In a little less than 6 hours, I’ll be leaving to climb Mt. Whitney, aka the highest peak in the continental US. 14,479ft.
You may be thinking, “This sounds really tough.What have you done to prepare for this?”
Answer: Aside from pack warm clothes…nothing.
As the website will tell you, this hike can be done in a day. Get up before dawn, hike up 11 miles along the Whitney Trail to the top (5-8 hours) and hike back down before nightfall. All in all 22 miles and about 12,000 ft in elevation changes.
As much as I love adventure and mountains, I must admit a few things: I am not such a morning person. And I get loopy at high elevations. When we were on the road to Leh last year (13,497 ft), I tried to copy down my Cambodian visa number twice when they asked for the Indian visa number. So when my friend Marcos asked if I would come along with him and his friends as they did the hike over a weekend instead of a day, I said YES.
Drive to Lone Pine from LA (6 hours). Camp overnight outside of Whitney Portal (8,000ft). Get up late and hike up about halfway (11,000 ft). Eat s’mores. Tell ghost stories. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Hike up the rest of the way (without packs). Take pictures at 14,479ft. Hike back down and drive home. Avoid nosebleeds and altitude sickness.
Here we go!