We arrived at the Eastern Sierra Ranger Station at 10:20am Sat and stuck around till the lottery. Drew number 8 and were ready to commence our Langley Plan, but then the person in front left because they thought the drawing was for day passes. Scored 2 passes, 2 Wag bags and were out within 5 min. Brief stop at the Bi-rite for last minute supplies and then off to the portal.
With 40lb packs, made it from the WP to Outpost camp in 1hr 45min with a 10 min break at the rocks before LPL. I really like outpost camp area with the meadow, water sources, fewer campers, waterfall, and scenery. Compared to what I read from many sources about the trail, it is kind of an underrated spot, and I could totally see myself camping there two nights and making my summit bid from there (and to sleep there before heading out the next day) Got about 45 minutes of rain and hail at about 5pm.
Next day, made it from Outpost to Trail Camp in 1hr 30 minutes, really enjoyed the stop of trailside meadows and chatted with some hikers coming back from their summit. Great photos with the stream, snow, grass, and wildflowers. Entering Trail camp was wild with low lying clouds. Sun and clouds were flirting all day, but no inclement weather. This is my first "expedition style" hike (albeit a very small one) and I really like the vibe at trail camp. Everyone filtering, setting up camp, cooking, talking, sharing info/weather reports, just a nice community experience among everyone getting ready to summit attempt the next day.
Did have some crazy dreams and difficulty sleeping, but no shortness of breath, headache, nausea, or anorexia. Woke up at 3am to eat breakfast and get ready for our 4am summit bid on Monday. Took a 3L bladder, 1L nalgene, and 1L gatorade and needed every drop for the summit and back to WP.
headed out with low lying clouds ringing trail crest to summit. lighting over the mountains to the east opposite of LP, but everything cleared by the time we reached the top to TC at 5:45am. Did really well/felt good, until the base of the summit, then I switched to "high intensity interval training mode": 200 steps, then 10 deep mountaineers breathes, slow and steady eventually reached the top. after a five minute break, some water, and a cliff bar, felt great. Summited from Trail Camp in 3hrs 50 minutes.
Spent a good long while at the top just taking it all it. about 90 minutes. Sure it was cold, but we dressed for it and were the only ones at several points for a while. Dark clouds started to form and we headed down at 9:30am, and got to TC in 2hours.
Packed up, and headed out at 12:45, got to WP by 3:15. Right when we hit the switchbacks above Trailside Meadows, it started raining, lightening, and thundering and I was getting 5-7 counts and hear some hissing which freaked me out a bit. We booked it to the switchbacks above outpost camp and below the treeline over about 30 minutes. Yes, there was the risk of rolling an ankle, but I do a fair amount of trail running and felt comfortable with my steps and poles.
Got to outpost, took a break and the rain/lighting stopped and cleared. The last stretch from LPL to WP was painful and made even more painful when we showed up asking for burgers and were informed that the kitchen is closed for the season. So we ended up having mediocre mexican food at Banditos in LP.
But I'm hooked. I'll be back next year. Mt Whitney is so captivating.