15 June 2008

Mt. Whitney summit


Happy father’s day! I just awoke near Guitar Lake from my post-summit nap. Yesterday Senator, Paranoia and I camped above Guitar Lake at a “tarn”. Our intention at Senator’s initiation was to hike out starting at midnight so we might catch a sunrise from the summit.

The granite bowl wrapped around our camp glowed last night with a bright moon. The area is full of marmots. A nuance problem for food storage and tasty sweat covered gear. Additional attention was taken to put all my gear inside.

Midnight arrived a few 4 hours after lying down. The three of us packed dup and were hiking with headlamps and moonlight quickly. The trail was easy to follow at first. However, change came abruptly across a snow patch and we lost the trail

The following 2 hours of scrambling were at first exciting, then worrisome and tiring. The moon hide behind an opposite face and the valley went black. Our small headlamps were limited aid. Reviewing map, we decided to spread out a bit and head up into the headwall. In short order we were out of eye and ear sight, not a wise move. I wandered into rocks and snow as far up as I could. After a scary and risky choice involving a icy patch, I gave up, deciding to return to camp. As I did Paranoia shouted as I passed, “I’ve found the trail.” I joined him, but no Senator. We waited an hour. Still no response, to shouts, whistle and blinking headlamps.

Now going on 4am, others began to arrive very slowly. Too obtuse said, I could head up on off chance Senator passed us. Paranoia went to the opposing wall as light filtered slowly into area. As I hiked quickly, to say warm, I fed off irritatable energy and worry about Senator. Thirty-minutes up my two-hour accent; I heard Paranoia shouting to Senator and heard everyone was okay.

I was released to hike, from my mind of second-guessing. Through Blocky spires and up stone steps I climbed 3000+ feet. I arrived at Mt. Whitney’s summit at 6:50am. I thought of you. As I turned a bend to find quarter mile, I was swept with tears as I ????? the tension I caused up with me.

Three hours passed as hikers arrived. I ate well as Americorp vol shared delicious oranges, apples and goat cheese.

The descent was slower than my ascent. The temperature rose. The sun is blaring through the thin, blue-cloudless skies above. We are planning to have lunch soon and then hike a few more miles.

I wonder what my swing down from the emotional summit of Mt. Whitney 14,495’ (tallest in continental USA) will be like. Now being physically exhausted and approaching high-point on PCT over Forester Pass tomorrow, I hope my body can rest and recover well.



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