Mount Whitney May 2011

Don climbed Mount Whitney (elev. 14,495 feet, the highest peak in California), together with friends Allen Roberts and Shiera Brady. This is the second time up - the first was via the main trail, in September 2007. The ascent this time was via the much shorter but more difficult Mountaineer's Route (12 miles round trip instead of 22)- a route first pioneered by John Muir in 1873. Apart from the routes, there's also a big difference between climbing in May and in September- we took full snow climbing regalia, including snowshoes, poles, crampons, ice screws, snow pickets, ropes, helmets, and avalanche transponders. In retrospect, some of this was superfluous (we never used the snowshoes, and the avalanche danger was minimal), but we didn't really begrudge carrying the 60 pounds of gear up the first four thousand vertical feet- you don't know what you don't know.

The trip took three days - approach on Thursday, summit on Friday (the 13th), and return on Saturday. Some (younger) guys were doing it all in a day - hats off to them. Staying the extra time was worth it just to see sunrise along the eastern face of the mountain.