April 4, 2017
I participated in the March 25-28 Mt Whitney climb last week. I have been attending two of the Whitney climbs each year since 1997. It is a fun climb, with the perfect mix of sunny weather, pleasant drive (across the desert if you like), great place to stay in the old movie town of Lone Pine. Our team hiked up the first two days to Lower Boy Scout Lake and then on to high camp just below 12,000 feet with no issues. The heavy snowfall last winter made for excellent snow travel with easy hiking straight up the route on firm snow.
We had a fun, congenial group and I was reminded why I have continued to do this climb for so many years. This year was an especially memorable trip for me, as I was joined by my son Jeremy who goes to school in California. We tried last year and got stormed off, so this was to be the big year!
Needless to say, we woke up pre-dawn on summit day to raging winds and snow. I could barely stand to face the wind outside our tent. The guides delayed, then reviewed conditions and finally had to pull the plug on making a summit attempt. Their call was the correct one, and no one doubted the sense in turning back. The climbs before and immediately after ours were also turned back by a combination of new snowfall and very strong winds on the upper mountain. It is rare for us to miss three climbs in a row on Whitney. No more than one turn around out of five is more common for the Eastern Sierra.
I just heard that our April 1-4 climb was able to summit. They’ll be down today to celebrate their success. We have one final climb to go April 6-9. Good luck to them!