Mount Whitney – Part 1, Lone Pine, California

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It’s time to climb! We started at about 4:45 am which was an hour before sunrise. The hike began in the dark with our headlamps. After a bit, we started to get hints of a sunrise.

An hour into the climb, we were able to put away the lights and enjoy the predawn light. Way down below in the valley is the town of Lone Pine.

My partners for the day were Tom and Rich. Rich is my friend from Boise and is making his debut!

Looking up the canyon, sunrise on the walls. A few hours from now we will be looking down on all these rocks.

In general, the route was fairly mellow….. if you consider 6500 feet of climb and 22 miles mellow!

Higher and higher we go! Looking back down the canyon, you can make out Lone Pine Lake which we walked by earlier. It was a fairly warm day so we were enjoying the shadows of the canyon, even this early in the morning.

A closer view of Lone Pine Lake and the rays of sunrise.

Looking upward, we are finally getting views of the Mount Whitney shoulder still many thousands of feet above.

Climbing higher, we start getting above the tree line and finally into the high elevation sunshine.

Tom on the left and Rich on the right.

This is a Davefaitlemonde selfie!

It was hard for Rich to walk past Mirror Lake (below on left) without stopping to fish. I heard him mumble something about going down to his car when we were done to come back with his fishing pole….. FYI, that did not happen. Notice how the canyon below keeps getting farther away?

At about 11,000 feet, we were done with vegetation and into the rocks. There was however, plenty of water. I couldn’t help but think about all the tall mountains and rocks above us and that we were climbing higher than all of them.

Reflections in a small pond.

Trail camp pond. This is the location that many people set up base camp for the final assent. It sits at 12,000 feet which is 2500 feet below the summit. Since we were doing the climb in one day, we refiled our water bottles, took our first real break of the day, then pressed on.

Above us, a 1700 foot climb to the ridge then a right turn along the spine to the summit which is behind the rock ridge on the right. Our route takes us up to the first small ridge rocks on the left which are actually as tall as a 10 story building.

I took so many images, I needed to break this adventure into multiple parts. Plenty more to come, y’all come back!!!!

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