Mount Whitney Dayhike


The last week of August 2004 found my friend Neil F., my oldest son Eric and I headed for Lone Pine California to day hike Mount Whitney. This was going to probably be the greatest one day physical challenge that I had ever faced-- a 22 mile roundtrip hike to an elevation of over 14000' to the highest point in the continental U.S.

Neil and I drove over from Tucson several days early to begin the acclimization to the altitude. Eric drove up from San Diego the day before. We were scheduled to meet and possibly walk with a couple from Tucson who were going to hike on our permit. When we finally met up with them, we found that he had injured himself before leaving Arizona and was not able to hike, and she didn't want to get up early and said that she would meet up with us on the trail--she caught us at Trail Camp, waited for us at the summit and that was the last that we saw of her!

We started the hike in the dark and cold at about 3am. We all had headlights, with Eric having an outstanding LED one, so the trail was pretty visible. We made steady progress passing Lone Pine Lake and Mirror Lake. Dawn found us at Consultation Lake. At Trail Camp village we took a food break and filled up our water bottles. The sun lighting of the wall below Whitney was spectacular! The climb up the 97 switchbacks was steady to Trail Crest and a few hours later we were on the summit, feeling quite tired but very elated! The trail down from the summit was slowed by our letting the steady flow hikers on the uphill pull have the right of way. We returned to Trail Camp where we took an extended break. Our movement from there down to the Whitney Portal trailhead was slow and steady. And we arrived there just before dark--feeling very tired but not destroyed and very proud of our accomplishment.

Celebration was take-out burgers at Carl Jr's in Lone Pine and an early turn in that night.

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