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Mt Whitney (14,505 feet): a View

One can hike the length of the John Muir Trail (218.5 miles) by starting from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley and walking south or from the Mt. Whitney Portal on the east side in the Inyo National Forest and hiking north.  The singular advantage of starting from Yosemite and not at Mt Whitney is the climb over the Trail Crest (13,600 feet) with several days of food and all your camping gear.  Food drops are not available for another 110 miles.  Hiking south, a hiker who has planned well should arrive at the highest pass of the trail with little or no food.  The image (left) shows the view of the terrain where you make your ascent to the summit of Mt Whitney.

Mt Whitney

I found on Wikipedia a three dimensional image of Mt Whitney and the peaks that surround it.  If you look on the map for Timberline Lake, Guitar Lake, and the crevice leading toward Wotans Throne, you will see the direction of the trail that leads to the Trail Crest of Mt Whitney.  The JMT then bears left and begins to criss-cross the side of Mt Whitney before it reaches the Mt Whitney trail junction.  From there one needs to follow a ridge for approximately two miles to reach the summit.


Most hikers will arrive at the base of Mt Whitney sometime during the day and camp for the night at Guitar Lake. No camping is allowed below at Timberline Lake. On the two occassions when I have camped below Mt Whitney, I have chosen to hike up a little farther and to stay at a smaller unnamed lake. From my camp is a view of Guitar Lake.


My camping spot and my camp. Even though the weather looks warm, which it is relatively so, at night the temperatures plunge. After all you are well above 12,000 feet.

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