Ascent of Mount Whitney on 2016-07-06

Climber: Nick Goumas

Date:Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Whitney
    Elevation:14498 ft / 4418 m

Ascent Trip Report

Got into Lone Pine the day before the hike. My girlfriend and I stayed at the Best Western about a mile north of the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center. After exploring the town a bit and getting some food we decided to head down to the center to pick up my Whitney Zone Pass.

We got there around 4pm thinking we would simply pick up the pass and leave. I was in line with 4-5 other hikers and we were berated a bit by the women working the desk for being late and not reading our emails. Apparently after securing a pass online, you receive an email a couple days before your trip asking to confirm that you will be using the pass. After that you are required to pick up the pass before 12pm the day before it's valid. I totally understand confirming you still want the pass but picking it up early the day before is a bit much. As annoying as the woman was with her spiel, I was grateful she gave me my pass when she didn't have to.

The actual hike.

My girlfriend dropped me off at Whitney Portal at 3am to get a solid start before the sun was up. Previous days in the town were reaching temps of 105°F and I didn't want to experience hiking in that. Being dropped off had the added benefit of not needing a parking pass, which is separate from the zone pass.

Hiking up in the dark was uneventful for the first couple miles. At one point I came around a bend in the trail and almost walked into a small deer. It had almost no fear of humans which was interesting, just looked at me and wandered off.

Got to Mirror Lake area by 7am. Then up to the trail intersection of John Muir by 9am and on the summit by 11am. Only a couple patch of snow. Perfect weather and perfect trail conditions.

The whole hike was pretty uneventful, at least in regard to things I could write about here. It was very different hiking compared to New England, the use of switchbacks everywhere keeps the trail's gain pretty gradual but adds considerable distance. The views were amazing though, I'd love to come back and summit during a two-day trip or possible try the mountaineers route. Lots of interesting stuff to check out.

Was back down in the parking lot by 4pm for a 13 hour round trip time. Not too bad.

When planning the trip I thought a 22 mile day hike was going to be really rough on my legs. I even booked a second night in Lone Pine thinking I would be sore enough to just want to crash afterwards.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5998 ft / 1828 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5998 ft / 1828 m
    Start Trailhead:8500 ft / 2590 m
Descent Statistics

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