California High-Point Begins!! We just got a phone update from Maj Graydon Muller, one of the Airmen climbing 14,495ft Mt. Whitney this weekend as part of the USAF 50 Summits Challenge. The 5-person team will meet at the trailhead tonight. A heavier than expected snowfall left them 1" of snow at the trailhead, 1ft of snow at their 12,000ft camp and over 1.5' higher up. The team expects some packed snow slopes and deeper drifts, but are prepared with micro-spikes, crampons for any steep/hard snow, and a range of other climbing gear. Temps look comfortable at the trailhead but will drop to the 20s near the summit. Stay tuned here and on Facebook for more updates.
We’re nine days out from starting our climb up the highest peak in the contiguous United States. The team is excited and looking good.
The weather forecast for the weekend is calling for as much as five inches of snow to fall on the mountain. Depending on how much actually comes down, and how it accumulates on the switchbacks that climb the steep East face, this could add a bit of complication to the climb, though nothing to stop the trip. We’re discussing gear options to deal with crossing potentially slick side-slopes, and watching the weather to see how things play out.
For now, we’re in the final push for getting in climbing shape, and we’re stoked to be heading to Mt. Whitney in just over a week to represent the Air Force! -Maj Muller
We are excited to have a team to tackle the highest peak in the lower 48 states. It will include veterans of the USAF 7 Summits Challenge team (Mt. McKinley climbers) and the Climbing For Warriors (Mt. Rainier) 2013 trip. That means they will be well prepared for whatever weather comes their way. Stay tuned for more details!