We really enjoyed our time at the basecamp going over various stories and what not. Me getting to know Black and CY since we had never met before and vise versa. And them two reminiscing stories over many years of training others at the various Air Force SERE Schools and the adventures they've had in that arena. We had fun, but thoughts of the mountain were always there to put a hint of trepidation in the air. On the night before the journey uphill, Black had gone to bed and CY and I had stayed up a bit longer, discussing farming in California and Ohio among other things. As the fire died down, it.... began.... to.... snow!
A brief little dusting of powder puff balls fell for a few minutes. We could hear Black wondering what was going on as we told him "Wouldn't be the iceman without a little ice". But we all laughed as it only lasted a few minutes. Just enough to remind Black of the fury of three years ago. Just enough to remind all of us that this was not going to be some cake walk in the woods.
So from here on, the rest of the story plays out in the video. It was the most difficult two days of hiking I've ever done, but we made it to the top and accomplished our goal. This journey was not just for us, but for all those who joined in along the way. And it was a good feeling to be a part of it all.
I'll just say this though, this hike is for someone in their 20's and 30's. Not for those in their 40's and 50's like we were haha !
Lone Pine Lake
Rest stop at Outpost Camp - 10,360'
Looking back at Bighorn Park
Otzi Find Complex Elevation - 10,531' - Here Mr. Black paid tribute by caching some red deer meat and einkorn wheat flower
Trail Camp and a frosty night down into the teens. No fires allowed so had to get in the sleeping bags as soon as possible.
Mt. Whitney (far right) and the ridge in the morning light
Looking back at some of the 99 Switchbacks and Wotan's Throne - Trail Camp is near the tarn
Trail Crest second breakfast
Hitchcock Lakes below Mt. Hitchcock - beyond that the Kern River Gorge, the Kaweah Peaks, and the Mineral King area off in the distance
Looking back at the trail with the Siberian Plateau in the middle distance
Many short breaks to catch our breaths - the goal is in sight!
Crabtree Meadow, the Kern River Gorge, and the Kaweah Peaks
CY and Black on the summit!
Mission Accomplished!! Now to get down off this thing...