After camping in Lee Vining, I leisurely made my way to Mammoth Lakes where I picked up a permit for Upper Boy Scout Lake at 8:30. By the time I got to the Whitney Portal trailhead and started hiking it was past noon, perhaps 1pm. I expected to run up and set up camp really quickly, but the trail was pretty challenging with a full backpack. I had my heavy 2-person tent as well as stove, fuel, and food for 2 days along with the general camping gear. Also I lugged up my climbing/approach shoes in addition to the boots I was wearing, which ended up being a good choice but added to the weight. I got to the lake in about 4 hours, not too bad. I lounged in my sleeping bag and ate gummy bears, raisins, and chocolate - yummy! Living in California is all about living large as Rich likes to say.
Eventually it got pretty cold and windy and I got motivated to set my tent up, filter some more water, and cook dinner. The dehydrated chili I picked was pretty gross but I ate almost the whole bag anyway - 2-persons' and 800 calories meal. Apparently I should've actually cooked it as opposed to pouring it in boiling water, because from thinking about it later and calculating, water seems to boil at around 87 degrees Celsius at that altitude, which is a big difference! That explains why the water did not get absorbed properly by the meal. Lesson learned. Speaking of the altitude (camp at ~11,500'/3500m), it made things feel more dry than normal due to the extra exhaling I guess. I was drinking a fair bit of water and that helped. As for sleeping, I got 9.5 hours of continuous sleep which felt really good!
By the time I started climbing in the morning, it was 8am. I was pretty relaxed and in no rush so I didn't set up an alarm. I headed straight up to the South Face scrambling over boulders and trudging up a little bit of scree until I got to a system of ledges that I could traverse and gain the ridge. This was a bit tedious but not too bad. From there, it was complete paradise. I ate, drank a lot, then I took off my boots and left my backpack behind. I switched into my rock/approach shoes and started up. There is a trail that avoids most difficulties on the right on the ridge and I tried to never take it. The ridge was solid throughout and offered some very fun challenges, I was stoked! I got to a little pinnacle which was overhanging on the other side, oops, time to retrace steps and bypass that one using the "trail". Overall it was amazing, I love ridges and this one is great.
On the way down I met 3 friendly folks from Bishop who were doing it as a day trip, starting brutally early in the morning. We later ran into each other at the trailhead over burgers, nice guys. I did Mt Carillon as a side-trip on the way down, got back to camp where I took a small nap and packed up. Made it back to the trailhead at 4:30pm, ate, and then drove all the way back to SF! About 6-6.5 hours of driving to top it all up, and "only" that much because of the lack of traffic during the night. Amazing weekend!
Check out my previous day's adventure in Tuolumne.