Last year, G climbed Mt. Rainier. It was great having a goal to work for and we have been looking for a similar challenge. We may have one - Mt. Whitney. We faxed off our application for the Mt Whitney Trail Lottery on February 2nd. You have to have a permit to hike the trail, even for a day hike. You can send your application in between Feb 1 and Feb 15 and the lottery starts on Feb 16th. They will randomly select applications received through the 15th and the day you get depends upon availablity when your applicated is selected. We won't know if we get a permit until later in February. Once we have a permit, then we can start to train and plan accomodations. We are both going to do the climb this time so I've got some work to do.
Mt Whitney is the highest peak in the continental US at 14,495ft. The trail is 22 miles roundtrip and an elevation gain of 6,131. We plan to do it as a day hike. We will be hiting the trails again along with running. I also need to build some upper body strength. I've been reading a bit about hiking. Bill Kirk has a great site on doing the hike. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll get a permit.
We have already started to train. Last week we went snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier. We had only been snowshoeing once before. It is not hard if you are familiar with hiking and skiing. We also cross country ski. We rented shoes at Summit Haus in Ashford. We made it to the park around 10:30am but the road from Longmire to Paradise was still closed. Chains were also required so we put on chains in the parking lot at Longmire and hung around. About 11:30am the road opened and we got to Narada Falls by 12:00am. Unfortunately, everyone else did also.
The rangers on cross country skis had broke the trail for us but it was really fluffy deep snow. There were about 20 people who had left the parking lot at the same time. We were taking turns breaking the trail from Narada Falls to the Stevens Canyon road. The snow was fresh and fluffy but it was hard going. Occasionally we would post-hole which made it even harder.
From the Stevens Canyon Road, we went up the Paradise road a bit and then up over Mazama Ridge. It is all wanded and easy to follow. We were still in a big group all the way almost to Reflection Lakes. Finally, at the late, the groups separated. We ate our sandwiches and took a break before heading back over Mazama Ridge. It was so different going back. We were totally alone. The snow was gently falling and it was quiet except for the shusshing slap of the snowshoes. We made it back to the parking lot at about 3pm. We cleaned off the car of snow and headed back.
This week we hiked Tiger Mountain on the TMT 3 trail. This is a great training hike, 2 miles to the summit and 2000ft elevation gain. We did it several times last year when George was training but this was the first time this year. The day was overcast and the forecast was for sun breaks in the afternoon. Weathermen are never right! We could tell from I90 that the top was in clouds.
We started on the trail in a light mist, perfect for hiking. Half way up, we had to pull out the umbrella and put on the jackets. We were in the clouds and it was a heavy mist. By time we got to the junction with the railroad trail, the rain was getting heavy and sleety. Hikers coming down told us it was snowing at the top. Bummer. The last half mile was cold and by time we got to the top it was covered in white.
We rested a bit and ate a Luna bar. Then it was back down. I was soaked by time we got to the car. By time we got home I was so chilled. A hot bath never felt so good. ahhh