Woozy on Whitney

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View from Trail Crest on the way to Mount Whitney

Hiking Mount Whitney

“Slow and steady wins the race”… while this was not a race, this was my mantra two days ago as I was about half way up the 99 switchbacks climbing up the the highest peak in the contiguous United States. I felt as though I would never make it to the top, but I did. It was amazing!

I headed up to Lone Pine two days before with a group of friends to camp at Whitney Portal to acclimate and prepare for the climb. Whitney Portal is approximately 8000 feet and the peak is 14,505 feet, so do the math and that is a lot of elevation gain in 22 miles!

A full moon lit our path on the 4:00am start. As you climb, the air gets thinner and it is hard to breathe so hydration, fuel and attitude are all important factors in making it to the top, as well as perseverance and listening to your body.

At the top of the grueling switchbacks (“99 bottles of beer on the wall” kept going through my head) I arrived at Trail Crest at 13,600 feet and felt I should be the top but NO, I still have about 2.5 miles to go. I felt like I did drink a few beers and was a little woozy.

The last stretch is a mental game and I needed to be mindful as I traversed along the edge and scrambled among the rocks. I was never so happy to see the top and was hoping it wasn’t a mirage. It wasn’t! Where the day before was cloudy and rainy with hail at the top, we were blessed with a spectacular clear day!

I was never so happy to summit but the realization that now I had to go down the 11 miles was a bit daunting. After resting and taking in the views, I headed down. I finished as the orange super moon was rising in the east and it was a perfect ending to a long and fantastic day!

Now, on to my next adventure…..where I will walk the Camino de Santiago starting next Thursday.

Comments

  1. Perfectly captured Antoinette. So glad we could share the experience together.

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