Owen’s Valley Day 2: Horseshoe Meadows & Whitney Portal

Oof, that was pretty tough – it has been a while since I did a 11,582 ascent day.

Tackling two of the hardest climbs in the country in a single day was a bit ambitious. Horseshoe Meadows is #7 in the US and #69 in the world. Whitney Portal is #14 USA, #122 in the world.

d2p1-horseshoed2p2-whitney

Horseshoe Meadows starts off a few miles south of Lone Pine via Lubkin Canyon – you can also do it the long way from Whitney Portal, but I was going for steepest/shortest.

It starts off with a gradual climb up Lubkin over pretty broken pavement, then you hang a left and do a lonnnng drag to get to the ominous switchbacks.

In general nothing too extreme, but the pavement is pretty rough, above 7000 feet, there’s a lot of broken expansion cracks. 700×32 tires suggested.

There’s a false summit around 8600 feet which is annoying, then you eventually end up in the camp ground areas – not much to see up there other than trees!

Switchbacks in the distance from the start
Lubkin
Lookin’ to the hills from Lubkin
Turn onto Horseshoe Meadows from Lubkin
Drag
Drag
End of the long drag, left onto the first switchback
Down toward the valley
Switchback
More switchbacks
Down before the false summit
Right before the false summit
Campground at the top

The descent was pretty crappy coming off Horseshoe – those expansion joints are brutal, some were tire eaters, so I had to go slow. Even down low, the pavement was pretty choppy.

After a quick snack and reapplication of sunscreen, I drove back to the hotel and started off on Whitney Portal.

This is another long drag and then 2 (or 3) huuuge switchbacks. My legs were definitely feelin’ it by the time I hit the first switchback, which, coincidentally, is when the grade kicks up to 10-15%, yech.

Pictures declined significantly, which usually means I’m groveling. I did, eventually, make it to the top.

Good news is the pavement on Whitney Portal is good, so I was able to blast back down the mountain.

Pretty much the view the whole way
Closer

Closer
Onto the monster switchbacks
Lookin’ down at one of the switchbacks
Nearly there.. campgrounds to the left
Still a lot more mountain!
Ready to hike?!

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