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Located within the Sierra Nevada Range in California, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. Situated on the eastern border of Sequoia National Park, this massive peak rises from the floor of Owens Valley and has an elevation of 14,494 ft (4,418 m). Mount Whitney is just 85 miles (137 km) away from Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America.
Mount Whitney was named after Josiah Whitney, who used to be the State Geologist of California. This rock is one of the famous destinations for hiking and rock climbing. Mount Whitney was ascended for the first time in 1873 by Charles Begole, A. H. Johnson and John Lucas. There are two major hiking routes that remain heavily crowded during summer. These include the much traveled Mount Whitney Trail and the more strenuous North Fork Trail.
The Mount Whitney Trail is about 22 miles (36 km) round trip. It originates at Mount Whitney Portal and requires 14 to 20 hours to complete. This trail is well-maintained and is highly popular among hikers. Hiking along the trail usually starts around 2 to 4 AM. However, many hikers prefer to complete the trip in 2 to 4 days. Camping is allowed along most of the trail. Hikers are advised to travel in groups and wield a bright headlight as sightings of black bears are common in this region.
There are other routes for climbing the mountain. These include the Mountaineerâ€™s Route on the eastern side which was used by John Muir when he scaled this mountain in 1931.
Another interesting event held around Mount Whitney is the Badwater Ultramarathon, which is a 135-mile (217-km) race that starts from the bottom of the Death Valley and culminates at Whitney Portal.