First of all, I want to thank Hao, Su, Wei C., and Hua for organizing the trip and driving.
At about 10pm on May 11, we took off for Mount Whitney -- the highest point in the contiguous United States.
We arrived at Whitney Portal, which is 8,360ft (2,548m) above sea level, at about 3:30am on May 12.
We packed food and gear up, put on hiking clothes, extended hiking poles, turned headlamps on, and then started hiking toward the summit (14,505ft or 4,421m).
It's silent and dark. The rhythmical sounds from our steps, our breath, and hiking poles hitting the rocks composed a special symphony. The crescent moon's light went through the clearance between two cliffs and, along with our headlamps, lightened the stage. What a wonderful concert!
At about 5:30am, we arrived at the Lone Pine Lake. The sun was waking up and opening his eyes.
Actually this photo was taken under a mistaken white-balance setting, but I like this blue and peaceful feel.
The physical look of the lake.
The sun opened his eyes and was seeing the far away peak:
Soon after the sun got up, we reached a colorful place with blue sky, gray rocks, white snow, green pines, yellow and red bushes, and transparent brooks.
Then we reached the Mirror Lake surrounded by snow and bushes.
Previous hikers cut down some tree skin to mark the trail. I think this is not an environment-friendly way.
See the exact face of the yellow bushes.
Above the Mirror Lake, the color decayed gradually. The gray rocks and white snow dominated the color below the sky, although a few lonely green pines survived.
As we were going higher, we couldn't see any more green pines. The snow was wider and thicker.
The Consultation Lake was frozen and filled with snow, which looks wonderful.
With hiking poles and water-proof hiking shoes, we went across some thick-snow area without much difficulty.
Before 11am, we arrived at the Base Camp, whose altitude is about 12,235ft (3,729m).
We didn't go any further because of the strong freezing wind, lack of clothes (we put down our thick clothes on the way to reduce weight of our backpacks) and gear for hiking on ultra-thick snow, our physical reactions to the high altitude, and our tiredness. After taking some photos, we started to go back.
We saw a cute animal when we were on the way back:
Returned to the colorful place.
The red land far away is the lowest point in North America in Death Valley, which is 282ft (86m) below sea level
At about 4:30pm, we went back to Whitney Portal, the starting point.
- Bring enough water and food.
- Bring some medicine for alleviating physical reaction to the high altitude.
- Make a practical schedule and stick to it.
- Hiking poles are very helpful.