best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

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sershe2

 
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best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by sershe2 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:12 pm

Hi.
I have not done any hikes in the Sierras and I want to do a lot this season.
One thing is, unless absolutely necessary for acclimatization due to low start, I really want to do everything car to car.
Let's say my final goal would be Whitney via MR car to car, after sleeping at Whitney Portal.

I wonder what is the good progression of hikes (class 3 and below) to do, esp. for getting used to elevation?

Closeness to SF is also a concern but I realize all the good ones are going to be far... not a problem with car to car ;)
I was thinking about starting with Alta Peak, Conness peak?

Physical conditioning wise, the last thing I did was Half Dome last weekend, took about 3.5h from trailhead parking to cables, 8h total roundtrip incl summit laziness and 1-2-mile John Muir trail detour. I did feel the effects of elevation there, though, compared to WA hikes that I did in the past that start at 800'.
Altitude is the main problem; I've never been higher than around 11k before.

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seano

 
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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by seano » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:09 am

Coming from the Bay and wanting to avoid higher elevations, the Desolation Wilderness and other SPS peaks around Tahoe would be good. If you want a bit of a Washington experience, you could try Goat from Kings Canyon -- thousands of feet climbing out of a valley, then a little scramble on top. Conness is pretty short, and the most enjoyable routes require some low-5th-class scrambling. Lyell might be a good choice in the area.

If your goal is Whitney, doing Langley first (and spending some time camped at its trailhead) would be a good way to prepare, though it's just a slog.

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sershe2

 
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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by sershe2 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:24 am

I actually don't want to avoid higher elevation, just do say 10k peak, then 12k next week, then 12k next week, then 14k :)

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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by fedak » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:57 am

You don't really "get used to elevation" but you can understand how you personally tend to react to it.

When I lived in the Bay Area, I generally could handle up to 11-12k with no acclimation. Beyond that I at least liked to spend the night above 10k before heading out. (Living at 7300' now makes acclimation much much easier :) )
Your physiology may be different (and can be different on different outings).

In general almost everything on the Tahoe OGUL list is drivable from the Bay Area and is low enough that you generally won't need to acclimate:
http://climber.org/wsc/OGULlist.html

Beyond that look through the SPS list and pick off the west side low elevation stuff.

And if you want to do Whitney you might want to look at spending the prior night at the Barcroft Gate in the Whites. You can sleep at 12k at that trailhead. (Other good acclimation campsites are Chipmunk Flat near Sonora Pass and Tioga Lake/Saddlebag Lake near Tioga Pass)

And Mt Diablo (particularly the Mitchell Canyon route) is a great Bay Area training route.


If you are looking for easier routes to try out ~11-12k+ you might want to look at Mt Dana, Kuna/Koip, Mt Conness, Leavitt Peak, White Mountain, Jobs/Freel, (or Telescope or Charleston if you are ever in Vegas)
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obsidian

 
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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by obsidian » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:41 pm

SERSHE2
The East side trailheads vary enormously in their difficulty. But, this is also access to the most beautiful areas of the Southern High Sierra (the John Muir Trail territory).
Starting from the southern end,...Mount Whitney (Lone Pine), Shepherd Pass, Kearsarge Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, the Palisades Region, and the Bishop Creek Pass area,...Shepherd Pass and Forester Pass (over the Kings-Kern Divide), are generally considered to be the most difficult. The Mount Whitney Trail,...from the East side (from Whitney Portal) is VERY strenuous,...but, also, very popular,...so it can be difficult to actually get a permit. Hiking up to the summit of Mount Whitney from the west side (the Kern River), is much easier, but you have to start from Mineral King,...this is a trip of several days to a week.
Probably, the best areas for your first hike, would be either the Mammoth Lakes region (Ansel Adams Wilderness,...the Minarets), or, the lakes accessible from the various Bishop Creek trailheads (Lake Sabrina, South Lake, North Lake).
Here is a good informational Summit Post web page for: The John Muir Wilderness.

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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by jareds » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:13 pm

Dana is easy.
3.5 hrs to the TH from SF.
2nd class all the way up.
Fairly populated so you're not going to get lost.
Lots of elevation, but you can easily turn around if needed at any moment without getting into a compromising situation etc.

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Palisades79

 
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Re: best harder day-hikes/summits if I'm new to Sierras

by Palisades79 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:41 pm

The approaches to the Tahoe area peaks are close to the Bay Area and have less camping and parking hassles than Hwy.395 and Yosemite. Sleep high Friday night and bag Pyramid ,Tallac,Freel,Jobs ,Mt.Rose,Round Top,Red Lake,Stevens ,Castle,Lola, Tinkers Knob ,Waterhouse, and adjacent peaks on Saturday & Sunday mornings. Good luck !


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