Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mount Whitney

Another highpoint!  Made even better with a hiking companion, my brother Kip.  Seeing how he's now a resident of California, he was interested in reaching the high point of the state.  We scored permits in the lottery and planned for several months to meet up and do a group hike.  Yay for things that work out!

Starting out just before dawn, John may not be quite awake yet:


Looks like we're in the right place:


Hey, this next photo turned out well (looking east at the next mountain range over).  I told John that one sign of being a good photographer is probably knowing as you take a picture that it's one of the better ones.  Well, I'm nowhere near being a good photographer :)


Early morning log bridge walking:


Scenic rock formations all around us:


Impending sunshine, with a glimpse of a little lake below us:


And a look up toward where we will be eventually:


Everything above treeline was really cool:


Quick snack break before hitting the "99 Switchbacks":


John counted, and we think there actually are somewhere around 99 switchbacks, except maybe just a couple or so shy.  We had fun chatting all the way up and the time went quickly by.


An excellent trail cut into the side of the mountain:


Popping out at the top of the ridge, the view to the west was even more stunning, wow:


An even more amazing trail cut into the side of the mountain:


Lots of rocks!  This could have been a real "pick your way through the rocks" ordeal except the trail is well-made, well-maintained, and definitely well-traveled:


More rocks, and a hole in a spur:


Looking back at the trail behind us:


There's the top, awesome!


Signing in at the highest point in the lower 48 states:


Mr. Marmot wondering if John would mind leaving the trail mix that someone had dropped?  Nope, sorry, can't do that!  Mr. Trail Cleanup is on the job.  And hey people, please stop feeding the wild animals.


Top of the world!  Or at least, top of California!


We didn't stay very long at the top but managed a whole slew of photos, and since I like almost all of them, I hardly culled any.

Yay for Mount Whitney!


Team V at the summit:


We saw some climbers coming up on a rope from this direction (way cool) and John decided to join them for the final couple feet:


Bottoms up!


Karate Kid/"Yoga" on the rocks (I might have made up this pose):


Really I was just showing off my Boundary Peak scrapage:


Still working on a caption for this one...


Happy to be here together!


Well, time to head back.  Here's the John Muir Trail going down the back side.  I think it's neat that we hiked the beginning and the end of the JMT within a few days of each other.  Maybe someday we'll connect those on foot instead of by car:


Making our way down the valley (and we actually got rained on slightly, first rain for us since Mt Rainier, I believe):


And several hours later... time for pizza!


Thank you Kip for joining us, it was great fun!  Let's have more adventures together sometime.



Highpoint #31 for us (and #3 for Kip?):

http://www.kipley.com/marcy/highpoints/index.html


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