Summited Mt Whitney, Headed Home
See also Gear for the Mountains.
Leaving a car is potentially risky—if bears smell food inside, they rip a window or door off to get at it. The risk might be somewhat exaggerated, but there were allegedly 5 bears living right at Whitney Portal. Store all food and sunblock and anything with an odor in the many available metal bear-proof bear boxes of course, but food odors in blankets or bedding can still be an issue (think spicy indian food as in dehyrdated meals!), particularly in an RV or Sprinter van in which one might live in for a week or three at a time. As for myself, I cannot remove a huge 200 pound cooler which weighs 68 pounds when empty. We worked around the bear risk by camping down in the Alabama Hills (free for all comers) and getting a round trip ride from Kurt in Lone Pine: phone number (661) 972-9476, lonepinekurt at aol dot com. Highly recommended, great guy who even picked us up at 3 AM.
OMG, the 22-hour climb was amazing, but much harder than I had anticipated, due to several route-finding errors including one that cost us at least an hour of backtracking (me bad, no GPS and 17-year-old memories of the route), and my daughter having zero climbing experience. We had some class-3+ climbing as well—I had to spot her up it continuously in many areas*. She was amazing however, and it was a transformative experience for her—what a trooper. I think she has inherited my exceptional V02 Max because she was scampering around like a chimpmunk at the 14505 ft / 4421m Mt Whitney summit.
* As of August 2018, the traverse from The Notch to an easy class-2 ascentto the summit from the east crosses a steep and muddy chute that looked to be guaranteed death should a slip should occur, so we did not attempt that route. We were forced up a class 3+ route to the summit. My recollection of my 2001 ascent is at odds with 2018: the notch route was much looser and nastier, and the final summit pitch seemed far harder than I recall.
I have many more pictures which I will be posting, but below is a sampler. I have no pictures from the Hasselblad X1D and 21/4 and 120/3.5 because pulling the camera out of my bag, I found that the battery was drained. Since I have now tested the X1D now at home several times and it shuts itself off quickly as per the settings I had set while maintaining a charge, I am not even sure it was a drained battery at all, but perhaps a nasty bug. See Hasselblad X1D August 2018 experience report and Hasselblad X1D Operational Issues.
Below, Upper Boy Scout Lake. Lloyd screwed up here, and took us several hundred feet up at the other end of the lake. This cost us more than an hour. The correct route is to make a left-hand turn at this end of the lake.
A very proud daughter leaving the summit hut, and rightfully so—it was a transformative day for overcoming fear and fatigue and pain (blisters in particular). As she said herself before starting: “grit and determination” were what she knew were needed—and she proved to herself that she had what it took. I can’t understate how intensely proud I was, or how elated my little chipmunk was at reaching the summit.
With feet badly blistered for her, and my back aching for me, my daughter hugs the Muir Wilderness sign with relief—only 500 vertical feet left to go at 02:22 AM.
Below, just before sunrise ~on the winter solstice 4 months later. See Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR: Making a 91-Megapixel Panorama.