Did the day hike on June 21st. I know things have probably changed a little bit. But I am hoping my experience and the timings are of some use for the next few days since the snow and ice will still remain on the switchbacks.
First off, hats off to Doug at portal store. I was a nervous wreck till I met him and he made it feel like I could hike up with a baby stroller. He also gave me the precious Oklahoma gortex, which are life savers.
My friend and I started the day hike at 4am. We had 3 quarts of water, gatorade and food. We consumed over 8 quarts of water during the entire trip. There is plenty of creeks along the way to fill up. We got a portable pump that filters the water.
As soon as we hit the Carillon creek, around mile 1, we wet all the socks. I wore the waterproof, Merrell hiking boots and soon realized by the cold tingling sensation that its not running creek water proof. This is where Doug's Oklahoma gortex would come handy.
The trail all the way till trail camp is fairly straight forward. You will hit snow on and off but finding the trail will not be hard. Once at trail camp, the beast of a chute reveals itself. My friend has climbed Rainier and I have done hikes on Shasta. But this 2000 feet in less than a mile was pretty daunting. We arrived at trail camp at 9:15 and started up at 9:30. We had crampons and ice ax and got to trail crest by 12:00. I think the slow pace helped me get up there without getting too tired. Not to be a chicken, I was scared when I looked down the chute. The snow was soft and traction was hard.
After trail crest, there are couple of places where there is ice on one side, a narrow step next to it and then a few hundred feet of rock face next to it. So take a deep breath and keep going. Like someone who posted a while ago. This thing is not an everest or k2. But for a beginner its good to be afraid and be careful. We got up to the summit at around 2PM, stayed there for an hour or so and headed back.
We got lost right after we left the summit and the only way to get back to the trail was cutting across snow fields. Be WARNED that the snow here is soft and on more than one occasion we were waist deep in snow. I was stuck for good 15 minutes and the snow started icing up. I panicked and somehow found the brains to free myself by digging myself out with the ice ax. We took the extreme step of glissading down the snow near the summit to reach the rocks below, which were easier to walk on to get back on trail. We also ran out of water and we had left the pump at trail camp to shed some weight. Bad move. Luckily I had some tablets. I collected some stream water, treated it and drank it till we reached trail crest. It was 5pm when we got there.
We looked down the chute and decided it will be too long to walk down so the sliding began. It was tough since the snow was still too soft and each step caused us to sink knee deep. But sliding down was fun. We were cautious of going too fast so we dug in the ice ax to control the speed. It helps to have some upper body strength for this.
We got off the chute, freshened up and headed to get off the mountain. One the way down, we got lost somewhere in outpost camp. We wandered for almost an hour before we ran into some campers who showed us the way. By this time darkness fell and we would get lost few more times.
The final time we got lost it was near lone pine lake. Each time there is snow, the trail just seemed to disappear. It was dark and we had only the head spot light. After another hour of resting and searching, we fell back on the trail and hurried down to the parking lot. It was close to 10PM when we got off the mountain.
In summary, we took longer than expected but were prepared to collect more water, carried spare socks and a trail running shoe to replace the heavy and hard hiking boots. We didnt rush, took our time and made it. It was very tiring, but worth every minute. But for day hike, you better be prepared and be in some shape to get through the day.