Day 68: 6/15/14, Mt Whitney Summit!

Miles hiked: 12.1 (round trip from Guitar Lake to the summit, then down to Crabtree Ranger Station)
Camped at: Crabtree Ranger Station with Dust Bunny and many other thrus

I’m on top of the world! Or, at least the continental US ;).

I am so proud of myself for summiting my first 14er while still having a dry hacking cough left over from bronchitis, and asthmatic lungs not at 100% yet. Granted, I went less than 1mph above 13000 feet, and only had day pack essentials with me, but I made it! 4 hrs and 40 mins to go 4 1/2 miles up. It was SO cold and windy up there – in all the pictures I’m bundled up along with everyone else. Even breathing at 14,505 feet is a chore, much less hiking, or trying to jump for a photo op :). Many MANY thanks to both Randi and Randy from San Diego who I leapfrogged with the last 2 miles up, and Dust Bunny, a thru I met at the last snow traverse, for taking photos of me when my phone died!



Future PCT-ers, unless you have breathing concerns like I did and want to give yourself more time on the climb, I recommend base camping at Crabtree Ranger Station campsite rather than hauling your pack the extra 3 miles up to/back down from Guitar Lake. GL is a beautiful area indeed, but maybe spend some time on your way back down from Whitney – it was very windy at GL and I was lucky to get a sheltered spot.

Climbing the switchbacks up to the junction with the Whitney Portal trail on the other side of the mountain, I felt like I was literally the only person on the mountain. Amazing sunrise reflecting the surrounding mountains in Guitar Lake and the other alpine lakes, the moon setting, it was all spectacular views as I huffed and puffed my way ever upwards. Only when I was close to the junction did I begin to meet the sunrise summiteers coming down – hardy souls! I leapfrogged with several day hikers after the junction, as I traversed a few short snowy areas and boulder-y spots. Nothing overly difficult or scary. I did put the microspikes on once, but more because it looked icy and that I wanted to use them since I hauled them all the way up! Major kudos to the trail builders and maintainers – truly amazing what they are able to do on this sheer rock walls, so high up. Looking up at the mountain now,
I can’t quite believe I was up there, just wow.




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