Mt. Whitney in the distance, 10,000' above Owens Valley
A telephoto look at Mt. Whitney from 10,000' below in the Owens Valley (from the town of Lone Pine)
Car camping at the trail head the night before we start the hike
Mt. Whitney as seen from Whitney Portal (the trail head for the hike) on the morning we leave
The official trail head
Off we go - feeling prepared, but a little apprehensive
A short way into the hike, we enter the John Muir Wilderness Area
There were hundreds of stream crossings. Fortunately, the trail gave us some help for the larger ones
A look uphill as we near the tree line
Taking a rest after a couple hours on the trail
A 10 mile area around Whitney is strictly controlled by permit (even for day hikers)
Whitney in the distance
Still lots of snow melt coming down the creeks
Crossing another stream as we arrive at Outpost Camp
A waterfall and the last of the trees at 10.000'
Lots of fresh water. We filled our hydration bladders from this river
One of the sanctioned places you can camp at 10,000'
Whitney over the appropriately named Mirror Lake
Leaving the trees behind
Above the tree line now and taking a rest.
Looking down on Mirror Lake and the last of the trees
Taking a needed break at Trailside meadow. We were pretty exhausted by this point as the trail had become quite difficult and we were feeling the full effects of the altitude.
Another view of Trailside Meadow
The trail (on the right) winding up a steep slope above Trailside Meadow (above 11,000' now)
The trail was obscured by snow in some places.
We had to place our feet very carefully because a slip here would mean a long slide and an uncertain landing.
Nothing but snow and rock
A frozen Consultation Lake
It took us six hours to go six miles and up 4000'. We finally arrived at Trail Camp (our destination for the first day). For more than an hour, this is all we had the energy to do.
We finally got camp set up
Home base for a couple nights
Sunrise on the Whitney Peaks over our camp
A look at "the chute" that we had to climb to get to the summit our second day
Some other hikers out in front of us heading to the chute
Hiking in full crampons now for traction
Beginning our way up the chute. The top of the chute is 13,600'.
Looking up. It may not look that far, but it took more than two hours to ascend the chute
Other hikers out in front of us. We saw numerous people turn back half way up the chute - unable to handle the altitude
Kevin heading up the chute behind me. 25 steps and a rest. 25 steps and a rest. Eventually, it became 5 steps and a rest.
We used hiking poles for balance and push on the way up. Ice axe for safety on the way down.
Other hikers coming up behind us
Taking a much needed break about half way up.
This gives you an idea how steep it really was. I measured the slope in this photo at 45 degrees.
You can see the crampons on our boots for traction in the steep snow