Prologue

 

After attempting Mt. Rainier, I was looking for another fun climb. I decided on Mt Whitney in California. The climb (really a walk up) can be done unguided. There is spectacular scenery. The biggest plus is that it is the highest point in the lower 48 states. Denali in Alaska is the highest for the United States.

My friend, Mark, that climbed Mt. Rainier with me, opted out. He thought Mt. Whitney wasn't enough of a challenge for him. So I recruited Andrew and his wife Kristina. Neither had done any high altitude hikes. 

Whitney limits the number of climbers on the mountain via a permit system. To get a permit you must submit an application by February. So I sent the permit request in. I chose broad dates for when I wanted a permit. I first tried for any 2 night permit in August, July, or September. Then I went down to one night in the same three months, and finally one day in the same time period.

I got lucky and got my first choice. Two nights camping in August. So the date was set.  The next tasks were to gear up and get back in shape.

Being a fairly new camper, I had a few items to buy. I bought Mark's old Sierra Clip Flashlight CD tent, new pack, summit pack, and a host of smaller items. Andrew and Kristina were starting from scratch. The had to buy a ton of stuff. They will be getting a big REI rebate this year!

I have to admit, I didn't train like I did for Mt. Rainier. I spent most of my time doing cardio and stairs at the Duke University Football stadium. The steps will kick your butt. I got Andrew and Kristina to do them also. It really helps work the legs. I also did a few training hikes at Pilot Mountain. One of my biggest mistakes, was not eating properly. When I train I get really hungry. I ended up gaining weight even though I was spending hours each week working out. Next time I train I'm going to watch the weight very carefully. It sucks to carry extra weight up a tall mountain for no real reason.

Below is a map of the trail we will take.