Hiking Mt. Whitney
After a rough sleep, woke up and made the rest of the hot dogs from the night before (aka, trying to avoid letting food go to waste!). Dave took off by 6:30am as he was hiking Whitney in one (long) day, while Travis and I had a little more time to relax before meeting Mike and his family at Whitney Portal.
Weighed our packs (28lb for Mike, 32lb for Travis, 37lb for Brian), then trekked into some of the most beautiful backcountry we'd see. High mountain meadows (Bighorn Park?), a gorgeous lake or two (Lone Pine Lake is very picturesque), log bridges, a nice waterfall (by Outpost Camp), and that's all barely halfway to Trail Camp!
Get higher in elevation, up a few more switchbacks, and mostly past the tree line by Mirror Lake, into some of the last little mountain meadows by Consultation Lake. Enjoy the thin air as we hit 12,000 feet at Trail Camp and the bare, tree-less ground. While the area up by Trail Camp is windy and bare, even a few hundred feet lower are lovely little meadows. 4 hours even (plus stops), 6 miles, and 3,600 feet climbed til we found a campsite and pitched our tents.
Caught DAsh on his way back down the mountain-- doing Whitney in a day almost sounded good because carrying only 10~12lb is a hell of a lot better than carrying 37lb!-- but wow, he looked pretty miserable on his pseudo-race up the mountain. He'd made it up to the top and back down to Trail Camp in ~9 hours, which is a good 3 to 6 hours faster than most people take just to get to the top! The air gets very thin by 12,000 feet, 14,500 feet is even thinner-- so maybe not such a good idea...
Baked in the sun for a bit after DAsh left, then as the sun went behind the mountains, cooked up dinner and collapsed into our tents for a windy night. Plus the marmot we had as a guest, since we'd evidently pitched our tents way close to the rocks he called him! (oops!)