Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Marist is in the Pioneer League which includes Butler (Indiana), Campbell (North Carolina), Davidson (North Carolina), Dayton (Ohio), Drake (Iowa), Jacksonville (Florida), Morehead State (Kentucky), Valparaiso (Indiana) and the University of San Diego. I was blown away to learn that this conference was so geographically large. What fun to get to travel to Florida and California, as well as North Carolina and the Midwest.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Crabtree Meadow (10,700 feet):
In August 1998, my third trip to Mount Whitney, Jeff Brice and I took David Paxman, David Vilt, Sam Cannon, Joshua Brice, Andrew Cannon and Mark Martinsen over Kearsarge Pass and Forrester Pass and up the backside of Whitney and out to Whitney Portal. The picture below is of our group at Crabtree Meadow near the Ranger Station, at about 10,700 feet elevation. It rained on us earlier that day and Mark Martinsen ate a can of Spaghettios that appeared horrible when we first started our trip but that then looked very good after days of freeze dried meals. After leaving Crabtree Meadow you begin a gradual ascent upwards, occasionally getting views of Whitney Creek. You also enter the "Whitney Zone" where all waste must be placed in a wagbag and carried out. After a consistent climb you eventually reach Timberline Lake and are rewarded with marvelous views of Mount Whitney, the large rounded mountain left of center below (it is not nearly as impressive from the backside as from the front side). Camping is prohibited at Timberline Lake, so campers typically stay at either Crabtree Meadow, or at Guitar Lake, further along the trail.
Consistent with the name of the lake, the trees thin out as you gain altitude and enter the long valley on the west side of Mount Whitney. The first time I hiked Whitney was in August 1993. I was with my brother, Matt, my brother-in-law, David Kension, my nephew, Rick DeLong, Mark Richey, Mark's father, several of Mark's brothers and scouts from Redlands Troop 331. We came in over New Army Pass. Several of the scouts, particularly Brian Lehnhof and Peter Walker, were young and small. So we asked Matt and Rick to stick with them and help them up Mount Whitney. Below, Rick, Matt and Brian walk along just past Timberline Lake.
The map below shows the backside route. From Guitar Lake, which is almost directly under the Whitney summit, you continue south across the valley until reaching switchbacks below Trail Crest. There you take a series of switchbacks up to the Mount Whitney Trail, which is about 100 feet lower than Trail Crest, and perhaps a quarter mile away, then go north again to the Whitney summit.
Outpost Camp is 3.6 miles below Trail Camp and is 1,460 feet lower. It is a much nicer place to camp than Trail Camp. There are trees and bushes and running water nearby, including a beautiful waterfall. It is the ideal place to camp after a day of summiting Whitney. Before a summit day, Trail Camp is still best because it is so much closer. Below, Eric Lau near our tents in 2005.
In 2005, Eric Lau, Jason Bush, Andrew, Judy and I at the trailhead at Whitney Portal. It is 2.1 miles below Lone Pine Lake and 1,600 feet lower.