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    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      Let's hear your stories and see photos of your California 14er's adventures.

      For those that don't know, a 14'er is a peak over 14,000ft. There are 12 14'ers in California that have greater than 300ft prominence.

      Here's a failed attempt to the top of Mt. Langley. We got within 300ft of the summit but had to turn back because we were pushing our margin of safety. That's @Chris at the highest point of our trek. Standing there in the Sierra winter, November, at sunset with a 12 mile hike back, and a 0F low forecasted on the summit. We would have frozen if we didn't turn back.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      See the black line there. Those are our tracks up and down the mountain. We were just a few hundred feet shy of the summit 😢

      If you've seen Meru, they had to turn back a few hundred feet from the top on their first attempt. We felt like we were in their shoes, except we were merely just wearing hiking shoes, hit Class 3 at most, and we were going to freeze only because we didn't have much down. Ok, so we weren't quite Himalayan headwall A4 climbing at 20k... but it felt like it when that sun set.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      Here's trail crest, the spin of the Sierra, at 13k, that I photographed on my way down from Whitney in June 2016. To the left is the heart of Sequoia National Park backcountry. And on the right is a chute I would glissade on my way back to the Inyo Valley.

    • vegasphotog
      Robert Baker

      Back in my mountaineering days....(I was the unskilled bitch that made things fun) with the National Ski Patrol mountaineering program out of Big Bear....Did the Whitney summit day hike (oh, my feet hurt but pizza tasted good afterwards), we were successful in summiting Langley on a different trip, went back and did an overnight summit to Whitney. Off to Seattle a month later and then two days after summiting Mt. Rainier ( not cali), we bagged Mt. Shasta. I was shooting film back in those days so not much footage. Somehow I thought summiting Whitney with the then pretty funny conehead was a great idea. I hate to admit I have had too many of those "great ideas" in my lifetime. LOL hard to read my sign but I think circa 1994. Note the then trendy fanny pack water system. LOL

    • Chris

      I didn't even know about Mt. Langley until I went up with you last October. Having been up Whitney a couple times, I was surprised that I liked Langley better. They're both barren moonscapes near the top, but Langley has all those beautiful lakes to hike past on the way (some can be seen in the background of this shot).

      Plus fewer crowds and easier permitting.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      Langley is a beautiful near marathon-length roundtrip hike through lush forests, then high alpine lakes surrounded by a few ancient bristlecone pines, and finally a moderate climb through epic granite boulder fields above treeline. Chris and I were the only people on the mountain. We saw a few people camping lower in the forests, but it was absolutely empty besides that. A little eerie, but I loved the feeling.

      You can read more about our experience where we posted live on our adventure, and the reasons why we decided to do Langley instead of Whitney, in this conversation.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      Love it! Isn't the view from the top incredible, that uninterrupted 360 view of the Sierra and the deserts of California and Nevada?

      Photos do not do it justice.

    • Chris

      Ha, this was my sick smile at the top of Whitney. Everyone in my party that day had arrived late the night before and embarked in the pre-dawn hours. So maybe 6 hours of altitude acclimation.

      One of our party got so altitude sick at 12,000', he and the rest of the group headed back down. That left me and Shane. Shane passed out at 13,500' and went face-down in the trail. Another group of hikers volunteered to take him down.

      So I went up the rest of the way alone but wow did I have a splitting headache at the top, and I never get headaches. The rangers told me people like us are pretty frustrating.

    • vegasphotog

      Yep, a photo does not ever capture the scale....I remember as we were descending just below the summit on the single track path before the "stairs", thinking to myself what I stud I was/am...then, we come across three ladies in their early 70's carrying 60lb+ packs and they came up from the other side and they made everything look so easy. LOL

    • vegasphotog

      Great photo Chris! Yea, we had camped at the portal the night before and were downing aspirin like crazy and then on the way up to thin our blood to ensure a quicker acclimitization. Most people underestimate how hard your body has to work over 12k if you are not living in it or used to it. I cannot even imagine how much of a slug I would feel at over 20K.

    • Chris

      I know, right!? You get to 14,500' and think how in the world can people go to twice this altitude? I've wanted to go up Kilimanjaro for I don't know how long, but they make you take it easy and acclimate over 7 days. I guess that's the ticket.

      📷: Alpine Ascents

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      At first, Kilimanjaro sounded interesting, but I realized there are some way cooler mountains out there that are as tall and as safe.

      Of the 7 summits, I'd rather do Aconcagua in Argentina. At 22,840ft, it dwarfs Kilimanjaro's 19,340ft summit. I want to do it as a self-supported backpacking trek, but Kilimanjaro requires hiring guides. I want peace of no crowds and to save a ton of money. Plus Kili has 15,000 people trying to summit each year, whereas only a few thousand attempt Aconcagua each year.

    • Chris

      I've thought about it too! The thing is it's so barren and remote, where as Kilimanjaro stands alone over Africa. You get monkeys and jungle at the bottom barren but what a view at the top, and then you get to explore the Serengeti, Kenya and Tanzania.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      The thing is it's so barren and remote

      Is it weird that that's appealing to me? 🤪

      But on Kilimanjaro, you go through 5 climate zones. The variety in animal and plant life must be amazing.

    • Me

      Hey Chris. That adaptation for Kili is important. As it’s about a 6 hr hike to summit from camp at 16000 ft and then longer hike down. Have to carry all your own water. None up there. My wife and I did it last Oct. went with wilderness Med tour group and had one of the worlds experts on high altitude illness with us Was a great trip followed with safari in Serengeti Have wanted to climb some of Cali’s 14 ers. But talk of needing crampons and ropes have held me back. No experience with technical climbing and some balance issues. I’d be interested in learning more about the best and realistic climbs. My wife and I really enjoyed Kili experience. Yes it is crowded at times and littered. Two of our group had climbed it 18 yrs ago on 3 feet of snow.

    • Chris

      Wow, Mereimage, congratulations!! What a place to stand and see the world. I've come close to doing that every year for the last 3 years with my family.

      Is that photo from your trip last year? I heard that the snow was fading fast up there.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      I’d be interested in learning more about the best and realistic climbs.

      As far as I know, Aconcagua is the tallest trekking peak in the world. At 22,838', it's up there! It's the tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas. At the right time of year, it doesn't require crampons or any technical climbing gear. No other peaks at this altitude can be climbed without at least crampons and an ice ax. Aconcagua is unique in that its proximity to deserts limits precipitation, so you're simply hiking all the way up on dirt and rock. Everywhere else in the world is covered with glaciers at this altitude. Sounds like something you'd be interested in.

    • Me

      Yes that’s from last year you need to do it and definitely need porters. they rec about 4 per climber. All non technical though so almost all Ages. We had age range of13-70 . Would be a great family experience. But really need to plan for altitude and adaptation. Take Diamox and have Steroids available. Need to be in good condition I trained pretty hard for it for 6 mons need to take it seriously. Saw a lot of climbers at the top who didn’t belong there, carried by their guides. Rated the most dangerous of the ‘tourist’ climbs because so many don’t take it seriously. Also frustrating to take family and have some have to turn back

    • Me

      Yes that looks interesting , the summit rate of ~30% is typical of many easier summits in the swiss Alps like MONTE BLANC . Non tech route usually limited by fitness and weather . Have been looking at going to patagonia but for rafting rather than climbing. We like the hiking and the views above the cloud line. Aconcaqua looks interesting but prob would want to go in a guided group , also always dangerous at those altitudes and temps. Unique views :

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      Aconcaqua looks interesting but prob would want to go in a guided group , also always dangerous at those altitudes and temps.

      Yes -- major concern. On Whitney, people get sick all the time, descend, and don't have any permanent damage. At 22,838' altitude sickness can easily mean death. I've dealt with those temperatures in Sierra winter climbs, but never at that elevation.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      I've never hiked above 14,500ft and never taken Diamox myself, but I've frequently been above 14,000ft. On two separate occasions at those altitudes, people in my party have suffered severe stroke-like side effects while on Diamox. It's hard to rule out that is wasn't just altitude sickness. But it both cases, the symptoms were quite severe even before reaching 10,000ft, which is low enough that no fit person accustomed to that altitude should get AMS. Did you know anyone on Kili who had issues like this with Diamox?

      I do take Ibuprofen when I go above 13,000ft because occasionally I'll get a light headache. Interestingly, reports say is does really well at preventing AMS.

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