Mount Whitney

1999 October

Climb Mount Whitney

For her 54th birthday my mother decided that she wanted to climb Mount Whitney in 1 day. Along for the ride were my dad, my brother, his friend Kyle Spooner from the Navy, and myself. We all made it except for my dad who chickened out and didn’t even attempt it. In hindsight we made very good decisions in the execution of the hike except in one regard; my dad, mother and myself slept in a motel in Lone Pine the night before the hike (El. 3,700 feet) rather than camping at Whitney Portal (El. 8,360 feet) and paid the price by not giving our bodies time to acclimate.

The date we went up was October 15th, the first day that permits are not required. I was too nervous to sleep the night before the hike so didn’t mind getting up and leaving many hours before the sun came up. A large train of people had the same idea and we all headed up in the dark. I don’t remember when we reached the summit, but I began to get headaches very early on and it was very dark and late by the time we got back down to Whitney Portal.

It all seems pretty simple from the looks of this map. Go east (and up!) from Whitney Portal then at Trail Crest go north (and up!). Oh yes, you have to go back as well.

It took a really long time to get to Trail Crest but the stretch from here up to the summit seemed to go on forever. The worst part was when people on their way down would tell us how far we still had to go. Shut up, shut up, shut up!

But we made it! Hooray. From left to right we have me, Will, Mom, and Kyle Spooner.

It is hard to balance on 1 foot on the top of the lower 48 states. Next time I'm going to wear purple spandex like the guy to my left (your right).

Mom starts heading down from the summit.

A great shot of the 99 (or 106, I can't remember) switchbacks that lead to Trail Crest. Luckily, for us, we are headed down.

This section of the trail has ice all year so cable railings have been installed.