Mt. 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
Sunrise at Trail Crest Camp
Heading up the 99 switchbacks
Taking a break on the 99 switchbacks
Mike almost to the top of the 99 switchbacks
Ashley on the last switch of the 99 switchbacks
Full squad at Trail Crest, guitar lake below
Ashley on her last push to the summit
Mt. Whitney summit shelter
Mt. Whitney Park Visitor Book. Got to get to the top to sign it!
Waves Gear Squad at the top of Mt. Whitney