The history of Mount Whitney is long, complex, and revealing. Identified in 1864 and named for the head of the California Geological Survey, Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Throughout the years, it challenged several accomplished mountaineers who failed to reach its summit; it was as if the mountain were working to confuse and impede them. Finally, the mountain was climbed from the west side by three fishermen from Lone Pine. Mount Whitney has always called to the adventurous heart of the climber. Gustave Marsh put in the trail to the summit and then built the Smithsonian Observatory. Writers and artists have applied their talents to capturing elements of the Whitney experience, and there is fascinating geological, natural, and cultural history that rounds out this original approach to the story of a mountain.
Author Bio: Christopher Langley is a film historian, writer, a practicing Inyo County film commissioner, and executive director of the Lone Pine Film History Museum. He is the author of Images of America: Lone Pine, also by Arcadia Publishing. Michael Prather is a retired educator and longtime conservationist in the Eastern Sierra. He has decades of history with the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, the Owens Valley Committee, and Friends of the Inyo.