Sunday, September 10

First Look

Driving into the mountains from Lone Pine.

Behind the first range is Mount Whitney which, at 14,505 feet, is the highest mountain in the contiguous US. It is also a popular summit because it is accessible during the summer season to hikers without climbing equipment.  Whitney is famous for its 97 switch-backs from base-camp to the near-summit. The entrance to the trail, eventually connecting to the JMT, is at the Whitney Portal or 8.2k feet.
At the Whitney Portal store we meet the proprietor Doug who is a committed communist with a PhD from Berkeley. We have lively conversation on Karl Marx and JMK as well as Berkeley in the 1960s, "a golden time", he notes. Doug gives me a book on George Mallory, no charge, and asks me to mail it when done. He also convinces me not to take my snow axes, purchased the day before for 1 REI, and offers to mail them to my parent's house, again for free (still awaiting arrival).