On July 15 I had a great adventure and climbed Whitney twice in one day. I figured I’d make the most out of my day hiking permit. Departed at 0200 with my new BD 4-LED headlamp (great light!! Thanks to my good friend Jim Knight, first guy to fastpack the JMT and purveyor of fine illumination accoutrements at Black Diamond) and made good time until trail camp (mile 4) where I got disoriented for about ten minutes. Finally regained the trail and kept pressing on. I must have been tired from a 25-mile run two days before, since I had a hard time really pushing my heart rate. Thought I could break 3 hours, but the trail did a whoop-de-do at 13,700' and loses 200' at a saddle, so I just slowed down and settled for an initial split of 3:24 (11 miles, 6350' climb).
Descended at a run and made the trailhead in just over 6:00 total elapsed, bone dry (went through three bottles!). Got filled up at my truck and put on the big bladder pack with an extra hand bottle–figured that would be enough. Ate pistachios for the first hour to keep away hyponatremia and drank like a pig in the heat. Time was looking good until about 13,000', even with lots of photo stops to check out the incredible scenery I missed on the way up the first time. Kept getting really weirded out because the whole trail is granite, and the only other granite trail I run is the Grand Canyon double cross, where you hit granite in the inner gorge. But on this granite it was cooler, with no air, and no desert smells. Trust me--it was weird. Turns out I would prefer the Big Ditch–my times on the double are usually about 12:00 (45 miles, 9800' climb), and on Whitney I was really struggling to stay ahead of that pace. Lack of air really punched me the second time, combined with the heat. Only managed a 3:44 on the second summit, and I drank ALL of my water by the time I got to the top! Luckily could fill up at a snowbank on the summit ridge. At that point I gave up on getting a good time and basically walked down–very little running. Made it down in 3:45, for a total of 14:04 (44 miles, 13,100' climb).
Didn’t feel too bad, since it was my first time on the mountain. Would really like to go back and get a sub-3:00 to the summit, now that I know what to expect. But permits are scarce . . . . I recommend the mountain to any 14er bagger, or an ultra runner looking for a good training run. Sublime scenery, and the permits keep the crowds down.
Splits were as follows:
First summit: 3:23:53
Start second ascent: 6:23:40
Second summit: 10:09:43
Begin 2nd descent: 10:33:08 (enjoyed the view a bit!!)
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