Day 69, July 11, Crabtree Rangers Station to Mt Whitney to Crabtree Ranger Station, 15.4 miles (24.8 km)
So, first things first. At 14505ft (4421m) Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the United States outside of Alaska. Definetely the heighest mountain I’ve ever set foot on.
Mount Whitney is not on the pct so all by all pct-hikers have to walk an extra 16.8 miles (27km) if they want to conquer this mountain. The biggest majority of pct’ers do this because it is so close by. Yesterday I walked about .7 of a mile to the Ranger Station so today was a bit shorter.
I started this morning just after 6am because I didn’t wanna end up in the afternoon storm that seems to become a habbit these last few days. I soon passed Timberline Lake and a little later found myself overlooking Guitar Lake. These lakes are surrounded by majestic rock walls. It is a stunning scenery but words can hardly describe it. At least mine can not. I’m just gonna throw in some pictures at the end of this post to give you a look of this majectic natural environment.
I climbed higher and higher, occasionally crossing small snowfields, until I found myself at the switchbacks leading up to the Whitney Portal junction. During these switchbacks I had to cross two snow chutes but they weren’t too bad, I didn’t even put my microspikes on.
After the junction I was on the last stretch to the top, walking on a very rocky path until I saw the top of Mt Whitney in front of me, still quite high above me though.
Around there I saw Richard again. You remember him? It’s the guy that gave Lydia and myself a ride out of Lone Pine. He started his climb this morning at 2am. He did a mountaineering route to the top and was now on his way back to the Whitney Portal. I knew I was gonna run into him again and see, it just happened.
After a last, strenuous ascent to the top I finally saw the shelter building on top of the mountain. I made it! I was now at the highest mountain I’ve ever been at. I put my name in the register and asked Jesse, a Canadian pct’er, to take my picture. I did the same for him.
After about 45 minutes I decided to start my long way back to ‘base-camp’. I liked the descent a lot, jumping from rock to rock, focusing on every step.
I didn’t mention it before but walking with an almost empty backpack was great! I had some snacks, extra clothes and water in there, that’s it.