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#16532 - 07/18/11 06:29 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wazzu]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Mark, I am so sorry for you and your family.

Be well.

Brent

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#16544 - 07/19/11 05:00 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: MarkRimmer]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Very sorry to hear this, Mark.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#16565 - 07/19/11 12:09 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Kendra Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
My group did the day hike on July 17th. The weather was perfect and the trail condition was very good. I appreciated Steve C's advice about scouting out the stream crossing and the old trail, which I did the day before our hike. The stream crossing was do-able, but had a significant chance of getting one foot wet. So we found the old trail and used that on the big day.

There were a few patches of snow on the main trail, but they were all well packed down by the boots of earlier hikers. My non-waterproof hiking shoes did not get wet.

All in all, we were lucky with the timing, though I had been worried about the snow as recently as a week ago.

It was truly a wonderful hike, and everything went smoothly.

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#16570 - 07/19/11 12:27 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Kendra]
Royal Offline


Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 6
Loc: California
I am set to hike the trail Friday the 22nd with my daughter, I've been a little worried about the snow. Do you need any special equipment or skill? I don't want to put her in any particularly dangerous situations, nor do I want for her to make the climb only to not be able to finish it because we can't get across the snow. Any updates would be welcomed.

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#16625 - 07/20/11 03:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Royal]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Royal if you read report right above yours they say that snow is not an issue.Everyday the snow is melting rapidly and what snow there is left is minimal and well traveled over patches of snow. You should not have trouble with snow. You concern should be in acclimating to the altitude.That is a greater concern for your daughter than snow at this time.

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#16628 - 07/20/11 05:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Royal]
Keo Offline


Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: San Diego
Royal,

Like a lot of the posters here, I made it to the top of MW on the 17th on a 1-day permit. I was there with 3 of my brothers and I'm quite sure we were the last group to make it to the top (3PM) and the last group to get off the trail (midnight). (There were 2 solo dudes left on MW, but I think they were camping there for the night.) Let me tell you, it was an eerie feeling to not have "friends" on the way down before reaching Trail Camp again. Well, in hindsight, it was pretty cool, but not on that day.

That was my first time ever hiking Whitney and we weren't all that familiar dealing with snow. Yes, the trail is mostly clear of snow, but it sure as hell seemed like there was a ton of snow still in the surrounding areas around Trail Camp & the switchbacks. As you can imagine, it was pretty F'ing cold in the evening.

But let me cut to chase. It was my idea to hike MW with my brothers and I felt a lot of responsibility to make sure we made it back safe and sound. I wasn't going to be the one to bring bad news home to mom. I'm the kind of guy that would insist on having a tank and a machine gun before I go strolling around South Central LA.

I remember there being 5 snow crossings the entire trail. 2 crossings before Trail Camp, 2 crossings at the very top of the switchbacks and 1 at the summit. I wouldn't stress out over the first 2. The 2 crossings at the top of the switchbacks were pretty safe, but the potential damage from slipping and falling does screw with your mind a little. I would consider those switchback snow crossings as 1-way only at a time. So please be patient there. The summit snow crossing was a little tricky since there were a couple big boulders to navigate around. I think this was the toughest crossing, though not the most intimidating. Again, 1-way at a time. Oh yeah, bring gloves!

As you are coming back down, be extra careful as you are about to get off the cables section of the switchbacks. It's a slight jump, but a stumble and loss of balance could be deadly. Not trying to scare you or anything like that, but you will see what I mean.

One other thing, try not to lose the trail from Trail Camp on down. For some reason we lost the trail, and lost a lot of time trying to find it again. It was dark, cold, tiring and of course, momma bear concerns.

Hope I was able to help! Have fun! Good luck!



Edited by Keo (07/20/11 05:07 PM)

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#16639 - 07/20/11 08:17 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Keo]
Royal Offline


Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Rod and Keo thanks for the info we are looking forward to the hike.

Royal

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#16685 - 07/22/11 05:43 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Elizabeth Rowley Offline


Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 3
Loc: United States
I just hiked to the summit on Wednesday July 20th, woo-hoo! We arrived on Monday afternoon and it was very smokey. I was concerned about hiking as I have asthma and decided that if it was as smokey as this on Wednesday then I would not do the hike. =( Lucky for me the winds died down from 20 mph to 9 mph. The Man at the WHitney Portal store told me to keep an eye on the moon and the stars and if they appear orange at all that means there's a lot of smoke. I checked on Tuesday night and all looked well and Wednesday morning we got on the trail at 2 AM with no smoke all day. It started to get smokey at 5 PM and that is when I summited. I had absolutely no issue with smoke on my way down. The last two days though I have had some lingering congestion but it is clearing up. All is well. Good luck!


Edited by Elizabeth Rowley (07/22/11 05:44 PM)

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#16688 - 07/22/11 08:33 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Elizabeth Rowley]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
I will try to do a more detailed report later, but this report will just be for trail conditions on the MWMT as of July 21st. The first water crossing .6 miles from the portal has genrated a lot of discussion, prompting people to use the old trail. The rocks were not covered by water in the morning or in the early evening (7:00 pm). You will not need the old trail in the morning in any event. If a particularly strong melt occurs in the afternoon, you can always double back to the old trail which is just a stone's trhow away from the water crossing that has concerned some folks in the last few weeks. Just above Mirror Lake as you prepare to leave it, lots of foot prints will lead up to the left--that is a wrong turn. Turn to the right. Someone scratched out an arrow to point the way. You have one non-frightening snow crossing just before you get to Trail Side Meadows. Consultation Lake is thawing. Trail Camp is mostly thawed--just sections around the Lake have appreciable snow. You will encounter some snow in the first few switchbacks and will encounter ice in the teens switchbacks up through switchback 23 where the spring is. The trail will be largely dry until you hit the snow at the cables, but you have a very comfortable margin of rock on the cables. However, to get to the cables, you have to scramble up about 8 feet of rock as one of the switchbacks is covered in snow. (Mind you, I was seeing all of this through my own eyes as well as the eyes and ability of my 13 year old son.) This scramble was not frightening for us, but might be for someone who has a fear of heights. You will have three snow crossings in the upper 90 switchbacks. The first two were in deep (2 foot) snow troughs, meaning if one were to slip, they would not likely slip down the chute. The last snow crossing, however (which was on the last switchback) was far more precarious. A slip here could mean you slip down the chute. In the mid-morning, the snow was slushy and microspikes did little to maintain traction. In fact, my 13 year old did slip here, with his legs slipping down the chute side, but he was able to stay on the trail. Treking poles with good sized snow cups will help you here. We did not encounter any snow on the Western side past Trail Crest. Unfortunately, we had to turn around with the hut in sight when we were at 13,760 feet with one mile to go when my son developed a headache and started a slight slur in his speech that Dex and a 1 hour rest couldn't fix. I can't tell you what conditions were like after that, but I couldn't see any ice patches left.
In my mind, the most precarious part of the hike is the 97th switchback. There is still a lot of snow there. Conditions were relatively warm, but it could be a a couple of weeks before that section thaws out.

Brent N

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#16699 - 07/23/11 03:52 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Brent N]
torpified Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 22
Loc: midwest
This complements Brent N's report, and also dates from the 21st: in the last mile, the snow field before the summit Keo describes is still very much in evidence. I found it considerably less nerve-wracking than the SW 97 snow patch. Although longer, it feels less exposed and better trenched. Also, the boulders became less of an impediment when I realized that I was allowed to touch them when maneuvering around them.

I'll file a trip report if and when I'm reunited with a real keypad. The bottom line: my hiking partner, who stumbled and hurt her ankle btw trail meadow and Mirror Lake on Thursday, managed to walk out late that night. Xrays the next morning in LP revealed that she'd broken it. We're both very appreciative of all the expressions of concern and support we received as we hobbled out (she carrying her wag bag bc she considered it impolite either to leave it or to have me carry it --- perhaps I should mention by way of explanation that although currently a resident of LA, she's born and bred a Brit). We're also extremely grateful and apologetic to the search and rescue team we failed to call off before they started up the mountain looking for us.

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#16710 - 07/24/11 12:13 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Brent N]
DonCoqui Offline


Registered: 06/28/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Chula Vista, CA
Our group of four summited on the 21st... like Brent, I plan on doing a more detailed TR later today or tomorrow. In the mean time, below is a link to my Flickr photo set. The first 30 or so photos are pre-hike photos meant for family and friends, the hike photos start at DSCN6249 and include conditions at the cables, the two snow fields at Trail Crest, and the snow field on the west flank of Whitney itself.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doncoqui/sets/72157627270039954/with/5970024303/

Regarding the North Fork crossing of Lone Pine Creek... TAKE THE OLD TRAIL! We did a scouting hike Tuesday afternoon to Lone Pine Lake via the Old Trail and even though it's a few degrees steeper (no sweat), it shaves about half a mile each way and you reduce the chances of getting water in your boots down to ZERO! You run a good chance to get water in your boots at 3:30am on your way up as you try to make your way across the creek in the dark... probably worse on the return as the snowmelt gushes downhill... although less significant with only a mile to go. PM me if you need a photo of where the Old Trail starts.

Regarding snow levels at the cables and switchbacks... Let me start by saying that I have ZERO snow-hiking experience and was born w/o the risk gene. I'm from Puerto Rico and left the island at age 22... didn't see snow fall until age 30... my comfort level around snow is still close to none at age 48. I recall at least four small snow fields above Trailside Meadows. Some longer, some shorter, but all are passable w/o poles for the average outdoors type folk. There is one a little steeper and slushier that is nothing to worry about with poles... if you happen to lose your footing there and slip, the only thing hurt will be your ego. I did not see any dead-end snow paths above Trailside Meadows (there were more than a few on my failed summit attempt on July 8th last year).

Up the switchbacks there were 2-3 corners where I had to scramble up the rocks because of snow. If you are uncoordinated, like I am, take your poles off and go hand over hand. No sweat. The toughest hand over hand for me was the switchback before the cables... like Brent said, just be careful and focus on the job at hand instead of the view below.

The cable are a NON-ISSUE! Just look at the photos in my Flickr set... enough said about that.

Regarding the two snow fields below Trail Crest... the first was scary for me, but well trodden. I did it w/o my micro spikes on the way up, but put them on on the way down for a little re-assurance. The snow field on the last switchback before Trail Crest was SCARY for me... if you're not confident around snow make sure you have two poles. Hold one short (mountain side) and use it to pull yourself in, keep the other one long to push yourself against the drop. Do not look down... focus on your feet and the next step. Do not look up ahead... it will take however long it takes to get across... nobody cares, but your family and children. Enough said. PM me if you have any questions and/or take a look at my photos for answers.

From there on its only a battle w/ AMS (if you are susceptible) or vertigo... I found two to three uncomfortable spots on the west side ridge... window #1 and two spots where rock falls made the trail footing only a foot wide... again, take your poles off and go hand over hand if your are freaked out by the cliff drops. Having done the snow fields at Trail Crest I can say the West face snow field below the summit is nothing at all.

Hmm... after reading this post, I may not have to do a TR after all... between Brent's report, my Flickr photo set, and the summary above you should have a good idea of our hiking conditions last Thursday, July 21st.

Regards and good luck,
Stay hydrated,
Do not stop eating,
and most of all enjoy.

Regards,
Luis

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#16711 - 07/24/11 12:17 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: torpified]
DonCoqui Offline


Registered: 06/28/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Chula Vista, CA
@torpified: glad to hear both of you got off the mountain safely. My friend David and I passed you just above Mirror Lake... David offered you Ibuprofen, but you were well equipped. Sorry to hear about your friend's broken ankle.

Did the two of you make it to the summit?

Regards,
Luis

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#16733 - 07/25/11 10:45 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: DonCoqui]
DonCoqui Offline


Registered: 06/28/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Chula Vista, CA
I've posted a detailed TR with photos under "Trip Reports". Enjoy and thanks to all who posted here. Your help was invaluable in planning for the hike.

Regards,
Luis

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#16740 - 07/25/11 11:17 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: DonCoqui]
Motogibby Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2
Loc: Ca
Thank you for the fantastic pictures! My group will be going up on August 2!

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#16768 - 07/26/11 05:28 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: DonCoqui]
torpified Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 22
Loc: midwest
Dear Luis,

We made it! We took the easy, three-day way up the back. I'm going to try to post a trip report today. Thanks for yours, and congratulations!

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#16829 - 07/28/11 07:05 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
wedbe11 Offline


Registered: 03/30/11
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
I am So BUMMED!! We are supposed to get married on Mt. Whitney this Sunday 31st. We only have a day pass and there is a 40% chance of thunderstorms. Does anyone have any ideas of beautiful place on or around Mt.Whitney to do ceremony? since making it to the summit isn't looking good :-(

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#16830 - 07/28/11 07:54 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wedbe11]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7556
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wedbe11:

Drive to the Sierra Overlook on White Mountain road. Great view of Owens Valley and the Sierra. You could even hike White Mountain afterward. Could be rain or hail on White Mtn as well, so be prepared.

But then with the Lion Fire increasing again, the views may be smoky.

You could always hike to Lone Pine Lake -- T-storms shouldn't be as threatening there, and you'd be able to make an easier exit if there indeed is a thunderstorm.

hmmm... threatening weather, flexibility, plans changing... sounds like a normal marriage to me. wink

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#16835 - 07/28/11 11:05 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Dennis68 Offline


Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Hiking in from Horseshow Meadows for a 5 day route to Whitney over New Army Pass. I wonder what the snow conditions will be like August 26-31. I've seen some recent photos of the pass and it's got snow. This is our desired route... Horsehoe, New Army Pass, Rock Creek, Crabtree, Whitney Portal.


Edited by Dennis68 (07/28/11 11:10 AM)

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#16836 - 07/28/11 11:13 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wedbe11]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: wedbe11
I am So BUMMED!! We are supposed to get married on Mt. Whitney this Sunday 31st.

Send a PM to + @ti2d - his wife & he did it right there!
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#16838 - 07/28/11 12:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wedbe11]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
Bet Doug could cater your reception at the Portal Store ! Pretty location and you might even get a black bear to attend, without an invitation of course.

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