July 01, 2021 4 min read
What better way to celebrate America then with a climb to the top of it's highest peak! Happy 4th to everyone and enjoy a quick summary of our story to the top.
The team, Jeff, Jim, Ron (fearless leader) and myself
We made it! Super Pop to the Top! All our preparations allowed us an amazing adventure even with some unexpected hardships we had to endure. The team stuck together, paced ourselves and made the right decisions to get us up and down Mount Whitney, 14,508 ft! Read on to get a brief day by day on our backpacking trip through the John Muir wilderness to the top.
Altitude is no joke, Ron, our fearless experienced leader, in his wisdom booked us a camping site at the Mount Whitney portal around 8,000 ft high. With all of us basically at sea level this gave us a night to start acclimating to the lower oxygen levels we’d experience over the next few days.
We loaded ourselves up with carbs to help provide us with energy. Basically, we all crushed a large supreme pizza pie in the town of Lone Pine before heading up to camp.
We set up camp, discussed our plan, lit a campfire and then took in all the stars we haven’t seen in years due to the Los Angeles light pollution.
Day 2 - 8.3 miles, 3,663 ft gain, 7hrs
Up at it bright and early, Jim made us all a gourmet breakfast while we prepped our gear. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know exactly what you’ll need and hard to let go of certain items, all of our packs averaged around 40 lbs, doh! Good thing we trained with heavy packs!
After accepting the weight challenge, we began our adventure through the lone pine portal.
The day was beautiful, the higher we got the more the scenery inspired us to keep climbing. We did however receive a high wind alert. As we climbed we were met with hikers descending that looked a bit disheveled from the previous night and the unsuccessful summit due to the weather. It sounded like it was to die down by evening so we trekked on to 12k ft for trail camp.
Beautiful John Muir Wilderness
Lunch stop at Outpost Camp, Ron and Jeff take a load off...
Jim refueling with some super pop power!
The day was going just right, we all paced ourselves to take in the scenery and really appreciate it. As we got closer to trail camp and closer to the evening we finally got hit with the hurricane like wind we were hoping was on its way out. I’m mean I was able to lean full weight into the wind and it was holding me… Now we were nervous… After debate we decided to hunker down in the boulders and rocks to mitigate direct contact. As night was nearing we grabbed snacks for dinner and quickly set up for a rough night.
Jeremy hiding behind rocks to avoid 50+mph gusts of wind
Unfortunately we had no luck on the wind dying down and on top of that, it brought the temperature down below freezing between 18-0 degrees!! We could hear the lake freezing over which seemed to launch the wind with a vengeance in our direction. It was like a horror film where we’d hear the lake, then silence and calm until boom just blasted. Easy to say none of us slept.
Day 3 - 9.67 miles, 2,751ft gain, 5.5 hours
Now that was a “f…. Nightmare” Jim greeted us all in the morning. We all couldn’t agree more! Sunrise at 5:45am got us out of our sleeping bag bundles feeling like trash! With Whitney hovering just above us, we all were throwing in the towel, no way we were going to make it… Moving around, getting some coffee brewed up and the wind finally subsiding we started to reconsider… It’s right there, we have to just try it. We lightened our packs, loaded up with water and headed to tackle the reaming 2,508 ft summit atop Mount Whitney!
Those 99 switchbacks are no joke but what a reward you get with the view of the west sierras at the top! Continuing on, it’s a little deceiving as the peak seems right there but it’s actually a good 4+ miles of up, down and some more switchbacks before getting to the summit. Also the altitude with lower oxygen levels start to kick in on your body. As a team we stuck together at a good pace and forged ahead.
The Top & Back - 6.9 miles, 2:45 hours
We finally hit the summit and what a view. As much as we wanted to disconnect from technology, we noticed a fellow climber on her phone and we couldn't resist calling our families. We actually were able to FaceTime and share the view with our significant others and kids. What a moment! We got the photo with the sign, signed the book, and enjoyed lunch at the top together. After taking in the accomplishment we made our way down safely, enjoyed a much better evening with out the wind and then headed back down the next morning.
If you look at the signing box you should see Super Pop has joined the many brands at the top. To celebrate the victory if you take the Mount Whitney summit challenge, find our sticker and take a picture with it then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we will send you a special recovery package. We'll keep this running for the first 10 people that email us from the top!
Upon writing this about a week after our climb a fire started in the Inyo Creek due to lightning. As of 6/27/2021 the area is still being contained by local courageous firefighters bringing it to 70% contained. Please keep posted, a good site is Sierra Wave Media and stay safe on your adventures!
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