Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hiking Mt Whitney

Hiking Mount Whitney

By Dana Kennedy

It will never be described as off the beaten track, but that does not stop about 16,000 people each year from finding their personal Everest in Mount Whitney. Though it is just three hours from Los Angeles, it is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, and these hikers set out for the summit on a tough, 22-mile round-trip trail that was constructed 100 years ago this summer.

"Very few people can get to Everest," said Doug Thompson, 58, who has owned a small store at the trailhead near Lone Pine, Calif., for 17 years. "This mountain's big, but it's attainable."

For some. Park rangers say that only 50 percent of those who try to reach the summit succeed. Most others succumb to altitude sickness or fatigue and turn back. Because there is a path to the top and technical equipment other than hiking poles is not required, some people set out to climb Whitney not just because it's there, but because they think it will be easy. Read full article...