The Chief wrote:I agree with Vitaliy's good info and suggestions, but one minor clarification to make his point about camping, Iceberg Lake is closer to 13,000'. There are good tent sites but 13,000' could be a problem for a first night.
VM is correct.... Iceberg Lake is at 12,028'.
As far as acclimation goes, we suggest that folks come up two or even three days early, stay in Lone Pine and hike up to 11 or even 12K and return down to LP to sleep the two days prior to their ascent attempt.
Train high and sleep low is the golden rule. It has been a successful protocol for many high alt climbers the past 4-5 decades and works well with our clients.
Climb/train high - sleep low is a good practice, and we seem to be in alignment regarding Iceberg not being a good first night camp destination for flatlanders.
Back to the discussion about the elevation of Iceberg lake. I may have slightly overstated it being close to 13,000. From memory I recall it being a little over 1,500 vertical feet from Iceberg to the summit of Whitney. Realizing that my recollection could be off, I looked it up on the Mt. Whitney page here on Summitpost. Summitpost puts Iceberg at 12,600'. I also checked the contours on the Google terrain map. It shows that the approach to Iceberg crosses up over the 12,600 contour line about where the water weeps out of the slope, then continues gaining elevation about another 100' vertical feet to where the tent sites are. That would put the tent sites at about 12,700'. The actual surface of the Lake is a little lower than the tent sites but probably not a 100' lower. The contour call-out numbers don't seem to be consistent on Google terrain so when I get home I'll check an old USGS topo for a more reliable reading.