Mt Whitney

September 2016

We went to hike Mt Whitney with some friends at the start of September. Mt Whitney is the tallest mountain in the continental US at 14,505ft.

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We got there on Friday night, camped, and hung out on Saturday before starting our hike during the early hours of Sunday morning. View from the campsite:

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We did a short (40min) hike on the Whitney trail.

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Some odd flora:

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The whole trees were covered with the fuzzy white things.

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The visitor’s center had some extra pancakes they were giving away for free. They were enormous.

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There was a little stream next to our campsite and then a small hill with a great view of Whitney and the surrounding mountains/hills.

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Looking down on the campsite:

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To start the climb, we woke up around 3am to hit the trails early. I think we started on the trailhead around 4am. The trailhead is around 8,000ft. My arms were all tingly from the altitude. Also, it was really, really cold. Here we are stopping to look at the map:

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Right before sunrise:

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Finally there was sun! We were hoping things would warm up.

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Consolation lake:

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You can see tiny tents if you look closely, which are from Trail Camp at ~10k feet. This was our last water stop.

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Then came the infamous 97 switchbacks. By this point I had bad altitude sickness.

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Dmitriy turning the corner of a switchback:

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The peak of Whitney is to the right end of the row of peaks jutting up on the left of this image. Once you get up to the level of the peaks, you walk along Trail Crest to the top of Whitney. The 97 switch backs are what get you up those mountains. Trail Crest is at ~14,000ft.

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It was pretty cold!

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View from Trail Crest.

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Here we are starting off on the Trail Crest. Whitney is the peak on the far left.

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Made it!

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There is a little house on the top. I think its in case people get stuck up there during a storm or something.

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The start of the descent.

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Looking out over what we would have to traverse to get back down:

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The smiling ended here. Altitude sickness kicked in very badly.

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We got off Trail Crest and I started feeling less sick. We got pretty lost at one point because the trails aren’t always clearly marked, and later we got rained on. We were just on the edge of the rain storm, which was hovering up higher on the mountain, so we were very lucky. We got off the mountain and went for pizza. We had been planning to drive back to Santa Cruz that night but instead we rented a hotel room, had hot showers, and went to sleep.