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Mount Whitney - Mountaineer's Route
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mini location map2022-07-15
25 by photographer avatarJim_H
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Mount Whitney - Mountaineer's RouteSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hike & Climb16.00 Miles 6,300 AEG
Hike & Climb16.00 Miles
6,300 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
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Back again for the beast. Been over 11 years since my last time, and almost 14 years since I did this with no snow/winter conditions. Mike got the permit, and I simply had to go. It was Brian's idea, so it was the three of us.

Everyone from our hiking party liked the idea of going up the Mountaineers Route and down the Main Trail. We thought that it would make things more interesting and because the mileage was less we would enjoy it more. I can safely say that none of us feel that way now. About a hundred feet below the notch it started to hail off and on and it continued to do so turning to snow over the next 3 hours. The final 400 is nowhere you want to be in those conditions. Cold, high altitude, wet conditions, slick rock, and fear are something which stays with you. The last 2+ hours were like some of the worst conditions I have experienced on Humphrey in a storm, but with very high altitude and scrambling.

Even before this, I had pretty much thought this was the last time I would ever do this route just because as I'm getting older it's not as much fun. We can blame altitude, but also it's damn steep! Maybe someday many years from now I'll return and hike Whitney using the trail both ways so that I can enjoy a beautiful summit day, but that's probably going to be many many years. If I ever do.

There's an abundance of water despite the drought. Either I had completely forgotten what this area is like in the summer, or because I'm here earlier in the summer water is seeping from lots of rocks and cracks and streams are still flowing really well. Higher up, what I think is called skyrockets had a really nice floral smell. Something I've never smelled before. With the humidity it was quite potent.

I will say that despite now being 13 and 14 years older then the last time I was up here in summer conditions, I moved much faster because of the light day pack. I arrived at upper boy scout lake in about 2 and 1/2 hours and iceberg lake an hour later. Not bad for starting just before 7:00 a.m. It really is nice not to have a heavy backpack.

Unfortunately, the summit was not really that enjoyable because by that point we were in survival mode. There was basically no view to be enjoyed, and I was more concerned about being hit by lightning if we left the shelter. Brian was concerned about his hypothermia. Fortunately, Mike and I were not dealing with that, but everyone was cold.

We knew we were going to get done late and we forced ourselves to leave between about 5:00 and 5:15 p.m. We were able to hike to the bottom of the 99 switchbacks before it got dark but from Trail camp to the trailhead it was slow going by headlamp. And a wonderful 1:00 a.m. finish. Precious memories formed!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Sky Rockets smelled really nice.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max North Fork Lone Pine Creek Medium flow Medium flow

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