on the trail, but I think that's because we weren’t drinking a ton in the morning when it was still cooler and dark. We did pack iodine tablets to purify water (enough for each of us to refill our bladders and extra bottles), but didn’t need to use them. There's water along the trail (streams and lakes) to refill and although some of it looks like it could be pristine enough to drink from, I'd definitely recommend treating it in case it has become contaminated by inconsiderate hikers.

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Hopefully my excitement for crossing off this HUGE accomplishment from my bucket list comes across in this post - if not, let me tell you I am STOKED to have been able to tackle my first fourteener and do it with my bestest friend by my side.

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I am surprised to say this, but the hike was actually not as difficult as I was expecting, but I believe that had to do with my fitness level, taking it slowly, listening to our bodies, fueling and hydrating properly and acclimating to the elevation as best as we could ahead of time. If you’re considering hiking Mt. Whitney, I would absolutely recommend it - but make sure to prepare for it ahead of time! (I say go the single day route if at all possible - it might make for a longer day, but the benefit of not having to carry so much with you far outweighs the inconvenience of extended time on your feet, at least in my opinion.) This is definitely not a hike to be taken lightly (especially with the weather, trail conditions, etc) - you must train for and respect the mountain, but the accomplishment is pretty amazing if you are able to conquer it!

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What is the last thing you crossed off your bucket list?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mt. Whitney Hike: Part I {Acclimating}

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen a post or ten about the hubby and I tackling the tallest peak in the continental US - Mt. Whitney. (If you don’t follow me, feel free to do so at @CarleeMcDot on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And if you do follow me but don’t remember seeing my posts, make sure to turn on the notifications on the different platforms so you don’t miss my super amazing content {okay, okay, it might not be ‘that’ awesome, but it’s still decent ;)}

**FYI: The "official" sign at the summit is gone, so I made my own and brought it on the hike.

I thought I'd go into more specifics about the hike for folks considering tackling the beast of a summit themselves or who are just interested in the nitty gritty details. If you are satisfied with “We came. We climbed. We conquered.” feel free to skip this series of posts ;) As always, I have a ton to share (including pictures and videos) so I figured I’d break into into three posts: pre-hike, hike and post-hike. So, without further ado, here’s the first installment of our Mt. Whitney Adventure.

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I have had a ‘bucket list’ on my phone for a few years, things I wanted to tackle before I turned 35 years old. Some of them I had already accomplished - like to qualify and run the Boston Marathon, hike Half Dome, run the Grand Canyon, complete an ultra marathon, etc. One that had been alluding me for the past couple years was to hike Mt. Whitney.

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The hubby hiked Mt. Whitney with a friend a few years back and ever since I had a twinge of jealousy. At the time I passed on joining them because I was training for a race (but, let’s be real, I’m always training for something, right?!). They got two-day permits, meaning they'd start one day, hike to Trail Camp, camp for the night, then the second day they'd summit and come back down. The benefit of doing a two-day trip is you can split the 22-mile hike (you climb almost 7,000 feet, topping out at 14,505 feet above sea level) over two days. The drawback of a two-day trip is you have to carry everything you need with you (meaning your tent, your sleeping gear, your food {in a bear canister}, your water {and normally a pump or a way to purify it because you'll definitely need to refill on your journey}, your human waste {yup, you're required to pack out your poop}, etc). I believe when the hubby weighed his pack before leaving (there's a scale at the beginning of the trail) it was either 29 or 33 pounds. Oh heck to the no. I told him I'd absolutely want to hike Mt. Whitney, but I would want to do it in a single push so we wouldn't be required to have to carry so much gear on our backs.

Hubby's first time summiting Mt. Whitney.

Last year the hubby and I entered the lottery for day permits for Mt. Whitney. Unfortunately the lottery luck was not in our favor and none of our 20 dates were selected. Once the lottery time period is over, they do release any unclaimed dates. At that point we scooped up a permit, but because the of the later winter there was still snow on the trail which meant we considered our permits “donations to the public lands” because I was not about to climb the tallest peak in the lower 48 with an ice axe and crampons. Later in the year we saw some additional permits became available so we purchased them… and the conditions still weren’t climbable for us (which would make sense as to why the permits were becoming available). When all was said and done I think we bought permits three times in 2018 (thankfully the permit is ‘only’ $30) and weren’t able to use any of them… Hopefully our “donation” went to good use.

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I was hoping 2019 would be “our year” so when the lottery opened for permits we jumped on and we both threw our name into the hat (each with 20 possible dates) and we got a big goose egg… Thankfully, this time around when the unclaimed permits became available there were a few later in the season that we were able to jump on. (I learned my lesson and decided we wouldn’t try for anything earlier than mid-August or later than mid-September.)

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And, remember said bucket list?! Well, my birthday's September 10th and our permit was for September 8th! PERFECT!

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Not only that, but the hubby ended up having a photo shoot for work the week previous (over Labor Day Weekend) and because he had to work two days he normally would've had off (Sunday and Monday), he was able to shift those days to the following week which meant we would have two extra days after our hike to adventure around! WHOOO HOOO!

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Okay, so know that we're caught up on the back story (I do think it's important to note, if you're thinking about hiking Mt. Whitney the lottery process is definitely not a guarantee {in 2019 only 34% of people who applied received a permit [and, for comparison, in 2018 the overall success rate was 37%] - obviously the more people who apply, the less likely of a chance you have to score a coveted spot} and that even if permits do become available throughout the season the conditions need to be right to be able to make it happen), it’s finally about dang time to get to the actually trip.

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The plan was to leave Oceanside Friday afternoon when the hubby got off work and head to Alabama Hills. (Alabama Hills sits at about 5,350 feet above sea level, so we were hoping one night there before heading up to Whitney Portal would help acclimate us to the elevation a bit.) There's some BLM Land (aka free camping) below Mt. Whitney that we love, so our goal was to hit the road as early as possible (trying to avoid some of the Friday rush hour traffic) and grab a quick dinner on the way (we stopped at Rubio’s because we had a BOGO coupon thanks to my birthday).

As you can see, the sun was already behind the hills so we needed to get our booties moving to get our tent set up.

We made it to Alabama Hills in great time and were even able to set up our tent and get everything situated before the sun set. On the way we started listening to a podcast (The Clearing) so after we got ready for bed we laid under the stars and listened to another episode. (FYI - It’s a little creepy to be in the middle of nowhere and listen to a crime doc… but thankfully I have a big, strong hubby to keep me protected from the bad guys ;))

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It was toasty to sleep so I didn't get a ton of rest, but it's not much different than the rest of my life thanks to Fibromyalgia.

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When the sun started to come out I finally got out of the tent. The views in Alabama Hills are out of this world. It reminds me of what you might see on a planet in Star Wars or something. The terrain is barren, but rocky and so interesting.

I love this photo. You can see Mt. Whitney just barely getting sun on it in the background and our car and tent in the foreground.

I should probably give early morning selfies a second thought before taking them... but the hills in the background were awesome!

Doesn't the terrain remind you of something out of Star Wars?!

Not a bad place to wake up if I do say so myself!

Trying to be a little "artsy" with my sunrise shot ;) 


I ate a PROBAR BASE bar (if you haven’t been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while you may not know that I’m an ambassador for them - but even if I wasn’t, their products are AMAZEBALLS and I would scarf them down no matter if I was affiliated with them or not) while the hubby had some cereal (we normally camp with the shelf-stable almond milk so we don’t have to worry about keeping it in the cooler while we are off-the-grid).

Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy!

Eventually we packed up and made our way to the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center to pick up our hiking permit. The location didn’t open until 8am but there were people already in line when we arrived around 7:30am. I’m assuming they were early, hoping to get a walk-up permit for the following day. When we got there we grabbed a number and took advantage of the bathrooms to brush our teeth and use the potty (one downside to BLM Land is the lack of any type of facilities...).

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Once the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center opened we were able to get in the reservation line and wait our turn. It took maybe 20 minutes (there were two groups still ahead of us in the reservation line when our number was called so we were able to go to another ranger and have her help us out) before we were picking up our permit, tags and WAG bags.

You have to keep your permit on you at all times and tag your bags as well. 

Here is a quick video (please forgive the dirty windshield ;)) on the drive up to Portal (you can even see Mt. Whitney at the end). As well as the Lizard Rock we didn't stop at the evening before since the sun was already setting.



I call him a 'rockstar'.... get it?! ;)

The next item on our agenda was to go up to Whitney Portal so we could snag a camping spot (they have walk-up spots for hikers), then hike to Lone Pine Lake to do a little extra acclimating to the elevation and scope out the first couple miles of the trail for the following day (I knew there were a few water crossings and I wasn’t sure how I'd feel about trying them for the first time in the dark, so was able to talk the hubby into the hike on Saturday so I could feel a bit more comfortable).

We snagged spot 12. It was a little further away from the car, but hubby liked hearing the water.



The hike to Lone Pine Lake is about 3 miles (and you gain about 1,700 feet in elevation). We took our time, stopped for pictures and just enjoyed the views (especially since we knew we would be starting before sunrise the following morning and wouldn’t be seeing much of the scenery until our way back down later in the afternoon). The lake itself is gorgeous and definitely a must-stop if you are in the area. (Although, real talk, it's probably about a half mile off the Mt. Whitney trail, so if you are heading to the summit it is hard to add an extra mile onto your trip, so I’d do it as a separate hike.)

Let's do this thang!

Gotta exit the Mt. Whitney Trail and head over to the lake.

The lake is pretty darn fabulous!

He's my favorite!

I'd hike that... but I definitely wouldn't swim in it... IT WAS COLD!

I thought this dead tree was pretty awesome... look at how it was holding the rock at the top!

Walked around to the other side of the lake so you could see the mountains in the background.

We would be climbing up that AND THEN SOME in just about 12 hours!

Forgive me, but I love sign photos ;) 

The water crossings weren’t too bad (the trail is very well maintained and the streams you cross have either log “bridges” or convenient rocks so you can cross somewhat easily), but I was glad to have seen them in the daylight. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have been nervous to cross them in the dark, but it was one less thing to be anxious about for the hike.

One of the many water crossings. This one was at the North Fork Lone Pine Creek.

When the water crossings were larger there were "bridges" added in, instead of just the rock jump.

Once we finished our hike we hung out around Whitney Portal for a while. It is such a fun little spot with quite the assortment of folks. We ate a light lunch, did some people watching and the hubby even fell asleep in the sun for a bit.

Can you see the hubby passed out on a rock behind me?! HA!

After that we went into Lone Pine to peruse some of the shops and get food (normally when we camp we bring our own food, but we decided for this trip that we didn’t want to pack our camp stove, so would do bars/ cereal for breakfast, wraps for lunch and then eat out for dinners). If you’ve read any of my race recaps before, you probably know my go-to carb loading meal is pizza (and that the hubby big puffy heart LOVES pizza), so we hit up Pizza Factory for an early dinner.


#RealTalk - The food was pretty blah (I normally never add red pepper flakes to my pizza, but it was pretty flavorless so I had to do something), but I guess it did it’s job and filled our tummies. PS We tried to shoot to have dinner around 4pm since we knew we’d be waking up around 2:30am and wanted to try and get some sleep before the hike.

Wow those alarms were starting early... 

After dinner we made our way back to camp so we could get settled for the evening. #NoShameInMy6pmBedTimeGame


We filled our hydration packs, got out the gear we'd need for the following morning, put all of our food (anything with a scent - even things like deodorant and toothpaste - are considered “food”) in the bear box and tried to get a little shut eye.

Wow - my #FlatHiker definitely has a lot more than my #FlatRunner pictures normally have... With temps ranging
from below freezing to in the 70s we had to pack gear for all different weather, not to mention #AllTheFood! 

And I guess this is as good of a place as any to stop the first installment of our Mt. Whitney Hike. Hopefully this ‘appetizer’ was helpful. Tune in tomorrow for the main course (the actual hike, don don don…).

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**NOTE: Although we live just about as close to sea level as possible, we wanted to try and get acclimated to the higher elevation as best as we could, which is why we stayed in Alabama Hills (5,350 feet above sea level), hiked Lone Pine Lake (gaining approximate 1,785 feet, starting around 8,265 feet above sea level and topping out around 10,050) and stayed another night at Whitney Portal (8,374 feet above sea level). Obviously the longer you can be at higher elevations the more accustom your body will become to the changes (less oxygen, increased water loss, suppresses appetite, etc), but with our schedule this is what we could fit in and thankfully it worked for us. I cannot guarantee if you follow our schedule that you won’t encounter symptoms of altitude sickness (especially since some people’s bodies are just more sensitive to the changes), but for us this acclimation over a couple days seemed to work perfectly.**

Have you ever had any altitude related issues?