JMT: Crabtree Meadows to Mt. Whitney

I started my final section of the JMT at 3 am from Crabtree Meadows. I summited Mt. Whitney a little after sunrise to complete my 14-day JMT journey.

JMT: Crabtree Meadows to Mt. Whitney

Day 14 – 186miles, 4170ft ascent

I had prepared everything for the morning before going to bed. I’d gone through what I needed to do and in what order. I was packed up 20 minutes after my alarm went off. I even had time to have a quick coffee while I waited for Robbie to get ready.

Dimly lit mountains
Breakfast at daybreak

We started hiking with headlamps. Night-hiking was a new experience for me. It was so quiet and peaceful. The night sky was magical. I even saw a few meteorites. The temperature was nice and cool for climbing. I’m definitely going to night-hike more in the future.

An early morning mountain landscape
Looking down towards Guitar Lake and Crabtree.

I stopped for breakfast at the last water source after Guitar Lake. I wanted to fuel up before starting the final 3000ft push for the top.

A guitar-shaped lake
Guitar Lake in the warm glow of the morning sun.

The ascent was gradual, and the trail surface was smooth. The climb felt much easier than Forrester. I kept my pace to a slow shuffle to avoid getting sweaty and out of breath.

Calm lakes reflecting morning light far below.
Guitar Lake from above

We left out bear canisters at the trail junction to Whitney and continued up with nearly empty packs. The trail became a bit rockier, but the grade remained comfortable all the way to the top. There was a small snow patch just before the top.

Several hikers on a narrow path cutting through a mountain side.
The going got easier once we dropped the bear canisters.
A valley far below the mountains.
Our first glimpse of the east side of the divide.
A mountain hut at the top of a mountain.
The Mt. Whitney hut.
Me at the top of Mt. Whitney.
What an experience!

It was freezing at the top, but the views were amazing. 360 degrees of mountain views. We stayed at the summit for a while, sending some messages and eating snacks. What an adventure it had been. As much as I was ready for a warm burger, I knew I’d miss being out on the trail.

Flowers growing in a rock crack surrounded by newly frozen ice.
It was still early spring up on Mt. Whitney in August.

After picking up our bear cans again, we headed down towards Whitney Portal. The descent started with 100 switchbacks.

A trail switchbacking down a rocky mountain side.
Nearly endless switchbacks on the way down towards Whitney Portal.

The trail was rocky and demanding a significant portion of the 8 miles down. We were glad that we were not going up this trail.

A small pond nestled in a granite mountain.
On the way down.
Pink flowers growing next to a stream flowing from a snow field.
The snow was melting quickly.
A tall granite wall.
The walls on both sides of the trail were impressive.

When we got to the trailhead, we celebrated with burgers and beers. Robbie’s dad came to pick him up and gave me a ride to Lone Pine.

Me next to the Mt. Whitney trail sign at the end of the trail.
The end of the adventure.

In Lone Pine, I got a motel room and showered. I had an early dinner and fell asleep at 7. A fellow hiker gave me a ride to Bakersfield 5 am the next morning, so I could catch the train back home.

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