Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Mt. Whitney Hike: The Final Push to the Summit (Part 4)

The interesting rock formations to the left of the trail go on for a while, but then disappear as you start to get close to the final ascent.
You can barely see it, but, the trail goes to one of those patches of snow below and then the final 10 minutes is just a zig-zag trail to the top. Somewhere around this point that I finally encountered two people using the trail and passed them up. They complained it was too cold. I agreed, but I had just enough clothes on and had put on some gloves that I was feeling great. Keep in mind that everyone, except for me, this early in the morning had been camping just below at Trail Camp so that would explain why they felt so cold. I had many hours of hiking to keep myself warm since I had come from the portal.
Guitar Lake:
A good shot of what those needles look like from the back side. The Paiutes had a story about a Hawk who plucked two of his feathers to capture and kill a bee that had cause much havok among other animals. These "little Whitney's" are the feathers.
This is looking back south and partly where I had just been. Muir peak is the high point in the picture and can be climbed as a side trip off the main trail...maybe next time.
The base of the mountain and the last 10 minutes of the hike.
It was at this point I said to myself, "it looks like I am actually going to pull this off". I saw the summit hut. I knew my long journey was coming to and end.
However, I decided I was not going to stop until I reached the plaque. Which is just a little further on the other side. When I reached the plaque I stopped, took a drink, and started taking pictures.
There were two people already on top at 8:30am in the morning. Three guys had stayed over night in the summit hut. As I was taking pictures more people came up and I saw a bunch heading up as I went down. The altitude really had no obvious effects on me at all during the whole trip. I never really did any altitude hikes the months going into the hike nor did I train for this at all this year. I do keep myself in okay shape by jogging and taking regular walks, but I felt I could do a lot better time wise if I do this again.