So again, sorry it's been so long since my last post. But not a lot other than the move has gone on. I have done a few hikes and I suppose I'll blog about them later, but I really wanted to get this trip report up because there are just too many pics that need explaining. Anyway, so here it is...
Whitney Trip Report.
Day One: The dudes arrive
Cory and Pat flew into LAX Saturday April 4th. Cory landed at noon and Pat was supposed to be landing shortly after but his Plane was delayed a bit more than an hour, so Cory and I headed over to the Taco's Jr. (It's the same as Taco hut, only it's a Carls Jr. and a Taco Grill). After our gluttony, I took Cory to the Manhattan beach wore the scent of fresh oil and sewage. I'm new here, sorry... We didn't have time to go to Santa Monica or we would have. So we got the call that Pat had landed and hastily made it back to LAX to pick him up. We battled the 5, the 210, the 134 and the 101 freeways back to my house to meet Pam, have a quick pee break, and do a jumping picture before hitting the road for 4 hours...
We pulled in to Lone Pine California close to 6pm, checked in to the hostel and pimped Max, the old bearded hippy behind the counter, for information about summiting Whitney in the winter. Pam, who's not afraid to murder someone through sheer conversation, spent the next 45 min finding out that:
1. Weather was moving in and we'd have the best shot of summiting a day early.
2. We should make out push from Upper Boy Scout instead of Iceberg.
3. There's no need for snow shoes... AWESOME, those things stink.
Cory finally pried Pam away from Max, we went and grabbed Pizza then went anxiously went to bed waiting our 6am wake up time.
Day 2: The Road to Upper Boy Scout
We woke at 6am like we had planned, crossed the street and slopped up as much fat and protein as we could. My weapon of choice was 2 eggs sunny side up, biscuits and gravy, corn beef hash, and a cup of Joe to wash it down with. Whitney Portal road was a long winding road that leads from Lone pine (3000 ft) to the entrance to the Whitney Portal Trail head (8500 ft). From there, Cory, Pat, Pam and I hiked the John Muir trail to the Mountaineer's route which made a fast turn upward and followed the Boy Scout lakes drainage path through the valley.
The first passage proved we all did some exercise preparing for the trip, as we weaved in and out of bolder fields and serpentine switchbacks all on a 45 degree pitch. It got harder with altitude, and when snow entered the equation. We made our first difficult decision at about 9am. Continue forging up the stream or make our attempts at Ebersbacher Ledges. The Ledges make for easier climbing, but they're slightly more risky... and potentially deadly. Since Cory and I were "guiding" this trip, and Pam and Pat put on their harnesses for the first time in the hostel last night, we decided to continue on path less traveled. The morning turned into the afternoon quite quickly and 4 grueling hours later we landed at Lower Boy Scout Lake (approx 11000 ft). It was about 1pm, the sun is directly over head, the snow and ice on the ground is reflecting the sunlight making it feel like it's 80 degrees out and because of future weather concerns we still have another 2 miles, 1500 vertical ft, and 4 hours of climbing left.
The next stretch of land was just as beautiful as the last. The pitch increased slightly and the snow was starting to post hole making walking quite difficult. Cory carved a good path up the slope for us to follow avoiding a lot of the tricky sections and making crampons unnecessary. Surrounded by ice banks, the reminisce of big red woods trees thinning out just before the tree line ended, we saw our days end goal, Upper Boy Scout Lake. Exhausted, over heated, probably a little bit dehydrated the four of us stumbled into camp just after 4pm as others were packing up to leave having just summited. Talking to the passer by's rejuvenated our sense of "Holy shit we're here and can't wait to do this" and we split up into teams to tackle camping chores.
Pat and I set up the tents, Cory was hacking away at the lake with an ice axe filling our water bottles, and Pam was melting snow and heating water for dinner. Once all our chores were done we all met back at the rock we made our dinner table for that night and had dinner. A few bites into our meals we were startled by the sounds Cory puking up something good. He had come down with a case of what we all feared, AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). AMS is a strange thing, nobody is more, or less prone to it than anyone else; just because you get it once, doesn't mean you'll get it again; It usually consists of vomiting, headaches, cold sweat, fever and because it's caused by extreme altitude gain, the only remedy is to descend. Since we had gone from 3000 to 12,000 ft in a matter of hours, AMS was probably the culprit. In the back of our heads we were hoping it was just sheer exhaustion, and we put him to bed with a few Nalgene's of Gatorade since it was too late to descend.
We put our heads to pillows around 8pm. By then temperatures were in the teens, and light was dying quickly. I slept in the tent with Cory, waking up every now and then making sure he was getting enough water while keeping my fingers crossed he'd be fine, and we'd all get to summit the following morning.