The night before most of us had forgone the tent and slept out under the stars in anticipation for the early wake up call. From what we had heard from our fellow thru-hikers, the best time to summit Whitney was well before the sun had come up in order to experience the sunrise from the top. We bought into this plan and decided to awake at two and hit the trail as soon as possible. From our campsite just above Guitar Lake, we could already see lines of headlamps zig-zagging their way up the switchbacks carved out of western side of Whitney. After taking down camp and having a few snacks, we joined the ranks of these hikers as we began our slow ascent up to trailcrest Although it was still very early I felt energized. Today would be the last of 23 days in the mountains, and I was excited to finally experience the long anticipated Mt. Whitney.
The morning stars still sing together,
and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day. - John Muir
After signing the summit log we began our descent back to trail crest. Although we were doubling back for a few miles, the trail looked completely different as the drastic alpine views were no longer shrouded in darkness. I felt wonderful in every way on this first part of the descent; I was in a constant state of awe from what we had just accomplished and the sheer beauty of our surroundings. We got back to trailcrest fairly quickly and retrieved our bear canisters and the other supplies we had stashed there. After a quick climb up and over to the eastern side of Whitney we began a descent down a seemingly endless amount of switchbacks. Although our destination appeared so close, it was in reality many hours of hiking away due to a 4,000 foot drop in elevation and the incredibly numerous switchbacks that make that kind of descent possible.
Pre Hike Article
Post Hike Article