Ascent of Mount Whitney on 1981-08-08

Climber: Alden Holmes

Date:Saturday, August 8, 1981
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Whitney
    Elevation:14498 ft / 4418 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my first State High Point some 37 years ago. When I started using Peakbagger, I only entered peaks that I had a record of the date I summitted. I never entered this one because I was pretty sure of the year, but couldn't pin point it for sure ... until tonight. I was going through some old pictures an old friend from Boy Scouts had given me, and there it was, I picture of me and our Hike Master sitting either side of the Mt. Whitney sign, dated August 8, 1981 (elevation on the sign read 14,496.811 ft). I was a long haired 17 year old at the time, and I still remember the trip like it was yesterday. We entered the Sierra at Onion Valley on Saturday August 1st; went over Kearsarge Pass; turned south at Bullfrog Lake; through Forester Pass; a couple of nights in the Wallace Basin; a night at Guitar Lake; then out over Whitney ... at least that was the plan. A series of events left one of the adults with a bum knee just before heading up Wallace Basin, so four of us broke off from the rest of the group, passed up the layover day, and headed straight out at a much slower pace. The first night on our shortened trip out, my dad had horrible pain and was throwing up, so my dad and the adult with bum knee ended up getting flown out by helicopter. The remaining two of us hiked back to the rest of the group and ended up having a beautifully clear day on the top of Whitney. Much different than my two previous attempts (at age 12 and 15) where there was a blizzard and high winds when we went over the pass. So we hike straight out and didn't make an attempt at the peak either time.
As a side note, my dad had passed kidney stones that night, and was pretty much fine after their helicopter ride. He continued backpacking with the Boy Scouts well into his 70's. He's the one that got me started on this little hobby and inspired me to lead my son's troop on several Sierra Treks.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Nights Spent:8 nights away from roads

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