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Lidar elevations
Quote:most folks with common sense don't day hike Whitney's summit

All 5 of out summits were day hikes. Some of those who have done it both ways say day hiking is easier. You don't have to lug a heavy pack up the trail. It is a great sense of accomplishment to know that you did the 22 miles and 6300' vertical gain in one day.
(2021-12-28, 12:38 PM)trailhound Wrote:
Quote:most folks with common sense don't day hike Whitney's summit

You don't have to lug a heavy pack up the trail. It is a great sense of accomplishment to know that you did the 22 miles and 6300' vertical gain in one day.

Great point and I'd usually rather come back in the dark than lug all that overnight camping gear but there are times when the sole purpose is to camp out that lugging the pack is well worth it.

Now that i remember details of my Whitney day hike, I summited just after sunrise which left me the entire day to enjoy a "take it all in" descent to the portal. I even stopped to nap under a huge fallen pine tree making it back mid afternoon and in time to grab a car camp at the BLM camp below the portal in the drainage canyon. I also lucked out by scoring a Whitney hiking permit after the September Labor Day weekend rush had subsided. I literally walked into the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center and up to the desk without a line. There were still many campers in the meadows before you started up the switch back stair cases.
Life begins in Death Valley
(2021-12-23, 05:00 PM)MojaveGeek Wrote: And as for White Mtn, my understanding is that Mt. Elbert in CO is second to Whitney?

The newly calculated Lidar elevation for Elbert is 14,438'. 

LOJ Lidar analysis results page

(2021-12-24, 10:28 AM)MojaveGeek Wrote: Well Whitney (I have not climbed) is a damn sight harder the Elbert (have been up), that's for sure!  Some of the CO 14ers are really tough, probably out of my league, but most are (sometimes long) straightforward walkups, easily done in a single day, and those in the know are usually off the peak by 2 or so due to thunderstorm potential.  But I've been up only a few, I think Candace has been up a bunch of them.

The 14ers are also incredibly popular  On a weekend I would choose a nice 13er, because I prefer solitude (and almost no one seems to go for the 13ers!)

Seems like Whitney is not THAT much beyond what you do. It's class 1 with a good trail. The several miles in the forest you can easily hike in the dark. Avoid the permit lottery hassle by doing it in mid-November like I did!   Big Grin

My Nov. 12, 1999 Whitney trip report

I've done 42 of the 53+ CO 14ers. The ones I haven't done are class 3 or higher; a very long outing barely feasible or unrealistic as a day hike; on private property and thus requiring an advance reservation and large fee; or some combination of the above.

As you noted, the 14ers are crowded.  But not only on weekends.  This is leading to measures such as trailhead shuttles, a ban on parking along the roads leading to TH's, etc.

Here are estimates of 2020 hiking traffic on the 14ers: click here

My last visit to CO was in 2017.  Even during the week I found plenty of people at or near the 14er TH's, making it difficult to grab an informal camp site.  I was able to score a great campsite along the popular South Colony Lakes Road in the Sangres (the usual access to the Crestones, Humboldt, and high 13er Columbia Point) by arriving on Tuesday, lol.

So, I may well not be checking off any more CO 14ers!  Even if I decide the route is technically possible for me AND within dayhike range.

Speaking from experience, even climbing 13ers during the week doesn't assure you solitude. Especially if they require you to start at or near 14er TH's, or from any easily accessible TH.
I've been playing around with lidar (none in the Badwater basin) and have made some interesting findings. I'll do a new thread about it at some point. The gist is that as of 2013 (the most recent elevation data available for badwater basin) gives a minimum altitude of -282.64 feet (-86.15 m) at a point much closer to the Badwater parking lot than the traditionally-held coordinates. I'll show my work and everything when I get to that!
Check me out on YouTube @ BetterGeology!

And my out-of-date website
Well, continuing the digression to Colorado... Candace, that's a lot of 14ers! Maybe you should partner with someone for the class 3 peaks. I've seen some videos (the Maroons) and they look... tough. I had not realized the bit about paying $100 to climb Culebra (Snake, in Spanish). That's funny.

So one weekend I was avoiding 14ers and headed to a nice looking 13er, Quail, which is just down the road and a bit north of Missouri. I was pleased with myself as I passed, early early, the full Missouri parking lot, with cars already lining the road, and found my parking area empty. Joy! So I hiked up (this soon becomes part of the CDT after a short approach) and it was a beautiful morning, all alone, up above the trees, nice switchbacks to the pass (the peak itself has no official trail, but a clear use trail), but what? I saw a couple of people dressed warmly with what looked like radio gear at the pass?

Turns out the Leadville 100, one of the most famous "ultramarathons" was that day, and they were excited as the lead runner was only minutes away! Eeek. I headed up to the peak. I have a friend from Montana who runs those things and I texted his wife to see if he was running - it would have been a gas to surprise him on the route - but he was elsewhere. So I figured I would take a long lunch and enjoy the long views up there, maybe take a nap, and by the time I came down, the trail would be clear.

Well... not. It turns out such races have huge ranges of times, as the runners spread out. As I descended the main trail, I was being passed from behind by outbound runners, and approached from the front by returning runners (who at the turn are allowed to pick up an escort buddy to help them along). Oh they were all very polite and I heard a lot of "Thank you sir" but it was NOT solitude. Still a race official at the pass (basically counting people, and there to turn them back at the pass if weather was incoming) pointed out a group of bighorns frolicking in some snow up on the other side of the pass, and I might not have seen them otherwise.

All in all, a very strange trail experience!

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