Yesterday (Sunday 9/2) I hiked Mt Whitney by the Mountaineer's Route and descended by the Main Trail. Saturday evening I stopped by the Whitney Portal Store to get a conditions update from Doug Sr. It was also nice to chat with Jeff, Norma, and Tina at the Store.
On Sunday the weather was ideal, continuing the trend of the last couple of weeks. The time of sunrise and the angle of the sunlight and shadows suggested Fall was around the corner.
Since it was still dark, I opted to work my way to the E Ledges by crossing the creek through the Tunnel in the Willows. Recrossing the creek at the Waterfall (at the start of the ascent up the Ledges), I appreciated the fairly new tunnel through the bushes which shielded one from the spray of the Waterfall.
Just below Lower Boy Scout Lake I joined forces with two ultra marathoners, Jack and Johnny. They were avid peak baggers and had climbed all the California 14ers and numerous other Sierra peaks.
The numerous tents at Upper Boy Scout Lake suggested the routes above Iceberg Lake might be crowded. Starting up the chute above Iceberg Lake I went up the solid ramp on the far left. My partners preferred the loose gully to the right. Jack made surprisingly fast progress.
As we waited a bit at the Notch for Johnny, 14 hikers were encountered either ascending or descending. From the Notch the first chute to the left (the "Final 400") had a small patch of snow/ice high up in the middle. It was almost possible to ascend straight up the middle of this chute, but most people eventually migrated to the right.
Many gliders were flying over the Summit. Likely they launched from Walt's Point high up Horseshoe Meadow Road.
We headed back to the Portal by the Main Trail. Along the way Jack and Johnny tagged some of the needles between the Third Needle and Mt Muir. The spring at the 23rd switchback was still flowing and was welcomed for rehydration.
Below Lone Pine Lake some signs of Fall Colors were surfacing.
Dinner was enjoyed at the Whitney Portal Store with two climber from SoCal who had just finished their first route on one of the Portal Walls. They greatly appreciated the lengthy discussion Doug Sr and Myles had with them concerning the climbing routes and history of climbing at Whitney Portal. One could tell from the enthusiasm of these climbers that they would be back soon. It is interesting how just a single exposure to Whitney Portal and the Mountain can often result in one returning to the area frequently year after year. Likely this phenomenon is due to both the physical beauty/challenges of the area, as well as to the many wonderful people we know there.
Looking forward to the Fall Season.