Brian C., Karen, Kathleen, and I trekked on down to Lone Pine to tackle the Whitney Portal with our good friend and Lone Pine local Jeff P.
First, a little background/side story. Last year the gang designed a shop cycling jersey with a cowboy motif and created cattle brands representing all of the major climbs in the Owens Valley area. This year Karen is on a quest to knock off all the climbs represented on the jersey. This week's climb was Whitney Portal.
The Whitney Portal climb is one of best known climbs in the valley because it takes one to the trailhead for the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney. It's definitely a toughie, rising over 4,600' in about twelve miles with some consistently steep grades of up to 15%.
This is the view of Lone Pine Peak (front left) and Mount Whitney (back center) from down in the Alabama Hills. This was the last we would see of Whitney as the clouds slowly thickened. (Click on pic to enlarge).
Here's Karen and Kathleen wearing the jersey and riding proud.
Here's where the road really starts to steepen and it feels like you are a long long way from the top.
This is Jeff wearing his trademark attire. Cool, comfortable and protected from the sun, I think he might be on to something!
This is Brian C. arriving at the upper sections.
And finishing at the trailhead.
Jeff getting it done.
And K & K tickin' another climb off the list. Nice work!
The weather on the climb was ideal with nice cloud cover and a few sprinkles here and there. The descent was a bit wetter, but fun enough. The scenery was inspiring too. A definite classic!