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Mount Whitney Climber's Log

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cjrandallOvernight at Trail Camp  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 11, 2006


An awesome experience, words don't justly describe it. My first real "High Sierra" experience, and first trip above 12,200 feet. Spent two days in the Yosemite high country above Lyell Canyon acclimatizing before this two-day assult on the highest point in California.

Got on-trail at 11:00am after picking up permits, wag bag, and bear canister in Lone Pine. Hiked very slowly, especially grueling section between Mirror Lake and Trail Camp, arriving just before "sunset" (sun sets early this late in the season at Trail Camp) about 5:30pm. Set up camp, made dinner, and entered tent at 8pm for totally sleepless night at 12,000 feet. Altitude (fortunately, no headaches!) and excitement combined to make sleeping nearly impossible.

Out of bed some 3-4 times to pee, decided to end the suffering and just get up at 5:00am and start the day. Quickly got dressed, down a couple NutriGrain bars, and off to the 99 switchbacks, starting at 5:30am. Sun rose while halfway up the switchbacks, reached Trail Crest about 8:30am. No real alpenglow to speak of this morning. Vast, sweeping views from Trail Crest, wind was almost unbearable. Instinct forced me to hide in small rock hovels while fumbling with digital camera. Gloves stayed on almost the whole time until coming back down 99 switchbacks.

Above 13,500 feet, it was a mind-numbing experience. I didn't think I could be so lethargic. I couldn't quite explain why that gently-rolling rock terrain between Trail Crest and Keeler Needle was so difficult, but when you've never even set foot above 12,200 feet, and suddenly you spend hours of your life there, I guess that explains it. Surprisingly, once the trail passed Keeler Needle and started the final unmitigated uphill grind around the backside of the summit, I felt much better. Maybe knowing I was getting closer and wouldn't have to go down anymore! Reached the summit at 11:30am.

Besides the cold wind, the summit was glorious. No issues with altitude, as long as I wasn't moving! Spent a good 30-45 minutes warming up in the summit hut before donning full winter gear out on the summit edge. Took requisite panoramic pictures, signed summit log, picture in front of NPS plaque. Totally clear skies, a few wispy clouds moving quickly through the windy skies.

Hike down was without much excitement. Tough-going between summit and Trail Crest again. Do not underestimate this section of trail, it can be tough, BOTH WAYS! Freezing cold and blasting wind while passing the "windows", blazing hot solar radiation otherwise. Kept taking off and putting on clothes. Once I finally came to Trail Crest and knew it would be downhill all the way, I celebrated! Hiked quickly down 99 switchbacks, almost jogging sometimes, reached Trail Camp about 4:15pm. Soaked feet in ice-cold Trail Camp lake, and packed up overnight equipment. Left Trail Camp at 4:45pm, and made good time down. Started regular jogging just below Mirror Lake, trying desperately to get back to Whitney Portal by 7:30pm for burgers at Whitney Portal Store. Reached portal miraculously at 7:20pm, and walked into WPS, only to find out the generators were down, and that the grill was not in service. Ughhh!!!!! Settled for a calzone at the Pizza Factory, and a good night's sleep at the Dow Hotel before breakfast next morning at High Sierra Cafe. Left town for the seven-hour drive Tuesday morning.

Already planning another trip next summer to bring buddies back and share the experience with them!
Posted Sep 18, 2006 5:24 pm

jef80Whitney Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 25, 2005


Can't wait to try the mountaineers route.
Posted Sep 17, 2006 9:56 pm

Mark NMain trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 7, 2006

Mark N

Day hiked with Gareth C. (and a few hundred others). Biggest challenge was altitude/insufficient acclimatization which made for disappointingly slow progress above 13,000 ft. But a great day overall.
Posted Sep 16, 2006 11:29 pm

MakeItHappenJust the Portal  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 17, 2006


I came, I saw, I conquered...but it whipped me nonetheless.
Posted Sep 15, 2006 9:03 pm

regolitheOne day ascent + the needles  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 18, 2005


GREAT HIKE! loved the altitude. Don't miss this one or the keeler needle and Day needle.
Posted Sep 15, 2006 9:06 am

saladMain Triail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 10, 1995


Hiked this car to car with my wife after a week in the backcountry. Great time.
Posted Sep 14, 2006 9:54 pm

reachmpBrisk climb  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 8, 2006


Started at Whitney Portal at 2:40am, reached summit at 9:40am (7hrs). An hour at the summit and descended back to Portal in 5hrs 45min. Drove to Yosemite and did the Half Dome day hike the next day. On the drive back, I could barely bend my legs to get out of the car :)
Posted Sep 13, 2006 6:42 am

tb00957East face in a day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 12, 2006
My very first peak was up the trail to whitney. Nice to go back to do a more interesting route.
Posted Sep 12, 2006 11:36 pm

Travis AtwoodWhitney Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 8, 2006

Travis Atwood

What a beautiful mountain! From what I had read I was expecting a lot more trash and people, but it really wasn't bad. We set out from Trail camp under a full moon and watched the sun come up from below Trail Crest and it was one of the most spectacular things I’d ever seen.
Posted Sep 12, 2006 3:40 am

boisedocCrowded  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 11, 2002


Climbed it via the trail from Whitney Portal in 1995 and from the west side during a backpack in 2002. Good for people watching.
Posted Sep 11, 2006 5:20 am

RSN473East Face  Sucess!


Great weather Great climb!
Posted Sep 5, 2006 8:11 pm

Travis_Main Trail Summit  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 21, 2006


Started at 3:30 am, summited by 8:55 am. Great sunrise. Great hike. Want to try the mountaineers route now. Tried to summit Muir on the way back, but was tired and not comfortable doing the class 3 alone,
Posted Sep 5, 2006 3:16 am

BLTMy first 14er, period.  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 31, 2006


Took 3 days, 2 nights and enjoyed it all. Thanks to good fortune with the weather and lots of training hikes, I had no problems.
Posted Sep 3, 2006 12:58 am

jonhershWhitney Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 1, 1998


My first California 14er.
Posted Sep 1, 2006 1:59 am

RockmanFourth and Last  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 30, 2005


Nice to of said I've done the highest.
Posted Aug 29, 2006 5:21 am

mdashMain Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2004


My first California 14er--lucked out and got a permit 2 days before. Day-hiked it. Gorgeous day for the summit.
Posted Aug 26, 2006 6:32 pm

2skinnersHP #2 Mount Whitney Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 16, 2006


Camped at trail camp with SP members brettwilli, rangermatt, and jonnyboots as part of a two day summit bid. Brettwilli and Jonnyboots both summitted on Day one. While rangermatt and I summitted on day two. Very beautiful scenery and a long grueling climb with a large pack. Could be done in a long day with a day pack much easier than lugging a 30 lb pack up to camp in my opinion. Reached the summit about an hour short of sunrise, but well worth getting up early.
Posted Aug 25, 2006 5:54 am

rangermattSunrise  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 16, 2006


Night at Trail Camp, then up on Whitney at 7am. Had the summit to ourselves! (for a bit)
Posted Aug 18, 2006 2:48 am

plumeSunshine Peewee  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 15, 2006


Beautiful climb. Despite Whitney having the cache of being the tallest, this really is a Sierra classic. Will repeat if neccessary, which it no doubt will be in coming years.
Posted Aug 17, 2006 11:28 pm

jonnybootsMain Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 15, 2006


Nice climb. Beautiful weather.
Posted Aug 17, 2006 4:54 am

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