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#30584 - 03/26/13 01:07 PM Gear ssuggestions?

Hi all,

I have an entry date of June 5th. What gear is typically used around this time. I was hoping just to use microspikes and poles. Are the switch backs open around this time or is the typical route up the slide? Thanks for any suggestions and/or advice.

PS I will post future pictures of the trail when I come back!

#30587 - 03/26/13 01:33 PM Re: Gear ssuggestions? [Re: ]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
MD, Welcome! This is a light snow year, so the switchbacks should be opening around then. If not, you can rent crampons right in Lone Pine (at Elevation).

Last year the switchbacks and cable section were reported accessible before the last week of May. So far this year, snow levels are similarly thin.

#30609 - 03/27/13 09:22 AM Re: Gear ssuggestions? [Re: ]
wbtravis Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I agree with Steve on this with couple provisos. Everything depends on winter not making an encore. If we get a winter blast in April, the switchbacks might take longer to open, since the cables have a base of compacted snow already. If we have a very cold spring, it could move the opening through the cables into mid-June but a hot one might move it into May.

Weather is always a guessing game. All any of us can provide you with is what we have seen in the past and what we have seen this past winter in Sierra and SoCal mountains. My feeling on the latter is the melt is a few weeks ahead of last year. The last storm in 2012 was 3/18, this year it was a minor dump on 3/10.

As for gear, standard 3-season stuff for clothing...I've seen near freezing and mid teens at night this weekend in the Sierra. As for winter have to plan for the use of axe and crampons this time of year. Whether or not they are needed is another question. I do not believe this gear should be rented unless you have arrest and belay skills.

#30614 - 03/27/13 12:14 PM Re: Gear ssuggestions? [Re: wbtravis]
SammySam Offline

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 22
Loc: Tustin, CA
Looks like that "winter blast" has a distinct possibility of happening so stay tuned. This forecast is focused on Tahoe but it's looking like the whole Sierra could have a snowy few two weeks of April:

(by the way for all you skiers and snowboarders this is a great forecast site)

#30616 - 03/27/13 02:01 PM Re: Gear ssuggestions? [Re: SammySam]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
> (by the way for all you skiers and snowboarders this is a great forecast site)

Thanks, Sammy Sam. I added a link to it at the bottom of the Whitney Weather page. The Mammoth Weather people often have some interesting commentary on future storm activity, too.

#30669 - 03/31/13 01:09 PM Re: Gear ssuggestions? [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline

Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
The results of the DWR April 1 last snow survey of the season will be coming out this week. That will break it down for southern Sierra vs Northern Sierra and give more insight into early season access. There are several good Tahoe forecasts and detailed avalanche info for us up north, but they don't necessarily apply to the Southern Sierra, especially the far south like Whitney. General trends usually apply across California, but storm patterns and snow accumulation can be very different. Some years it can range from well above average in north or south to well below average in the other. For 2013, it's below average everywhere, just a matter of how much lower than average. As for the spring snow melt rate, that's a secondary effect compared to the amount of snow that needs to melt, and it's a crap shoot trying to predict if temps will be a little higher or lower than "normal" for April and May.