Ascent of Mount Whitney on 2012-08-18

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Laura Friedrich
Date:Saturday, August 18, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Whitney
    Elevation:14498 ft / 4418 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was tempted to check off "Road Hike" as the trail up Whitney is more a mountain highway than a trail. It is in excellent condition and thanks should go to the huge effort at establishing it (and maintaining it all these years).

We started off on the trail by headlamp (no moon, but super easy to follow) at 1:15AM and made our way ever upwards, reaching the Trail Crest at 5:08AM (3h53m) - passing several other parties en route. As it now seemed feasible to catch the sunrise, it was time to pick up the pace a little. The route behind the pinnacles toward and finally up the summit is straight-forward and involves relatively little additional elevation gain (actually a slight loss at the beginning of this traverse). The summit was reached just in time for sunrise, 4h49m after leaving the trailhead. Definitely worthwhile and recommended! As it was obviously still early, it was chilly on top - so nice to have carried some warmer clothing to throw on while taking a few pics and enjoying the stellar views.

The descent was uneventful, passing scores of other hikers making their way up the route - most of whom had camped somewhere along the way. I would certainly recommend getting on the trail sometime between midnight and 2AM if you want a more "remote" and wilderness feel to the peak, and if you're looking to bag this one in a day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8845 ft / 2694 m
    Extra Gain:246 ft / 74 m
    Round-Trip Distance:22 mi / 35.4 km
    Route:Standard Trail
    Trailhead:Whitney Portal  6145 ft / 1872 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 49 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 6 Minutes

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