Mt. Whitney

Sunrise over camp

Sunrise over camp

In my own way, I’m a fairly ambitious person.  I have some Big-Ass Hairy Goals.  But one of these many goals is to summit the highest point in all 50 states.  So far, I’ve done 13.  Most of them have been relatively easy to “bag”.  But recently, I tackled Mt. Whitney, the highest point in California as well as the highest point in the Continental United States at 14,505 ft in elevation.

It was 22 miles round trip, and my boyfriend and I did it over two days.  The first day, we hiked up to Trail Camp which was 6 miles and 4,000 ft in elevation from the trail head. (The trail head itself is at an elevation of about 8,000 ft)  The altitude did not treat us kindly. The weather was perfect though and the scenery gorgeous.  The trail itself was actually a very easy trail aside from being 11 miles in one direction.  It was just long and as I said, the dwindling oxygen at altitude was killer. If we hadn’t been in better shape (we both CrossFit) I don’t think we would have made it to the summit.

View from the Trail

View from the Trail

We camped for the night, and woke up feeling *MUCH* better. We left most of our heavy gear at camp taking only a smaller pack with lots of water, snacks, and of course, a first aid kit. We got an early start for the 5 miles and 2,000ft to the summit. There were a couple tricky spots on the trail where the snow hadn’t yet melted, but we made it to the summit pretty much right when we’d planned to.  It was amazing.  The air was so clear.  If it weren’t for other mountains in the area, you felt that you could see forever. We hiked back down to camp, packed up and headed back down the mountain. While we made good time, we were incredibly sore and exhausted by the time we reached the car.  Driving the 4 hours back to LA that night was completely out of the question.

So we got some *PHENOMENAL* steaks in town to celebrate our accomplishment, and then grabbed a seedy little motel room to crash for the night.  We headed back home the next day. We ended up canceling our plans for the rest of the week because we were completely wiped.  I was limping for days because my calf muscles were so tight.  It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but coming down a mountain hurts *SO* much more than climbing up to the top.  Next time we tackle a big one, we are definitely going to have to do more specific training for it!

View from the Summit

View from the Summit

But yay for bagging my first fourteener!  I’m not sure what my next highpoint will be.  I’ve done most of the surrounding states, so it takes a bit of planning to get to new ones.  I’m going to NYC in November, so possibly get Connecticut or New Jersey or Rhode Island or something while I’m out there?  I’m also going to be traveling to Michigan quite a bit in the near future, so perhaps that one, although getting to that one in winter is tough because it’s an unpaved road that doesn’t get plowed.

Here’s the list of state highpoints I’ve bagged so far:
New York – Mt. Marcy
West Virginia – Spruce Knob
Maryland – Backbone Mountain
Pennsylvania – Mt. Davis
Ohio – Cambell Hill
Indiana – Hoosier Hill
Georgia – Brasstown Bald
South Carolina – Sassafras Mountain
North Carolina – Mt. Rogers
Kentucky – Black Mountain
Tennessee – Clingman’s Dome
South Dakota – Harney Peak
California – Mt. Whitney

What are *YOUR* Big-Ass Hairy Goals? Maybe you can help me add to my list!

USGS High Point Marker

USGS High Point Marker

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6 Responses to Mt. Whitney

  1. fallon179 says:

    Hi! This is kind of random but:
    My name’s Fallon and I’m a teenage girl from Idaho. My mom and I started highpointing last summer and have completed 35 highpoints so far! I stumbled across your blog and figured you might want to check out the blog I did the summer of 2011: summitsofthestates.wordpress.com
    I included some stories and pictures for each of the highpoints we have done. I will be continuing the blog this summer (2012) because we are doing Mt Hood (Oregon) and 9 other southwestern highpoints. Hope you check it out! Thanks a ton and happy highpointing 🙂

    Fallon

    • karassa says:

      Fallon,
      What an awesome blog! I will definitely be following your adventures! I think it is so amazing that you’ve already bagged so many peaks at such a young age and that you get to do so with your mother. Good luck and be safe on Mt. Hood this weekend!

      • fallon179 says:

        Thanks so much! It’s been a blast and I am so excited for the next few years. Good job highpointing as many as you have and good luck on the remainder! Can’t wait to hear about more adventures in the future.

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