Badwater to Mount Whitney: Backpacking as a Couple

Badwater to Whitney - Lowest to Highest Route
Badwater to Whitney Lowest to Highest Route – Click to view larger

The path to our destination is not always a straight one, Ed. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.

Dehydrator humming.
UPS truck stops regularly.
Food packages cover kitchen table.
Maps in various corners.
Random small gear piles.
Up Tehachapi Mountain with a loaded pack once again.
All signs a big trip is close on the horizon.

During spring break Dan and I will be hiking about 135 miles from Badwater in Death Valley National Park (279 feet below sea level) and ending at the top of Mount Whitney (elevation 14, 495). The route, part cross-country, jeep roads, and trail was created by Brett Tucker.

Long distance hiker Swami introduced us to L2H last year after completing the route with Malto, Dirtmonger, and Bobcat. Along with the inspiration to do this route Swami also gave us tips and detailed planning information. The week-long trip passes through desert, mountain, and alpine terrain with about 33,021 elevation gain and 20,780 elevation loss. It crosses through Death Valley, up the Panamint Mountains, down to Panamint Valley, up the Inyo Mountains, down through Owens River Valley, then up, up into the Sierra Nevadas. The hike is recommended for seasoned hikers that like a challenge.

My hope is to blog daily along the route, but posts will be delayed because the area does not have regular cell service. Also, I am hoping to feature some guest posts sprinkled in from a certain man.


Our first day hiking will be this Saturday, March 28th. It will be a cooker with temps forecasted to be nearing 100. Dan’s parents are kind enough to shuttle us to the trailhead.

Resupply: Panamint Springs and Lone Pine

Water Cache: The longest waterless stretch will be 43 miles from Hwy 90 to Owenyo Lone Pine Road hiking through the Inyo Mountains. We are planning on stashing three caches: Minietta Road, Hwy. 90, and one right as we get out of the Inyos stashed by our hiker friends Love Note and Burly. 🙂


  • Brett Tucker the creator of the route at  – This is the go to site for maps, water information, and details of the route!

A Couple’s Gear List:

Planning gear for this route was a bit different from a regular thru-hike or backpack, because of the extremes of temperatures (low and high), elevations (very low and very high), waterless miles, snow, desert, and cross-country travel. We focused on safety and carrying a lighter pack load. This trip is a great opportunity to test some new gear choices and test some new recipes.

Something EXCITING!!! 

I have had so many requests over the years to post more about guy’s gear. After all, I have outfitted my husband, Dan and my son, Grant for years.

But I thought why not only list what Dan is packing, but also how as a couple we divide our gear up. It is much different than hiking with a buddy that you might part ways during the day while on trail. The idea is to stay together, so there really is no need to double up on a few large and small items. We try to have about equal weight, but always Dan will have a slightly heavier pack.

This was a great exercise to weigh everything again and question every piece of gear and its function.



  1. Some what new here. Like what I read, and I see some others I follow are with you. Good folks attract good folks. Sending strength and courage your way, not that you need it. Draw on it if need be and I will refill as needed. ” Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” Mark T.

  2. Looks like a real challenge! Something I know you love. Noticed that Brett Tucker is the person behind the trail. Really love his simblissity gaiters. Never used the Dirty Girls, but Brett’s gaiters are great; they breathe well and keep all rocks and some of the dust out. Have worn them in the desert a few times and they were awesome. Can’t wait to study your gear list! And Dan’s too.

  3. Christy- looks awesome. Julianne and I are in Mojave Natnl Preserve, headed for DV tomorrow (Wed). Where will you be Friday night? Love to see you guys!

  4. This hike was fantastic!!!!

  5. Oh this looks amazing! I saw this hike done online recently by carrotquinn and notachance. It looked amazing, but hot! Good luck!

    • It is intimidating to say the least. We had hoped for temps in the 80’s going this time of year, BUT apparently there is a heat wave coming up. Heat and me do not go together well. I am looking forward to some snow up Mount Whitney. Thanks for the well wishes!

  6. Hey there, Rockin’. Sounds like another great adventure. Don’t you guys ever just stay home and relax?

    I just got back from Grand Canyon hiking down and up the Bright Angel Trail with my brother. He got a new job so we were celebrating. The weather forecast was sketchy but it turned out to be perfect weather and an almost 20 mile day. Not quite like your last expedition over there, but plenty for us.

    Can’t wait to read your blog over the next few days. Stay safe and enjoy the ups and downs.

    • Wow that is quite the day in the Grand Canyon! Seems I just can’t get away from the pokey plants and heat on spring break. I always appreciate your advise and comments. It is great to know you are following along. Happy desert hiking!

  7. y2kmarathon

    Thanks for the gear list! I didn’t notice a Sawyer filter or Aqua Mira. Oversight?

  8. Have a great time. Sounds like a great adventure!


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