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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.

Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: sunrise approaching the Ebersbcher Ledges
f1.8 @ 1/5000 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 06:23:36 [altitude 9345 ft / 2848 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: at the base of the Ebersbcher Ledges
f2.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 32; 2018-08-20 06:44:40 [altitude 9600 ft / 2926 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: ascending first portion of the Ebersbcher Ledges
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 32; 2018-08-20 06:48:01 [altitude 9630 ft / 2935 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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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.

Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: Upper Boy Scout Lake
f1.8 @ 1/6000 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 09:38:55 [altitude 11280 ft / 3438 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: between Upper Boy Scout Lake and Iceberg Lake
f1.8 @ 1/6800 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 11:33:03 [altitude 11670 ft / 3557 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: gaping at Mt Whitney not far from Iceberg Lake
f1.8 @ 1/3800 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 13:29:10 [altitude 12572 ft / 3832 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: in the boulder field just above Iceberg Lake before starting 'The Notch' route
f1.8 @ 1/4400 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 14:11:53 [altitude 12942 ft / 3945 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: about 3/4 of the way up 'The Notch'
f1.8 @ 1/1800 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 16:35:30 [altitude 13800 ft / 4206 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Mountaineer’s Route up Mt Whitney: almost to 'The Notch'
f1.8 @ 1/3000 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 16:45:32 [altitude 14100 ft / 4298 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Summit hut, Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/3500 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 18:01:17 [altitude 14505 ft / 4421 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Summit hut, Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/4600 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 18:01:00 [altitude 14505 ft / 4421 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Summit register, Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/8800 sec, ISO 25; 2018-08-20 17:59:16 [altitude 14505 ft / 4421 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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At the summit hut, Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/3400 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 18:07:06 [altitude 14505 ft / 4421 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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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.

Leaving the summit hut, Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/3200 sec, ISO 20; 2018-08-20 18:11:34 [altitude 14505 ft / 4421 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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Sunset on the Crest Trail, about 2 miles from Mt Whitney summit
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 125; 2018-08-20 19:42:19 [altitude 13590 ft / 4142 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Trail Crest junction to Mt Whitney
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 125; 2018-08-20 19:45:16 [altitude 13622 ft / 4152 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Descending from Mt Whitney: switchbacks in darkness
f1.8 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 250; 2018-08-20 20:29:47 [altitude 13010 ft / 3965 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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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.

Descending from Mt Whitney: hugging the Muir Wilderness sign — only 500 vertical feet to go!
f1.8 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 125; 2018-08-21 02:22:40 [altitude 8835 ft / 2693 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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