Ascending Mt. Whitney

The desert has come to an end. As we hiked our way up into the Sierra Nevada our jaws dropped at the beauty we saw around us. We haven't managed to pick our jaws back up yet. 60 miles later we found ourselves at the trail juncture that would lead us up to the top of the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney. At 14,505 feet, it's a doozy. There are an endless number of ways to "do Whitney," and we thought it would be cool to ascend in the afternoon to see the sunset, sleep in the Smithsonian shelter at the summit overnight, watch the sunrise and then descend that morning. 

Sleep didn't come too easily, but what do you expect at 14,000 feet sleeping head to toe in a small hut? No worries though, we kind of expected that. It was worth it. 

The morning was bitter cold and windy, but nothing could dampen our spirits as the sun began to rise over the eastern Sierra. 

Then our friends started showing up. One by one, Bomber, Siesta, Butters, Cheese, Midway, Barbie, Freedom, Friendrik, Washpot and Baggins reached the summit, each of them having started in the wee hours of the morning. We all crammed ourselves back into the hut to celebrate the reunion. Soon enough, however, it was time for us to head back down the mountain. 

The views were awe inspiring, completely breathtaking. Or was that the lack of oxygen that was breathtaking? Who knows. It was astounding. But enough of my jibber jabber. Why don't I show you. 

 The valley below. 

The valley below. 

 West of Whitney. 

West of Whitney. 

 Half'n'Half pushes through the struggle of breathing at high altitude. 

Half'n'Half pushes through the struggle of breathing at high altitude. 

 Soap Box being epic most of the way up. 

Soap Box being epic most of the way up. 

 The teeth near the summit. 

The teeth near the summit. 

 WE MADE IT. 

WE MADE IT. 

 Obligatory group photo on the summit. 

Obligatory group photo on the summit. 

 Sunset did not disappoint.  

Sunset did not disappoint.  

 What strange things are amok outside the shelter? I think it best to stay warm in the hut. 

What strange things are amok outside the shelter? I think it best to stay warm in the hut. 

 Soap Box, Half'n'Half and Pedi (me) bundled in our bags at dawn.   Photo/Quinoa

Soap Box, Half'n'Half and Pedi (me) bundled in our bags at dawn. 

Photo/Quinoa

 Cheese feeling victorious. 

Cheese feeling victorious. 

Cheers, 

Jonathan