Climbing Mount Whitney was an amazing experience.
I am so proud of myself for making it to the top! I worked through it, and I found once I committed to my decision to get to the top all of the nervousness faded. Though the others were more experienced, I really had to just trust myself and believe that I could do it.
When you walk with a heavy pack all day, sleep on the ground, wake up at sunrise, and go for 11 hours again your body aches and your head starts telling you that you can’t do it. After months of getting in shape, I knew I was physically strong enough but the mental game was a little more unexpected. I had to push and push myself like never before.
When you are climbing up the side of a cliff, your mind is busy thinking “okay, this foot is solid, where can I put my other foot? where can I put my hand?”. Funny enough, those were the moments that I found the most fun. Rock climbing was the most engaging part of the experience for me. It was the long stretches where I was really aware of how many more steps I needed to take that I would start to hear my self doubt. It seems like in the more dangerous/technical places, the focus is more on keeping going and you have less time to occupy your mind with worry, but I got through it.
We went up the mountaineers route. There were parts where our guide told us we had to move through the area as quickly as possible, because falling rocks were a concern. We went through a lot of steep scree at that point, and then it was time for more rock climbing. We did encounter a little snow, but it was just patchy and didn’t give us any issues. Me and the two others that decided to continue made it up safely.
Reaching the summit felt so good! When we got up there, we saw all these tough marine guys lying on the ground grumbling. I’m sure they ran up in half the time we did, but that sight really validated that what we did was not easy. We ate some well earned snacks, and a marmot came to beg us for some.
Then it was time to scurry down to get to camp before sunset, with pizza and beer on our minds the next morning we would complete our descent.