17 miles hiked - Mount Whitney
Our 3am wake up call turned into a 3:20am wake up call. Out of camp and hiking by 4am. We are slackpacking Mount Whitney today so I am just carrying some water, my sleeping bag (in case it’s too cold at the top) and some lunch and snacks.
The plan is to get up in 5 hours so it’s 9am when we arrive at the summit.
That did not go as planned, I arrived at 11:30. 7.5 hours it took me to hike 8.5 miles.
That’s only 1.13 miles an hour. Mount Whitney is insane. The whole time I was pushing myself to the limit but was only averaging 1.13 mile per hour. Mind you we did take a decent food break at guitar lake (named that because it looks like a guitar from above) and we took photos for a good 20 minutes during the sunrise. (I checked the time stamps on the photos, exactly 23 minutes actually)
I also had to take a shit on the sketchy side of a switch back off the trail. My feet were slipping as I was pooping and I was clinging onto a rock for dear life. I named it “edge of glory”. You also can’t poo or puke on Mount Whitney without packing it out so I had to pick up my poop like I was picking up a doggy shit and pack that up and down Mount Whitney. Fml.
Met someone on the trail who was going down as I was going up and they were like “oh shit you’re here, are you going for the longest time on trail at this point? Lol”
Yes sir. Yes I am. I’m still here and kicking it.
He had been seeing all my posts and knew all the times I had to get off trail.
We found Whitney’s hole today (inside joke sorry ya’ll)
Woodstock, Duck and I hiked together basically the entire ascent up Whitney till the last 1.5 miles when I went ahead.
We kept a steady pace of stopping to rest every 2-3 switch backs. My chest was pounding and in pain during the ascent. I also had a bit of a headache, coughing, gagging and nausea. Seems like a little altitude sickness. I’m sure I’ll be fine because I’m moving pretty steadily.
The views with every switch back and every few hundred feet up just took my breath away. Every-time. It was the exact same view just with different angles. I think I probably took over 200 photos/videos.
I definitely felt like quitting about 50 times going up this mountain. It was so hard. I was exhausted. I wasn’t feeling well (think of your worse hangover and triple it)
It wasn’t apart of the PCT so I didn’t have to do it right? Wrong. I know I needed to do this. For myself. This is for me. No one else. I’m finishing what I started.
The last 1.9 miles was probably the worse. I wanted to quit with every couple steps. It was scary, sketchy, I felt unsafe, I felt weak with every step. If I fell I would fall to my death and I was clumsy with my steps because of how sick I felt and how weak my body felt. (Muscle weakness is another sign of altitude sickness)
But I had to keep pushing.
I kept walking and starting saying SNNOOOOW every time I saw snow on the trail and smushed it with my trekking poles as I walked by to pass the time. Don’t judge me, because it worked.
I finally made it to the top.
I saw the emergency hut, I saw people taking photos. Just 100 more feet and I am at the top. I spotted my tramily members waiting for me (and the three others behind me) I waved and they cheered.
I did it. I summited the tallest mountain in the lower 48. 14,505 feet. What an accomplishment.
I am so freaking proud of myself.
To go from never wanting to leave my bed go now summiting extremely tall mountains.
Who am I?
I cried and cheered and called family members at the top.
We took a tramily topless photo (with the boys showing off their butts)
We congratulated each other and other hikers who made it.
We took more photos, and videos.
Then the tramily went down and duck and I stayed up at the top for another hour.
During that time I cried some more. Really watched the mountains and views around me. Spread some of grandma and grandpas ashes. Cried some more. And took more photos.
Now it’s time to get back down because I was starting to feel the altitude sickness again. I think I stopped feeling it for a bit because adrenaline kicked in when I was at the top.
Down we go.
“The rest of downhill” least that’s what my new Mount Whitney shirt says 😂
It is not wrong. This was a gruelling downhill.
Duck and I chatted during most of it to pass the time.
Then Duck fell and yeet'd her pole and I peed directly on the trail or I would have peed my pants. We died laughing.
Then things started to get bad for me. About 2 miles before guitar lake I was feeling 0/100 suddenly. I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t walk straight. I was seeing stars, dizzy, etc.
I went to sit down at guitar lake and I ended up just collapsing down and staying on the cold grass for a while. I was not okay.
Duck Garmin messaged our group who was already at camp letting them know we will be very late or possibly not make it to camp tonight and have to stay at guitar lake. I almost stayed there. I felt so sick and out of it. Some hikers gave me some Advil and duck gave me some more electrolytes. After about 15/20 minutes I felt a bit better and we continued on… just very slowly.
One foot in front of the other. I just had to keep walking.
After about a mile Duck announced she needed to pee and then immediately after stated she was peeing so I quickly told her to drop her pants and she also peed directly on the trail. I was laughing so hard I almost peed my pants too.
When we finally got to the creek crossing just before camp I was so freaking happy I basically flew over the creek. Just as I was walking up to camp the three boys were coming down. Turns out they were about to come and get Duck and I and make sure we made it to camp. Idk how I got so lucky with these people, but I am truly thankful I’ve met them.
Pocket lizard grabbed my water bladder I filled at the creek and we all walked up to camp together.
Everyone had so many questions when I got there so I just sat down and said yes story time did duck and I ever have an adventure on the descent of Whitney. But first I need food and warmth please. So everyone helped me while I sat down. Woodstock boiled water for my food and miss pancakes put my trekking poles back up with my tent. Then I ate a few bites and started to tell the events of the descent.
Then Duck arrived and we told our joint stories of the trekking poles and peeing on trail.
It’s funny how our tramily, during the day thought we would be able to hike 6.4 miles out after doing Mount Whitney. And when we all got to camp we decided no freaking way are we hiking anymore today. And thank the gods we didn’t. (minus chicken joe because she was still on Whitney)
She ended up rolling in around 8:30pm like a beast. I was asleep before she arrived.
What a day today was. Unforgettable.