Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mt Whitney

My turn to chime in. Now that you all know what ABC stands for and other not-so-true facts about my pick-up lines in college, I need to get dibs on some blog space before women take it over forever.
So here's the story. My hero, Troy, must have known I was a High Sierra fanatic (to the point that if we had another girl I would have named her Sierra) said a few guys dropped out from work for the trip and offered me a spot. Well, I asked my boss and I told myself to go, so I did. We took off to Lone Pine and played around in the Alabama Hills located near the Mt Whitney Portal. Interesting rocks there. We then went up to the actual trail head and found a slot to camp for the first night to help us acclimate to the altitude. They are very bear aware there and for good reason. I had one rub up against my tent and try to eat my camera and stove. Go Bears! But we left unharmed the next morning up the mountian hiking 6 miles and climbing 4000 ft in altitude. Not an easy hike, especially with a 40 lb pack. I've done a lot of trails and this was no cake-walk. We went through a few waterfalls and lakes but eventaully settled at a place called Trail Camp above all vegetation and trees at 12,000 ft. See Photos Here
It was only 1PM Thursday and thought we could chill the rest of the day and maybe jump in the lake, but massive rain storms and hail kept us tent bound, wet, and kinda bummed. It wasn't until 8PM that it eased up and made for some cool pics of the face we were about to climb the next day of Mt Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous USA.
I had enough food but everyone was very generous and shared much of theirs since some had overpacked. I scored some rasberry dessert from Troy and other yummy variables too.
One of our fellow campers, Scott from South Africa, thought it would be cool to conquer Whitney super early to watch the sunrise. Watch the sunrise from on top of the world at 14,496 ft? Sign me up. So we were up and hiking from 2AM Friday up the 99 switchbacks next to our camp. Some of us were sick and had a rough night but they were all awesome. After about 20 min I realized that I really wanted to have a light like Troy's since mine was no brighter than a spark you get when biting a life saver. So I stashed my light and went by the moonlight. WOW! Nothing but stars and moon to light my path up narrow trails with 1000 ft cliffs on the sides. Nonetheless, it was rather peaceful. I had my iPod, but before you all think I'm anti-nature for bringing it, know that I was listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. How much better could it get. I had some great meditative moments as I was hiking on top of the world in the dark. See Photos Here
So after we accended the switchbacks we circled the back side of the mountain and jimmied around slippery rock trails with again, cliffs on the sides. But with much persistence, we mounted the summit by 5:30 AM and awaited the sunrise. With ice around us from the previous day's rain, we estimate it was about 27˚F. Ya, cold. We had to wait another half hour for the sun but it was worth it. To think that for a moment I was higher than anyone in North America was awesome.
We headed back down 5 miles to camp, some of which I ran to try and get some altitude training for my Tahoe half-marathon (which was a mistake) and then packed up and made the remaining 6 miles down to the trail head totalling 16 miles for the day. We jumped in the stream to clean up and it was awesomely cold.
then I drove home and was locked out of the house for a few hours, so once again my hero fed me. What a great time, glad that I did it, not sure I'll do it again.See Photos Here


Anonymous said...

very nice pics, great write up. no hd documentary, sundance film festival entry quality film available?

Ali D. said...

He's my hero too! Great documentation. Loved the pictures. May try to steal a few for my blog.

Rob*Sheena*Jonah*Lucy said...

Those pics are AMAZING! I was cold just looking at them.