Reaching the summit of Mt. Whitney is one of my favourite personal achievements. For context, Mt. Whitney (14,505ft) is the tallest peak in the contiguous (lower) 48 states in the United States and is located in Inyo National Forest, CA. Compared to Australia, Mt. Whitney is almost double the height of our tallest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko (7,310ft)!
My buddy Carl and I did a three-day hike, starting from about 10,000ft after stocking up on food in the nearby town of Lone Pine.
We went for the summit early in the morning on the third day, hiking a few hours in the dark to ensure we reached the summit around sunrise.
It's hard to describe the sensation of being that high above everything around you!
We hiked out of Whitney Portal, and passed multiple groups doing the day hike who had started late the previous evening and had hiked through the night.
There were some fun moments along the way: at one point we completely lost the trail, Carl started to have symptoms of altitude sickness the night before we went for the summit, and I had issues with my shoes that same day. Despite the challenges and moments, we made it up and down in one piece!
You can do the day hike from Whitney Portal, but this requires a permit and is a very challenging route. Start times varies from about 9 PM the night prior if you were planning to catch sunrise from the summit. If you have the flexibility, I would recommend taking a day or two extra to reach the summit.