Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mt. Langley vs. Mt. Whitney

"Whitney seems more like training for this!" goes one post about hiking nearby fourteener Mt. Langley. Another considers the two mountains tied for difficulty. Well, I recently hiked both mountains two days apart, and will claim that Whitney is definitely more physically difficult, taking me 20% longer to complete than Langley (both hiked via their most popular routes, the Mount Whitney Trail, and Langley from Horseshoe Meadows through Cottonwood Lakes). Whitney has 2,000' more elevation gain and tops out 500' higher than Langley, so it'd seem clear which is more work. Langley may be more of a mental challenge though. The first five miles are a nondescript forest and climbing the summit plateau involves a tedious sand slog. The best part of Langley may be the Cottonwood Lakes at 11,000', or the 3,000' drop from the summit cliff (don't get blown off by the wind). The Mount Whitney Trail is staggeringly beautiful from start to finish though, making Langley appear a drab grind for high altitude endurance. Whitney starts off at a lower elevation, and might be kinder at first to the altitude-sensitive.

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