Skiing Whitney's North Face — Page 5

Trevor and the Interior Sierra

Summit Plateau

Atop the north face, I snap back into my skis and skin up the summit plateau, finding and connecting snow patches all the way to the Smithsonian shelter and the summit of Whitney.

The wind is calm. All is still. Alone for a few moments atop Whitney, I sit beside the shelter and contemplate my surroundings. To the west, the sun is gleaming off the myriad snow-covered peaks of the interior Sierra. The sight is breathtaking—I've never seen the range so beautiful.

Atop Mt. Whitney

Andy & Smithsonian Shelter

Owens Valley

Owens Valley

There's Trevor popping into view at the western edge of the Summit plateau, skis on his shoulder.

And as much as this day is about closing a circle that began so many years ago, I realize, looking at those magnificent peaks behind Trevor, that a new dream is dawning.

Once again, I find myself looking west, hearing the call of a new horizon. The interior Sierra beckons, all of it undiscovered country just waiting to be found.

What will I and my skis find out there, I wonder? What mysteries await? I realize it's time for me to go deeper.

But first, I say we finish the job and ski Whitney. Trevor and I exchange congratulations atop the summit. It's pushing 5:30 now, time to get moving. With good snow, we'll beat nightfall to the car—if barely. Much of this route I can certainly travel in the dark, but there are a few sticky parts I'd like to get past while we've still got daylight.

And here is a moment I've long awaited: I snap into my skis right beside the Smithsonian shelter, preparing to ski from the very top of the mountain. There's a crazy little finger of snow heading back toward the north face, and I intend to milk it for all it's worth. I want the purest descent I can put together—and I'm going to savor every moment of it.

next: Skiing Whitney



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