Located at the Mt. Whitney Trailhead, the Whitney Portal Store serves up huge pancakes (bigger than the plate) as fuel for those seeking to bag the highest peak in the lower 48. The store has been run by the Thompson family from Lone Pine for decades, and they have enough stories to fill a book, which they have. Besides the stories (yes, people have tried the trek in high heels and flip flops, or started out with a bottle of water and a candy bar), the store crew provides the most up-to-date information on trail conditions, possible hazards, great side trips, weather and other insights into the high country and Mt. Whitney. Bear canisters, required for overnight hikes on the Whitney trail, can be rented or purchased at the store.
The web site, www.whitneyportalstore.com, provides current information on the mountain and weather, plus insights from hikers and climbers, photos and weather reports. For information on the wilderness permits required to hike Mt. Whitney (day use or overnight), visit the US Forest Service website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/