Mt. Whitney

Backpack from Portal to Trail Camp

Day hike up Whitney

Backpack back to the Portal

The weather was great except for the smoke from the fires south of us and the wind in Trial Camp. The wind made the temperature feel much colder and made it hard to make it through the trip on one small canister of fuel. We ran out just before the boil the last morning. We always have more snacks than we need though.

I found it interesting to have to pack my poop out. After seeing the rocky terrain and the number of people I was more than happy to do my part in not leaving anything behind to detract from the environment. The kits supplied by the Park Service were easily used and quite adequate.

Water must be filtered or purified and is available up to Trail Camp. Beyond Trail Camp there was generally no usable water available. Clear water from the inlet to the lake at Trail Camp would be quite suitable for the SteriPENtm UV sterilization for those interested in lighter water purification solutions.

I am sure glad I will not backpack or hike without hiking sticks. This trail would have done me in without them and left me with a badly sprained or broken ankle. My friend who does not usually hike with sticks took my old ones and is now a convert. And, he does not have the problems with his feet and lower legs like I do.

We did meet some people who did not make it due to altitude sickness. The old advice is still the best. Keep well hydrated, your electrolytes up, and well fed. Remember to slow down before sickness overtakes you and over heating, or hypothermia, takes their toll. A little altitude training might be in order if you do not know how you will react, especially if you are coming from a low altitude area. I hike and backpack in the 7000ft to 11000ft on a regular basis, which I am sure helped me. In spite of that I still had trouble with my lungs the last day of the trip and this last week at home.

Now, was it worth it? For an old guy, whose Dr. did not think I would be walking at this point in my life, it was. When my son comes back I might even consider the mountaineering route if he wishes to do it. One of my pictures shows a couple beginning their decent on the mountaineering route.