Picked up a cancelled permit 10/19, planned to summit Whitney 10/20 (ended up doing Muir).
Left the Portal and began climbing the main Whitney trail, Wed 6am, 15lb pack, 2.5L of water.
Cool and slightly breezy, good weather for moving quickly...I obliged.
Side note: saw a lot of discarded wag bags, not cool (might make sense for Ranger folk to assign permit numbers to the bags, to discourage such negligence?).
Overcast skies and ominous grey clouds resting atop the Whitney range, and beyond.
Light traffic on the trail, blew past Outpost, and maybe a mile before trail camp, a few folks were descending, looked spent, said they'd started 230am, and they cautioned on continuing on, said they turned back because of heavy snow on the switchbacks.
At the cables saw the first real snow, somewhat patchy, consolidated, nothing onerous at all...proceeded up with my Hoka trail runners, no spikes. Realized half-way up I'd run out of water (still had a sugar free Red Bull left)...decided to push to Trail Crest, and reassess. Trail Camp pond below was frozen, but two guys I chatted with later on my descent indicated there was access near the drainage.
Up the switchbacks I went, the trail in fine shape...eventually I caught up to an older dude who was taking his time up the final switchbacks. I slowed and we chatted, crossing the long final switchback to the top, together.
At Trail Crest 10:32am, was greeted with expansive views...met a JMT thru-hiker who was kind enough to top off my 500ml bottle with Guitar Lake water, cool dude.
Decided to push to Whitney, around 1045am, took my time, and 30mins later, clouds growing dark, remembering my water situation, I stick a fork in Whitney and revert to plan b: Muir.
Backtracked down the trail, dumped Osprey pack at the foot of Muir, and scramble up for the class 3 summit. Photos of the route on Summit Post made it seem more foreboding than what I experienced. It took me approx. 35mins to get to the top...I tagged it and climbed down slowly (for me, the down-climb was more precarious than the ascent).
Passed the older dude again, who by this point was looking really worn out, and I asked if he was ok...have to keep going, he grumbled, continuing his slow trudge onward.
Back on the trail, chomping on a piece of granola bar, immensely satisfied (and thirsty), I geared up and scooted back to Trail Crest...standing there on the saddle, savoring the moment, drinking the vistas, I began my descending the switchbacks. About five minutes in, I opted to don the micro spikes...an ideal choice that allowed me to maintain a quick clip (no slips or slides, despite the ice).
The return was joyous: one stop to change a drenched capilene tee, one to chow on a cold but tasty McChicken, and frequent stops to chat with friendly folk: the "Mayor of Outpost Camp," the smiling 30 year old who scored a permit and was just "excited to be here," the woman from Big Bear who was acclimatizing and planning her 27th consecutive annual summit on 10/21 (!), the Wisconsin dudes, the father and son getting a late start to Trail Camp, and a few others.
Per Strava: 8hr 14min moving time--2.4mph avg speed--10hrs 32mins all-in w stops (rest/bio breaks/chit-chat, mountain gazing).
Snows expected this weekend, might try for the Palisades, maybe Agassiz.
Be safe.Why not Mt Muir?