Mount Whitney April 30, 2015

Woke up with my normal routine.  Hot chocolate while the rain fly drys.  I knew I’d run into the Mount Whitney turn off, but I didn’t know if I would have enough time to climb the highest mountain in the 48 states with only a half a day.  I didn’t want to burn a half day, so I needed to push to make to the junction.  I figured a 17 mile round trip to the top and back could be doable if I started before 3pm.  Came upon the junction to the ranger station.  I was feeling side adventure with all the streams going to the ranger station.  The house couldn’t of been placed in a better spot.  Beautiful meadows in the distance with streams flowing on all sides of the station.  Who ever gets to work out here is extremely lucky.  It was just so peaceful which reminded me of GNP.  I checked my papers and it said 6 miles till the turn off.  It was pushing noon and with a solid 3mph pace I could make it to the junction by 2pm.  I had to cook a big meal before climbing to the top of Whitney.  Everything went smooth and fast even with a little time to spare.  Left camp 5 minutes to 3pm.  I knew there would be some huge snowfields, so accomplishing this in the daylight would tremendously help.  I followed streams for a couple miles till they turned into a lake.  After that, it was nothing but straight to the top.  I lost the trail and figured it would have a switchback.  Literally, I was rock climbing to the top.  It was very very scary, the further I went up it kept getting steeper and steeper.  I knew it would take me 3 times as long to go down all they back
down, so I kept climbing.  Far off in the distance I could see the trail.  It just kept going in the same direction, farther and farther from me.  Attempting to angle back to the trail, a rock slipped out from underneath.  It smashed right into my shin.  Instantly, some white stuff coated my wound.  I didn’t know if it was from the rock or what.  It hurt for a couple minutes, but I knew it could get a whole lot worse if I didn’t find the trail.  The crazy thing is, I didn’t even know what mountain Whitney was.  It felt like finding a needle in a hay stack.  I based it on my eye on which mountain looked the tallest.  After and hour of treacherous climbing, I found the trail.  I was so relieved.  Now when I was stuck on the side of the mountain, I contemplated to just come down and not go to the top, because it was getting really late.  I caught my second wind and knew I couldn’t turn back.  After about another 2.5 miles I finally made it to the top.  Looking down on the neighboring mountains was an amazing site to see.  As the sunset, it reminded me of my addictions and exactly why I came to the mountains.  At the top there was an emergency shelter that I wish I would of known about.  It was really nice, one day I will come back to catch the sunrise.  I have heard of a tale about catching the sunrise on top of Mount Whitney.  The tale is if you stand in the right spot with you arms spread out, you can see your 5 mile shadow.  But for now I had to worry about getting off the mountain.  I slack packed all the way to the top, so I had no sleeping bag and no other clothes.  Getting back to camp was a must.  On the way down, I crossed steep snowfields.  I didn’t have crampons or an ice axe, so I picked up to small rocks.  Hoping they would stop me if I started sliding off the mountain.  Glad I never had to find out.  Made it off the steep part, but knew it would still be tricky to find my way back across the three snowy meadows.  After a never ending obstacle day, I made it home.  Found the bear box I stored all my belongings in.

Knotts