Please allow us to introduce guest blogger Chris “Chance” DePolo. Chance earned advertising and political science degrees from West Virginia University in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he came to the realization that sitting behind a desk just wasn’t his place on this earth. Fast forward two years later and Chance has taken his Darn Tough Vermont socks through endless adventures on both sides of America. Here is one of his journal entries.
June 16, 2010. Mount Whitney Base Camp.
Today, at around noon on June 16th, I summited Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Mountains of California wearing my Darn Tough socks. At over 14,000 feet that would make them the absolute highest pair of socks in the lower 48 states.
The ascent of Mt. Whitney was a lot to ask from my Darn Toughs. They’d carried me over 3,000 miles before reaching the base of the mountain. My socks could tell more stories than most men I know. They’ve carried me faithfully along all 2,178.3 miles of the Appalachian Trail and now one third of the way up the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. I think this will be a fitting end to their hiking days. Now they can retire and go on to wherever it is that tired, old hiking socks go.
Though having dry, happy feet made the ascent of Mt. Whitney a little less grueling, I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a mountaineer – the altitude kills me! I think walking 30-plus miles a day is easier than dealing with high altitude. I can walk continuously uphill on just about any reasonable slope for almost an indefinite amount of time, but you put me above 10,500 feet and I start sucking wind. Put me at 14,000 feet and I’m taking a couple breaths per step.
I’m glad to have climbed Whitney on this trip but I wish it had been a little bit more enjoyable. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t get a picture of my Darn Tough Vermont socks up there; they’d deserved that, at least. It was around 35 degrees with a steady and strong wind making for a very chilly experience. I wasn’t about to peel off some layers just so you could see my socks. I only took one picture from the top and then went right into the hut, made tea to warm up, and climbed back down.
When we finally made it back to camp I was ready to collapse. My socks did their duty and got me through their last day and back down the hill, blister free as always. I ate about a 3,500-to-4,000-calorie dinner and was fast asleep by 5:30 p.m. Talk about an exhausting, but rewarding day.
From the middle of nowhere,
-Chris “Chance” DePolo