At 14,496 feet, Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the continental United States.
It has always been a dream of mine to climb Whitney and last summer I finally had the opportunity thanks to my friend Patti who collected $15 from me and my friends and applied for a permit. Unfortunately, the date we finally received from the Forest Service was the same weekend I was going to be in Alaska fishing. Damn!
And so last August I jumped on a plane and headed north while my friends drove up Highway 395 and pulled off something far greater than hauling in an 8 pound salmon.
“It was grueling,” Patti told me later, “but a tremendous accomplishment.” And then she added with a laugh, “and one I will never, ever repeat.”
Mt. Whitney is not a technical climb, but it is a truly exhausting one due to the high altitude and thin air which makes your lungs work overtime for less oxygen and your muscles burn with fatigue.
Although Whitney would have kicked my butt, I was nonetheless disappointed I wasn’t able to go. I was even more disappointed after seeing Patti’s photographs. The group had lucked out with perfect weather and the cloudless skies and crisp mountain air made for some stunningly beautiful shots.
So, do yourself a favor. Spare a few moments to check out the gallery and summit Mt. Whitney in the same manner as I did this summer: virtually.