He made it. Jim called at 6 am local time Friday morning from the summit of Mt. Whitney, at 14,500 feet, where he was hanging out waiting for the sun to rise. I forgot to ask what time he had started, but the trip entailed another 3,000 feet of climbing in the six-mile stretch from Guitar Lake to the top, so unless he strung up a duct-tape pulley system, he must have been packed up and on the trail sometime between midnight and 2 am.
I talked to him again about six hours later, and he had made it all the way down to Whitney Portal—that’s another ten miles with 6,000 feet of descent, punctuated by the notorious “99 switchbacks.” At that point, Jim was already wearing his flip flops and carrying nothing but a beer, and he sounded awesome. His plan for the rest of the day was to eat and drink like he was going to the electric chair, and then to camp tonight at Whitney Portal. Tomorrow he’ll hitch a ride into Lone Pine (the nearest town) where Eddie and our friend Chris will be meeting him, ready to do some serious hiking I’m sure. They’ll spend Saturday night in Lone Pine, and then head to the airport on Sunday.
I’m going to hand over the reins now and let Jim take it from here; he can fill in the details, correct all of those guesses I made, and show you guys some actual pictures he took along those 222 miles of trail. Thanks for indulging my “guesting” in the meantime. Congratulations and here’s to Jim. Amazing. YOU DID IT.