Into Thin Air | Mt. Whitney


It was midnight, dark and cold, when we began our ascent to the highest peak in the contiguous United States. At an elevations of 14,505ft., Mt. Whitney, is a beast that we have yet to summit.

Our first attempt was thwarted due to weather. Snow storms in June, were not a risk worth taking. So this year, we set our sites on a later date. Hoping and praying that there would be no snow on the mountain, we set out to hike Mt. Whitney in September. The problem was, we were unable to get our two day permit, when we applied in February. We did, however, manage to get our hands on a one day permit, when someone cancelled their trip and released the date back into the "available" pool.

What this meant was, our original plan of hiking up to Outpost Camp, or even Trail Camp, and spending the night to rest up and acclimate to the high elevation, was now gone out the window. We would have to do the 22 mile hike in one day. One 24 hour period.

We prepared all our gear, our food and water. For a hike like this, electrolytes are essential as they are lost so much faster at the heightened elevation. So, at midnight, before we began our journey up, we treated our bodies to Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, electrolyte replacements. We took these every few hours, and they truly helped keep us hydrated. I can't stress enough, how important it is to stay hydrated when doing a long distance, high elevation hike.


Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes

It is also extremely important to feed your body every hour or so, while doing such a hike. The major problem for me, was that at this high elevation, my appetite completely diminished. I had to remind myself to stop and eat. I had packed my pack full of Hammer Nutrition Hammer Energy Bars, which tasted great and kept me going, giving me all the nutrients I needed to keep walking up the mountain.


Hammer Bar Energy Bar

It took us 6 hours to get to just above tree line, which is just about 12,000 ft.

The struggle was real! For me, hiking in the dark was not the most pleasant experience. When I hike, what keeps me going is the nature around me. I need to see the beauty of the place I am struggling to get to, to keep me motivated. Without that, I felt like I was just struggling in the dark.

The thin air did not help one bit. I struggled to catch my breath with every step, and eagerly awaited the warmth of the sun.

When the sun finally rose above Lone Pine Lake, which we saw from above Mirror Lake, it suddenly gave me new hope. I say me, because Jessica, my dear friend and hiking buddy, had no such struggles. She was full speed ahead!


Sunrise at Mirror Lake