Risk and rewardI'm standing at Trail Crest on the path to Mt. Whitney. It's my third time here. My water supply has dwindled to less than a full Nalgene bottle, my legs are pretty cooked, and most importantly, my hiking partner (a friend and fellow athlete) is in no better shape. The hike up from the valley was longer than usual due to the early softening deep snow and a bad night sleep that has left us both with headaches. It's my first time guiding here and I'm now faced with decision to continue 2.8 miles upward or call this the turnaround point.
In this case, my friend and I took stock of and our situation, gave ourselves an additional time limit, minimal time to enjoy the summit view and a rapid hike/slide down to Trail Camp. It worked and we enjoyed a fantastic view of the John Muir Wilderness, Kings Canyon, and the Sierra Crest towering over the Owen's Valley. The descent provided deep potholing, difficulty locating a water source due to the thick ice coverage, and 40+mph wind driven ice crystals...and it was worth it for both of us.