I was there yesterday. For those asking about the switchbacks and going up in a week or so, there are none. You MUST use the chute.

I saw one guy go up yesterday with Microspikes and trekking poles. So, it is doable. However, he was on his knees many times, and slipping and sliding. Tough guy, but it was not fun to watch. I would never take any friends or family up there in the current condition without crampons and an ice axe. BTW, the guy who made it to Trail Crest with the Microspikes and poles was still there when I got back from the summit and pondering how he'll get down. When you're back from the summit, tired with numb legs, and the adrenaline gone from reaching the peak, looking down that chute can be very scary. I heard one guy advising people glissade down with the trekking poles, says he's done it before. Nice guy, and I trust he did do just that but I also think he got lucky. I heard another "experienced" hiker talking with his friend about doing the same. Please don't. I glissaded down, but wouldn't have done so with trekking poles. Call me a sissy. You're going very fast. At one point, I could not slow myself down fast enough and had to flip over onto my belly and used the axe head to self arrest.

Snowshoes are dead weight. The snow is currently very firm. I postholed not more than a few times. Just make sure your boots are waterproof or add some Sno Seal.

The trail is very confusing near Lone Pine Lake. What other posters said are true, there are boot tracks just going every where. Hell, it looks confusing in the daylight when I was coming back. If you hear the loud rush of water too close, you're off track. I took the most direct path up the slopes. Once past that small section, it's virtually impossible to get lost since the main chute or Whitney is always in front of you.

Be careful on the backside of Whitney after Trail Crest. The trail is very visible but there are a few sketchy parts. Not very wide, and a slip would be disastrous. It's not oh-my-god scary...just be careful is all.

Also, the ice axe is not just for the chute but a lot of the traversing you'll have to do. Most likely you won't fall, but having the axe sunk-in just has a very secure feeling, and if you do happen to fall while traversing it's nice to know the axe is there to save your butt.

Last edited by 2600fromatari; 06/12/11 01:57 PM.