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andyandbriar.com - 7-27-07 Mt Whitney Summit Hike, CA

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Home > 7-27-07 Mt Whitney Summit Hike, CA

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32 views...and about 72 degrees warmer!
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36 viewsDriving back to Las Vegas through Death Valley, about 14,700 feet lower in altitude (!!) than 24 hours previous...
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34 viewsFacing West towards the Whitney Portal canyon.
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41 viewsLeaving Whitney Portal, still over 7000 ft altitude.
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23 viewsBreakfast at the Whitney Portal Camp store early the next morning. Biggest pancakes I've ever seen!
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26 viewsFirst drizzle, then sleet, then ice pellets/hail, then SNOW mixed in! Soaked to the bone in minutes. I tucked the camera away and ran down the hill. What took just over 8 hours to climb took just under 5 hours (!) to descend!
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37 viewsNote the weather change in only moments. Minutes later, yes, that is water rushing down the trail. Unbelievably slippery.
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15 viewsSwitchbacks look just as evil on way down... Even more so when ice storm rolls in...
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13 viewsJubilation, just off the summit. For the final short push to the summit we had stashed our bags and took only water, cameras, and the GPS. Camera facing NE.
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21 viewsStarting down, just off the peak. Remember, the goal wasn't the summit, the goal was back where we started! Doug & Heather, camera facing North.
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12 viewsMarker plaque at summit. The summit height has since been re-evaluated, and according to Wikipedia is currently listed at 14,505 ft.
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27 viewsBrian and Chris at summit.
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28 viewsAll of us at summit. Camera facing South, Ice storm rolling in from West! We didn't realize how this would affect our decent until an hour later.
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46 viewsDoug at summit- camera facing North. The small hut is for emergency lightning protection. Hikers die every year from lightning strikes. On the West side of the hut, a geo-cache and logbook for hikers. The entries and notes were interesting. They would make a good book!
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29 viewsHeather dangles her feet. After what we had just traversed, hanging from the edge seemed like childs play.
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22 viewsQuiet contemplation at summit. Call it cliché if you want, but it was spiritual.
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24 viewsThe summit, camera facing South. Utter exhaustion. 12:11PM, 14,505 ft. 8 hours & 11 minutes of hiking. Approx. 10.2 miles distance to summit. Almost 6200 feet of altitude gain. 94 switchbacks (one way!). Just shy of 100 oz of water consumed thus far.
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22 viewsOn the edge of this ridge, the air was clear and cold. Only feet away, zero visibility in the billowing cloud. Surreal.
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25 viewsDoug & Heather, 3 ridges from the summit. The rocks were loose under our feet. Not to be overly dramatic, but there is no wonder how people fall to their death here. Note the clouds, still billowing upward like steam from a cauldron. Again, the size of and distance to the clouds is deceiving.
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18 viewsExposure like I've never experienced.
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29 viewsDid I mention it was rocky? Heather picks her way along. My mantra the last few miles: Slow & Steady.
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29 viewsThis picture faces East in between the pointy ridges near the summit. Complete exhaustion, I could barely force a smile. The trail is very narrow here, and a wrong step in either direction means quite a plummet.
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28 viewsAndy just left of center, Chris behind. Very rocky. Camera facing south. We hopscotched each other the last 2 miles. I thought I would be last to summit, but I ended up passing everybody but Doug.
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43 viewsBeyond Trail Crest, the trail cuts North to the summit. 13,700 ft, 10:43AM (Yes, it took hours to climb the last few hundred feet.) The views are breathtaking, but the exposure is treacherous. One misstep, and you would have plenty of time to think about it on your way down. Note the clouds heading West, slamming into the face of the summit, and curling straight upwards to the sky.
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