Adventures: One Day Summit of Mt. Whitney

Adventures: One Day Summit of Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney from the trail headMt. Whitney from the trail head

Earlier this summer, the Waves squad headed out to summit Mt. Whitney. Located in the Inyo National Forest in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states standing 14,505 ft tall. We had done a little bit of research about hiking the trail, what to pack and so forth, but more or less had no clue what we were getting ourselves into.

After making the decision to hike Whitney, just 1.5 months out, overnight permits for the summer were taken, which left the option to summit in 1 day. Completing the round trip hike in one day meant 22 miles with over 6,600 ft of elevation gain. Sounded intense and we did not have much time to train, but we were all in.

We arrived at the Whitney Portal Campground late Monday afternoon where we had reserved a spot for the night. After setting up camp, we met Rick and Julie, new friends and Whitney veterans, at the campsite next to ours. Prepared with maps, trail markers, and GPS, Rick and Julie asked us if we wanted to head out with them at 1 am. We happily and luckily agreed. (Rick, Julie, if your reading this...THANK YOU!)

After cooking a bomb dinner of pasta and veggies, we attempted to fall asleep before dark in hopes of getting a few decent hours of sleep before waking up at midnight to get going. With a possible storm moving in the next afternoon, we wanted to make sure we did not miss our chance to summit. Midnight arrived before we knew it and we were on our way.

After 8 hours on the trail we made it to the summit around 9 am, 7 hours after that we finished the hike. 15 hours after we started, we were enjoying one of the best burgers ever at the Whitney Portal Store. We all agreed that summiting Mt. Whitney was one of the most strenuous athletic challenges any of us had accomplished. We crossed snow covered passes, traversed mountain streams, climbed 99 switch-backs, and stepped on more loose and sharp rock than thought was possible. Our muscles ached, our feet were bruised, and we could barely move. Yes it was hard, but in the end, when we were leaving this amazing place, all we wanted to know was what we were going to summit next.

If you are thinking about summiting Mt. Whitney, shoot us an email, we would love to help you out any way we can.

Mt. Whitney first snow traverse Mt. Whitney first snow traverse

Sun begin to rise at Trail Crest CampSunrise at Trail Crest Camp

Sun Rise from begining of 99 switchbacks on Mt. WhitneyHeading up the 99 switchbacks

Taking a break on the 99 switchbacks on Mt. WhitneyTaking a break on the 99 switchbacks

Get close to the top of the 99 switchbacks on Mt WhitneyMike almost to the top of the 99 switchbacks

top of 99 switchbacks on mt whitneyAshley on the last switch of the 99 switchbacks

mt whitney trail crest, guitar lake belowFull squad at Trail Crest, guitar lake below

last push to the top of mt whitneyAshley on her last push to the summit

mt whitney summit shelterMt. Whitney summit shelter

Mt Whitney Park Visitor BookMt. Whitney Park Visitor Book. Got to get to the top to sign it!

Waves Gear Mt Whitney SummitWaves Gear Squad at the top of Mt. Whitney


Very ambitious and very cool. The next Grizzly Adams!

Kevin O

Great story. I need to set up an adventure like this one. I purchased my first pair of waves floating sunglasses in 2011 and I still have the same pair! Since my sunglasses were so durable, I decided to purchase more waves gear (forevercold water bottle, more sunglasses for different styles and the waterprooof bag) and without a surprise they have all exceeded my expectations. Thank you waves gear! Can’t wait to see what products you come out with next.


Just so much fun. Great climb.

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