Our last day of the epic journey toward Mt. Whitney’s peak was the fifth day we were on the road less travelled. People that summit Mt. Whitney usually come from the Whitney Portal up the 99 switchbacks – this journey usually requires the hiker to wake up before the break of dawn – towards the peak. We were starting at Guitar Lake, with a relatively early start. I woke up to watch the sun rise above the horizon, just as I have done the rest of the trip. I was prepare to take on our 15 miles toward the peak and down to the portal and reach our maximum altitude of roughly 14,500 feet. Here are my GPS tracks of the day.
View of the clouds being illuminated by the rising sun, during breakfast at Guitar Lake.
Guitar Lake reflections, just before we set off on our hike.
This isn’t the greatest time to take backlit photos, but I still had to document the trip we were on. Our terrain soon became a pile of rocks and a straight shot up to the peak.
No more green in sight.
As we were heading up, you could finally make out the outline of the lake. It truly was in the form of a guitar.
Although throughout the day, the scenery was a little repetitive, there were spots of magic.
And up, and up we go. We could see the jagged peaks that would lead to Whitney.
Another view of how far we had travelled from Guitar Lake.
The rocks then became more jagged as we were hiking up. This is a prime area for any rockslides to happen.
Time for a quick scenic break!
And up we go again.
This was probably one of the most scenic points of the hike. The combination of shear rocks and hikers to give you a perspective of the place.
Guitar Lake, and the other lakes below.
After about an hour or so of hiking straight up, we finally made it to the junction that connects the trail to the summit and down the the portal.
Only two more miles to the top!
Because of the out and back nature of the peak, a lot of hikers opt to take off their packs for the 4 mile round trip towards the top. We had to do the same.
The two mile hike is along the side of a range that gives you magnificent views below.
It also provides you with a very intense landscape to walk through.
A view of the other side of the range.
And we made it to the peak! There were already a lot of hikers at the top, surprising because we didn’t see many people when we left Guitar Lake. But there are always the hikers from the portal as well.
Ian, at the top of Whitney.
Mandatory group photo.
Ian and I decided to sign the log book for the top.
There I am, we were both representing the South!
And the long road back. I ran out of food and water during my way up, and I decided to not use my wag bag. But we had a while to go before we were near any water for filtering. And a lot longer til dinner.
Down the other side of Whitney, which is the more dramatic side considering the view.
The view is great, our hike down had a constant reminder of what we already accomplished that day.
A sun spattered Whitney, a must more beautiful sight from this angle.
And we prepare to go down the 99 switchbacks.
View of Mt. Whitney by an unknown Lake.
And down we go,
We could see the valley below, but it was deceivingly far.
It also looked like a storm system was building at the top of Mt. Whitney, we lucked out on our timing to reach the summit and leave.
Mirror Lake, were we needed to take a quick wag bag break.
View of Mirror Lake while I was waiting for the others to finish their business…
Lone Pine Lake? It was a little empty for being a lake.
We finally made it to the bottom, crossing some water through these log bridges. I was in a hurry to go to the bathroom due to my non-wag bag promise.
The after shot.