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WHY WHITNEY? THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION | NO SWEAT

Bigger than a GPS, but better

Mount Whitney Guide for Hikers and Climbers Paul Hellweg and Scott McDonald Canyon Publishing, revised 1994, $7.95

October 14, 2003|Mary Forgione

This book is about as sexy as the Old Farmer's Almanac, but its mileage and elevation details on the trail -- at times down to increments of two-tenths of a mile -- are unsurpassed. Those who need to know exactly where they are every step of the way will love finding Whitebark Stump at Mile 4.85 or Last Tree at Mile 4.9; try locating those with your GPS. For bigger thrill-seekers, it also details the technical Mountaineer's Route and the tough East Face and East Buttress climbs. The highlight: five photos that form a 360-degree panoramic of summit views with peaks clearly labeled -- so you can point out the Kaweahs to the west or Mount Tyndall to the north while everyone else is trying not to lose breakfast. The chapter on gear and the permit process is woefully out-of-date, but the section on altitude sickness should be required reading. It is technically out of print, but I found two used copies at amazon.com, and some bookstores still list it. If you find a copy, don't let it out of your sight.

-- Mary Forgione

Summitted Whitney in 2003,

for the ninth time

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