Day 55: Crabtree Meadows to Mt. Whitney Summit to mile 774.1
6.9.18. 7.1 PCT miles. 23.1 total.
Wow, what a day! Be ready for tons of Mt. Whitney pics, because I have a lot to share! I woke up at 3:25 am today for our 4 am hiking start. We didn’t have to pack our bags fully, just packed with valuables, water, food for the climb, and layers. It was an early start but I was so stoked. The morning wasn’t too cold, but I was still in my wind pants & rain jacket. We started hiking slightly after 4, with our headlamps on. The first couple miles to guitar lake were not very difficult. Once we got the the lake, the sun started to rise (on the other side of the mountains) and the sky started getting color and the lakes and tarns were so glassy and the mountains were so beautiful, so naturally I went into photo crazy mode. Everything was so beautiful! I couldn’t believe I was there experiencing it. The rising sun made the first couple miles of switchbacks more bearable just because of how pretty the surrounding mountains became!
Eventually the sun rose enough that the beautiful blue/ golden hour light had gone, and now it was just time to hike. The first few miles to the trail pass junction felt very long. It was just switchback after switchback of climbing. The trail was really nice though and there were only a few snow patches. Once we got past the junction where people hiking up from Whitney portal meet, the trail got a little more rough with more sketchy snow patches and random scrambling and inconveniently placed rocks. It also go so much colder and windier. I put on my puffy under my rain jacket, beanie, and gloves! We had slowed down to 1 mph. I put my microspikes on at a couple of the snow patches just to be extra safe and feel more secure. Finally, after 5 hours and 15 min of climbing, I had summited Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states at 14,505 ft, my first 14er, and the highest I’ve ever been! It was so amazing being at the top- the happy tears flowed! I felt very accomplished.
After spending almost 1 hour at the summit, it was time to go back down. The descent was pretty eventless except for the fact that I had to poo so bad and there were no wag bags at the ranger station so I had to hold it... the whole way down the mountain. It didn’t get so pretty towards the end. I made an emergency poo break once I finally found dirt, only about 1 mile from our base camp. I was the last to arrive: Hot Mess & Butters passed me & LOL just as we were reaching the summit, so they had a long break back at camp. LOL got back a little before me. We knew we had to hike more miles in the afternoon. I got back at 2:30 and we left at 3:30 to hike a mile back to the PCT and then 7ish more miles to camp to set up for Forester Pass tomorrow, the highest point on the PCT! We also had 2 creek crossings, both of which I forded without shoes/ socks as they were at the end of the day and were both easy. The last miles to camp were not super fun as I was so tired from Whitney and barely took a break or had much to eat during the day. I’m hoping I sleep super well tonight!