Mt Whitney has been on my bucket list for 2 years now, ever since I got really into trail running. With a summit of 14505 feet (4421 meters) it’s highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada. On June 17, 2015 Paul Sinclair and I made this epic trip happen. Here are the Strava details and below is a little recap of our adventure:
We wanted to run as much as possible so we decided to take the main Mt Whitney Trail, instead of the steeper Mountaineer Route or East Face Routes. The main trail is an 11 mile path to the summit. It starts at 8,360 ft and ends at 14,505 ft. The total elevation gain is 6,137 ft which is not that much, the hardest part for us would be running at high altitude and dealing with melting water and ice above 11k ft.
We wanted to enjoy the day and not kill ourself, so we decided to keep our heart rate below 150 bpm. The first 4 miles were pretty runnable with about 500 ft climbs per mile at a pace of 14 – 17 min / mile. Then a lot of melting water covered the trail, followed by ice and less oxygen in the air so we had to slow down. We made it to the top in about 4 hours, chilled and ate some lunch for 40 minutes, then ran down in about 3 1/2 hours.