Real Adventure: 14,505 Feet Up On Mt Whitney

No, it might not be the summit of Mt Everest, but then again nothing else really is. Yet, making it to the top of Mt Whitney, the highest point in the Continental U.S. at an altitude of 14,505 feet, is not exactly a walk in the park, as Neil Shirley and friends found out this summer. Twenty-two miles, a nearly countless number of switchbacks, and an awe-inspiring view awaited them on their summer adventure to the top of California’s Mt Whitney.

Nestled deep in the Eastern Sierra Nevada range, Mt Whitney is such a popular hiking destination that only a select number of permits are given out each day. As the highest point in the lower-48 states, and hikeable during the summer months without any specific gear, it’s often found on many outdoor enthusiasts bucket lists.

It didn’t take long before we were above the treeline and all that existed beyond the giant boulders of granite were some particularly beautiful flowers.

Seeing snow banks in midsummer made for an interesting change of scenery, especially considering just miles down in the valley floor temperatures were in the triple digits. In Spring, getting through the snow and ice would require more gear, but the little bit that existed for us was a novelty.

With Sequoia National Park to the West and Owen’s Valley to the East, the views were truly incredible. It seemed like we were nearly at the summit, just two miles away, but that last two miles were without a doubt the most challenging of the day.

It was the first time any of the four of us had attempted to hike Whitney, so it was a special feeling once we knew we’d all make it to the top together. If anything, we were slightly over prepared and ready with more than enough food and water for what would end up being a 13-hour day on the mountain. When you spend the entire day hiking, it’s amazing how many Bonk Breaker Bars one can consume without an ounce of guilt.

It was a pretty amazing feeling of satisfaction looking down on the valley floor 10,000 feet below. The funny thing is, I thought the way down would be the easy part. Not so much. It just added to a truly memorable day on the mountain.

by bonkbreaker

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