Ascent of Mount Whitney on 2017-08-02

Climber: Andrew Mack

Others in Party:Kaitlyn Murray
Date:Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Whitney
    Elevation:14498 ft / 4418 m

Ascent Trip Report

Turns out it's not as hard to get permits as those of us who live outside of California thought. I was turned down in the lottery two years in a row, but found two open online for August 2nd and snatched them immediately. We arrived on the 31st and got a campsite at Whitney Portal. Many of the people I spoke with there had gotten their permits that day and FREE! When I went down to get the actual permits on the 1st there were no less than 40 open permits. If you can stand the stress of not having a reservation, you might think about taking the chance and just going. My experience says its a good bet.

A bit of a disclaimer--I got sick on this hike. I have never had altitude sickness before, and have been above 14 in Colorado, but around 13,000 I got the worst nausea of my life. I had to walk about 100 feet and stop the rest of the way up. My poor daughter was probably bored waiting as she felt fine. We acclimatized for two days and I had drunk plenty of water, but I still got sick. Sometimes there's just no reason and it simply happens.

Now for the hike: We had gone to bed at about 6 pm trying to get some rest and did actually fall asleep for a time , but were awakened at 10:30 pm by our neighbors shouting at a bear in their campsite. They had apparently been cooking burgers and were surprised that a bear had smelled the grilling aroma--go figure. Anyway, sleep over with and the bear gone, we got ourselves together and hit the trail at 2 am. With our headlamps on, the first three hours were a bit of a blur, but we did meet a nice group who had hiked it two weeks earlier from San Diego. Actually, we sort of hiked with them the rest of the way and they gave me many Tums and salt pills--very kind people all along this hike.

The sun came out just before the trail camp along the meadow area. In the middle of the switchbacks is where I started feeling sick, but we (I) trudged along to the trail crest. Thinking we were close was a mistake here as walking along the back toward the summit is 1.9 miles and some elevation. The last half mile was tough for me as the snowfield covered most of the trail and the hike is straight up through many cairns placed by other hikers. We arrived at the top and took some photos, had some granola and headed back down.

The downhike was uneventful and we arrived back at our campsite about 5pm: 15 hours total. Would have been shorter if not for my slowing us down near the top. It's not a difficult hike, but some might see it as a little long. Beautiful views from the top. The jets from the nearby Air Force base screaming through the canyons take a little away from the natural beauty, but maybe most won't hear as many as we did.
Summary Total Data
    Route:Whitney Trail
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:8 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:6 Hours 30 Minutes

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