this is the elevation i slept at last night: 14,242 feet. 4341 meters. REAL fucking high.
we left shortly after lunch yesterday, packs loaded up, and headed up the mountain.
from left to right: cait, jenny, charlie, amy, me, and steve g. we're standing in front of barcroft lab, our home away from home, at 12,470 feet. note the address above the door: 5150 is the police code for someone who is criminally insane or a danger to themselves or others. we're all a bit nuts up here.
so we set out around 1:50, and arrived at the summit hut at 4:30. (well, that whole group in the previous photo didn't make it up at the same time, we split up along the way, but steve and i arrived at 4:30, making it a 2:40 summit. not bad time.)
here's a view of white mountain, from near the observatory just above barcroft. the hike is approximately 4 3/4 miles, start to finish... with a nearly 2,000 foot elevation rise. i think this may have been the hardest thing i have physically ever done. but it was SO worth it.
here's me, about 3/4 of the way up, with the summit in the background.
the building you can barely see is the summit hut, our tiny little home away from home away from home. it has 4 bunks and a stove, and a workroom, and little else. there were 12 of us spending the night up there, so we were 2 to a bunk, with some people in tents outside (boy, i'm glad I got a bunk! it was freezing!) but it worked out just fine. unfortunately, my lame camera batteries died shortly after arrival (should have taken fewer pictures on the way up, but whatever) so it'll be a while before i can get pictures of the rest of the day. needless to say, the sunset was spectacular, the stars were even better, and we had a blast.
i'm stealing this picture from sciencecenter.net, because it's the closest approximation i can give you to the view we had from the roof of the summit hut last night after the sun set and before the moon came up. i honestly don't think i've ever seen as many stars as i saw last night - and the milky way stretched across the entire sky. several of us climbed up onto the roof, where there is pretty much no man-made light, and snuggled under a few blankets, huddled close together because it was SO DAMN COLD, but it was 100% worth the cold to see the stars.
this picture is a composite stiched together from probably 100 pictures taken by Axel Mellinger, partly here at Barcroft. widely regarded as the best picture of the milky way ever taken. ok, so our view wasn't quite this spectacular, but we could definitely get the feeling of being extremely tiny in the galaxy as we lay there, 7 of us snuggling as close as possible, watching the stars, the satellites, and the shooting stars (we counted 23 in our time on the roof). definitely one of the best, if not the best, night of my life.
anyway, more pictures will follow, once i get them from other people. in particular there's a group shot of the 12 of us at sunset on the summit. for now, it's time to get back to work on my paper (oh yeah, this is a class and we have to do "work")... barcroft out!