Local family members reach peak of California’s Whitney


Above, is the view west over the Sierras. Lower altitudes had a blanket of smoke from some of the California fires.

Brothers and a son from a local family scaled Mount Whitney in California on Aug. 6.

George Burns III of Fredonia, Chris Burns of Poway, Calif., and George’s son, Patrick Burns of Charles Town, W.Va., hiked to the top of the 14,500-foot peak as part of a several day backpacking expedition in the back country of the High Sierra mountains in California. Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 United States.

The trek up Whitney started at approximately 3 a.m. with headlamps lighting the way up many mountain switchbacks. The trail is largely strewn with rocks and boulders with steep dropoffs in many places.

From the start of the ascent to the top to the descent below the team hiked up 3,000 feet, and descended over 4,000 feet over 16 miles in a 12-hour period.

George states that this trip was probably the most intense physical thing he has done in his life. It is painful and exhausting, however at the same time seeing the most beautiful natural sights one can imagine provides a very reflective and spiritual experience.