Simultaneously Summiting Mt. Whitney on Foot and by Plane

Bets wanted to hike Mt. Whitney without anyone slowing her down. Like her husband. She got a last-minute permit and at 4:10 am the next day I dropped her off at the Whitney Portal trailhead, then I went back to sleep. I woke up at 7:00 am and checked her progress (Garmin Inreach) and she was almost to the top of the switchbacks, about 7 miles into the 11 mile hike.


What the heck? My plan was falling apart already. I rushed down to the Lone Pine airport where I had parked my plane. I quickly fed the dogs, brushed my teeth, did a preflight and took off, taking 30 minutes to climb to 15,000 feet, donning O2 along the way. I arrived near the summit about the same time she did, at 8:45 am. That is really fast! For her, not me.

In fact, she didn’t even eat lunch on top, she waited and we had lunch together at Whitney Portal trailhead.



Anyway, here are the photos. Betsy is in a red jacket and shorts if you can find her. Legally (maybe not legally, but strongly recommended over wilderness area) I needed to be 2,000 feet from the summit but I stayed further away than that and used a big zoom lens. Still, after a few passes I figured I should leave. However being so early there were not many people on the summit and Bets told the people near her that “that is my husband out there” and they got into it.

Can you find the lake near the summit? Whoa, I discovered a lake! if I had known that I would have taken a swim the times I was up there.

I did a 360 around the summit, so for those Mt. Whitney nuts here are lots of angles

4 thoughts on “Simultaneously Summiting Mt. Whitney on Foot and by Plane

  1. Super cool! Only been to the top of Whitney once. 1990. Slept up there with my step dad and other family and friends after completing the JMT. Will never forget it. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us! Keep ‘em comin!

    1. Slept on top? Headaches? Trouble sleeping? I guess being on the JMT you were partially acclimatized. Thanks for the comment!

      1. Hardly slept a wink! Wind was truly howling! Lots of curious marmots! No soft place to bed down. And most of all, my 23 year old brain was keeping me up thinking of all the unhealthy comfort food I’d finally be able to devour the next day back in civilization, after three weeks of dehydrated food and gorp. Curious: How was the ride quality up there that day flying around all those very tall land bumps?

      2. One of the best thing about those trips is eating about a million french fries afterwards.

        It was quite calm, which was good because it’s hard to use a telephoto while flying!

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