Hikers looking to summit Mt. Whitney this year may be impacted by the reconstruction of Whitney Portal Road. The road is in poor condition and will be repaved, the U.S. Forest Service announced last week.
Construction will begin just west of Lone Pine and end just east of Whitney Portal, the latter serving as the trailhead to the 14,505-foot peak. It’s also the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail and main destination of the High Sierra Trail, making it a popular spot for hikers and backpackers.
For hikers and backpackers planning to visit this summer, the Forest Service advises patience and careful planning to avoid delays and other problems.
Visitors have long used roadside parking as an overflow area; however, during construction near Whitney Portal, that will not be an option. Visitors should anticipate that there may not be a space available.
Delays could range from 30 minutes to three hours.
3 hours maximum delay, twice a day, as part of this year’s Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction project
Long-term parking will not be allowed, nor will overnight parking for anyone not starting and ending a hike at Whitney Portal. Hikers entering or exiting the Whitney Trail by way of the Pacific Crest, High Sierra or John Muir trails may not park or leave a vehicle at the trailhead.
Only permitted hikers will receive day or overnight parking permits. Whitney overnight hikers with valid passes may park at Whitney Portal for a maximum of three nights.
Visitors should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or using shuttle services available from the Lone Pine area. (Of note, long-term parking may be available in Lone Pine. Check with the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce at 760-876-4444).
The lottery for permits to hike Mt. Whitney opens Feb. 1. Hikers can apply at www.recreation.gov.
7 hours on the Razor – The annual endurance ski event fundraiser for the Central California Adaptive Sports Center returns March 6 at China Peak. The event takes place on the resort’s “Razorback” run, as participants will ride Chair 1, ski or snowboard down Upper and Middle Razorback to Mainstream, and repeat for seven hours.
The entire route will be groomed for this event. Snack items and drinks will be provided throughout the day at the loading of Chair 1. Participants can ski/ride as an individual or with a team or group.
There will be various prize categories, including most money raised, best costumes and most laps. Registration is $40 for adults, $30 for college students and $20 for youths 17 and younger.
CCASC is a nonprofit at China Peak Mountain Resort that provides life-enhancing, year-round recreation activities for people with disabilities and their families. This year’s goal is $15,000.
For more information and to register, visit 7hours.dojiggy.com.
Pirates 5K Booty run – The second annual Pirates of the Cure-I-bbean 5K Run returns Jan. 30 to help raise awareness of blood-related cancers in a fundraiser for Relay For Life.
The 3.1-mile race will start at 9 a.m. at Woodward Park’s Mountain View picnic shelter.
All participants who register by Monday are guaranteed a shirt and a pirate map with a chance to win the treasure chest, complete with all the booty inside. Registration starts at $35 for adults and $15 for youths 9 and younger. Walkers also are welcome.
Garage sale – REI’s members-only garage sale is Saturday, when adventurers can find cheap and discounted gear. The store will hand out numbered wristbands at 4 p.m., with the lottery draw entry starting at 5 p.m. Memberships can be purchased on site for $20. All sales are final.
Birdwatching –The Fresno Audubon Society will host its latest Wednesday Walk on Jan. 27 at River Center and Lost Lake. The public is welcome to join the day of birding that will be led by Susan Estep and Gary and Nancy Griesser. For more information, call Susan at 402-212-1215 or Nancy at 559-325-1616.
Free calendar – The Bureau of Land Management is giving away monthly calendars to celebrate 2016. The calendars feature “America’s Great Outdoors” and are limited to one per person while supplies last. To get a calendar, visit http://blm.gov/ymmd.