Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Elusive Mount Whitney Peak

Well, we're home. What a weekend.

We left at 4.30am on Friday morning. 7 of us went to hike/camp Whitney. We got our passes and got to the trailhead by 11am.

We hiked 6 beautiful miles up to Trail Camp... the highest point you can hike to and actually still camp at. We showed up at camp around 6pm with about 30 minutes of sunlight remaining.

Oh, back up a second. There was a huge snowstorm a few days ago and there is 3-4 ft. of snow from Trail Camp through the rest of the hike to the peak.

So, we camped at Trail Camp. 10-15 degrees and 30-50 mph wind all night long. 12 hours of non-sleep... for all of us. We all woke up with mild altitude sickness. Sweet.

We talked with some folks who were headed to summit, some who just returned from summiting, and some who turned around... we decided that ice, knee deep snow, and crazy winds were good reasons to not summit on Saturday. We turned around and headed down a day early.

Bummed we were, but tired and ready to get back to some warmth as well. The rangers said to us, "Smart thing to turn around. There's another snowstorm on it's way." That's always a good thing to hear.

So, we came back. No peak this year either. I've now hiked 26 miles on this mountain and not summited. Perhaps next year. Who knows.


Lora said...

Very glad y'all are back and safe. But you sound like a bunch o' wusses...who wouldn't want to spend 12 hours not sleeping on tundra with freezing temps and howling winds?

Ben.. said...


buncha slackers

your glad i didn't come and make all you hike your cold butts to the top of that mountain

snow makes camping that much more fun!


Eric Wakeling said...

That's such a combined bummer and good time. I've been to the summit of Whitney on a beautiful, sunny day when I was about 13 and I still puked about a 1/4 mile from the summit (on the back side of the peak). It was intense on a nice day so I can't imagine it in the snow. I hate sleeping in snow - it truly bums me out. But I'm glad you're alive because that mountain could have been intense.

Mike Stavlund said...

so sorry, my man. That stinks.
I've been to 'Camp Bitterness', as I've called it. It is a beautiful place, but disappointing when you're just sitting there looking at the peak.
When I was there, I tried to hike in the snow up to the next saddle, and just turned around. Glad you did too, or we'd be listening to your album saying, 'Ryan reminds me of RIch Mullins'.