High Sierra Trail, June 17-22 2015

Gil (GoHiker.com) and I hiked the High Sierra Trail June 17-22. This entry will serve as a summary of our trip. It will be updated with links to the trip reports and photo galleries for each day of our trip as they are created. Going into our hike, I had some concerns about mosquitoes, snow, and water sources. Here is what we found on the trail:

  • Mosquitoes: I treated my hat, convertible shorts and bivy with permethrin. The only place that I used a bug net and bug spray was after we crossed Kawaeh Gap and dropped towards Big Arroyo.
  • Snow:  Snow didn’t affect our hike until we reach Mt. Whitney. With the forecasted temps over the next few days, I imagine most of it will be gone soon. For more info on the snow, see this blog entry: Mt. Whitney Main Trail Conditions, June 22 2015
  • Water (for drinking) and water crossings: For our hike, there was water everywhere along the trail and as a result, we usually didn’t carry much more than a liter each for most of our hike. While the water was flowing well, the water crossings were manageable and relatively easy.
  • X-Factor: The heat! We weren’t counting on it being so hot when we planned this hike. Most days, it felt like the temp were in the mid-80s.

I did not learn about this resource until after our hike, but for information concerning mosquitoes, trail conditions and water levels, take a look at High Sierra Topix. Please consider posting a report after your hike: Backcountry Conditions, Reports and Information

If you’ve hiked the High Sierra Trail or plan to do so in the future, please join our Facebook Group, High Sierra Trail!


We put a lot of time into planning our trip. Here are a couple of entries related to this:

Here is a quick summary of what we did each day. Details will be added as time allows:

Day 0

This was a non-hiking day, primarily used to setup our car shuttle and get us close to the trailhead.

Day 1

Ready to get our hike started
Hiking towards the Great Western Divide
Little Blue Dome(L) & Sugarbowl Dome (R)
Abundant wildflowers along the trail
Many of the trees were covered in moss
  • Leg: Crescent Meadows to Bearpaw Meadow Camp
  • Geek Stats: 11 miles || +3872, -2857 || +1015 net elevation gain || 9.5 hours
  • Highlights: Getting on the trail after weeks of planning, views of the Great Western Divide
  • Trip Report & Full Photo Gallery: High Sierra Trail, Day 1 – Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow (30 photos)

Day 2

The wooden bridge than crosses Lone Pine Creek
The tunnel near Hamilton Gorge
Gil watches sunset over Hamilton Lake
Sunset reflections at Precipice Lake
Our campsite for our second night

Day 3

A small lake near Kaweah Gap
Wild flowers just below Kaweah Gap
Wildfire near the Big Five Lakes region
Kern Trench, as seen from Chagoopa Plateau
Kern Hot Spring, Kern River in the background
  • Leg: Precipice Lake to Kern Hot Springs
  • Geek Stats: 18 miles || +1850′(5%), -5328′(-9%) || +3478′ net elevation gain || 14 hours
  • Highlights: Crossing the Great Western Divide, Kern Trench, Kern Hot Springs
  • Trip Report & Full Photo Gallery: High Sierra Trail, Day 3 – Precipice Lake to Kern Hot Springs (50 photos)

Day 4

Snow plant were abundant along the river
Red Spur, as seen from Whitney Creek shortcut
Looking towards Red Spur, elevation 13191′
Looking towards Kern Point, elevation 12766′
The ‘hidden’ Packer Camp, our campsite for the night


Day 5

A little Wag Bag humor near Guitar Lake
Looking towards the outlet of a tarn
Guitar Lake, after the sun had set
The moon rising over a tarn
Interesting clouds above the Mt. Whitney Group

Day 6

Looking east, a few minutes before sunrise
Early morning sun lights up the Mt. Whitney Group
Looking back towards the Great Western Divide
Gil and I finally hitting the summit of Mt. Whitney
Mt. Hitchcock, reflected by one of the Hitchcock Lakes


This trip was a great opportunity to form some strong opinions about some of the gear I’ve been testing for the last few weeks. From this trip, I should have extensive reviews on the following: