Glorious orange hue everywhere
JMT DAY 30 - SUNRISE AT MT. WHITNEY
Sunrise at Mt. Whitney
Our Whitney hike began at 1 am. It had been raining on and off, and it wasn’t fun packing up in the light shower. As we were gaining elevation, the rain turned into hail, about green peas size, and it lasted for quite some time. It was cold and treacherous, to say the least.
It was still quite dark, gusty and icy cold when I reached the summit. After making an entry in the summit register, we were hunkered down inside the hut, still missing its door, to keep ourselves warm. Semi-rigid fingers from the cold and the stove igniter not working at the high elevation made brewing coffee challenging. We borrowed a lighter from a fellow hiker.
Once the blue hour set in though, it was time to step back out. Into the icy cold top of the world. Or the top of the contiguous US (14,505 ft).
I carefully tread over the icy rock beds strewn with beads of hail to the summit edge facing Lone Pine and beyond. The rest of the hikers soon followed suit. Someone said the temperature was in the mid-20s.
The moment that we had been waiting for finally arrived. The sun rose above the thick marine layer and cast its glorious orange hue everywhere. The warmth came along with it, and Lone Pine came into view. So did the ridge lines behind it. Telescope Peak, highest peak in Death Valley, loomed far away like a mirage.