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Mount Whitney continued (Use the "BACK" button on your browser to go back)

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Too many damn switchbacks! View from near Trail Camp (12000+ ft) looking up towards the endless switchbacks. There are nearly 100  switchbacks, mostly because you go only about 8 feet either direction at a time (a slight exaggeration, perhaps.) The path ascends gentler rocky slopes just left of center (near red line), avoiding most of the slope showing snow. Above the switchbacks is Trail Crest, where you cross the crest of the Sierras, go behind the rock needles and head right. I carried crampons and axe but really needed only my ice-axe here.

 

A party on switchbacks A party of three on the switchbacks above Trail Camp, with lovely deep blue sky above. I was joined by another soloist, Mark, from Los Angeles (a mere 2 hrs drive away). He used a heavy camera tripod for an ice-axe; I used my ice-axe for a camera tripod! Duh!

 

Keeler Needles.jpg (79590 bytes) Keeler Needles near Trail Crest. A bit of cloud appearing now... Temperature was about 10 degrees C or 50 degrees F with a slight wind. A smattering of fresh snow covered the trail at this height.

 

Near Trail Crest.  Near Trail Crest on the west side of the Sierra Range in Sequoia National Park. We passed a party of four, huffing along. Like Mark, they had camped at Trail Camp.

 

On top of old Whitney.jpg (67170 bytes) (Click to see bigger and uglier) The summit of Whitney is a huge flat area with a building on top. The summit area is almost as big as Mount Rainier, bigger than Robson and way bigger than The Matterhorn! Considering that in excess of 200 people summit in an average summer day, it's lucky the top is huge. My ascent time was about 6.5 hours from Whitney Portal, thanks to being in decent physical shape, prior acclimatization on nearby peaks and a light day pack. Click here for suggestions for doing Whitney in one long day. Round trip time was 12.5 hours including 1 hour on top.

A hot shower at the Budget Motel in Lone Pine was a fine ending and after that I was headed back home to Calgary, Canada, my beloved Rockies and looking forward to doing some ski-touring and peakbagging there. 


For more Whitney info, check out the U.S. Highpointers Club and http://www.americasroof.com/ca.html

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All photos copyright by the author 1999.