Mt. Whitney was a tough one day hike. I started in the dark, which was a new experience for me, and when the sun rose an hour later at 6:15 or so, I realized I had been moving very slowly. The next stretch was beautiful and not too tough but I was worried about my slow time. Once I reached the 6 miles mark with more than 50% of the distance and elevation covered, my time was better. But the land was barren. Trail Camp, the last camp prior to the summit, seemed bleek and bitter, but that may have been the cold winds, lack of sun and upset stomach (altitude already at 12,000 feet?). The 97 switch backs were as tough as everyone said. At the trail crest, the views were spectacular but at 13,600 feet and with narrow windows (e.g. no walls on either side of the trail) my nerves got a bit jittery. The last 2 miles were difficult and not sure what drove me on but the summit was amazing. Going down was long and tough. Although the pain was brutal, the sights and feeling of accomplishment will last quite a while.