Just a quick mention regarding my third venture to the summit - sweet.
7/26 Portal campground
7/27 Trailhead to Trail Camp (5.5 hours)
7/28 Trail Camp to Summit (4 hrs) to Trail Camp (2 hrs) to Portal (4 hrs)
Went with two great guys I met via the Message Board, glad it is the resource that it is.
7/27 was a great day, mild temps, great sun, which became relentless at TC; to be expected. Night temps dropped to upper 30s, day temps were 80 in the sun, 60 in the "shade" of clouds.
Woke early for first light to ascend, weather was holding but threatening...reached the summit by 10:30 am and stayed until around 11:30 am...storms were coming in; already in full force around the peak. Made for great photos, but there was a need to get off the hill; hail hit just about Trail Crest, and was strongly intermittent for the duration of the descent...Upon arriving at TC to pack, found that my tent was pooled in water left behind from hail and rain...luckily everything inside was totally dry, must say, great to have the bathtub flooring. Packed quickly and headed out, getting off the hill. Feet were a bit sore, new boots, save the lecture, I know, and knew, it was a necessary risk - duct tape rocks - no blisters.
Passed many who were out for the day hike or just cruising around, shook my head to a few and passed a little warning about the weather which they could not see...General rule I follow is the old BSA motto of Be Prepared...this made the descent in the much publicized thunder/lighenting/hail/rain all the more tolerable. It is times like this that I am grateful to "have it versus needing it".
All in all, great time, great company, great views, great trip...