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Update: July 10, 2014

 

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Update:  September 25, 2003  ... same as below except the shower at the Whitney Portal store has been remodeled ... this is the best/hardest Class 1 hike in the US!!!  Check out the weather now.

 

dh.gif (378 bytes)  Mt. Whitney Day Hike – Update August 27, 2002 

Four days after a full moon, clear skies, light wind, and no chance of rain set up for an ideal one day hike to the highest peak in the continental US, Mt. Whitney.  My three previous day treks to the Mt. Whitney peak were 1992-94, stimulating this writer's interest in "extreme day hiking" and thus this site.

A 1AM start was dictated by a aborted attempt to sleep at the Whitney Portal campground.  So, for not the first time, I again undertook a marathon hike without much sleep - and with the same conclusion:  Doesn't seem to matter.  I know it sounds brutal to get started on a mountain that early, but it was great!  I guess this should be called day AND night hike.

The 3/4 moon was positioned perfectly overhead and provided light all the way to the Trail Crest and sunrise.  Trail Camp (12,000 ft) was reached at 4:15AM where a dozen other overnight campers were also starting out for the summit.  Most of them had not slept either and were now a bit envious of the "day hike" model since they had carried their heavy back packs up the day before and would burdened with them later in the day for the descent.

The usual snow and ice spots were gone, another indication of the severe drought in the Southwest.  Wind pants, gloves, and a face mask were very useful, as usual, above 13,000 feet.  It's great to hike when you are not sweating and are not cold.

Arriving at the top at 7:45am was a treat.  The sun was up, the sky was clear, and the panoramic vistas were spectacular.  

The descent was tedious, as always, and not a lot faster that going up (at least for me).  Nevertheless, a 2:30pm arrival at the trail head, a hot shower, a cold beer and a meal at the Camp Store, made it all worthwhile.

Changes since 1994:

day permit for hiking past Lone Pine Lake is now required.

You can reserve a Whitney Portal campground site on-line and by site number.

The Whitney Portal Camp Store (great web site and message board) has been nicely remodeled (1997) and is still a great information source and a restful hangout after the hike.  The one shower room behind the store could use a little remodeling but, at $3 a pop, is still a welcomed amenity.  

Doug, the long time store owner, was quoted on 8/27/02 to an inquiring new hiker:  "Anyone who carries a heavy pack back up to Trail Camp instead of day-hiking this has 2'x4's for brains."  

My sentiments exactly!

 

Ascending Mt Whitney in 6 Hours 45 Minutes

Altitude

Cum.

Mile

Cum.

Time

Whitney Portal

8360

Trail Camp

12039

6.3

3:15

Trail Crest

13777

8.5

5:00

Summit

14496

11.0

6:45

 

 

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