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mini location map2020-07-18
26 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Mount Whitney 14,505Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking22.22 Miles 7,204 AEG
Hiking22.22 Miles   11 Hrs   6 Mns   2.15 mph
7,204 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
1st trip
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Back in early March I decided to apply for a day hiking permit and I was surprised to see I was successful. Then Covid hit and I didn't think the trip would happen. Months passed and the date got closer & I was still skeptical. Finally the week of the trip hit and I decided to go for it & I'm glad I did.

I took PTO on Friday and left Phoenix around mid-morning and took my time driving to Lone Pine. I arrived in the evening and grabbed some dinner to go and drove up to Whitney Portal. I ate dinner as night set in & then organized my gear. I'm sleeping in my jeep and I'm going with an alpine start.

After a relatively restless night I got up at 4:10am and I was on trail at 4:30am. The Mount Whitney Trail makes a steady climb right from the start. I was using my headlamp and could see about a dozen headlamps further up trail. I kept at it as light appeared on the horizon. A few minutes later I shut off my light and continued up. I set a steady pace and passed a few small groups. The sun rose and I would pass Outpost Camp and then climbed to Trail Camp. From there it was time for the 99 switchbacks which were relentless. I set a steady pace that slowed as I neared the top.

I eventually arrived at Trail Crest and took a short break. From here it's 1.9 miles and 1,000ft to the summit. This section sound easy but is tough because of the elevation. I would go a few hundred yards and take a short break. I kept at it and played hop scotch with a few group. With much effort I topped off to a relatively crowded summit at 10:30am. Once there I signed the register and took a nice break & admired the views. This is my second time on the summit but first from the Portal side.

After I had my fill I started the return. The top section was a chore but I made steady progress. There are a few short uphill spots near Trail Crest. They are very short but took their toll & felt like a huge climb. I was spent from the hike up and the elevation. I hit the 99 switchbacks and headed down. Most of them are short and easy going. I cruised down and passed Trail Camp and kept heading down. With much effort I detoured over to Lone Pine Lake and took a short break to eat.

The last few miles to the trailhead were work. My legs were spent I wanted to be done. I kept heading down and was delighted to return to the trailhead and then back to the jeep. I was finally done! It was about 3:30pm and I decided to head home. I would spend the next 8+ hours driving and I pulled into home right at midnight. It was a good trip! Mount Whitney is a beast of the hike and took a lot of effort but was worth it!
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