First, let me start by thanking members of this forum, you helped me a lot in preparing and i believe i read every day hike report that was posted on this forum to give me an idea of what was ahead of me.
Just a little background about me:
34 years old, male, lazy for the first 30 years of my life. But in a very good shape now. I started hiking a year ago after i picked up a used keen boots from REI garage sale
(nothing more than 5 miles at the most)
I never ran more than 4 miles at a time...
I never walked more than 10 miles in my life.
In preparation for this hike, i did hike like 5 miles per week on some hills next to where i live with 20 pounds pack (I didnt do any big hikes).
I ran like 5 miles per week as well (treadmill and outside)
did a lot of other workouts, weights, pushups, pullups, squats, lunges, rope jumping and some circuit training...
last 2 months i only walked (no running) on the treadmill with 20 pounds vest while grade is set to 15% for 1-2 hours everyday. This really helps -- you will sweat a lot and get your heart pumping if you don't have access to hikes outside...
Anyways, i did some effort to get in shape, and i was able to summit in one day.
This was the craziest/hardest day of my life, but very well worth it.
We camped at horseshoe meadows 2 days before the hike to get acclimated, it was fun. I got headache the very first day either from the lack of oxygen or from the beers we were drinking
On the day of the hike, we woke up at 12:30 am, broke camp and drove to the portal.
My backpack weighed 16 pounds, i had 3 layers (underarmour cold gear as base layer, columbia fleece jacket, and outershell windbreaker, baseball hat, bandanna, wool hat, gloves, trekking poles)
10 cliff bars, 8 GUs and a banana. and some first aid kit.
I only carried 3 liters the whole time with me, and filled up from lakes...
My other buddy had 29 pounds, he was carrying more water and celebration booze for the top.
My other buddy had 19 pounds, more gear and first aid kits...
We started the hike at 3 am. we set our time to stop every one hour to rest for 10 minutes.
The first 7 miles were easy nothing dramatic. I think we reached the trail camp by 8 am. We filled up from the lack there, took a good break and started on this damn 99 switchbacks. These were long and tedious, i saw some people giving up on those and going back.
i used my right leg a lot on the way up (as i always lead with right), so after some time my right hip flexor starting bothering me (i should have done more lunges for training).
The trail just kept going on and on, until we reached the trail crest.
I was a bit afraid there from all the heights and altitude and you can't really see where the top is. But we just kept going with only one goal in our heads. Failure was not an option.
I started to feel my heart pounding in the back of my head, and I noticed my hands and fingers got swollen really fat and my nails were blue (not sure if these are signs of AMS). It didn't really bother me, I just wanted to reach the top. This has been my goal since beginning of new year...
we kept going breathing more heavily and stopping a lot during the last 2 miles.
At 12 pm we summitted i was so happy took a lot of pictures and signed the book, we ate at the top some cliff bars, beef jerky and banana (i didn't lose appetite during the whole thing, i never do, i like food).
My friend was not feeling too well so we didn't drink the booze although i wanted to, just didn't feel right to do it alone.
picture of me at the top:
Still 11 miles away from the car...
we started the descend at 12:30, and the trail just kept going on and on never ending. I was surprised to see how much distance we traveled at night. My hands were back to normal once we hit the switchbacks (no more swelling), but the way back was long...
we reached the portal by 6 pm. My feet were hurting along with my hip flexor. we ordered that famous burger ate, and headed to motel.
It was really a good experience for me. It showed me what the human body is capable of or at least what i am capable of. I didn't hit my limit/breakpoint during the hike, i could have gone more if it was needed. I am hard headed and don't like to quit once i want to accomplish something.
I believe anyone in good physical shape and strong will can accomplish this if he didn't get hit my AMS and does his due diligence of training.
looking for the next thing to accomplish, ideas are welcome
-- Pain is temporary glory is forever