I had considered my Sierra hiking season over with several solid summits including a few with fellow forum members Aadi, Bob and NVG. My cardio was feeling stellar so I looked up permits for Whitney on September 15th on a whim grabbed one for September 17th. Drove up to Lone Pine from LA the night before and started out after 5am. This was my 4th time going for Whitney (3rd up the MR) and at least my 7th or 8th time starting up the North Fork route. I got to LBSL just after an hour, and made my way quickly up the slabs, past UBSL and to Iceberg Lake after about three hours. Reached the notch at about 4hr30min and summited shortly after 11am. It was the first time I felt a bit effortless navigating up the chute and final 400. At the summit it was a bit brisk, but clear and full of hikers that had walked up the trail. After about 15 minutes I headed down the trail and made it back to my car around 9hr45min after beginning, which was about 45 minutes faster than my previous PR but a bit slower than my car to car via trail attempt in 2017. Felt pretty good for a 41 year old!
Looking up the Russell sand slog
Looking up the MR chute
Mt Russell from Notch
Lone Pine Peak