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#30640 - 03/29/13 10:28 AM Making sure I am prepared
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
A buddy and I are planning on going up the main trail of Whitney next week. We have been training for awhile on local 10k+ peaks and such. This will be the biggest mountain we have attempted. We have most our cold weather gear ready, I had a couple of questions.

At this time of year will the trail be somewhat easy to navigate or should I get a GPS?

Also, we have our ice axes, crampons, and snowshoes ready to go. Should we bring a helmet as well? I seem to be hearing mixed reports on the helmets.

Thanks for your help!

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#30641 - 03/29/13 11:31 AM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: Duartizzle]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
If you have been doing things like north slopes of San Gorgonio and Mt. Baden-Powell, you should be ok here. You are climbing about 1,000' to Trail Crest...that it. The problems you will encounter will be from Trail Crest to the summit. That is the area that requires most skills this time of year.

I most likely would bring my GPS just to be on the safe side, in case of white out. However, it really is not necessary below Trail Camp, this is a super highway, not a trail. There will be trails cut with all the short cuts between the WP and Trail Camp. With the road "open" to WP, I would be surprised if the above conditions did not exist.

My rule has been if the crampons and axe come out the helmet goes on. This puts me in the minority.

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#30688 - 04/01/13 11:51 AM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: wbtravis]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
Great thanks. Do you think the main trail after the trail camp will be visible to the top or should I expect a hard to navigate trail/route?

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#30690 - 04/01/13 01:28 PM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: Duartizzle]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
I got a great shot of the switchers from the summit this weekend (OK, to be precise, the upper and lower switchers). They looked snow-covered but easily navigable. Couldn't quite see the chute from the top.

While sections of the trail are visible, you should be prepared to go for stretches across the snow. Just because it is another "low" snow year it should not be mistaken for a "no" snow year.

Conditions are really variable: firm and solid in the early morning, crusty and unconsolidated (read: posthole) in the afternoon. While it is lighter later, the temps still drop once the sun drops behind the crest, and conditions get icy and treacherous very quickly.
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#30692 - 04/01/13 04:57 PM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: Duartizzle]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Duartizzle
Great thanks. Do you think the main trail after the trail camp will be visible to the top or should I expect a hard to navigate trail/route?


It depends on who has been up there. At this time of year, most of the folks up there will be experienced and will take the most direct route to the chute. Getting from Trail Camp to Trail Crest is really easy to figure out.

As the spring progresses, people will wander up to the cables and try to force the issue until they get tired or scared...then turn around head back down or to the chute. Eventually someone makes it through starts beating in a trail to Trail Crest and beyond.

You need skills and tools this time of year...in that order.

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#30698 - 04/02/13 12:37 AM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: MooseTracks]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7075
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks
I got a great shot of the switchers from the summit this weekend (OK, to be precise, the upper and lower switchers). They looked snow-covered but easily navigable. Couldn't quite see the chute from the top.


Here's Laura's picture. Click on it for the full size.


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#30708 - 04/02/13 09:40 AM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: Steve C]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
Excellent. Thank you. Not sure I want to be the one to blaze the way on the cables. I think I will stick with the chute, but I will assess the situation when I get there

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#30713 - 04/02/13 11:13 AM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: MooseTracks]
mja Offline


Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Ohio
Hi Laura - was the road open to the portal last weekend?

If not, does anyone know when it will be opened?

Thanks

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#30714 - 04/02/13 01:20 PM Re: Making sure I am prepared [Re: mja]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
I believe the road is technically closed until the end of the month (opens at the fishing opener). However, the sign was off to the side of the road (only the tall sign on the side of the road warning of no maintenance during the winter months). The road was clear and clean all the way through the Portal.

This in no way means the road is officially open!! I could see there still being a chance of getting a ticket. I would call the IAVC or the County of Inyo for an update.
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