The Longest Climb

Tomorrow I’m taking off to finish my summer project, the Longest Climb (formerly named ‘Project Whitney’). It’s indeed about doing the longest climb – or rather, elevation difference – possible in the contiguous United States, using only muscle power. Our plan is to drive to Badwater, Death Valley, the lowest point in the US (282 feet below sea level) and from there start riding our bicycles up to Mount Whitney Portal, the trailhead for the hike up to the summit of Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 with its 14505 feet. After cycling, we want to embark on the (day)hike up to the summit (hereby attempting to keep our physical and mental sanity intact).
The bicycle ride in particular looks rather gruesome (see profile below): 135 miles, with over 15000 feet of elevation gain. Also check out the Google Earth image I generated below. We’ll have a support vehicle, so there will always be a bail-out option (bad luck for the vultures circling the desert skies), and we’ll ride at night, under a full moon, escaping the scorching desert heat. And the hike isn’t quite your typical sunday afternoon walk either: 22 miles round trip, over 6000 feet of climbing – argh! Wish us luck…

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