Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mount Whitney panorama

The Astronomy Picture of the Day a few weeks ago was this gorgeous astro-photo panorama taken from the top of Mount Whitney -- at 14,495 feet, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Click the photo for the full-size version (photo credit: Park Service Night Sky Program).

We climbed Whitney in summer 2000 and for years I had this same (daytime) panorama up on my wall, taped together on a cardboard backing (this was pre-digital camera).

The trail to Whitney is possibly the single most crowded backcountry trail I have ever experienced, particularly given that it is 22 miles round-trip with 6,000 feet elevation gain. I'm sure we encountered over 100 people that day. The lack of oxygen at the top is fierce - I felt like I was taking 3 breaths for each step. Still, a fantastic hike!

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