Once we got down a few hundred feet Matt started feeling better. Back to Outpost Camp and Matt was feeling hungry. I also realized how my appetite was slightly off and how I was ready to eat anything in sight. Relaxing at camp, hydrating and eating we soon realized that we were both sunburnt. We were “crispy” looking to say the least. I wore 50 SPF and I was still looking like a lobster. Matt was feeling run down but better and brought the topic up of making a second attempt the following day. A sensible conversation ensued as Matt listened to some hard but real facts about how much time he would need to recuperate before another attempt would be made and we simply did not have the time or food for it. So it was decided. No summit attempt. We were done. A brilliant effort was made on both parts but health was more important. Besides, the gorgeous mountain isn’t going anywhere.
Settling into our sleeping bags we were shivering. It wasn’t cold out. We got hit with way to much sun. We slept well all things considered. Matt ended up giving his Ice Axe to a guy named Justin who left his in his car. His collateral us giving the axe was $100.00 bucks and starbucks coffee! We saw them coming down this morning and the axe made it to the summit! It was a great chat. One thing I will note is that we met some of the nicest people on our trip on this mountain. Always offering help, food, water, anything. Everyone ultimately looks out for one another.
We packed up and made it down to Whitney Portal in no time. We did have a break at Lone Pine Lake. Matt had some time on his own exploring and quite possibly thinking about the past 24 hours. I wouldn’t blame him one bit. I sat looking at the lake listening to the popping sounds the snow made as it melted in the sun.
Celebratory burgers and beers on a great attempt and making it down together in one piece was had.
Off to an RV park for some showers as our combined aroma “hummed” as Matt so eloquently put it. It was pretty bad. Mt. Whitney and her wilderness is exciting and addictive. I want to see more of it. I’m sure Matt can agree that we aren’t done with this one. Another climb will be in the works.
Discussing this climb together Matt suggested I write the blog about it. Again, I don’t blame him. It was an amazing climb for him, the strength he had with all that weight is commendable in itself. We’ve learned so much in three days. It was awesome, challenging, beautiful, painful and so rewarding I am sure we would do it again in a heartbeat.