This will probably be long winded and about more than just the Langley trip. Plenty of my team's Langley details will be in there, if you want to sort through to find them.
I haven't done much hiking since 2010. Back "in the day" I used to think I was a good extreme day hiker. 40+ miles in 24 hours or over 70 in 48 hours were pretty common. In September of 2009 I split with my main hiking partner mainly because he bailed without telling me 18 hours into a 48 hour 72 mile hike. Between Pichot and Mather Passes to be exact.
I started 2010 hiking with my son who was 13 at the time. Huge hikes were out of the question, but we did plenty. In 2011 I retired from the Navy and we immediately downsized homes to rid ourselves of a house payment allowing me to be a stay at home dad. From June to October of that year I remodeled the "new" house. The only hike I did was Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim, but we cheated by spending a night at the north rim hotel.
In 2012 my daughter made me a grandfather and a lot of "life" came up. My bucket list wasn't getting checked off like I had planned. I did some small hikes with scouts, but nothing big. Just when I planned to do a few trips I blew a disc out in my back. I could barely walk, let alone hike. Finally in March 2013 that was resolved but I had gained 45 pounds. The doc said no running, but walking and hiking were fine.
I purchased a pedometer and started walking 10-15K steps every day. I quit sodas and caffeine. I ate a little better. 30 pounds came off quick. I started doing small hikes during the day locally.
Three weeks ago my buddy called and wanted to do Mt Langley. We hadn't hiked together since the Grand Canyon. I decided that if I could pull it off I could still be a decent extreme hiker. If not I was probably done. I increased my walking to 25-35K steps a day. My buddy and I did a hill over by his place that gains 1K in 3/4 mile. Then we did it twice. I kept walking and hiking even through the brutal heat wave we were having.
On Labor day my buddy, my son (now 16) and I went up Mount San Jacinto via Deer Springs. 20 miles and 5400 feet of gain. I kept up with them. Not bad, though I used to easily out hike them.
I studied all the trip reports and gathered all the info I could on Mount Langley. A lot of people said it was harder than Whitney. That concerned me since I'm still 15 pounds heavier than my hiking days and don't feel I'm in Whitney shape. I knew I could handle the miles and gain. Having not been over 11000 feet in a few years had me worried.
On Friday we left at 0600 for Lone Pine. We stopped in to see Doug and failed to summit Mt Pancake. We then headed to Horseshoe Meadows to try and acclimate. We did a short flat hike and slept out under the stars. At 0200 the alarm went off and we had breakfast. We were on the trail at 0300. My buddy carried the water filter, my son had the first aid kit. I had my own gear/food. I went as light as I safely could. We hiked by headlamp until we reached the base of Army Pass. My intel said it was good to go, no need to do New Army this time of year. By 0630 we were on top of the pass. I didn't time it, but we got up it pretty quickly. It wasn't much of a challenge.
Now the easy part was over. Just like all the trip reports say, there are many use trails leading to the summit. We stayed far to the left fighting the loose sandy scree. Around 13,800 I was feeling the altitude but I pushed on. My buddy and son were 5-6 minutes ahead of me. We swung around and around 1030 we hit the top block of the summit. Shortly after we took pics a few others arrived. It was getting chilly so we headed down, again swinging around to play in the scree. We took a quick break to eat and change socks on top of the pass and headed down to get water. The pass was harder for my son and I going down than it was going up.
We took a long break by the lake and ate again trying to lighten our loads. Stripped down to shorts, t shirts and sun screen we took off, making quick time. Just after 3 pm we were back at the truck.
Harder than Whitney? Not for us. Having many Whitney summits between the three of us we all agreed Langley via Army Pass on a clear, beautiful day is much easier than Whitney. Our opinion, your mileage may vary.
A Facebook buddy of mine agreed saying Langley has 2200 less gain and 2200 less people.
So, I guess I need to drop 15-20 pounds and keep hiking. Maybe my JMT in under 10 days with no resupply dream will happen next year.