Late entry: Final climb of Mt. Whitney for 2009.

So not only am I really behind on my every-other-day writing schedule, this trip report should have been posted weeks ago after the team sent me their photos.  Sorry to everyone for everything - here's the story.

The same week that Chad and Jason signed up to climb Mt. Lamarck, Sierra Mountain Center got another phone call from four guys wanting to climb Mt. Whitney.  In November?!  What?  But I said,"Sure!" completely un-sure of the snow, ice or even how warm we'd be trying to climb.

20091109.  So I meet these guys in the parking lot and ask, "Why?"  Why now, when its getting cold?  Turns out these four are Navy sailors, Special Warefare Small Craft Specialists, who just finished an anti-piracy tour in East Africa.  Somewhere in the middle of that craziness this crew got the idea to climb Mt. Whitney when they got home to San Diego.  They had arrived back in the states only two weeks earlier, and had made the call.  How could I say no to that?

It was cold - and windy - but we persevered and reached the summit.  Conditions were surprisingly good, and we moved relatively quickly.  These guys were incredibly fit and willing to follow my directions without too much hesitation, so we were able to reach the summit in a 11-hour push.  It was the best way that I could think of finishing the year.  Thanks for a great time!

Statistics:  Mt Whitney (14,495') via the Mountaineer's Route, 3rd/4th class, steep snow.  Three days with camp at Upper Boy Scout Lake.

Photo:  Some of the photos in this collection are courtesy of Petty Officer First Class Dan Reeves, and are used with permission.