Climbing Mount Whitney

Trip Start May 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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, California,
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This morning we were up at 11:30 pm preparing for the hike. At 12:02 am we started out hike up the mountain. At 2:30 am we found a campsite on the mountain, where about 15 tents were set up. Going up the mountain we could see almost every star in the sky, even the Milky Way! On the way up, we could see headlights on some of the switchbacks below us and two above us. Around 4:30 am we started to slow our pace and stop every three switchbacks. The altitude started to kill us and we started to get early signs of altitude sickness. We started feeling loopy and at one point our lips started to turn blue. We could see the sun start to come up at 4:45 am, but only the twilight. We walked to the other side of the mountain to follow the trail. I haven't seen so many rocks in my life! At 6:00 am we finally reached the summit. We watched the sunrise, found a warm place to sleep, and took a nap on the rocks at 14,505 feet. We woke up at 9:20 am to about 60 people screaming and clapping for people who were coming up the summit. After taking pictures and looking around we headed down the mountain. We ended up adding two miles and going to see Guitar Lake. After turning around and finding the trail again, we headed all the way down and all of us got sunburned on the way back down. It took us 17 hours to hike 24 miles, counting the nap and time on the summit. We celebrated by going to McDonald's and eating everything. That night we went to bed at 9:00 pm. We were dead tired.

"By the time we got within striking distance to the summit, we were all struggling. The rapid increase in elevation over such a short period of time was taking its toll. It got to the point where we would walk until our quads started burning, which would be about 30 seconds, and then stop for a minute. By the time we reached the top, we had broken up and were strung out with a decent gap between each of us. The moments immediately following this are blurry. I remember appreciating how beautiful the sunrise was and sitting near an edge on the summit to drink it in. I would later learn that Matt and Eric had eventually found a spot where someone had stacked rocks up in a circle to block the wind. I did not find this spot and apparently decided to fall asleep right where I was. Three hours later I woke up to the sound of a couple sitting near me, popping open a bottle of champagne in celebration of something. They must not have noticed me because when I sat up a few feet away, I scared them quite a bit. Once we all woke up from our naps, we met and spoke with some PCT hikers. We were exhausted by the time we got back to the trailhead." –Evan          
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Greg Stinson on

That's pretty cool, a view that most don't get to experience in person!

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