Given that there are already a few trip reports, I wasnít so sure that there was much I could add. But since my trip and my experience were somewhat different from the norm, I thought it might be worthwhile. Anyway, this was my third summit of Mount Whitney, and my first solo ascent. Climbing the mountain alone made for a MUCH different experience that going with other people, and is something that everyone here should experience at least once.
8:38AM Starting time. Yes, this is almost completely unheard of for a starting time on a dayhike. But I never really liked the whole alpine start thing. And with no chance of thunderstorms in the forecast, why not climb the mountain at a more enjoyable time (at least to me)? Anyway, North Fork Lone Pine Creek crossing looked a little sketchy to me. So I decided to take the old trail. This added something a little different to the hike. But it was an otherwise uneventful climb to Big Pine Lake.
9:50AM Big Pine Lake. I made a short stop here for some water and a bit to eat. It was here that I saw the first snow by the trail (but not on it). However, the weather was warm.
10:15AM Outpost Camp. There was a stream crossing just before the camp where I accidentally got my shoe a little wet. But this was my mistake. Not a big deal, though.
10:30AM Mirror Lake. I made a stop here just to take a few pictures and have a bit to eat. The big climb to Trail Camp is just ahead.
11:10AM Trailside Meadows. There was a good deal lf water in places on the steps between Mirror Lake and Trail Camp. But no snow on the trail yet. Anyway, I stopped here to drink some water and filter more from the stream. The weather was becoming cooler and breezier at this point.
11:32AM Stream Crossing above Trailside Meadows. The first snow crossing on the trail. Actually, you didnít have to cross the snow. But crossing the snow allowed you to avoid a stream crossing. I chose the snow.
11:48AM Trail Camp. I was quite surprised at how few people were camping here. Maybe three or four groups. This was in stark contrast to last year at this time (still on a weekday), when this place was a circus. I made my longest stop here to drink water, grab a snack, and top off my water bottles for the climb to the summit. I ended up carrying 2L of water to the summit.
1:17PM Trail Crest. I didnít stop here too long. Just long enough for some pictures, water, and a snack. It was rather cool and breezy up here. Overall, the switchbacks were in good condition with just a little snow on the trail near the top. But it was no problem to trek through or circumvent.
1:22PM JMT Trail Junction. I didnít do much here. But there were a few backpackers here here leaving their packs for the excursion to the summit. Overall, I was amazed at how few people were on the trail. It was NOTHING like even my September climb last year. Perhaps fears of snow were keeping people away?
2:25PM Snowbank on trail hear summit. This is the one that everyone has been talking about, and that the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center warned me to carry microspikes for. I didnít feel they were necessary and I wished I didnít pack the extra weight.
2:36PM SUMMIT. You can sure climb Whitney faster without hiking partners. Well, at least I can. On the last bit of the climb, there were a couple of people coming down. When I got to the summit, it was deserted. I actually had the summit to myself for a while before the people I passed at the trail junction summited. I also had the summit to myself for a while before they left. I ended up staying up here enjoying the view until around 5:00. The weather was actually not too bad. It was cool and breezy, but the sun kept you from getting too chilly.
While I was up there, a couple of JMT backpackers made their way to the summit and seemed to want to follow me back to Whitney Portal. I was glad to oblige. But because they walked slower than me, we did not make it back to the Portal until around 12:15AM.
Overall, it was a GREAT trip. Probably the best climb I have made so far. The weather was GREAT and I had a GREAT time making the solo climb to the summit. Until next time.
Edited by StorminMatt (08/03/19 03:58 PM)