The hardest part of the climb is getting a permit for the day you want to climb. You must send an application by mail before Feb. 15th, and then youíre entered a lottery for that date! I was able to get a date which corresponded with a family vacation passing through Vegas. I arrived at the trailhead around 10 p.m. Around 2 a.m. I awoke in my car to climbers preparing to climb. Not able to fall back to sleep, as well as excitement for the climb ahead, I got up and ready.
It was cool to hike a trail Iíve been reading about for years. The higher I got, the more I noticed views Iíve seen over the years in magazines. I arrived at Trail Camp where all kinds of climbers were cooking breakfast preparing for their summit day. From this point on I was within constant sight of other peopleÖ.hence the permit system.
As the trail entered more alpine terrain, I noticed how much trail building had been done allowing the average Joe easy hiking through a pretty rough area. Getting close to the summit, people were really suffering. One guy looked ready to keel over and die, while his friend kept pushing him upward. When I arrived at the summit, I too was feeling crapy. I just sat there eating, try to rest. When I couldnít take any more of the bravado talk from the group next to me, I headed down. Although the views were nice, it didnít have that ďabove it allĒ feel other state highpoints can have. Getting down went quick and I was back in Vegas that night for dinner with the family.
Mount Whitney - California State Highpoint
www.WillhiteWeb.com: Hiking, Climbing and Travel
Distance: 11 miles (Whitney Portal Trailhead)
Elevation Gain: 6,129 feet
Summit Elevation: 14,494
Access rating: Level 1
First light, last tree
Trail goes through this stuff
Hikers on the trail
Trail goes behind this ridge
Views to the west
Just before sunrise
Just after sunrise
That other mountain looks higher
The route climbs to the left of the snow chute
Looking back down toward Whitney Portal and Lone Pine
Final climb to the summit
Small Lake in route