Took a 6 day/5 night wonderful trip in the Sierra's the first week of August. The plan was to start at South Lake and finish at Onion Valley in 6 or 7 days. Gave myself a buffer day because wasn't sure how long the off trail section would take or how the group would handle the altitude. The trip worked out as follows:
- Friday: North Carolina to Las Vegas. Stayed in Las Vega
- Saturday: Drove across Death Valley to Lone Pine. Picked up permit and hooked up with Mt Whitney Shuttle. Interesting tidbit. Shuttle driver was retired state trooper who was one of 4 who arrested Charles Manson in the late 60's.
- Saturday: Hiked from South Lake trailhead to Bishop Lake.
- Sunday: South Lake to Dusy Basin, off trail over Knapsack Pass, Potluck Pass to camp at lake between Potluck Pass and Cirque Pass.
- Monday: Over Cirque Pass to Lower Palisade Lake. 1.7 miles that took 5.5 long hours. Great but tough. Camped at Lower Palisade.
- Tuesday: Hiked JMT from Lower Palisade over Mather's Pass to JMT/Taboose Trail insection. Then out Taboose Trail to camp. One group member hiked out early to Taboose trailhead (planned early exit for him). 12.5 mile day
- Wed: Taboose camp back to JMT over Pinchot Pass to Arrowhead Lake camp. 17 miles
- Thursday: Arrowhead lake over Glen Pass to Kearsarge Trail, over Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley. 14.5 miles.
The trip was excellent and the off trail section added a little something different to the trip. The off trail section was 6.2 miles of the Sierra High Route and it beat us up pretty good.
Most of my trips are the 2 to 4 day variety, so planning for something up to 7 days was different. Thanks for all the input from many of you on the site. I think the 4-6 day trip is my sweet spot. By the sixth day I was ready to reconnect with the wife and kids.
This was my first trip using a tarp/bivy setup and it worked great. I shared a MLD Duo Grace with my brother in law and we both used Katabatic Bivies.