mt. whitney hut

It is more than likely that not very many people know that
Mt. Whiteny is the tallest mountain peak in the continental United
States. It is also likely that there are less people that know that
there is a three room cabin at the summit of Mt Whitney either.

In 1909 it took four weeks to build a three room cabin or hut on
Mt. Whitney. The cabin was built for astronomers to try and make
observations that might prove the existance of water on Mars. The
insurment they used was a 16 inch reflector. Today the cabin is
available to anyone that can make the 14,000 plus foot climb to
use for an over nighter or just a place to rest before they head back
down the trail.

It is interesting to note that there was no wood used in the cabin’s
construction and the cabin turned 100 years old last August. The
cabin is made out of steel, cement, stones and glass and nothing
more. In 1909, the director of the Lick Observatory told the New
York Times that the hut “should last 500 years.” That was quite a
statement.

I guess none of us will ever know if it survives another 400 years
or not just like no one could have ever guessed that there would
be anyone celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s
demonstration of the telescope last August either.

Dueling anniversaries, pretty remarkable.

via kd6hdx, good luck Dave.

kf6hqc

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3 Comments

  1. DaveHDX
    Posted 10/31/2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Hulda Crooks is the oldest person to climb Mt Whitney. Her first climb was at the age of 65. She climbed it 22 or 23 more times after that, usually once a year. She also climbed Mt Fuji in Japan in her later years. Next year at the age of 50, I hope to bag the fourteener on Mt Whitney. Wish me luck.

  2. Joe Stahl
    Posted 10/20/2009 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Very interesting. I never heard of that building. I was born and raised, and live in Colorado. I am sorry I never climbed any of our “fourteeners”. I have driven up a few, walked a bit, and damned near had a heart attack. That was in my 30s…I’m hitting 55 :0

    I live in the shadow of Longs Peak. I’ll never climb it now, but I never get tired of the view.

  3. Posted 10/18/2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Huh, no idea that there was a cabin up there. Interesting, and Cool…..and Tempting…. now I want to go check it out.

    Though, I don’t know how surprising it is that no wood was included in it’s construction. I would guess that the reason for this is that they wanted to build with the resources at hand – which would exclude wood. My guess is that 14,000 is somewhere around 2k-3k feet above the treeline. They would probably have had to manually haul it up there – a long ways.

    Yes, steel and cement were used, but I would also guess that the total weight of steel+cement required for holding the stone together would be less than the weight of the wood that would be required.

    I would hypothesis that the duration of the building, however impressive 500 years is (!) was probably less of a concern than the amount of effort of lugging wood vs steel+cement.

    Although, I could be waaay off base here. It looks like, from those photos, that they would have had to cut all of the stones to the appropriate shape/size. I have no idea how much work that would have been over just lugging the wood. My hypothesis was that no wood was less work – but maybe not.

    The highest peak that I’ve climbed was King’s Peak, in Utah. 13,528’. Kicked my trash – but so much fun. http://davidwkennedy.com/photos_kingspeak.htm. Thanks for the post!

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