MrMuzik: killerDIRK here of Mammoth Lakes ,ca Elevation 8000ft ! I also was the Head Boot Fitter at Adventure 16 mission gorge from 1998-2002.
Let me give you the whole breakdown:
Training: Use Cowles Mtn of of Navajo and mission gorge for some good trail hiking as this is what you will encounter. Where a pack starting with the weight you intend to carry on summit day. As the months progress, add weight slowly but consistently so by the end of JULY you are at a weight twice what you will carry. From now until the 1st week of Aug, get your mileage built up. This cannot be underestimated. You are in essence walking a Marathon but between 8000 and 14,500 ft. So If you have to, break out the calendar and retro engineer from the week before summit atempt back to now and slowly build up your mileage. So over 20 weeks you will build from cowles maybe two trips to about 5 if memory serves.
You do have a few trail options up cowles, or Mt Soledad (via Capri, Nautilus, south side out of PB). Just keep it FUN.
Understand that getting to the Top is only Half of it. Coming down is what is going to destroy your legs ! When walk Up something you are only putting ONE bodyweight through your limb. Yet when you come down you can depending on steepness of terrain put as much as FIVE TIMES your bodyweight through your limb. Over the course of 11 miles downhill that can cause traumatic issues to the ankles, knees and hips. Along with the Lumbar/sacral area.
This is not to scare you, this is to inform you of what "could" happen. Thus the need for proper training.
Not make sure that you are properly Hydrated as well a solid 7-10 days before you get there. The reason for this, is typically the humidity level is about 9-20%. Low enough that you will not necesarily notice the sweat. Drink 3l the day before you leave. Take a water filter with you. Packing 1.5 gallons (yes gallons) sucks. But if you can filter on the way, it gives you a chance to take a break and rest. Just do not rest more than 10 minutes at any one time. Entropy can set in quick.
Do NOT radically change your diet before or during the trip. Eat reasonably. Beef Jerky on the trail, along with trailmix and some fresh fruit or veggies usually does the trick, for anyone anywhere.
Pack some light storm clothing. I have seen it snow in Every single month in the Sierra. I am talking about 3" in the beginning of August !
Really cool actually ! Dont bog yourself down, just use a little common sense, it will not be the beach . Speaking of ! Another good grind is at the Torrey Pines Glider Port !! Holy Shit is that a good grind up and Down !!!
Hope that this will help you ! Are you going on your own or with a posse ? Dont forget to stop at the Mt Whitney Restuarant post trip., Best F*ing Burgers in LonePIne. Also, Try to stay at the Whitney Hostel ! Dow Villa is actually very nice as well. Safe Travels and Enjoy the View !!