Day 51: Whitney, You Cold Cold B****

The sun broke through the clouds by the time we had woke. We took this as a hopeful sign for our attempt at Mt. Whitney today. However, by the time we had left our camp at Crabtree Meadow and reached our original target of Guitar Lake (which actually looks like a guitar) the clouds had overrun again and snow was off and on.

We decided we were going for it anyway, we had come this far and might as well give it a go. Pie took the lead from the base all the way up to the trail crest junction. He did a pretty magnificent job cutting foot holes and following the trail considering everything was covered in snow. Once we wound our way along the ridges to trail crest we stopped for a brief, cold, and snowy lunch. Then, with our bellies full, we started the roughly 2 mile traverse to the peak. This was no easy trail, not that the first part was either. Initially, there were some light foot tracks we could follow to show the way and I took the lead for this section. After a little over a mile the tracks had stopped and the trail was completely covered over with snow, which was still falling lightly at this point. The visibility had dropped as we progressed as well and by this time we could only see maybe 15-20 feet in front of us making it much more difficult to figure out where the trail went. After maybe 10 minutes of map and GPS checking we decided it was not our day to reach the peak of Mt. Whitney.

On iur way back down our decision to turn back was confirmed as the right one. The snow started to increase and the wind began to join in. We made it back to our tents, still set up, at 5:30pm. Today has the feeling of being the hardest I’ve ever worked to not really accomplish much of anything. It was a good day of hiking and we definitely had to work for every bit of it, but we didn’t reach the peak and we didn’t advance on the PCT. I’m a little bummed about that, but perhaps another, warmer day.

As I write this, the snow continues to fall around our tents. It baffles me that when we were in town checking the weather reports for this area the best we could find was “snow off and on for a week.” Well, we left Sunday and it’s now Thursday and it’s been a heck of a lot more on than off all week. How could they miss multiple inches of snow fall? Maybe I should become a weather man after the trail, apparently you don’t really do much.

Rant over. Godspeed.

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