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#31029 - 04/22/13 11:05 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Alex]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1031
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Alex
Considering the meager rainfall we've had this past winter and barring any big late season snow storms would you say the trail should be clear from snow (i.e. no crampons, no ice) by around early to mid June? Thanks.


absolutely. Up to Trail Camp, the trail is at the most 50-50 snow covered, ignoring the recent layer of powder, which by today is probably mostly gone anyway. The depth of some of the steeper snow fields covering the trail reminded me of some early summer snow fields in wetter years. There really isn't much snow on the ground for April.


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#31151 - 05/01/13 12:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture taken from Mt Muir of the switchbacks, posted by lilbitmo

The cables section is in the lower left area of the picture.


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#31152 - 05/01/13 12:47 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here are several pictures from a group who hiked the Main Trail over the past weekend, by Peter P, album link: April 28, 2013 Mt Whitney

At the cables, early in the morning:


Snow on the switchbacks


At the top of the switchbacks


On the west side of the crest, between Trail Crest and the summit:

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#31166 - 05/01/13 02:16 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
Peter, did your party carry or use crampons anywhere on the climb? Early in the morning, the snow on the switchbacks must have been icy.

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#31170 - 05/01/13 07:14 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
peter paek Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CA La Canada
Yes, We used crampon at top the switchback way down.


Edited by peter paek (05/01/13 07:21 PM)

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#31202 - 05/02/13 09:11 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: peter paek]
heatpro Offline


Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 9
Loc: CA, USA
i noticed red wine in the pictures. Are there any effects of wine on acclimatization :)?


Edited by heatpro (05/02/13 09:14 PM)

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#31211 - 05/03/13 10:19 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: heatpro]
peter paek Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CA La Canada
No~ gg

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#31212 - 05/03/13 11:13 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: peter paek]
Vasily S Offline


Registered: 05/03/13
Posts: 3
Loc: San Luis Obispo, CA
I have day permit for Monday the 6th and have been watching the weather and it looks like a storm is shaping up. Been monitoring recent posts and conditions too.
Does anyone local in Bishop or Lone Pine area have any idea on how conditions might be Monday, would it be worth an attempt to summit? Any input would be appreciated.


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#31213 - 05/03/13 11:27 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Vasily S]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 363
Loc: Reno, Nevada
It looks like ugly weather, but not bad enough to make it impossible. A few inches of extra snow will make you work a little harder. The lower temperatures should greatly reduce the post-holing. If you're strong and have been there before, you might want to go anyway. If this is your first time, I would stay home or at least be prepared to turn back.

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#31214 - 05/03/13 11:32 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Vasily S]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
It sounds like a small storm coming through.

From NOAA weather for Mt Whitney:
Quote:
Monday A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Cloudy, with a high near 26. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.


If it actually comes through, and does carry moisture, it can make for a tough hiking day. If it turns out to be stronger than the above prediction, it would be miserable higher up. On the other hand, if it fizzles out, you could kick yourself for not going.

Take extra rain and weather gear, go only as far as you feel safe. It will be "an experience" whether or not you make the summit.

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#31215 - 05/03/13 11:36 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: bobpickering]
Vasily S Offline


Registered: 05/03/13
Posts: 3
Loc: San Luis Obispo, CA
Ya bummer didn't start seeing the forecast shape up until the beginning of this week. I think I would still like to attempt, main concern being lightning above the tree line and definitely prepared to have to turn back. Was hoping for a weather window Monday but it looks like that's going to be the main punch

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#31252 - 05/06/13 05:08 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Katie D Offline


Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
SAT 5/4: Went up North Fork to Mountaineer's Route. Carried ice axe and microspikes, needed nothing until Iceberg Lake. Unfortunately, our day ended there as the warmth of the day had turned the snowfield to slush and we were punching through up to our waists just trying to get to the chute. Reports from another pair coming down said that the chute was complete slush & they couldn't get any purchase to get up. Of course, the rocks are always available, but it was sketchy with the melting snow and sluff coming down, knocking stuff loose. Heard that a group that camped the night before and then hit the chute before dawn, when still frozen were successful. We didn't even start until 9:30 am, so we were hitting that stuff right smack dab in the middle of the day.

SUN 5/5: Went up via the main trail – carried microspikes, but never felt the need to put them on. Was wearing a pair of New Balance 910 trail shoes and a 10 lb day pack. Started at 8:40 am. Only small patches of "no big deal” snow until the switchbacks – but even then it was soft and the footing was great. Summited around 3 & a storm was whipping up, temps dropped. The snow was starting to harden up on the way back and I was glad to have carried an ice axe for "confidence.” That said, my boyfriend never pulled his out and was fine – I'm the safe one:) I was particularly glad to have it on the snowfield on the south side of the summit, since I was in running shoes. If I had been backpacking and carrying a bunch of weight on my back, I would have definitely needed it! As we descended a light snow began to fall (between Trail Camp and Mirror Lake), so I don't know what that did up high. The sky would alternate grey and opening up to sun the whole way down, so who knows?

Beautiful weekend up there - can't believe it's May. smile

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#31254 - 05/06/13 05:28 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Katie D]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for the report, Katie D! Trail runners on the snow... wow! Excellent time, too. What do you do to stay in that kind of shape?

What time did you return to the trail head?

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#31263 - 05/07/13 10:28 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Katie D Offline


Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Yeah, I've been using this forum a lot to see what's going on up there, so I figured the least I could do was return the favor!

We got back to the trailhead a little after 7 - never needed the lights we packed, which was nice. The snow & heavier packs (than usual for running, thanks to extra gear) slowed us down, but not as much as we thought. We were able to run/jog a lot of the way back down.

To answer your question on "staying in shape," we run 60-100+ miles a week, pretty much all on mountain trails. We're in the Santa Monicas by week & every weekend hit either the ANF front range or high country, Baldy, Gorgonio or the Eastern Sierras. That said, I'm good as long as I'm moving light and quickly - but backpacking with 30 lbs on my back is a whole different animal. We did a 3-day trip last fall that all but destroyed us!

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#31266 - 05/07/13 12:00 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: peter paek]
peter paek Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 3
Loc: CA La Canada

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#31271 - 05/07/13 03:03 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: peter paek]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7648
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks Peter. ...only I can't seem to get YouTube to play the video. Anyone else?

Edit: Came back later, found it working ok.

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#31272 - 05/07/13 03:41 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Works fine for me.

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#31274 - 05/07/13 04:26 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John Sims]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2246
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
And me.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#31282 - 05/08/13 07:40 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wagga]
Vasily S Offline


Registered: 05/03/13
Posts: 3
Loc: San Luis Obispo, CA
Got to portal Sunday the 5th, was unexpectedly warm and clear. We got on the trail about 530am the next day and made progress fairly quickly. We saw very few people on the trail only. We got to the base of the switchbacks at about 9:15 and took a while going through the snow section used our ice axes on the cables section and some of the more iced up sections. Weather started to turn as we could see clouds moving in from both sides of the mountain and we made the call to turn back just before the trail crest. The way down it started snowing pretty heavy and didn't stop the whole way down. We made it back to our camp at about 3.
Thanks for everyone's advice and posting on the forum.

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#31283 - 05/08/13 08:36 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
kaitlinthier Offline


Registered: 05/08/13
Posts: 1
Loc: sf, ca, usa
Thanks everyone for these updates, they're incredibly helpful in planning! My boyfriend and I plan to hike Whitney, via the main whitney trail, this coming weekend, forcasts show showers all week, but clear and sunny both saturday and sunday. From the video it looks like mostly loosely packed snow. I was wondering if anyone felt the need to put on crampons or even bring them? We're both pretty avid summer hikers, but winter hiking is new to us, and we want to be prepared for whatever comes. we had planned on renting plastic boots and crampons, but since the dry winter would we be okay with hiking boots (with gaiters), poles, and an ice axe? thanks again for these posts!!

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