For people heading up Whitney for the first time this June or early July, there are a couple pertinent things you need to know before you rent/buy crampons and ice axes for the first time:
1) It's definitely transitioned to summer conditions, though there is still a heap of snow (the deep snow starts right at Outpost camp where you can dodge the trail and gain altitude to Trail Camp by heading to the south side of the valley)
2) START EARLY! If you're doing it in one day from the portal, start a true alpine start..like around 4. By 7 o'clock, the snow is slush and a true slog to get to the top. Last weekend we overnighted at trail camp which was perfect. It wasn't too cold at night and we were able to alpine start at 5 30 to head up the chute to trail camp.
It's essential to hit it early when the snow is firm so you can front point and avoid trudging and sinking...makes for way faster travel. On that note, you can always follow other people's footsteps up to trail crest from trail camp.
*99 switchbacks are avoidable by going up the wide chute to trail crest.
3) Be careful glisading! A ranger we work with was almost "taken out" by someone glisading from trail crest to camp. DON'T do it if you don't know how to self arrest! You should practice self arresting before you get to the steeper stuff if you don't know how to already.
4) Have fun! If you hit it right, the conditions are epic...blue bird days, minimal wind and nice and warm.Trail Crest, Mt. Whitney. Inyo National Forest, CA
, on Flickr