We made it to the top! We dropped our packs and wandered around a bit to look in all directions. The view was amazing! To the east, you could see the town of Lone Pine 10,000 feet below in Owens Valley. To the north, west and south, it was nothing but other peaks. There are fourteen other peaks of more than 14,000 feet in the Sierras, but none quite as tall as Whitney and we could likely see some of them too. Kevin stood on a rock at the top, raised his hands and proclaimed he was the highest person in the continental U.S. at that moment. We shared some high fives and a few long hugs.
Kevin on top of Mt. Whitney - Highest Person in the Continental U.S.
I head read that some people can get cell phone coverage on top of Whitney. I didn't know what service provider they used or if my Verizon phone would work or not, but I pulled it out and powered it up. After fiddling a bit, I realized that if I got to a part of the peak where I could see the town of Lone Pine, that it said I had coverage. I tried to call Steph. The first call didn't go through. I tried again. This time it started ringing. Steph answered and we talked to her from the top of Whitney. We'd been out of touch for a couple days (while hiking) and she knew this was one day we might be trying to summit so she was really happy to hear that we made it. Just trying to tell her how I felt, I got overcome with emotions a couple times and almost lost my ability to talk. I handed the phone to Kevin and he talked to Steph for a bit too. How cool it was to share the very moment from the top of the mountain! After finishing our conversation with Steph, Kevin discovered that we even had a 3G data connection and Kevin posted to his facebook page from the top of Whitney.
We took a few of the obligatory summit pictures and then took a long rest. It was a pretty nice day. A bit of a breeze, but not overly windy. Some random clouds, but nothing threatening us. If you got out of the wind between boulders, you'd be comfortable in only a shirt, but otherwise needed some other kind of coverup. We grabbed a snack, but I really wasn't very hungry (which was probably a mistake - again I should have eaten more). After a good break, we each signed the log book at the top and started down around 1:30.