In 1988 I decided to climb to the top of Mount Whitney in California. Not sure why. It was there. I was living in Los Angeles. Wanted to do something more than go back to Yosemite ... which is what had happened the previous two summer excursions. This seemed like more of a challenge and a little bit crazier.
Signed up to be one of those let onto the mountain with a permit back in August of 1987. That's right you had to sign up the year before and wait to see if the lottery would let you be picked to go the following year. You could take a group up to eight people. And somehow I talked seven other people into coming with.
It was the first camping trip that I took seriously because there had been a few deaths by falling in '87 and also a few people hit by lightening. Wasn't a place to screw off like most of the other outings I'd been on. Bought a backpack, real hiking shoes, and dehydrated food and trained for it by climbing the hillsides and canyons around Laguna Beach where I lived at the time.
In June of 1988 I drove with my friends to Lone Pine to spend the night before waking in the morning and driving to the portal for Whitney. That portal was almost eight thousand feet up the mountain.
After parking I threw the pack onto my back and adjusted the straps and also played with where I would hook up my camera so that it was readily available. I had eight rolls of film, one camera, one lens. I had hooked a loop through the lug on the side of the camera and attached a length of nylon cord to it which was tied off on the backpack. The camera then fit an a pouch on the side of backpack that was easy to get to. As I played gun slinger I looked up and saw these other hikers getting ready. The scene was comical. It wasn't till I got back and developed the film that I found out just how comical the image was.