Last week, I climbed Mt Whitney with my longtime pal Jim Mora, head…
Last week, I climbed Mt Whitney with my longtime pal Jim Mora, head coach of the UCLA Bruins Football team. I have climbed this mountain before doing it in one day which almost killed me from the 11 hour, 22 mile 14,505' peak with virtually no water (long story). This time, we decided to do it in two days. The first day, the plan was to climb up to Consultation Lake which is probably around 12,000' and camp out. This lake is located just below the infamous 99 switchbacks.
Then the plan was to get up early the next morning and start climbing to the top with light backpacks and food. This is about 6 miles to the summit and back to the lake before packing up and heading down the mountain. The idea behind is this: 1) allows you to acclimate and 2) carry less weight to the top so you can move faster.
The problem was we way overpacked and our backpacks were so heavy it slowed us way down, had to take multiple breaks and our backs felt like they were going to break.
We heard there might be a big front coming in so we ended up packing multiple layers of cold weather gear. As much as you always want to prepare for all conditions, we weren't efficient in the way we put it in our bags.
As a result, we didn't make it nearly as far as we wanted the first day and we were so fatigued we just wanted to get in our tents and rest. We decided to stop, set up our camp and then get up in the morning with lighter gear and head to the top.
We had a good night sleep but didn't get up until 7am. After we spoke to someone coming down the mountain who had summited, he said the 99 Switchbacks were covered in snow and we had to go straight up a chute to the right which was a 2-3 hour climb and then another hour in deep snow to the summit. We knew by the time we got to the chute and then climb up to the summit, the snow pack would be very unstable for avalanche danger. Therefore, we made the call to get up, hike up to the base of the switchbacks, and then go back to our camp, pack up and make our way back down.
Lessons learned were to really think about how we pack for future hikes and think about going as light as we can....
Was still a great time in the mountains to two best buds..