I woke up this morning to a partially frozen water bottle. I had wrapped my shoes in a trash bag & put them at the foot of my sleeping bag so they weren’t frozen. I got fully dressed while still in my sleeping bag to keep warm. Leaving our tents up & only taking what we needed for the climb, Jewel Thief & I began our climb of Mt. Whitney. In the valley we were camped in, the trail was completely snow covered so we had to pick our own way. Soon we found an exposed area & begain boulder scrambling up the ridge wall. At times we had to use minor climbing moves. All of the sudden our exposed rock ended in a steep snow field. Jewel Thief crossed it first & found himself stading on the trail. I had to put my crampons on first. I would plant both feet and then move the ice axe higher to cross. When I made it over, my legs were shaking from the adrenaline rush.The trail switchbacked across another snow field, but we boulder scambled straight up to avoid crossing it. At the next switchback the trail was clear & we could make great time. We soon reached the top – 14,496 feet, the highest point in the continental U.S. The 360o panorama was truly awesome. After lounging around a while, we headed down. It was easier to follow the trail when we could look down & see the switchbacks below us. Near the bottom, the trail disappeared into a final snow chute. This one I just sat down and glissaded right down – that was fun.We made it back to camp for a late lunch, packed up, & headed back to the PCT to get a few miles in. We were making good time till the trail climbed a high, treeless ridge & disappeared completely under snow. There wasn’t a bare spot as far as we could see. We found our own way off the ridge & began looking for the trail. As the last light was fading we were ready to make camp when we literally stumbled across our trail junction. Tomorrow we tackle Forrester Pass.