Last June I climbed Mt. Whitney with some friends. Here is what happened:
I was roused out of my sleep by my alarm. It was 3:30 AM. I had driven up north from LA the previous day, slept in a tent, and was now readying to climb the highest mountain in the contiguous United States.
There were 6 other people in the group, and we gathered in the darkness to take stock of everything before we started the ascent. This was when I noticed that it wasn’t actually that dark, because every other hiker had a fitted headlamp. This shocked me. I thought those were only for coal miners.
I then began to notice that it was not just the headlamps that set this crew apart. They looked like they were a film crew for Planet Earth: Mountains. Thick boots, pants of a special texture that zipped off into shorts, wide brimmed hats, super ergonomic ski pole looking things, backpacks with thousands of pockets and tubes sticking out at perfect drinking height. Those water bladders for your backpack are called camelbacks, and everyone had one.
Except for me. In fact, to this crew, I must have looked like the kid in little league who showed up for games without a mitt, his shoes untied, and snot dripping down his face. I think the money was probably on me to be the guy who sprains an ankle or passes out from dehydration.
I had on basketball shorts and a sweatshirt. I was wearing the beat up backpack I used throughout college. Also, I was rocking a pair of those funny looking shoes with slots for the toes, because who says you can’t climb a mountain AND look like a guy who cares way too much about ultimate frisbee? Continue reading “Mt. Whitney”