Mt. Whitney Mountaineer's Route

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Day 2, Sunday 
Summited Mt. Muir and descended main trail

Overview of the Day

I awoke at 5:10 am to get some good sunrise shots, then I climbed back into my bag to warm up.  We started down the main trail at 7 am.  There was a marked trail to the south of Muir, which took about 20 minutes to climb.  As usual, the higher climb class 3 the more I think about how difficult it will be to come down.  I think going down is actually easier for me, my mind just doesn't want to accept it.  The last person to sign the register was May 31st, and before that it was around May 4th.  I guess it isn't a popular peak.  We continued to the junction of the JMT and on to the switchbacks.  Instead of the switchbacks we decided to plunge step the chute.  I think it was slightly faster.  The snow was really wet and caused the crampons to ball up.  The water at Trail Camp was open, as were the sun toilets.  From here the descent was long, and while the views were nice, it doesn't compare to teh North Fork route.  Around Mirror Lake the mosquitoes started to get bad, and we really didn't get many more rest stops.

The day we summitted, there was a group of three that took a rather interesting route to the top.  They started at Badwater in Death Valley with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level.  This is the lowest point in the United States.  They biked 135 miles to Whitney Portal.  If you've ever driven the route, you would know that it isn't exactly flat.  They must have had a support vehicle to carry water and gear.  Once they reached the Portal they went up the main trail to the summit, the highest point in the continental United States.  The entire journey to the top took 28 hours and 20 minutes.  Very impressive.  I think next year I might try to beat their record.  We'll see.

Things I wish I had brought:
Rubber band and 550 cord for makeshift shelter construction.  
Book to read on top.  
CytoMax and a cup to mix it in.

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