Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

HARD 677 reviews
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Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail is a 21.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
21.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
6,715 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

rock climbing

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

This the big daddy, an 18 mile out-and-back trek that summits Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The trail averages 550' of elevation gain per mile and features two designated campsites along the way, the generally uncrowded Outpost Camp (10,360'), which is situated in a nicely sheltered meadow beside some running streams, and the much more popular Trail Camp (12,039'), an exposed, rocky field at the base of the infamous "97 switchbacks." At 6 miles from the trailhead and the highest possible place to camp, Trail Camp is considered the best site to acclimate to the altitude for overnight hikers. It is also popular to hike Mt. Whitney out-and-back in one day, but given the rigor and the length of the trail, a very early start from about 2-4am is recommended, as well as some prior training. From May-Oct., the trail is permit-only (apply by Feb. 15), and it is common to be denied a permit the first year one applies. Dogs are actually allowed on this trail up to Trail Crest (13,777'), but they may not be your best friend after the 97 switchbacks! Hiking poles are strongly recommended, as are multiple layers with at least one being wind- and waterproof, and definitely be prepared to purify or filter water along the way. The hike is strenuous, long, and the effects of the altitude can become intense, but the rewards are a panoramic, jaw-dropping view that stretches as far as the eye can see, as well as the joy of having achieved a true hiking milestone. As far as trails go in the lower 48, this is the ultimate natural high. Note: Dogs on leash are only allowed until the top of the 97 switchbacks, 2.5 mi from the summit.

backpacking
6 days ago

Did this hike on October 6 2018. It snowed before, during, and after. We lucked out and got clear skys at the summit. Summited around 11:00am passed tons of people that turned around because it was too sketchy as it was icy and cold. I didn't have spikes or crampons so was super bummed as I didn't think I had a prayer to make it. The trail was icy and slippery but it wasn't like you were going to fall to your death if you slipped and fell. It was easy to spot the icy areas and I just used the trekking poles and took my time.

hiking
12 days ago

Mount Whitney Trail
03 OCT 2018, Wednesday

I hiked from Whitney Portal Trailhead to within three-quarters of a mile of the Summit and back--about 20 miles. I did not reach the Summit, unfortunately. Sound judgement led me to turn back and quickly descend, due to a sudden snow and lightning storm. Lots of wind and falling snow (corn snow?) made footing a challenge, especially between Keeler Needle and Trail Crest.

Started my hike at 3:30am under a clear sky. Lots of stars in the sky, those first three hours. Beautiful sunrise and fantastic views. It was sunny and pleasant when ascending the 97 switchbacks. That morning, the trail was clear of ice most of the way, with some ice present on the highest one-third of the switchbacks. I put yak traks on my boots and found them helpful, especially considering what was to come that afternoon.

Clouds started to build just before noon. By 12:30pm the sky darkened and snow began to fall, so I decided to turn back. By 12;45pm, snow and wind were intense as I descended from Keeler Needle to Trail Crest and then down the 97 switchbacks. Heavy snow continued to fall as I hiked through Trail Camp, through Outpost Camp and halfway to Lone Pine Lake. The wind howled and blew the snow sideways.

Lightning all around. While descending from Trail Crest and through the 97 switchbacks, clearly visible lighting bolts crossed the sky. I hiked through heavy snowfall, instantaneous thunder and much too close views of lightning veins for the hour it took to descend the switchbacks. I dove to the ground a couple of times, out of some kind of instinctive survival reaction. There's no place safe to take shelter from lightning anywhere between the base of the 97 switchbacks and the Summit. Keep in mind, the air is very thin above 13,000 feet and it will take you longer than you think to get from point A then to B and to C.

There were a few hikers ahead of me who were within a half mile or so of the Summit, just prior to the moment I decided to turn around and descend. I hope and pray they each made a safe return home.

Be prepared, if attempting Mt. Whitney during the month of October. I carried a very heavy day-pack containing extra water- and wind-proof clothing, two wool head coverings, extra food and water, an extra headlamp and batteries, etc... My body temperature remained warm, I was hydrated and had the energy to extract myself from a "not good" situation.

Even though I didn't reach the Summit, I'm good with it.

12 days ago

Oct 2, 2018, windy and snow storm above 3800m.
I lost my way off the trail before 99 switches simply following other two climbers ahead. It is extremely dangerous to climb short-cut of the switches, because the stone slope up to the top is too loosen to fall in a snowy day together with stones! It took me two extra hours to cut back to the switches safely using All Trail map, but fail to the summit before deadline for closed time.
I will come back to Mt Whitney because The Mountain is there!
Thanks a lot to my son and daughter in law, and my wife for their understanding and support.

hiking
15 days ago

My. Whitney, CA
20 September 2018

Success!!!

Our group of 10 met up in Lone Pine, CA on September 18th. We came from Virginia, Texas, Pennslyvania, Kentucky, Tennessee & Arizona. Two were related, some were old friends, some were new friends, and some had never met. Barry from Orange County join our group last, at 2:00am on the 20th, and we were stronger for his company.

I had been invited at the last minute, to fill a vacancy. 53 years old, not a hiker, and certainly not in pristine shape, but the mind was willing. We’d find out if the body could keep up.

Obersvations: 1 - Spectacular scenery and views. 2 - I overestimated my ability, and underestimated the mountain. 3 - The lack of Oxygen is real. 4 - The 99 switchbacks are harsh. 5 - The last 1.9 miles is the longest ever walked. 6 - Coming down is every bit as difficult as going up. Finally, and most importantly 7 - I wouldn’t have made it without the help, support, advice and encouragement of friends, acquaintances and strangers alike.

We left the Portal as a group at 2:00am, drowsy, happy and excited. We summitted independently, as pairs and in small groups, to the cheers of those in our group who had reached before us, as well as people we had never met. I summitted at noon (last of my group) as the final pair with a true friend who waited an hour for me to start his final two miles with me. We were all back at the Portal by 7:55pm, again, with me in the last pair, and the rest of the group cheering on our group achievement. 23.4 miles, 18 hours, 78,000 steps. Almost 6,000 feet up... and then down. A very long day indeed.

Jeff, Cindy, Nicki, Amber, Katie, Amay, Joe, Jenn, Summer, Barry & Scott. 11 started, 11 summitted and 11 finished.

We had no injuries, and only minor setbacks. We are all tremendously thankful for that.

As one of my ‘new’ friends just pointed out, a week ago we were on top of that granite rock. Today we’re all spread out across this great country. I count this as one of the greatest personal accomplishments of my life (children, marriage notwithstanding). Not necessarily summitting, but being a part of an amazing group of people who came together to reach new heights, and left richer for the experience and the friendships gained.

Carpe Diem

hiking
15 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! Perfect for a day hike, completed within 10hours (12 hours if my chit-chat time at the summit is added). Started at 01:25am and made it up all the switchbacks by 06:08am, saw one of the most beautiful sunrises!!!
Food wise, I carb-loaded the day before (around 2-3pm). I ate a banana and a little of trail mix up the summit and ate a meal after completing the hike. Carb loading the day before and going in a fasted state was probably my best decision, I had a ton of energy and did not feel nauseous. I only needed about 1.5L of water total (but I did hike most of the trail during night).
ALSO, thank you whoever takes care of the trail, during full moon (as it was last night) I did not even need to use the headlamp to find my way up.

hiking
16 days ago

My son and I drove out from LA to Lone Pine Friday morning, retrieved passes after 2pm (many were available) and checked into a hotel.

Sat 3am the journey commenced and approx 7 hrs later we hit the summit shortly after 10am. High winds and cold temps up top made clothing options crucial. Glad as well that w had altitude meds (diamox) so as to avoid AMS. (No acclimation)

The descent was fun and enjoyable since anything below the 99 switchbacks was dark on the way up. We watered up at Trail Head camp, cooked a nice “campers stew” about halfway down just past Outpost Camp, then cruised the final 6 mi. We were in the car by 5pm so all in all including stops a 14 hr journey.

The ride home was a breeze. The journey nothing less than epic. We both vow to return - Whitney is a beast but beautiful !

17 days ago

The views are nothing to brag about. This hike was more mentally demanding than it is physically. The sad part is that I didn't even get to enjoy getting to the top because my first thought was that I have at least another 6 hours to retrace every step in order to get off this mountain. If you are doing this as a dayhike, make sure to set a schedule to get enough carbs. We set a schedule to eat energy chews or gels every hour, which we were doing well with until we reached Trail Crest. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen but we couldn't get ourselves to eat after that. On the way back down, I crashed hard at around Trail Crest. Finally forced myself to eat some energy chews and within 10 minutes I was feeling a lot more energetic. We had Clif Bloks with caffeine and Honey Badger Gingsting gels which were both lifesavers.

20 days ago

hard ...but amazing

21 days ago

First summited on my 60th birthday, as a dayhike. 22 hours, exhausted but no blisters or other injuries. Made it my annual thing. 2 nights at the portal campground, short hikes to Lone Pine Lake helps keep the altitude sickness at bay. Always an enjoyable trek, hope one day to score an overnight pass. Bucket list item. Beware the marmots!

21 days ago

Experience of a lifetime, thanks to all the people who encourage me to do this, Angel, Dan, Don and my wife. By far the hardest hike I’ve ever done
But we reached the summit, and I’m blessed beyond words

hiking
21 days ago

I finally summited this beautiful beast of a peak 9/22. Breathtakingly clear, beautiful weather. Got lucky on an unclaimed permit and ran through the gamut. Well worth the second attempt. From Outpost camp to summit and back - 16 miles, 13 hours. Hiked out the next day.

Go prepared though. If I can impart anything it is this: hope for the best but plan to cover your backside in case things go sideways. She’s popular but she is not safe. I watched someone get airlifted off the summit when he was caught up there with exhaustion and hypothermia. Take extra clothing, a water filter, extra food and electrolytes even if you’re day-hiking.

hiking
22 days ago

Wow what a beast. Beautiful. Raw. Unforgiving. Warrior creators. Memory of a lifetime.

hiking
24 days ago

Group of 7 of us hiked on Sep 15, 2018. Started on the trail at about 1:15am and spent about 21+ hours. It is a challenging hike, both up and down. But it is well marked and you will have your destination (hut at the summit) in sight for a majority of the hike. We encountered strong wind gusts all the way up which made it a bit more challenging. Break the hike into five sections and should be less taxing mentally, section 1: trail head to lone pine lake, section 2: lone pine lake to outpost camp, section 3: outpost camp to trail camp, section 4: trail camp to trail crest and section 5: trail crest to the summit. Section 4 with the 99 switchbacks and Section 5 with the windows were the most challenging parts of the hike. Hiking in the dark with headlamps was no issue.

All in all, an awesome hike and highly recommend it. Happy trails!

hiking
24 days ago

My wife and I won an overnight lottery. We camped at Trail Camp and reached the peak on September 21, 2018. Could not have asked for a better weather day. So stunningly beautiful! Definitely train for this hike.

hiking
26 days ago

I did this hike on September 19th 2018. started at 4:35 am and reached the peak at noon. It's an extremely beautiful hike with lots of streams down lower and several lakes! this is one you must train for and try your luck with the lottery!

hiking
28 days ago

The best hike ever. Very hard. And I if you think San Gorgonio is hard then you shouldn't go to Mt Whitney. I had an early start at 2am end up on summit at 9am. Clear sky a little windy but doable. Sunrise was amazing.Train for this hike,plan it smart.Be ready. Good luck.

30 days ago

Great trail. Went to Trail Camp. No summit due to high winds. This map appears to be wrong, though, as there is no identifiable trail to consultation lake where it shows one. Not sure how one would ever get to the lake from where this map shows

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 7 Sep. Started at Trailhead at 3:05 AM. Finished at Trailhead 7:55 PM. Weather: Low of 45, high of 60, sunny and very little wind (perfect)

Training: I live in Kansas so training at altitude is a bit problematic. I hiked a bit at RMNP a few months before to get a feel for altitude. Other than that I would hike locally but nothing over 10 miles. I used the stair master (3x week) for up to an hour and squatted (2-3x week). I got a pretty bad head cold two weeks out and shut down my training to get fully healed as a headcold at altitude could suck. My group went fairly slowly and I felt fully conditioned. A bit of soreness in my calves the next day but none in my quads or hammies.

Prep: We arrived two days prior and camped at Horseshoe Meadows two nights before. There was plenty of sites available and it helped us get used to altitude. The night before we camped at the trailhead. Again plenty of space in the walk up campground. Parking was tight but as the afternoon wore on and people came off of the mountain there was plenty. The store has any last minute things you need.

Actual Hike: Our group of five hit the trail at 3:05 AM. We took the old trailhead (located at the really big boulder on the far side of the parking lot road past the store). My pack (including poles, water and food) weighed in at 17lbs. Things were easy and we hit trail camp a bit after sunup. We refilled on water here. At trail crest we took a snack break and reached the summit about 11:30. We stayed for an hour. Some of the group was gassed from the way up and we traveled pretty slowly back down arriving back at the trailhead a bit before 8 PM. That means we had to finish by headlamp which was a bit off putting. Overall the trail was very easy to follow, between trail crest and the summit there are some rocky pieces but nothing that you can call scrambling. For hydration I used a 100 oz bladder and actually finished it between trail head and trail camp.

Equipment: Shoes- Garmont approach shoes, they performed like champs and provided great
traction on the rocky sections. Pack- Granite gear Leopard 46. Lightweight and performed as advertised. It was bigger than I needed but since I had to fly in it was my bag on the plane. Clothes- Silky poly pro top as base layer. Due to the warmth/lack of wind it was my only layer almost the entire time. It wicked the sweat well and I felt dry and comfortable. For my bottom layer I wore Prana stretch Zion pants and they were great as always . All the other clothes stayed in the pack. For navigation I used a paper map (1:64k) and a Garmin foretrex 301. The Garmin is old and you can't download maps to it so it sucked for establishing time/distance to travel due to all the switchbacks. As a work around I tracked elevation as my metric which allowed me to compare my real time elevation with upcoming landmarks.

What I would do differently next time: 1) Think out a better water resupply plan/method. Our group (5 people) had one filter. We filled at trail camp both coming and going and to fill five camel backs, put them back in the pack etc. took 30 minutes each time. 2) Rig my camelback on a side pouch on my pack. I saw someone near the end of the hike with that and saw how I could reduce the five minute process of installing and removing the camelback from the inside of my pack to a 30 second process. 3) Not bring poles. This is YMMV, but I am not used to poles and feel I have greater balance and mobility without them on the rocky portions. I dabbled with them on the way down starting at the switchbacks but gave them away to someone we came across who had twisted their ankle. My knees and legs felt fine both on the trail and the next day. Probably if I watch a youtube on how to use them and practice my attitude towards them will change.

Overall a great experience.

backpacking
1 month ago

Everyone has said it all but an awesome hike, awesome place to camp and incredibly beautiful scenery everywhere along the way!

1 month ago

Wonderful hike, but it’s a beast for sure. Train train train.
Do NOT trust your phone GPS to mark your point by point goals. My GPS read 10 miles while we were still on the switchbacks, which is inaccurate. This app recorded my whole hike as being 26 miles total instead of the generally accepted 22. This does get frustrating.
Overall a once in a lifetime hike for sure.

1 month ago

hiked on September 2nd in one day. we started at 4.30 am, headed the top at 11.15 am, stayed 1h on the top and then finished it at 5.30 pm. It took us 13h with the stop and we were going pretty fast!
You feel the elevation! We didn't acclimated as we had a one day permit but we took some hybropruphen! however, we went through headache and nausea! This hike requires not only a good physical training but also a strong mind control!

Long hard walk uphill for hours in beautiful landscape w beautiful souls. Criticized for high traffic but for me that’s how I made it out. Thx Kim and mike.

hiking
1 month ago

What a mountain! What a hike!
Did the 1 day up and back from Whitney Portal, 15 hours round trip. 8.5 up, at an easy pace. 30min at the summit. 6 hours down at a quicker pace.

-Overview and Info (If you’re interested)-

2 days before- camped at Horseshoe Meadow (at over 10k elevation) to acclimate. The next morning we did a warm up hike which ended up being way more than I intended, over 7 miles total.
Afternoon/night before- Camped at portal at the walk-up, 1 night campground. Ate big chili and pasta dinner at about 6pm and was in bed by 7:30. Didn’t sleep much.
Got up at 2am and broke camp, hiking packs were already to go. Ended up starting at the same time as a couple other groups so there was a couple dozen of us on the trail at the same time, which was kinda fun. Got to Trail Camp just after sunrise and that was a sorta magical sight to see- the community of backpackers up there just arising and having coffee/breakfast next to the lake (where we stopped to filter some water), under the peaks of Mt Muir and Whitney...Beautiful! Then it’s the “99 switchbacks”. Getting to the top was very rewarding in that it’s a massive incline/ elevation gain and workout, but also getting to trail crest at the top where you finally get to the views west into the Sierras was amazing! Knowing there’s less than 2 miles to the summit and how much you’ve already endured, you press on. The journey becomes even more challenging from here, the trail gets very rocky, the fatigue and effects of altitude started to kick in. By about 14k feet, I got pretty light headed, feeling like I was somewhere between fainting and dreaming at moments- (which was actually a kinda cool natural high). Again, a slow and easy pace with as many stops as needed, worked. Getting to the summit was a triumph!
But as it’s said, once you hit the summit, you’re only halfway there! You still have to make it all the way back down. I was concerned about what energy I had left to make it another 11 miles, but going down is easier (although there are a few places where you have incline on the trail back- which sucked). By the time we got back to Trail camp I had drank over 4 liters of water, emptying my “bladder”. We filtered a little more water there, enough to keep moving, knowing there were a few more sources to refill along the way back. Getting to see all the spots that we passed in the dark on the way up was a treat. It’s beautiful up there! The scenic beauty was one of the most inspiring parts of the whole hike, which kept me motivated to keep going.

Overall I carried and consumed quite a bit: about 6 bars (cliff bars, macro bars, etc), a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some almonds and banana chips, 1 apple, 1 orange and 1 banana, plus some sodium/electrolyte/energy gels and some similar powders I added to my water bottle occasionally. Also I popped a Ibuprofen at about 13.5k ft. (and another at the bottom end). I had a 4 liter water bag and a 16oz bottle, which I drank from on the trail. I think I consumed a little more water (and calories) then average for the hike, but I got almost no sleep the 2 nights before and needed to give my body every thing I could to keep pumping. And it worked!

Training helps of course, physically and mentally.
Keep a positive, productive attitude, take one step at a time. You’ll get there.

hiking
1 month ago

Completed 8/31 and it was a highlight of my hiking adventures. Stayed at Trail Camp, got the headache but nothing worse than that. It was easier than I had expected and read about. I am 47, smoker and about 20 pounds over weight and I flew up the switchbacks. I actually thought the first 6 miles to Trail Camp was harder than the 4.5 to summit. My biggest suggestion for the switchbacks and summit part, is leave before light, put your headlamp on, and some earphones and it seems block out how far it is to the top. Also no matter what the weather is at Trail Camp it is colder and more windy. I used a total of 2 liters of water up and down from Trail Camp to Summit and back to Trail Camp. I read reviews of people carrying 5 liters, so I did only to empty it on the way down. Also I ate about 500 calories before I started and only had about a 200 calorie snack on the way down. The thing that helped me the most was a 5 hour energy drink before starting and another at the summit. I cannot wait to do this again and beat my personal best time. Also, Trail Camp had about 5 other tents set up Thursday the 30th of August, was not busy at all. The summit had more people, most of which came from the West side. Good Luck to all and enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. It was cold at the top and I was happy to have gloves, running tights, and a down puffer jacket to put on at the summit. Training definitely made a difference by doing longer hikes to peaks around where I live. This should be a bucket list hike for any serious hiker.

hiking
1 month ago

Epic adventure! 15 hours. Started at Whitney Portal trailhead at 4:30a, finished at 7:36p. We are in very good cardiovascular shape, I’m a runner and hiker, my husband is a cyclist and hiker and sometime runner. I am also moderately afraid of heights. My first hike ever was Mt. Baldy (10,068 elevation) and I had huge shortness of breath but summited, that was 10 years ago! I started running and as an added benefit, Mt. Baldy was easy the second time (2 years ago and 8 years older at that time). I am 53 and my husband is 48 to give you an idea of age. All that being said, we saw a few hikers taking 1 inch steps around Trail Camp (12,000 ft), pretty sure they didn’t make it to the summit. On the flip side, the day before we hiked Whitney we spoke to a young man who RAN to the summit; he started at 4:00a and finished at 11:00a.
Here’s what we did for this hike; camped 2 nights at Whitney Portal campground before the hike. Drove up to do a short hike the day before the hike at Cottonwood Lake area at just over 10,000 ft. Ate a good dinner but not real heavy, took 500mg Naprosyn each. Went to bed at 8:00p, up at 3:00a, coffee, food, 500mg Naprosyn again etc., had to jockey our small motorhome up to the trailhead area to avoid running the generator in a sleepy campground and not add one extra mile to the hike :) We hit the trail at 4:30a.
Take it at a comfortable pace because pacers win the day! We used exactly 3L of water each, ate 2 sandwiches each, Clif bar each, some trail mix, squeeze fruit, 1 GU, 3 gels, and shared an oatmeal/fruit squeeze. There are water sources on the way but it is sunny and exposed most of the way so bring UV radiation protection. The weather was awesome this day (Aug 27, 2018), no wind at the time we summited, no clouds, no thunderstorms. But remember you’re only half done when you summit! Another bonus was there were no mosquitoes, I was shocked. I brought a first aid kit, complete with sutures, ACE wrap, Naprosyn, bandages, etc. I gave out some Naprosyn to a guy who was suffering with AMS on the way up but didn’t see him again.
My advice is to listen to wilderness experts and hydrate, take NSAIDs, and pay attention to your body. Headache, nausea, dizziness, uncoordinated movements, extremity swelling are all signs of AMS. At the FIRST sign of headache, stop and see if you recover, if not, DESCEND. It’s not worth your life to get to the top.

1 month ago

What an amazing accomplishment. we summited whitney June of last year. after a big snow season, the switchback were still not open (completely covered in snow) Had to out on spikes and climb straight up 2,000 ft. Met two gentleman on the summit which were doing the PCT. It was only us 4 up there that early. Coming down the scree was so fun. Glissading down 2,000 was a blast. Not so much for my fiance as she was yelling at me in fear. All in all, not bad at all. as a day hike it would kick anyone's ass, backpacking and staying at trail Camp, the hike was not too bad. Until you come back to your car and your car battery is dead.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on Aug. 16, 2018.
TIPS/COMMENTS
(I won't go over food or water here since so many reviewers have already stressed the importance of both).
Training: I live in SoCal so I was able to hike at higher elevation about once a week (sometimes twice). I don’t think that I ever got higher than 11,000’ though. If you can, do it. I ran 10 miles/week too. I tried to break it up into three days of high intensity running.

Amazing hike! Absolutely beautiful! Next time, I want to backpack!
Favorite part: Going up the 99 switchbacks as the sun started to rise. Least favorite part: the section from Trail Crest to End of Pinnacles. This part is technical. Lots of slippery rocks.

Definitely rid your vehicle of anything scented. I saw a bear at the trailhead right by a parked car.

Leaving at 12:15 AM was worth it. The night sky was special and it remained dark until the 99 switchbacks. The darkness actually made time go by very fast.

I noted on my map the time it would take us to get from point to point according to a 9 hour ascent time and an 11 hour ascent time. This was so HELPFUL and MOTIVATING. For example, on my map I noted that the segment from Whitney Portal to North Fork Lone Pine Creek should take 30-35 min. Which meant that arrival time should have been between 12:45-12:50 AM. I highly recommend doing this. Breaking this hike into small goals worked!

If you're hiking in the dark like we did, don't wait to fill up on water until Trail Camp. The water isn't easy to find in the dark. Instead, fill up beforehand. Also, just know that the water is cold and your hands will probably get wet.

Finding some privacy to pee wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I would recommend wearing pants. At times, I needed all warm layers: long-sleeve, fleece, hat, gloves, etc.

Changing into a fresh pair of socks at the summit felt great.

I popped 600 mg. of ibuprofen at the start of the hike. I heard that it can help to alleviate elevation sickness. As for elevation sickness, I was perfectly fine until I started to descend. Maybe I should have popped more ibuprofen on the way down. I think I might have stayed at the top for too long ( 1 hour and 40 minutes). I got a headache and a tiny bit of nausea that made descending for the first few hours suck. I had to get well past Trail Camp before I started to feel better.

In hindsight, a pack cover wouldn't have been a bad idea. While descending, I got caught in a thunderstorm just after Trail Camp that drenched my pack.

Enjoy the descent. It is going to feel endless, so might as well slow down a bit and take in the fresh mountain air.

hiking
1 month ago

We started at the portal at 11:15 pm on 8/15/18 and reached the permit zone around 12:30 am on 8/16/18. Daylight broke through near the end of the 99 switchbacks. I left my backpack at the trail crest and worked our way to the summit. We reached the summit around 7:45 am. It was beautiful! After 15-20 minutes we decided to head down because it was fairly cold and we wanted to avoid the daily thunderstorms. Since we did the switchbacks in the dark on the ascent the return was very enjoyable - wonderful views. The next four plus miles after the switchbacks although beautiful seemed endless. We finally reached Lone Pine Lake and were down to our final 2.8 miles. Running on fumes we finally reached the portal at 2:45 pm. It took us roughly 15 1/2 hours but it was worth it! After eight months of training we conquered Mt Whitney!

Recommendations: Start early (reach Lone Pine Lake by midnight), don't over-pack (we had too much food & water), take it slow & steady, bring external battery for phone camera, wear a buff for warmth & sun protection... and HAVE FUN!

hiking
2 months ago

My wife and I made the climb on July 16th. For most of the hike, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

We began our journey at 2:15am after eating a solid breakfast. It was warm at Portal, about 70 degrees so I ditched my top base layer quickly. We made it to the camp in about 4 hours.

The dreaded 99 switchbacks were tough, but taking frequent breaks and taking deep, slow breaths helped us acclimate. I feel taking our time here is what helped us avoid altitude sickness later on.

We felt amazing when we reached trail crest... That was until we began the last 2 miles until summit. It was brutal. But, at last, around 11:20am we made it to the summit! It was amazing up there, not a cloud in the sky.

We stayed about 15 minutes and then headed back down. This is one of the few hikes I have ever taken where going down is almost as hard as going up. We slowly made our way down. All was good until the last 4 miles... Lightning, thunder, rain, and hail all came out to wish us well at the end of our journey. We made it back at 7pm, wet, tired, and elated.

Remember to eat every hour or so, drink water frequently, and pace yourself. Also, we wore trail runners, which we wouldn't recommend... You feel every rock and pebble by the second half of the hike.

Good luck!

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