Lake Dorothy and Mount Whitney
(3 Day Backpack and Dayhike)

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August 24-29, 2005

Red Slate Mtn from Lake Dorothy

Trip Summary

This was my end of summer vacation trip. A three day backpack and my usual Whitney dayhike interspersed with soaking and maintenance at my favorite hot spring. I could say it was a celebration of my 40th birthday, but I always go out at the end of the summer, when I take my vacation. As my trips often end up, I went solo. All in all, a good week away from home. Trip reports that involve actual hiking are linked below, this page covers non-hiking and summary information.


Mount Morrison and Laurel Mountain
Mt Morrison and Laurel Mountain
(from Shepherd's Spring, earlier in the season)

tiny mapWednesday, I got to Shepherd's Spring around 2pm, after stops at Home Depot in Manteca for tools and supplies, and Mammoth to pick up my wilderness permits and use the cell network there to arrange stuff with the friends I'll be backpacking with next weekend (Labor Day weekend). Somehow, in my hurry to get to work, I neglected to take pictures of the issues with the tub...and the only guy who did is in Peru. Oh well.

Problems at the tub included: a chunk of broken wall on the drain side, missing valve and pipe end, cow-trampling at the source, and the drain ditch being filled with silt and muck.

Step 1 was to install an elbow on the inlet at the source...allowing me to plug the pipe and get on with everything else. After draining the tub, I started with the concretework, in replacing the lowest course of broken out bricks with the very old original bricks, and the newer sections with the original or new bricks. I even remembered to mould in bottle and can holders into the wet concrete.

tiny mapAt that point, I was joined by one of the nearby campers (a Forest Service contract worker researching changes in the meadows post the grazing changes over the last five years), who wanted to help...first starting with the drain, then with scrubbing the tub. I fixed the pipe and replaced the valve, then did the first pass on the drain clearing...shovel and bucketing the muck over to the source to reinforce the edges.

All this time there had been a large group of young adults parked up in the meadow with shade tents and all, they finally came down as I was refilling the tub and doing some cleanup work. As expected, they were wearing clothes and behaving as per stereotypes. My only concern is that they would stay in a long time...i.e.past when I wanted to get in. They didn't, and as they left, I implied that there would be nudity the rest of the night. They never came back, and, indeed packed up and left the next morning without even peeking at the tub.

The rest of us had good soaks evening and morning. The Forest Service crew was joined by some climbers and folks heading for Burning Man.

tiny mapThursday through Saturday, backpacking in the Dorothy Lakes Basin, the closest trailhead to the hot springs.

Mt Morrison Packing into Dorothy Lake from Convict Lake.

Red Slate Mtn A Dayhike circuit around Bloody Mountain.

Red and White Peak A dayhike to Red Slate Mountain and packing out to Convict Lake.

Shepherd's Hot Spring
Shepherd's Tub from Laurel Mtn
(from Laurel Mountain)

Shepherd's detailtiny mapSunday morning, (it goes without saying that there is soaking interspersed with all activities at the hot spring), I did the finish digging out of the drain so the tub would drain dry, if so desired, and a few more general cleanup chores around the tub. Maybe on my next trip up there, I'll work on reinforcing the west edge of the surround to the grass can grow back better and keep sand and silt washing into the surround. Maybe next weekend. After I finished up, it was off the Bishop to do a bit of shopping, have chinese for lunch, pick up extra reading materials (The Ever Changing View - The History of the Forest Service in California, a four pound trade paper tome, that despite its USDA imprimatur is actually not bad reading) and continue south to Lone Pine. Braving the crowds at the ranger station, I picked up my dayhike permit and went in search of a drinkable whiskey (since I had forgotten to do so in Bishop) vain. Nothing above the quality of Red Label or regular Jack...not even a basic drinkable whisky like Glenlivet or an American whiskey like Knob Creek, or even a decent tequila. Snob I am, I'd rather go without a summit toast than drink that.

Mount Whitney
(from Lone Pine, in wintertime)

Ended up offering to share my campsite with a larger group next to me, which was pleasant. Made my goal time to the summit (under 4 hours), summited Mount Muir (thank you, shoes), got down in good order and made it back to San Francisco by 11pm.

Sunrise on the Whitney Trail Sunrise on the Whitney Trail.


Area maps, route in red, fuchsia, orange and blue

East Side road map
Map with route
(Route in red, fuchsia, orange and blue)

Hot Spring to Convict Lake map
Map with route
(Route in red, fuchsia, orange and blue)

Lake Dorothy area map
Map with route
Detailed Map (245K)
(Route in blue, red, and fuchsia)

Whitney Main Trail map
Map with route
Detailed Map (235K)
(Route in fuchsia, scramble in blue)

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Lake Dorothy and Mount Whitney / Robert Parks / / revised September '05