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Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
DudimusMaximus #15746 06/28/11 05:49 AM
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Thats what I asked Doug sr at the portal store, when he mentioned the Oklahoma Gortex.

I thought he was trying to sell something from his store. He goes back to the register, pulls out two plastic bags used for bagging groceries and tells me to wrap it around my feet over the socks and wear the boots...! And apparently the plastic bags were made in Oklahoma...and it works..

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
cmonikan #15765 06/28/11 12:04 PM
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I hear alot of references to Doug Sr. at the Portal Store on this Board so will have to make sure part of my trip to the summit includes pre-trip coaching from him and the all-important celebratory burger when back down from a successful trip to the Summit

"Oklahoma Gortex"...I like the guy already!

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
DudimusMaximus #15766 06/28/11 12:32 PM
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every time that I have returned from a MW hike it has been after dark and the portal store has been closed. Perhaps one of the benefits to my shortened hike this past weekend was that I got to have a famous portal cheeseburger. I pondered the mooseburger, but it looked like just too damned much food.

Love the fries too.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
tdtz #15805 06/29/11 08:28 AM
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Any reference to homemade or cheap imitation is reffered to as "Okie" or Oklahoma. Oklahoma Gortex is another way of saying that the plastic bags is a Redneck cheap fix and will do the same job as an expensive pair of water proof gortex socks.That Doug Sr. has a wicked dry sense of humor.

Last edited by Rod; 06/29/11 08:29 AM.
Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #15995 07/03/11 10:14 AM
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Hello everyone, just got back home from a successful summit of Whitney on June 30th 10:00 AM
Just wanted to give a big thanks to everyone for posting trip reports and pictures of the trail. They were a huge help in trip planning! I only took a few pictures along the way, and they can be viewed at the link below. I did the climb in two days with one night at trail camp.

My trip report:
The trail is mostly snow free to just before trail camp. Then mostly snow up to trail crest. We did find quite a few dry campsites at trail camp, but Wednesday evening was very windy. We got lucky and found a site sheltered by rocks piled by climbers before us. I started the summit push 6 AM and the snow was nice and firm. Back behind the needles I didn't see any snow at all until just before the summit about a 40 or 50 yard patch. I put on the crampons again and just climbed straight up.

It was a great trip, except for the mosquitoes lower on the trail. If you forget bug spray the portal store carries a nice little tube, and yes I did try the moose burger! After a summit from trail crest and the entire hike down it's the best burger in the world smile

John

https://picasaweb.google.com/john.wiltse/Whitney?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
JohnW #16003 07/03/11 08:06 PM
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JohnW, thanks for the report. It looks like Honey stayed in Trail Camp, right?

Your picture looking down toward Trail Camp shows just how much snow is still left to melt.


Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #16009 07/04/11 07:09 AM
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Unfortunately Honey had enough AMS she didn't feel save to continue ascending. If we can get a permit next year we will try it again with a few more days of acclimation.

We came from sea level and tried this:
1 night at Lone Pine ~4000
1 night at the portal ~8000
1 night at Trail Camp ~12,000

Next year we will perhaps camp a few nights at horseshoe meadow, and see if that helps.

She had a good time none the less, and one thing that will perhaps last a lifetime is the night we spent at trail camp looking up at the stars. I could not believe how clear they were. I could see the band of the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. We live too close to large cities that drown out the wonder of the night sky. We felt like kids again for a night. Well except for the aching knees wink

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
derryg #16017 07/04/11 02:19 PM
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Hey derryg- Crampons but more importantly, ice axes do require at least a working knowledge of their use in practice. Crampons can cut the tar out of your lower legs or far worse if you lose your footing...twenty or so sharp spikes...as for the ice axe, this is a great safety and stabilizing tool but has a decent learning curve to master the techniques of self arrest, glissade ect. Without the practice on gentle slopes with safe runouts, you might find it better to wait for less technical conditions. I will post the conditions on the main trail next week (Tues or Wed.)if no one posts before and if all goes well on our little trip. Stay safe, have fun!- Mark


Mark Rimmer
Temecula, CA.
Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
MarkRimmer #16027 07/04/11 07:20 PM
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Our group of four is back. Three of us summited, one stopped short about 1/4th mile from the summit.

I have two take-aways:

1) Don't underestimate the trail between the Trail Crest and the peak. We assumed 1.9 miles should be easy compared to the snow chute, but it was certainly not. After taming the 600m of snow wall, even horizontal hiking at 4000m altitude is no fun. In this case it is not horizontal - it goes both up and down. Mostly up, of course. We took 3.5 hours to go from trail crest to the peak. Two of our group developed light AMS in the middle of the trail, having no indications before. One (wisely) decided/was-convinced not to summit, another summited, but was quite disoriented, spacing out from time to time, and made us all worry.

2) Crampons are designed to be used on ice and on hard snow. In the upper part of the chute the snow is harder and perhaps can get icy, so please do bring crampons and axe. That said, about the 2/3 of the snow chute's lower part the snow is soft and the foot gets in to the snow easily over the ankle. I found that in these conditions kick-in climb works better and saves energy. Axe is still helpful in case you need to self-arrest.


The same day, on July 3rd, I think the last to summit was an Asian-looking girl. We passed her on our way back and it seems like she should have made the summit, if she continued, at 3:30-4PM. At around 7:30PM she was still somewhere at the mountain and we did not see her on the chute. Does anyone know if she made it back alright?

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
valas #16030 07/04/11 11:44 PM
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Valas:

A couple more possible take aways: your climber, and the group, exercised admirable discipline and judgement, in stopping / convincing to stop, with so little distance to the summit. Not always easy to do.

Second climber "disoriented, spacing out", different story, possibly was more serious than "mild AMS". I would look up the signs and symptomology of HACE (high altitude cerebral edema) and compare to your climber's condition and experience. Don't know whether any medical follow-up is indicated now, but others on this board will.

In any event, congratulations on your summit, but more important congratulations for getting everyone down safely.

Last edited by saltydog; 07/04/11 11:45 PM.

Wherever you go, there you are.
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Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
saltydog #16031 07/05/11 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted By: valas
another summited, but was quite disoriented, spacing out from time to time, and made us all worry.

Originally Posted By: saltydog
Second climber "disoriented, spacing out", different story, possibly was more serious than "mild AMS". I would look up the signs and symptomology of HACE (high altitude cerebral edema) and compare to your climber's condition and experience. Don't know whether any medical follow-up is indicated now, but others on this board will.

Could be hypoglycemia, or hypothermia, or perhaps simple exhaustion. Yes, HACE is a possibility although quite rare at moderate altitude of Whitney. Not enough information on this possible case of AMS or its complications. Does anyone know if anyone went missing or needed evacuation?

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
valas #16034 07/05/11 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted By: valas
...1) Don't underestimate the trail between the Trail Crest and the peak.


For me, the toughest section of the entire hike is on the return - the quarter mile between the intersection of the trail going down to Guitar Lake and Trail Crest. That last bit of "up" tests my resolve. I make an effort to eat a pinapple ring about 20 minutes before the intersection to get a sugar boost.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
JohnW #16035 07/05/11 06:05 AM
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Great pictures, thanks for sharing them. I can't believe there is still that much snow. Our permit was for June 28 and 29 but decided to postpone the trip since we don't have any experience with an ice ax or crampons. Since you were just there, do you for see the main trial being clear at all this summer? My availability is wide open through most of Aug. and I still have hopes to head up and try for a walk-up permit later in the summer. I'm still hopeful but wondering if it's time to let it go? Thanks for any input you may have.
Debbie

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
iteach4th #16036 07/05/11 07:35 AM
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iteach4th and other folks concerned about the snow,

based on what i saw on my successful summit attempt on July 2 (I posted a Trip Report in that forum), snow is melting FAST! we are having a heat wave in the Sierra so rivers are flowing and trails are drying up... finally!

my wife and i went up the Chute, since it was earlier in the morning (7:15am).... and we glissaded down the Chute around noon. while resting at Trail Camp, we saw several groups going up the switchbacks from the cables on up. we passed these groups earlier in the morning, and judging from the way they hiked etc., i don't think many of them had much experience with ice axes/crampons.... but they were all successfully negotiating the climb up. in fact, i think several just had trekking poles and that was it.

anyhow, i think the main trail will for the most part be clearing up pretty quickly over the next few weeks. there might still be small patches of snow here or there.... but i think it will be fine and just add to the "adventure" of hiking Whitney smile.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
iteach4th #16043 07/05/11 01:19 PM
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Debbie, I tend to agree with onehotchili, it was very warm when we went up also. At points below trail camp I heard rivers of water under the snow! I'm sure you will see mostly snow free trail soon even if snow is still present on the chute. I would keep an eye on the trail reports for signs of folks making it up the switchbacks.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
JohnW #16045 07/05/11 02:07 PM
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Thank you! That's what I was hoping to hear.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
iteach4th #16054 07/05/11 07:09 PM
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I would like to hear from anyone that has done the switchbacks in the last couple of days as to how much snow still covers them. I just purchased some microspikes today figuring they would be useful over snow covered sections, but then I read a post which says they saw plenty of people going up the switchbacks with just treking poles. Thus, I hate to spend money where not neccessary so would love to hear from someone on the conditon of the switchbacks and their opinion is mircospikes might come in handy. We are starting on the trail next Monday,July 11th, so conditions might again change rapidly from here.

thanks

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
valas #16069 07/06/11 10:16 AM
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Good info Valas...How long did the chute take to navigate? Might head up a bit before dawn if the crust will be more solid. Going up this weekend. Glad you had fun... Mark

Last edited by MarkRimmer; 07/06/11 10:17 AM.

Mark Rimmer
Temecula, CA.
Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
DudimusMaximus #16071 07/06/11 10:19 AM
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Dudimus...we'll be on the mountain this weekend, I'll post as soon as we are back in Lone Pine Wednesday..possibly sooner.- Mark


Mark Rimmer
Temecula, CA.
Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date)
MarkRimmer #16080 07/06/11 12:58 PM
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MarkRimmer,

About the snow chute. Going up, we started 9AM and finished at 11:30AM. The snow was soft. In our group of four, three were climbing with just boots, one used crampons. I think the crampons on that snow just made him more tired.

Going down, we started at 4PM and finished at 5:30PM. The snow at the top was getting somewhat icy and hard. Without an ice ax for self-arrest it does not feel very safe.

Many folks were really panicking going down. I ended up guiding one of my team members by making stairs in the snow most of the way down. Another fellow tried to glissade from very top but started going too fast and self-arrested. He lost his hat, his goggles and was really scared. The resulting mental block was really strong - he waited quite some time until two other climbers passed him and he just followed their footprints down.

Not sure what the snow condition will be when you go, it certainly depends on the time of the day. Again: hard snow - crampons, soft snow - just hard boots. In all cases, an ax provides assurance that you can stop your slide in case you slip.

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