Friday, August 17, 2007

Off To Whitney

Tomorrow we leave for Whitney and I'm really excited about it. What's weird is for about a year I've been on the verge of giving up on mountaineering as I very easily get altitude sick (AMS) and I've been trying all sort of things to cope with it with limited success.

Last June I was at Shasta and was sick at 8000' and was really depressed about it as I was sure I had to give it up and move on. Then 24 hours passed and I was fine and was even able to hike up to 10000' . what's mysterious to me is that at Whitney last year I stayed sick for more than 24 hours but I didn't stay at the same elevation, and I went up more than 1500'. When I hit 1500' it was like hitting a wall and I should have stopped there but stupidly continued up another 500'.

So this time we are going to be changing elevation each day, but only in small increments (well sort of.)

Portal 8365
Lower Boy Scout Lake 10300 (big jump, but can't be helped)
Upper Boy Scout Lake 11500
Iceberg Lake 12500
summit day 14505 (new measurement)

Also though it's not supposed to be a factor in AMD, I'm in great shape as I've been attending spinning classes regularly. The only thing I haven't been doing a lot of is carrying heavy pack, but I've been rationalizing that by the fact that we're keeping the backpacking days short, and the spinning class does a lot of arm work.

Of course as I'm writing this I'm avoiding packing the pack though it's all laid out now.
Anyway I'm feeling very confident about the climb.

Hurricane Dean is starting to sound serious. I wish everyone in its path the best.

Silly addendum:

Right after weighing my pack (40 pounds sans water - but with 12 pounds of food and bear canister) I opened a fortune cookie that said "You will be free from the heavy burden you have been carrying." Er, not for long. Maybe I should take that to mean free of the effects of MS or of AMS. Maybe, but honestly it was literally true, as I had just taken the pack off. I can already feel some muscles that haven't been getting much use are going to get a lot more over the next few days. Good thing it's mostly food as that will get lighter. Good thing the summit day is only with a light day pack.

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