August 16, 2010: Crabtree Junction to Whitney Portal
I set the alarm on my watch for the first time in order to get to the summit of Mt. Whitney as early as possible, but woke up a few minutes before it was to go off. A man at Guitar Lake asked me where the trail to Mt. Whitney was and I told him that we were on it. He didn't seem to believe me even after I showed him the map. He watched as I ascended the switchbacks. I reached the junction with the Mt. Whitney trail and left my pack with those of the other backpackers. I recognized one of the packs that belonged to someone I had met at Vermilion. I took just my camera, my jacket, snacks and a bottle of Gatorade with me to the summit. The view from the summit was incredible. Unlike the passes with higher places to either side, there was a 360 degree view where everything was below including the nearby 14,000 foot peaks. The town of Lone Pine, CA was visible over 10,000 feet below. While eating a candy bar, I noticed a fat marmot sitting at my feet and watching. I saw the hiker that I knew from Vermilion and we talked for a while. After enjoying the summit for about 30 minutes, I started the 6200 foot descent to the trailhead. The two brothers who had been hiking at a similar pace were headed up as I was going down. I will probably never know if many of the hikers I met along the way would make it the entire way to Mt. Whitney, but I hope they were successful. Many of the day hikers headed up the mountain looked miserable.
next page: Travel
Mt. Whitney as seen from Timberline Lake
Lone Pine, CA as seen from the summit>/font>
Mt. Whitney summit building
view from Mt. Whitney