Rick of Best Hikes has posted a page telling all the nasty details about getting to the top of Mount Whitney. Why Rick likes the Whitney hike:

  • no climbing gear needed
  • surprisingly easy if you get good weather
  • it’s a beautiful and impressive peak
  • Whitney is on both the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trails
  • the Wilderness Permit is free
  • you are only 76mi (123km) west of the lowest point in North America in Death Valley
  • visiting the nearby Alabama Hills
  • signing the summit register makes you feel an “alpinist”

It appears the authorities have devised the perfect fitness test for would-be Whitney hikers: if you can successfully navigate the internecine tangle of bureaucratic gobbledygook required to do the hike legally, you’re mentally alert enough to try the highest peak in the Lower 48.