Time at Work

Time at Work

Posted by nag.rajan on Mon, 2009-06-29 06:26 in

Travelogue update from Mt Whitney Second Attempt
Original travelogue follows below update

I was able to reserve day permits for Mt Whitney on 29th of July for 2 people, but this time, Arun was busy (his job in Apple) and as half expected, no other friends were free. I was not happy at the prospect of doing the trip all alone. However, it had to be done.

All alone this time, I started off on my motorcycle on 28th morning towards Lone Pine. This was my first long distance trip on the motorcycle (1500+ km round trip) and it was every bit as enjoyable as I had imagined.

I reached Lone Pine early afternoon, got permits, had lunch and went to sleep by 3pm. As this was the hottest time of the year, I decided to start earlier in the night in order to avoid the sun as much as possible. I woke up at 9:30pm, packed, had dinner, and rode off towards Whitney Portal.

I started climbing on the trail at 11:15 pm in comfortably cool weather. Since I had not acclimatized at all this time, I made sure I drank a lot of water. The water worked well and I made it to the top of trail crest in 5 hours, still feeling fresh. This was the place where I turned back last time and had earlier taken 7 hours to get there.

The next part of the trail was less demanding but more dangerous having vertical drops on both side of the trail at a few places. In hindsight, I am glad I didnt try to push for the summit the last time as this part required balance and a clear head.

Finally, I reached the summit at 5:55 am in the morning, just as the sun rose (ascent time = 6:40). It was a great relief and some jubilation. Relief that my body can actually do this (for some time, I was worried that my genetic makeup was suspect for high altitude) and jubilation that I had done it.

There was no one on the summit at this early hour, and the next person to arrive was atleast 1 hour behind me. I had the summit all to myself as I signed the summit register, and took some photos using the camera timer.

After the photos, I applied some moleskin on my feet (blister protection) and started the descent, which was completed in 5 hours.

After 8 hours of sleep, I decided to head home, and started at 10pm in the night. However, in the hot weather of lone pine, I had forgotten that I had to cross a 10000 ft pass (Tioga) on the way. I realized my mistake after driving for about 45 mins, and climbing to just 6000ft. I immediately turned back, and started at 6 am next morning.

Visited Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite on the way, where I came across a beautiful waterfall and another rattlesnake.

More photos from this trip can be found here.

Original travelogue....

Always mesmerized by mountains and natural beauty, I had been imagining a road trip to the national parks around me for quite some time. The interest and excitement peaked and things started rolling faster about two months ago, when I saw the discovery channel series "Everest: Beyond Limit". Highly recommended.

Mount Whitney, at 14,500 feet (4421 m), the highest mountain in California and contiguous US, was the logical choice for such an outing. A 22 mile roundtrip trail, starting at Whitney Portal near Lone Pine, leads to the top which can be done easily by the reasonably fit in 2-3 days. Due to Whitney's popularity and the number of people visiting Whitney, the Forest Service requires climbers to obtain a permit for entering the Whitney area. Almost all multiple day permits to Whitney for the summer time get sold out in February. The only alternative was a single day permit. Most sources have this to say about the single day hike - The single day hike is treacherous and should be done only by the extremely fit and experienced hiker.

Always eager for physical challenges, I booked day permits for 3 people on the 22nd of June, hoping to find 2 more who might be interested in the adventure. However, a 22 mile "extremely strenuous" hike is not something that many of my friends are queuing up to do. Fortunately, my excitement about the Everest series was transferred to my friend - Arun Chaubey, who watched the whole 2 season series in 2 days flat and was "all in". He would not stop talking about it and even read a few pages from books and internet. Those who know about Arun's legendary reading abilities can guess his interest at this point.

A tentative plan was in place for a 4 day trip.

Day 1:
Travel to Lone Pine through Yosemite (The Tioga Pass road 'was' my favorite). Lone Pine - town closest to the Whitney Trailhead.
Camp in Horseshoe Meadow at 10,000 feet for acclimatization.

Day 2:
Small hike near Horseshoe Meadow to acclimatize (Cottonwood pass and Chicken spring lake at 11300 ft). Get to Whitney Portal (the trailhead) by midnight.

Day 3:
Start the 22 mile hike early in the morning (2am).
Get to the top by 12 noon and return to trailhead by 6-7pm.

Day 4:
Travel back to Stanford.

Twist in the plan : The enterprise car rental agency had special discount rates for Stanford students, and also, a 4 day rental price is almost equal to the week rental. We were basically getting the car for a week and this called for an extended plan. I had always wanted to see Grand Canyon.

So, Grand Canyon got added to the plan, specifically the remote and less visited "North Rim". Since Grand Canyon is too far away to drive back in a day (I was the only driver), so Kings Canyon got added on the way back. A friend got to know our plan and suggested adding Zion national park in southern Utah.

New Plan

Day 1-3
Climb Mount Whitney

Day 4:
Drive to Grand Canyon through Death Valley and Las Vegas.

Day 5:
Explore Grand Canyon
Travel to Zion National Park (2-3 hours away) at dusk.

Day 6:
Explore Zion National Park

Day 7:
Travel to Kings Canyon (600+ miles)

Day 8:
Explore Kings Canyon.
Travel back to Stanford at dusk.

As can be seen, this was not an easygoing trip. I had warned Arun before the trip - "You might not get to eat or sleep regularly and might be confined to the car for half the time. The only guaranteed things are beautiful places, challenges and adventure."

Last 2 days before the trip were spent in logistics. We got camping equipment, food, maps, books on various places, rented crampons and ice axes, etc, etc. For the car, I had looked carefully at all available vehicles, which were not many due to weekend, and had to settle on a KIA Rondo (small SUV). Not exactly the car I was looking for, as we didnt need an SUV for two, and the extra weight decreases acceleration in mountains and reduces mileage. The KIA brand also did not sound too attractive. However, it has an AUX input for the IPod, and that counts as a big plus.

Now for some good news that was the ideal thrust for the trip.

For the last few months, Arun had been struggling to land a job and was experiencing something which can be described as not an apt feeling to have at Graduation time at Stanford. He had been interviewing in a few places without luck and was not too optimistic of a recent interview at Marvel Semiconductors. However, about 8 hours before we were scheduled to leave on our trip, Arun's gets the phone call offering him the job. Forgetting his plans of getting a haircut, he goes on a tiny shopping binge. He made a good effort at being externally calm at the news, but his excitement and relief was given away by the first thing on his mind - buying a motorcycle.

We had a small congratulatory get together and send off party from friends late in the night. The party consisted of drinking and smoking outside the apartment complex, and more friends poured in from all places. Some friends, a bit high from the drinks now started craving for grass. Phone calls were made and all suitable contacts contacted, but without luck. Just when everyone had given up the search, a 15 year old turns up at the party, completely out of thin air, and with grass. He was the cousin of a friend, and was just coming off the road from a trip via Las Vegas, and had brought it there for 10$. The odds!

After those who smoke weed had smoked it, the party got moved to a hookah bar in downtown Palo Alto. I wasn't into smoking, and feeling weird sitting in the hookah bar not doing much, I ordered a hot chocolate. The 15 year old was visibly entertained and broke into uncontrollable laughter "Who the hell orders a hot chocolate in a hookah bar?".

We returned back to Stanford, packed the car and started off on our journey at about 2:30am.

After some midnight snacks, and last minute shopping from Safeway, we hit the highway. The plan was to reach Yosemite by dawn. However, a diversion caused detours, U turns and delays and the sun rose within 100 miles.

Yosemite National Park did not charge any entry fees that day. Journey through Tioga Pass in Yosemite was amazing as usual. The rivers were roaring and the Toulumne meadows were greener than ever with the landscape dotted with a few lakes as well.

We had some fun playing on some large trees that had fallen across the rivers near the highway and had made a natural bridge.

We crossed over the Sierra Nevada range to reach Lee Vining (near mono lake) in time for Brunch. Mono Lake was the next brief stop where we enjoyed the company of the rare Tufa Towers and also brought the Annual pass to national parks. These Tufa towers are chemical deposits which were formed underwater over millions of years, due to underground geological activity. They came to the surface when the Los Angeles water department cut the streams supplying water to the lake, which subsequently started drying up and exposed the Tufa.

We started heading south along the Sierra nevada mountain range towards Lone Pine and reached Whitmore hot springs near the Mammoth Lakes town. These natural hot springs are in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by vast empty plains with snow covered mountains in the distance. The water from the spring was slightly warm and had a bleaching nature which left skin fairer and dry after the dip.

After the warm bath, we finally reached Lone Pine at about 4pm in the evening, and started running around to gather the rented climbing gear, permits for Whitney and secure a campground in Horseshoe meadow. The only Indian person we saw in the first 4 days of our trip was at the Subway restaurant at Lone Pine - a friendly Gujju. The drive to the horseshoe meadow had nice views of the Death Valley area (the lowest, hottest and driest place in North America) and road rose from 5000 ft to 10000ft in about 10 miles. The meadow itself was a nice place with a small stream running through its middle, and free of crowds. We set up camp and cooked dinner consisting of maggi and soup.

Next day, we made breakfast, paid the 6$ camping fee, and started the hike to cottonwood pass. The trail, which was easy for the first half, mostly kept close to the cool stream. During the latter half, it turned to more demanding switchbacks and rose 1000 ft in the last mile. Near the top, we reached the small glacier which was feeding the stream in the meadows.

Here, we temporarily joined the 2650 miles long pacific crest trail, which runs from mexico border to the canadian border, for a kilometer long easy hike towards the chicken spring lake. This was a lake surrounded by barren mountains on 3 sides and small glaciers feeding its waters. Later, I learnt from a hiker in the camp that his friends were currently hiking the complete pacific crest trail over a period of 3-4 months averaging 25 miles every day.

Overall, we took a leisurely 2.5 hours to climb up, while enjoying the views, and ran down in about an hour and were back by lunchtime. After having lunch and a nap, we packed camp and left for Whitney via Lone Pine at about 5pm.

Reaching whitney portal at 8pm, the plan was to sleep for 5-6 hours for an early start. However, I could hardly catch any sleep due to the cold. The clock slowly ticked onwards. I noticed a group of 4 people arrive at 1am and start off on the trek. Soon after, it was 2 am and time to start the jihad. We rechecked our bags, equipment, clothes and other stuff and hit the trail at 2:30 am. Few posters near the trailhead gave important information about the trail.

Starting at about 8300 feet, we set a blistering speed and covered a distance of 6 miles and gained 4200 ft in less than 3.5 hours. We crossed many streams, meadows, waterfalls and lakes on the way.

We even crossed a few patches of snow, but no glaciers and the weather was pleasantly cool while walking. The really big glaciers started at a height of about 12500 feet, and the scenery even included the completely frozen Consultation lake.

It is a beautiful place to visit and would have been a popular destination even if Whitney were not the tallest.

Beyond 12500 feet, problems started to occur for me - fatigue and breathlessness slowly and unnoticeably crept up on me. Arun was still forging a fantastic speed, but I was slowly degrading as I was climbing higher. My pace slowed down and was feeling breathless from climbing even non challenging slopes. The altitude had started to oppose me.

It took the next 3.5 hours to travel the next 2 miles and climb 1300 feet to Trail Crest (13800 feet). Close to trail crest, the going was particularly slow because of the knee deep snow, ice and dangerous slopes. The breathlessness was getting worse, nauseating at times and was starting to ring alarm bells in my head. I had heard about people suffering from pulmonary and cerebral edema due to altitude and lost lives to bad decisions.

We rested for a while at trail crest to assess our situation.

It was 9:30 am, and we were still 3 miles and 700 feet from the summit. At this speed, it could take 5 hours or more, and my condition was only going to get worse. And after the summit, if we get there, we had to get back as well. I asked Arun to go ahead without me. I was sure he could do it in a few hours and I would either wait for him or turn back.

But he had decided that we would do it together or not at all (Ironically, this was the promise I had made to him before we left for the trip). So after some deliberation, we decided to turn back. I was bit worried about my condition and pace down the mountain. We were still 8.2 miles from base camp. However, things started improving as soon as I took a step in the downward direction.

As we turned to go down, something surprisingly happened - I could actually "run" down the mountain without feeling tired, while I could not bear to take even a few steps up on an incline. This was a very weird kind of a problem. It seems that the only direction my body will happily and tirelessly allow me to go is downwards, irrespective of what altitude I am on. I felt this even after climbing down to 8300 feet. Since my body was happy to go down, we again set a blistering pace and got down in 5 hours flat.

This was a surprising defeat, specially because I was fairly confident of a victory. I decided I will be back for round 2. Later, I learnt that it was probably the lack of drinking water and subsequent dehydration that had caused the onset of altitude sickness. My water bottles were at the bottom of my bag, and I was not drinking frequently enough for the sake of setting a fast pace. I was getting dehydrated but was not feeling thirsty due to the cold weather. By the time one feels thirsty, it is usually too late.

Too tired to set up camp after 12 hours of continuous walking on the trail (feet and ankles were hurting like never before), we booked a hotel room in lone pine and slept for the next 12 hours. We woke up at 4 am the next morning, making a complete recovery and drove for the next 12 hours, passing through Death Valley and Las Vegas, on our way to Grand Canyon, North Rim. In passing through Death Valley, we had almost covered the entire path of the Badwater Ultra-marathon (a 235 km long marathon starting at Badwater, Death Valley, at 282 ft below sea level and rising to 14500 ft, to the peak of Mt Whitney in the astoundingly oppressive heat of July).

The landscape on the way to Grand Canyon in Nevada and Arizona can be described as a huge expanse of a semi arid land. The surface of the earth in this place is slowly undulating, which allows one at times to have an unobstructed view for many many miles in all directions. The road is visible for 10-20 miles in either direction at many places. The place has to be driven through to experience its magic.

Also, it was surprising to see everyone driving within speed limits outside California. I even got pulled over by a cop in Nevada for going at 70 in a 60 zone while overtaking another car going at 55. He asked me why I mind following the other car which is traveling at a reasonable pace. But once he saw that I had a california driver license, he let me off with a warning.

As we started nearing Grand Canyon, the scenery changes dramatically. From slowly undulating desert like landscape, we enter a lush green plateau, with large beautiful meadows, right out of paradise and filling your heart with awe. This was the most beautiful greenery that I ever saw in my life. A must see. Motorcyclists were a common sight on this road.

We reached North Rim by 5pm and had a few hours of daylight left. Making most of it, we visited 4-5 famous vista points, completed a 3 mile hike and witnessed a beautiful sunset.

Next morning, we headed to the north Kaibab trail - the only trail at North Rim that goes to the River - dropping from 8800 ft to 2300 ft in 14.5 miles. A thought about doing this complete trail flitted through my mind. However, this trail is even more difficult to do in a day than Mt. Whitney for three reasons - the climb, which comes later, is more difficult than the descent, it gets hotter deeper in the canyon and its a 29 miles round trip. People trying this have been stranded in the canyon and had to be rescued by helicopter.

We did a 9 mile round trip to the roaring springs, which passed some beautiful views, some fossil records in the rock faces, a tunnel, and finally reached a set of two waterfalls. We took a cool shower under one of the waterfalls which felt particularly good in the scorching sun.

Next destination on the list was Zion National park... I was not sure what kind of place it was as I had not done any research on it before the trip and were solely here due to a friend's recommendation. It was a crowded place, having the most number of tourists of all the places we had visited. All the campgrounds inside the national park were full and we had to camp outside the park at Zion River resort, which got full as we got there. At the resort, we met an American Indian by the name 'Blackhawk' which translates to something very very long in his native language. We have some competition for south indian names in this part of the world. Damn... we gotta get longer - probably add the astrology chart to the names. Next day early morning we headed back into Zion.

Zion national park was one of the most amazing experience that I ever had in my life. Every person can and should experience it. Its one of the joys of life.

The place to visit in Zion national park is called 'The Narrows'. The virgin river has cut a narrow and deep canyon with vertical walls, only 20-30 ft in width in many places. For most of the hike, one wades through cool and knee deep water which becomes waist deep in a couple of places over a rocky river bed. No words exist to describe the nirvana of this experience.

Many places in the hike, we came to fast moving waist deep waters and wondered wether it was a good idea to cross them. Every time we gathered courage and crossed such places, we met 10 year old children and 70 year old men who had crossed it earlier. In Arun's words 'it got a bit embarassing'. Once, I even waded in chest deep water, but this was an optional part as there was a steep bank that could be traveled to avoid this part. However, the charm of the river is such that people usually give first preference to wading, until their safety concern overtakes. Some groups were even rappelling down the canyon walls.

We spent more than 6 hours in the river, and still couldn't have our heart's fill. A bit reluctantly, we turned back for a late lunch, and some daylight to spare. Without anything else that could compare to this experience in Zion, we decided to move to King's canyon that evening itself, and saving us a day in the trip. Again, driving for 10 hours through the arid and deserted Arizona and Nevada landscape, we reached Visalia, near King's Canyon, at 2 am and checked into a motel.

Next day was a scorching hot one, and thankfully we were driving to higher altitudes into Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks. We skipped Sequoia (with the briefest visit to the biggest tree - General Sherman), and directly headed to Kings Canyon. Our spirits were low because of the oppressive heat in the canyon, but the sight of the mightily roaring Kings river immediately helped to bounce us back.

After reserving our camp spot, we headed towards the misty falls through a 4 mile flat hike. The hike ran along the river most of the way and passed through lush green dense jungles with high wildlife density. On the way, we met 3 snakes and a deer on the trail itself. One of them was a poisonous rattlesnake, which rattled its tail at me as I got a bit close without noticing it. It was a close call as I was in my slippers and shorts.

The misty falls were breathtaking and a great respite in the heat... but one cannot easily take a dip or shower in those falls. As we were enjoying the cool mist, a deer made its way up the trail, stopped to have a look at Arun and admire the view, and coolly went ahead on its way. Arun reportedly was afraid of the deer, and scared that the deer might walk upto him and kick him into the water.

On our way back, our eyes were glued to the ground looking for the snakes. There was a place on the way back where a bush near the trail was shaking and as we got closer, we could hear deep breathing which sounded menacing and dangerous at the time, though we couldn't see what it was. The journey further towards roaring falls was uneventful which turned out to be even more impressive and mistier than the misty falls.

After spending a few hours in the mist and playing around the rocks, we turned back to camp. We were just 4 hours away from Stanford and fresh... hence it was logical to drive back that night itself. We packed the tent and the car, refueled and headed back.

On the way back, we took a less traveled road, which ran right through the middle of huge farms. These roads were made more interesting by the fact that the road had no signboards, no speed limits, and felt like freshly laid and deserted Indian highways. One could not see any vehicles, lights or people for miles. Only farm lands. I thought to myself that I would someday return to that road on my motorcycle.

At the end of that road, we reached highway I-5. Having been away from california for 4-5 days, I had got used to driving within speed limits. So when I came back to the main highways, it was pleasantly surprisingly to see everyone traveling atleast 10 mph over the speed limit. It felt good to be back with the feet placed firmly on the accelerator.

Finally, though I was a bit disappointed initially at getting a KIA Rondo from the car rental, it turned out to be an amazingly comfortable car. The seating position was so comfortable as to allow painless driving for greater than 12-15 hours at a time. It handled very well, excellent mileage and had decent acceleration even in steep inclines. A surprisingly good car indeed.

Arun Chaubey was the ideal companion for the trip. Never did he sleep while I was driving, or have qualms about eating at odd timings, or walking miles and miles day after day, or waking up at 4am every other day (or not sleeping at all sometimes), and was almost always in high spirits. You are damn good buddy.


The American continent is very old one, and natural forces like rivers, glaciers, erosion, volcanoes and geological activity had a lot of time to take their effect. And what an effect they have had!

These forces, given time, created the amazing Grand Canyon, the mesmerizing Zion narrows, the Mono Lake Tufa, vertical walls of Yosemite and Kings Canyon and even the landscape in Arizona and Nevada is shaped by them. As one walks down the grand canyon, one can also see fossil records from the ancient world.

Over short periods, Nature produced the Himalayas, and over long periods, it produced its opposite - the grand canyon. This was a 2100 mile journey in space which portrayed the work of time.

The featured photos and some more can be found at this link.


Great to read through your travelogue, plus see all the awesome pictures. It got me revved up to plan for my own trip. :-)

I had warned Arun before the trip - "You might not get to eat or sleep regularly and might be confined to the car for half the time. ... "

Yeh tumhaare saare trip aise kyun hote hain? :-). Obviously with this pre-condition you would have trouble finding other people to go on a "vacation" with you. :-)

Posted by Aditya on Mon, 2009-06-29 17:01

It was an awesome trip.... and despite its apparent 'hecticness', it was actually refreshing which is shown in the fact that I started writing the travelogue as soon as I came back :-)

With the given student budgets and time constraints, I could only come up with such trips (which I have grown to immensely like :-)). Hardly any choice left in the matter as things are usually so far away in US.

You guys should do a trip of the North East (damn... I would love to join you for that one.)

Posted by nag.rajan on Mon, 2009-06-29 22:27
Amazing photos!

It looks like you had lot of fun in just seven days! Pictures from Zion national park look awesome.

We should meet up so that you can share your experiences in detail :)


Posted by Ankur Jain (not verified) on Mon, 2009-06-29 23:52
The trip was non-stop fun

The trip was non-stop fun all the time. :-)

Sure... we can meet up for coffee / dinner.

Posted by nag.rajan on Tue, 2009-06-30 03:22
What a trip!!!

It seems to be the most exciting 7 days of your life...Amazing pictures of the Grand Canyon, the sunset, "The Narrows" at the Zion National Park, the waterfalls and also the rattle snake :)
And your narration made it even more interesting...

You surely have all the makings of a great professional traveler...

Posted by Girish (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-30 01:05
Surprisingly :-)

Surprisingly, I have had similar and even longer trips. A Bangalore - Delhi road trip in 2003 and a Delhi - Bangalore trip in 2006. Both are one of the most memorable periods of my life with the best of my friends.

I am sure I am still very very far from being a professional trekker :-).... In India, we hardly come across such professionals, and even when we think we do (example Malli Mastan Babu), they are so far from the international trekking levels that they dont even get to have a Wikipedia page (it was deleted as his trekking was not considered outstanding and he has climbed Everest + many other peaks).

Posted by nag.rajan on Tue, 2009-06-30 03:28
If Wikipedia doesn't

If Wikipedia doesn't consider Malli's trekking record good enough even when he has climbed Mt. Everest and many other peaks then I don't give a damn to Wikipedia's standards...

Posted by Girish (not verified) on Wed, 2009-07-01 00:31
Its not that arbit

Malli's record is exceptional for an average Indian...
However, in this day of commercialization, climbing everest is not as big a deal as it used to be even 15 years ago.

Now, you just need 30k - 40k USD, and some operator will do all the planning, timing and logistics for you.
You only need to make the effort of walking up. This is still an effort on your part, but not as great as it used to be, and absolutely not the kind of thing for which Everest was renowned for. All the ropes, tents, food, oxygen are already present on your way up. The uncertainty of weather has also been taken care by the operators.

Due to help from such operators and guides, the fatality rate has dropped from 37% in 1990 to 4.4% in 2004 and an increasing % of people who try it, reach the top now. This is not because people climbing have got better over the years. In fact, today less experienced climbers are attempting Everest than yesteryears. Its the experience of the operators working for the climbers and making everything safe and easier for them.

Compared with planning for years, determination, experience and knowledge, in current times, money and fitness training over 4-6 months can be enough for Everest. This is not the case for Malli as he has been active for years, but he missed out as Everest really has been made easy.

Posted by nag.rajan on Wed, 2009-07-01 02:36
Even I can climb the Everest!!!

I didn't know about such operators...It means climbing everest these days is just about physical strength and stamina minus all the adventure, planning, time management, and making quick decisions at the spur of the moment...it takes away all the fun...huh...its really disheartening! Commercialization of the Everest, or any such place for that matter, should not be allowed...

You seem to be very well informed about the Everest...did you ever plan to conquer its height without the helping hand of operators?

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 2009-07-02 17:55

Exactly my thoughts... Everest as the tallest, is truly irreplaceable as the pinnacle of achievement. It like being able to buy an olympic gold medal for money, and get your name into record books. Thats why its lost its charm and glory. If something like this happened to the olympic medal, it would be replaced by some other games which were cleaner. Unfortunately, Everest cannot be replaced as the tallest.

However, climbing any of the other 8000'ers today brings more challenge, adventure and glory.

I got most of my knowledge starting with the Discovery series "Everest : Beyond Limit" which I followed up with some books from the library, particularly the one by the legendary Reinhold Messner about his Everest climb without supplementary oxygen (the first ever).

With the recent failure of Mt Whitney, which is almost exactly half the height of Mt Everest, an attempt at mount Everest even refuses to come within the horizons of my vision.

Posted by nag.rajan on Thu, 2009-07-02 22:02
Failure of Mt Whitney

What exactly was the reason behind the failure? You mentioned about breathlessness and fatigue...do you think having some provision of oxygen, energy supplements etc would've helped you in accomplishing the uphill task?

Posted by Girish (not verified) on Sat, 2009-07-04 12:48

As I tried to convey in the travelogue, the problem was altitude sickness brought about by dehydration.

It is not enough to drink water when you feel thirsty. In the cold and dry environment, while you are constantly working your way up the mountain, the body loses water pretty fast. But as its not hot, we dont feel thirsty. By the time a person feels thirsty, dehydration has already set in.

Dehydration of the body combined with low oxygen leads to altitude sickness (Number 1 cause of altitude sickness at these heights). Nothing else was required for a successful climb except water at constant intervals (15-20 minutes). I drank at 1-2 hour intervals after I felt thirsty.

Oxygen is not required for Whitney... its not that high (~4500 m). Its usually only required 7500+m.

Posted by nag.rajan on Tue, 2009-07-07 00:59
Great Travelogue with some

Great Travelogue with some exceptional pictures man !!

Posted by Reshu (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-30 11:04

Thanks... I took very few photos this time - just 190 in all, and about 90 left after junking the bad ones.
Its a tribute to the places that the photos are so beautiful.

Posted by nag.rajan on Wed, 2009-07-01 02:38

Amazing travelouge. Just reading through it makes me feel rejuvenated , I can just imagine how being there must have been.

Posted by Nipun (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-30 12:25
If you ever get a chance, do

If you ever get a chance, do the river walk in Zion national park.... its a different kind of fun and something hard to imagine.

Posted by nag.rajan on Wed, 2009-07-01 02:40
Fantastic account of the

Fantastic account of the trip, just fabbbbbbbuulous !!
And you have made this dull looking site really colorful with these awesome puctures ! :-)

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-30 12:49
Great Travelogue!

Had fun reading ... looking fwd for more :)

Posted by Charu (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-30 13:18
for more...

Tumhare more ke liye bahut mehnat karni padegi... probably months of planning, etc :-)
Abhi ke liye Mor (peacock) ki photo aur pathetic PJ se kaam chala lo.

Posted by nag.rajan on Thu, 2009-07-02 09:47
That's a nice travelogue

That's a nice travelogue rajan. I wish I do it one day. Indeed, dekhna, next time when you come to India, I will be fit and competing with you.

I wont be facing all this breathlessness and all... I will experience only motion sickness, altitude sickness and road sickness; and you will enjoy seeing me vomiting all the way :-)

Posted by prabha (not verified) on Tue, 2009-07-21 01:01
Congrats dear...

Im proud of you !

I just hope you are unharmed in such events and come out successfully many more times...

Posted by prabha (not verified) on Mon, 2009-08-03 22:51

I will be careful...

Posted by nag.rajan on Tue, 2009-08-04 03:20
Wow Great Achievement : Congrats

Great job conquering Mt Whitney. The pictures are wonderful makes me visit this place. I wont climb definitely.

Hey I dint knew you climbed. I Initially thought that you are riding up the mountain in your bike.
Well that is what i see in the first picture, you on a bike.

So you took up this climbing thing recently or have you been keeping it a secret all this while.

And where did you learn writing that way! You are springing up a lot of surprises and you seem to be having way too much fun.

Posted by Raman (not verified) on Tue, 2009-08-04 00:36

The southwest is definitely worth a visit. Some of the best places in US are awaiting here.

The natural beauty of the place is unparalleled in its attractiveness and its not surprising that Yosemite and Grand Canyon are one of the most visited places in the world.

Trekking is a new sport for me.. I just started 2-3 months ago and Mt Whitney is my first peak. This gives some indication as to how difficult or easy it is... :-)

I am not sure if I am writing well or not, but I guess I learnt as I went along in life.

Posted by nag.rajan on Tue, 2009-08-04 03:26
What Next!?!

Now that you are done with Mt. Whitney, have you planned your next target? I thought it was just a one-off fun trip...its good to know that u've taken up trekking seriously, a fun way to keep healthy and active...

I remember having come across a photo of a beautiful waterfall at Hetch Hetchy reservoir with you in the foreground...have you removed that photo or is it just a piece of my imagination...

Anyways, gr8 going dude...keep it up!!!

Posted by Girish (not verified) on Thu, 2009-08-06 13:00