Day 3: Mt Whitney Trek departure...
Lone Pine Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
Mt Whitney wake-up call @ 2am, temp is 46 degrees, elevation 8350 feet, and the moon is nearly full. The girls are making coffee and packing last minute items while I ate my P&J sandwich. Camp is wrapped up last minute check list complete, lets rock & roll.
Well it's 3:30am as we're weighing in at the trail head. Mindy's pack weighed in at 25lbs while mine at only 19lbs... she had 6lbs more of food, we just might have to help her eat some. The summit is 11 miles with over 6000 ft gain in elevation, and thats only halfway, It's 22 miles round trip. The average time for the trekker who attemps this in one day is 15-16 hrs.
Shortly after we hit the trail we broke of into pairs, Nichole & myself and Mindy & Heather.
As we approached the first base camp the sun was beginning to rise, this was the most beautiful sight to see.
The last 1.9 miles seemed like eternity but we made it, yes we reached the summit in just 6.5 hrs. One last thing for me was to do 100 push-up without stopping on the summit (14,496'). Breathe baby Breathe... oxygen is thin up here. OMG! What was I thinking, I'm only halfway! Nichole and I relaxed for a short time took some pics and ate lunch.
The way down was very hard on the body. My feet and knees were taking a beating as well as my head was starting to pound and getting a little light headed, Nichole was feeling the same symtoms. It was the altitude starting to take show its affects. On the way up your heart rate is high pumping lots of oxygen to the brain and on the way down your heart rate drop as well as the flow of oxygen creating the headaches and feeling of dizziness.
As we started the switchbacks on the way down I decided to count them, all 99 were there.
This trip down seemed like eternity. Most of the trip down was not so familiar because we started well before sunrise. At one point we came accross some hikers and asked them how far it was to the trailhead (my guess was 2 miles) and they said 5.5 miles. I felt like we'd been hiking for days. Our goal was to be down before dark. Soon after what seemed like hours we finally saw civilization, we're almost there.
We were greeted by many people as we arrived, people who were planning on doing the trek the next morning. I wanted to make sure I encouraged everyone that it was worth it and I did. I have to say though, this was one of the hardest thing I've did in my life physically. I'm in extremely great shape but this was a butt kickin'. It took us 12hr and 10min round trek, the average being 16hrs. I was asked by many if I'd do it again and my reply was " tommorrow but I'd camp half way and do in in 3 days".
Nichole and I were so exausted at this point, we headed over to the portal store to enjoy something cold to drink while we waited for the other girls. The sun was beginning to set as they arrived, "Congrats Girls we did it!"
It was time to go find some dinner and a place to shower. There was a local hostel in town with showers for 5 bucks, it felt so good. This was a life changing experience for all of us. I could not have did it with a better group of people. Thank you Mindy, Heather and Nichole for the invite and sharing this incredible Spiritual journey with me. I am blessed to have you girls in my life.