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Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
kaitlinthier #31284 05/08/13 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: kaitlinthier
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!!


While you won't know if you'll need crampons until you're there, you don't want to be in a position where you should have them but don't, especially with changing conditions like the mountain has seen over the past few days (it is still Spring after all and snow is always a real possibility). So, If I were you I would pack them. It's only a pound or two that can make the differences between summiting and not, or worse. My two cents. Poles and an axe should be standard equipment this time of year. If you're not familiar with crampon use and snow travel, I'd suggest testing them out and practicing on some more mellow snow slopes in the area before taking them on Whitney for the first time.

Good luck!

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
nyker #31286 05/08/13 10:31 AM
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Mt Whitney has been enshrouded in the clouds for several days now, with light rainfall hitting the lower elevations. I am sure you will be hiking in fresh snow. Only question is how much. You will appreciate the crampons.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31294 05/08/13 04:56 PM
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We were planning on climbing East Buttress this Sunday, but if even if the weather clears up this weekend (as forecast) these last few days will probably make the climb a wet mess. Even with the May sun I don't think its likely to dry out until early next week. Unless anyone thinks differently. When all else fails, crampon and ice-axe up the MR.

Does anyone have suggestions on camp in these conditions? Maybe Upper Boy Scout Lake? I imagine Iceberg is frozen solid with only snowmelt for drinking/cooking?


Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
kaitlinthier #31312 05/09/13 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: kaitlinthier
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!!



Myself and a couple of friends are headed up this weekend as well although we wont get started until Sunday early. Good advice has already been given and we will all have axe/crampons as suggested. In my experience it may not be necessary to go up with crampons but you sure will want them when headed down. This happened once to me in Canada (Garibaldi)- cruising on the way up and super sketchy on the way down. Never really liked looking down a 40 wet slope to a 700+ drop off. I've never left without them if there was even the slightest possibility since. We will overnight at trail camp and summit Monday if the weather holds. Good luck and lets hope the mountain gods are good to us!

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31324 05/10/13 08:20 PM
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does anyone know if the main trail is clear to LPL?
Is LPL completely thawed?

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
tdtz #31332 05/11/13 08:26 AM
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Don't know the conditions on the trail, but spikes should be fun Tom :-) Let me know how you are doing...


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Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31335 05/11/13 02:01 PM
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Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
quillansculpture #31341 05/12/13 07:49 AM
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Hey Joe,
I was going to head up today with my brother in law and cousin to introduce them to the trail with a quick trip to LPL. I'm guessing that we wouldn't have needed cramps up to LPL, but probably better that we didn't head up this weekend. I was overruled with "it's mother's day", so we are sticking with a local hike today.

It's looking like we are going to shoot for a late season two or three day summit attempt.


Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31345 05/12/13 04:15 PM
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Was able to catch the first break in the weather and summit yesterday. Luckily one person broke some of the trail from trail crest, but broke the rest in knee to waist deep snow. Its melting off fast so the route is in good shape now. Having the summit to yourself for awhile was amazing! People should have no trouble now up high. The chute is really the only option for ascending from trail camp. Trail to LPL is clear, some snow as you approach trail camp. I'll post some pics on my blog in a day or two. I'm beat!

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
ericephoto #31346 05/12/13 04:24 PM
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What does the LPL acronym stand for?

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Duckie #31347 05/12/13 04:31 PM
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LPL = Lone Pine Lake

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
ericephoto #31365 05/13/13 09:11 AM
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Does this happen to be your blog? We are hiking July 6th.
http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31369 05/13/13 11:49 AM
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we plan to go up there on may 22nd, camp at trail camp overnight and summit on 23rd. is crampon and ice ax needed if we are using 99 switchbacks? thanks.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
George Tsang #31370 05/13/13 12:03 PM
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People who have been up this month have been using them. I don't think the worst spots will be clear by that time. The worst places are the top of the switchbacks -- that one last long section that heads over to Trail Crest, and at the cables.

When you go, if the conditions are good (it is warm), the snow will be slushy and regular boots will grip well. But if it is cold (as if you return from the summit later in the afternoon), the snow could freeze up, making the same sections treacherous.

Look for the Ice Axe Use links in the "Links to important Whitney information" page in the Reference forum.

Here's a picture posted by Kurt Wedberg, who runs the SMI guide service, from this past weekend, looking from the summit to the switchbacks:



Kurt W's SMI pictures link:   Mt Whitney May 9-12 2013

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
lesper4 #31371 05/13/13 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted By: lesper4
Does this happen to be your blog? We are hiking July 6th.
http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

You got it. Should have a few pics up today. July will be a little different;)

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
ericephoto #31374 05/13/13 03:23 PM
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This one is from before the storm cleared.


I was fearful for conditions up high since I arrived at the trailhead on Friday 5/10 and it poured rain from 3p-10p. Saturday brought cool, crisp air to hike up and there was even a lingering snow shower near trail camp.

Saturday 5/11 brought remarkable blue sky and calm winds. I made steady progress up the chute, passing a few parties. I didn't use (or have) crampons but was in heavy duty mountaineering boots and had an ice axe and adjustable ski pole. I arrived at Trail Crest with one other climber who was waiting for a group. The wind had picked up so I started hiking again. There was a broken trail until the Muir Trail branches off then it was all mine to break/enjoy:)

This section until just short of the summit was some of the toughest conditions I've experienced. Thick, breakable crust, deep wind drifts, hidden holes between boulders...I almost turned around multiple times and taken the easy trail the next day. Instead, I pushed on and on and was able to get to the summit as a party of 4 was leaving on the Mountaineer Route. According to the summit register, I was the first person in 3 days to summit from the trail side. Having that summit to myself for awhile is something I'll never forget. I also met a nice couple from the UK who were hot on my heels and made it car to summit to car that day. Nice work!

I'll have some more photos from around the Lone Pine and Eastern Sierras up on my blog on my next post.

Ericephoto Blog


Trail Crest 13,500 ft.



Muir Trail Junction (broken trail ended around this area)



2 miles of this...



and this...




View of climbers way below coming up the chute.



This was on the way down. You can see that much snow melted in a few hours so down was quite a bit faster.




Summit!



Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
ericephoto #31375 05/13/13 05:25 PM
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That's a great shot of the Chute to the west of the Switchbacks.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C #31386 05/15/13 04:50 PM
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it is just a few days before we hit the road to visit Whitney. hopefully, we can see more postings for those who have made it in the past few days to know more about the trail condition.

btw, where can I find a break down of each of the legs (distance and time)? we will be camping at the trail camp for a night before summit on 23rd. thanks.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
George Tsang #31387 05/15/13 05:00 PM
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Looks like it snowed up high last night.

Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date)
George Tsang #31406 05/18/13 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted By: George Tsang
it is just a few days before we hit the road to visit Whitney. hopefully, we can see more postings for those who have made it in the past few days to know more about the trail condition.

btw, where can I find a break down of each of the legs (distance and time)? we will be camping at the trail camp for a night before summit on 23rd. thanks.

George, Reno Frank sent me a document he had put together with legs and times.
It was in a WordPerfect format, I think. I've copied his numbers here. If you copy and paste these numbers, be sure to use a fixed-space format (monospace font, like Courier).


Alt E. G. Cum. E. G. Leg Cum. Mile 7hr 8hr 9hr
Whitney Portal 8360
First Stream Crossing .5 .5 0:15 0:17 0:19
N Fork Lone Pine Cr 8810 450 450 .3 .8 0:25 0:28 0:31
Lone Pine Creek 9960 1150 1600 1.9 2.7 1:20 1:29 1:40
Lone Pine Lake 9960 .1 2.8 1:23 1:33 1:44
Big Horn Park 10340 380 1980 .7 3.5 1:45 1:57 2:12
Outpost Camp 10360 20 2000 .3 3.8 1:55 2:08 2:24
Mirror Lake 10640 280 2280 .5 4.3 2:11 2:26 2:45
Whitebark Stump 10640 .5 4.8 2:30 2:47 3:08
Trailside Meadow 11395 755 3025 .5 5.3 2:48 3:07 3:31
Camping Turnout 11890 495 3530 .7 6.0 3:16 3:38 4:06
Trail Camp 12039 149 3679 .3 6.3 3:28 3:52 4:21
Switchback Cables 12820 781 4460 1.4 7.7 4:38 5:10 5:49
Trail Crest 13777 957 5417 .8 8.5 5:18 5:55 6:39
John Muir Trail 13480 (297) .5 9.0 5:36 6:15 7:02
Mt Muir .3 9.3 5:49 6:29 7:18
Keeler Needle 1.2 10.5 6:44 7:31 8:27
Summit 14496 1016 6433 .5 11.0 7:10 8:00 9:00

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