20-22 MAY 2011
Headed up Whitney for the first, but not the last, time this season with three great clients: Heather Krauss, Regina Froemmiling and Aaron Howell. The forecast looked more like winter than a mid-May spring trip. I think that we all dressed a little too heavily for the warm sunny weather that was our actual Friday. Conditions were great; we hit soft snow on the slopes, clean rock on the ledges and had crystal clear skies.
Up early on day two to beat the forecasted storm we silently forced down some food, strapped on our crampons and started hiking. Just below Iceberg Lake the morning alpine glow set in and illuminated all 14,495 feet of our objective.
Beautiful! Moving into the mountaineers gully we were slowed to a snail’s pace by knee-deep snow blown in from a recent storm. But we slogged on…
Reaching the notch just as it started to snow on us, we grabbed a view to the west before being enveloped in clouds for the rest of the climb. Excitement to be at the top was only slightly dampened but the lack of a full panorama. We hunkered down inside the small summit shed to keep warm and refuel our bodies for the descent. Three short belayed pitches of down climbing, 1,500 feet of plunge stepping and a few miles of hiking brought us back to our beloved camping spot, and DINNER!!!
Day three brought clear skies again, with only our memories of a cloudy, wintery climb the day before. The hike down felt easy with lightened packs and every step bringing us closer to our cars. It wasn’t the easiest, it might have been the hardest, but it was definitely a memorable trip. Thank you Heather, Regina, and Aaron!