Mt. Whitney

I am always asking my friend Josh when we are going to go camping.

The phone rings one day and the voice on the other end says, "Want to go camping......on a mountain?"

After all the times I have asked him I didn't really think I could say no. So a few months later we were off to climb Mt. Whitney.

Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the continental United States at an elevation of 14,497.61 feet.

I did a lot of aerobic and weight training work before the trip, but that didn't really prepare me enough for this sort of hike.
The air is thinner than it is here in Ohio, so it was a bit harder to breath. I also was not prepared for the reality of my pack weight at 45 Lbs.

It was a great trip even though I did not make it all the way to the top. I figure that I can always try again!

Click pictures to see an enlarged version.

Mt. Whitney in the distance as we drove to our first camp site.
Entering the INYO national forest.
The destination straight ahead in the distance.
It is an 11 mile hike to the summit.
This is the two man tent that Josh and I camped in on the mountain.
This is Trailhead camp at 8,637 feet. It is a drive-up camp at the base of the mountain.
This is our bear canister. We each had one of these.
You have to put anything with a scent, such as personal hygiene items and food into these containers so the bears will not bother them.
The bears have learned that they can not get into these canisters, and so they leave them alone now.
At the Trailhead camp they also have these bear boxes that you can use instead of the bear canister if you want. We put our packs in there the first night.
You can also see my Thermarest air mattress sitting on top of the box. This turned out to be a very good extra pound to carry because it got very cold at night on the mountain. The mattress insulates you a bit from the cold ground while you sleep.
The dreaded WAG bag. So many people hike this trail every year that the few bathrooms on the mountain very rapidly become overwhelmed.
In order to help combat that problem the rangers are requesting that you "pack out your poop" this year in the WAG bag.
A stream about 100 feet from our first camp site.
July, 22 2005 6:55am - The sun coming up on the mountain the morning of our climb.
July, 22 2005 9:46am - Here I am standing at the trail head ready to start my adventure.
This is my friend Josh. I think he is grinning because he knows what he has gotten me into.
This is a picture of me hiking the trail. The scenery there was beautiful.
There were a few small streams to cross. There were generally rocks or logs to walk across.
Here is Josh making the crossing.
This gives you a pretty good idea of what the trail was like on the first day.
Big Horn Sheep Park - A large meadow on the way to Outpost camp.
This is our second camp site of the trip at Outpost camp.
Elevation 10,360 feet, 3.8 miles from the trail head.
The bathrooms at Outpost camp were closed.
Trying to convince you to "pack out your poop".
You pull the bag over the seat and go about your business.
In the morning on the second day of the hike I had pretty bad blisters on the backs of my feet.
Josh duct taped some gauze to them and that seemed to do the trick.
This is Trailside Meadow with some snow cover on the way to the third camp site.
We start to see the last of the trees as we move above the tree line.
This is a good example of what the trail is like on the second day of the hike.
Here I am, far atop Trail Side Meadow.
Trail Camp, elevation 12,039 feet, 6.3 miles from the trail head.
This is unfortunately as far as I made in on my quest for the summit. My right knee was hurting real bad by this point. I am not sure what I did to it. Probably just a combination of the terrain and a heavy pack.
5:07am on the last day of the hike.
I stayed behind at the camp site while Josh went for the summit.
I did not have a mirror with me, and was curious how bad I looked, so I took a picture...Pretty bad.
A lake at Trail camp where we would filter water for drinking and cooking.
Trail camp lake with a view of the path to the summit.
This picture is in conjunction with the one below. It gives you a perspective on the enormity of this mountain.
There are people climbing the 98 switchbacks to trail crest between the two snow packs in the center of this picture.
This picture is a zoom in of the picture above.
If you click on this picture it will open in a bigger version.
If you look very closely you will see people on the trail to the summit.
After you see these people you can get a better feel for how big this mountain really is.
My friend Josh made it to the summit.
There is a book that you can sign at the top.
Josh Rosenheck : First time - second try.
The view from the top!

Even though I did not make it to the summit, it was a great trip!

I am already considering another attempt next year.

I figure with some lighter gear, and some more training, that summit will be mine!