Finally had a good temperature for sleeping last night. There was a big moon last night which really lit up the night sky. Got up around 5:30 so we could get an early start and meet up with the rest of the group by 7:00.
Once we got up to Guitar Lake, only Mace and two tents were there. Mike and Tom had headed out about a half hour earlier. Mace said there had been a lot of tents there last night, but that people started heading out around 2:00am and most everyone was gone by 6:00. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and relatively warm temperatures.
We headed up the switchbacks which were well made. They seemed to go straight a cliff, but were a nice grade that allowed us to go at a steady pace. We didn’t see any other hikers the whole time up to the junction with the portal trail. When we got to the top of the ridge where our trail connected to the Whitney Portal Trail and the dog-leg trail to the summit, we took a short break for a snack and then continued on to the summit with our packs. It seemed that many people were leaving their packs at the trail junction, but we figured we might as well take our packs with us, since they were pretty light with little food.
The trail was quite rocky and a bit sketchy in places, so we just took it slow and we made it over to the summit. Sweetpea led us for most of the day with a good steady pace. She seemed pretty unaffected by the altitude and we were up at the summit at 10am. There were quite a few people on top and it felt good to have made it. We talked with the Dalton Gang for awhile, as well as some other hikers we had met on the trail yesterday. Most of the people on top of Whitney were coming from the portal side instead of the JMT.
It is always a satisfying feeling to arrive and be able to relax at our final destination. Trails always feel like they end so abruptly and this one was no different, but it was nice to have such a glorious ending with great views and beautiful weather. Even though the summit of Whitney is the end of the JMT, we still had about nine miles more to get to a road.
The walk down felt long and there were a ton of switchbacks as the trail descended 6000′ of elevation over 9 miles. Tom and Mike has gone down first so that they could get to the car and be back to pick us up. So, we walked down with Mace. When we got to the bottom of the trail, we grabbed a soda and waited for Tom and Mike to come with the car.
Once they showed up, we decided to head straight to Bishop for the night. We found a taco stand in Bishop for dinner and then went to the Motel 6 for another stay.
We really enjoyed this trip a lot and weren’t really ready to stop hiking or being out in the mountains. The Sierras are excellent and we love their variety as well as their immensity. Hiking with a group was good and the more relaxed pace was enjoyable. We would like to be able to do the JMT every summer that we don’t have a longer hiked planned.
Daily Miles: 18 miles
Total Miles: 241.4