I’d like to emphasize long. We left Berkeley at 6pm on Friday. The drive generally takes 8 hours, and with stopping for dinner, gas, and so on, it took 9. Thus it was 3am by the time we reached the trailhead, so might as well just start hiking, right? Actually, we planned it this way since we knew we’d have to leave Berkeley so late. Ha, who needs sleep.
We met up with Steve from Las Vegas in the parking lot. Mark had contacted him, another hiker who happened to be doing the same route on the same day, through the Whitney message board. Steve decided to leave later with another group so that he could guide them through the first few ledges. We packed up quickly and were hiking by 3:30am. The weather was perfect, although below freezing, with a clear sky and a full moon. It’s always fun to hike on a clear night under a full moon, and this was no exception. It’s amazing how much it lights up the trail and creates very distinct shadows. I had forgotten my headlamp for this trip, but with the moonlight, I never needed it.