This morning, the LA Times Travel section posted a story about climbing Mount Whitney, the famous mountain a few hours north of us that also happens to be the tallest peak in the lower-48.
The travelogue follows three early-to-late-30’s hikers of varying abilities as they make the two-day trek up the face of the mountain, dealing with the crowds, the exhaustion, and the WAG bags along the way. I haven’t made it up Whitney yet, but their description of high-altitude zombification sounds pretty familiar:
Noon-ish: You can see it in people’s faces. They’re no longer sentient beings climbing a mountain. They’re strange Sierra zombies stuck in a painful, slow-motion movie. I feel it myself. I see it in Mark’s face.
And now I can see it in even Vic’s face. The whole way up he’s been a two-camera-toting mountain goat with Goodyear lungs and Energizer quads. Now, in the final, ceaseless stretch, he’s looking pale, fuzzy and vaguely depleted.
“If I close my eyes, I might not open them,” he says blankly, letting Mark and me pass.
Image by Alan Vernon.