Day 45 – Mt Whitney

We started hiking around 7am today, a later start than most who were attempting Whitney today. It was so cold this morning that it was difficult to get moving. I slept with my gloves on my feet for extra warmth. 

It got colder too, 5:30am it wasn’t too bad but at 6:30am there was frost on the ground and I couldn’t feel my fingers. 

I started with lots of layers on. 10 minutes into walking I felt awful, I felt nauseous, dizzy, lethargic. I was sweating uncontrollably and all my layers came off. I would have stripped everything off if I could. I felt terrible. Not how you want to feel when you’re about to climb a mountain. 

I’m too hot. I feel sick. I’m never going to make it. I’m going to pass out. I hope the others are waiting for me. Oh god no the others are waiting for me. They shouldn’t wait for me. Oh I’m so pleased they are waiting for me. I can see all the switch backs. I’m never going to make it. I am going to make it. There’s no reason I won’t. Other than the sickness and the dizziness. Oh I really want to make it. I should just turn back. Let the others go on without me. Oh no they are waiting for me again. They will get so annoyed with me. My stomach hurts. My legs hurt. Just one foot then the other. It’s only walking. I can do it. Oh it’s getting snowy. Ok I’ve made it half way. I might be able to do it. I can do it. I can’t do it. I can do it. Just carry on….

      

The scenery was stunning, it was a good excuse to stop and take photos. My internal battle continued the whole way up…

              

We saw some day hikers kitted out in boots and crampons, ice axes and goggles, a little different to the PCT attire of shorts and trainers/sneakers! 

I kept plodding along, up seemingly endless switchbacks and through the snow. It was a beautiful day. Everyone else got an earlier start than us so we started to see people coming down. You’re nearly there they would say. Not really! Marathon John said you’re nearly there…

 
The summit bit got steeper and steeper and it wasn’t really the trail, which was covered in snow, and we were just following other peoples footsteps. I put my spikes on. Finally after what seemed like an eternity the hut came into view. I’m so close. I’m actually going to make it!! 

We stayed up there for a while taking pictures and absorbing it all. 

          

The clouds were starting to gather and the snow was now soft so it was time to start the long descent. I was glad of my spikes, but I still fell over about 25 times. There were a couple of hair-raising moments when I thought I might take a tumble down the side of the mountain. I couldn’t wait to get out of the snow. 

  
  


We stopped at guitar like for a little rest, looking back on what we had just climbed,  then carried on to camp. We were all starving. All I had eaten today was a cereal bar and a handful of mini eggs. Not quite the fuel you need to climb the highest mountain in the contiguous US!  

  

I also hadn’t drunk nearly enough water, I had to drop off the kids on the way back – it’s really not a good idea to hold them in for so long and get yourself dehydrated. 

I seriously burnt my face from the sun / snow reflection / wind. My nose is so so sore – from the sun and the constant snot wiping – and my lips hurt. It hurt to eat my mountain house chilli con carne! 

Tomorrow we tackle Forrester Pass…

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