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#36711 - 05/22/14 07:38 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
tollermom Offline


Registered: 04/18/14
Posts: 26
Loc: Carson City, NV
With this weeks recent storm cycle, can anyone tell me how low the snow level is? I am headed up this Sunday/Monday from the Carson area and feast my eyes on the portal in preparation for my July 18 permit date. Hoping to check out the trail up to Lone Pine lake/Whitney Zone and also head up to Horseshoe Meadows for some high altitude breathing. Shall I be prepared for snowshoes? Super excited. Thanks in advance. :-)

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#36721 - 05/23/14 12:35 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: tollermom]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Snowshoes not required. From the webcam view, it looks like snow fell at Trail Camp (12k and above), but not much lower than that.

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#36725 - 05/23/14 09:53 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Matthew]
Photo joe Offline


Registered: 05/17/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
We hiked this same time last year and only had micro spikes. This year we are hiking the 27th and 28th and are bringing ice axes with us too. The mountain looks pretty friendly from far away but there are some hairy spots on the trail where an ice axe will definitely help out. We will be at the Portal Sunday and Monday night and then heading up the mountain Tuesday morning.

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#36785 - 05/26/14 10:21 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob R posted this on WPSMB ( link )
Originally Posted By: Bob R
My friend Dan and I were on the main trail this Memorial Day weekend. The pictures show some of the conditions.

I have never seen so many unprepared Whitney "climbers"! While a few adventuresome souls were trying the switchbacks (and reporting back that it was extremely dangerous), about 95% were tackling the snow chute below Trail Crest, with half of those sensible enough to turn around partway up. Very few had ice ax and crampons. Many were in running shoes instead of boots, and many of those didn't even have microspikes along. Many said this was their first time hiking in snow.

It's enough to drive a wbtravis5152 nuts.


43 They're hardly moving

Here are a few more of his pictures:

This guy is prepared.


 


No snow at the log crossing


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#36833 - 05/28/14 11:33 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Juls Offline


Registered: 05/28/14
Posts: 3
Loc: United States
I'm new to the forum. We have a permit date for June 20th. I'm watching the weather and also wondering if crampons or microspikes will be needed during that time. In terms of the drought, where is the highest point to get water?

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#36847 - 05/28/14 04:22 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Juls]
Nick Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 26
Loc: Thousand Oaks, CA
As of now, it sounds like the highest water point is the lake at Trail Camp. When the switchbacks are usable, there is a spring that flows over a bunch of the lower switchbacks that could be used.

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#36862 - 05/29/14 06:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
Hello! We are heading there on June 4. Can anyone tell me if the switchbacks are usable and if we will need crampons? Last year at the same time we did not, but reading the posts I am not so sure. Thanks!

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#36863 - 05/29/14 06:56 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: CaroMP]
Dan Frink Offline


Registered: 05/28/14
Posts: 4
Loc: El Dorado County
Please keep us updated on how your trip goes, and trail conditions. I am heading up on June 20. So excited!

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#36864 - 05/29/14 08:43 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: CaroMP]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
CaroMP: The snow came later this year and seems to be sticking longer. At this point the switchbacks are not being used, and people should be using crampons, or at least microspikes.

Descending the chute west of the switchbacks without an ice axe is risky.

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#36869 - 05/29/14 09:47 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Steve,

I have no problem with people trying kill themselves on this mountain...Darwin and all that. The problem is they involve others in their endeavor.

They involve those who witness their accident, those who have to risk something to save them and if the have not a problem, they encourage others to do exactly what they have done...see I did it without no stinking clampons and ice pick and you can do it, too.

I have asked this questions many times and the response is usually the same...How are you going stop if you fall? I do not fall. Well, I've seen the results of happens to the non-falling, falling a few times and it ain't pretty.

There is a word for all this that starts with a n.

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#36880 - 05/29/14 02:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Dan Frink]
Juls Offline


Registered: 05/28/14
Posts: 3
Loc: United States
Dan: So am I.

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#36885 - 05/29/14 04:36 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wbtravis]
gvblack Offline


Registered: 04/24/14
Posts: 15
Loc: Ventura County
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Steve,

I have no problem with people trying kill themselves on this mountain...Darwin and all that. The problem is they involve others in their endeavor.

They involve those who witness their accident, those who have to risk something to save them and if the have not a problem, they encourage others to do exactly what they have done...see I did it without no stinking clampons and ice pick and you can do it, too.

I have asked this questions many times and the response is usually the same...How are you going stop if you fall? I do not fall. Well, I've seen the results of happens to the non-falling, falling a few times and it ain't pretty.

There is a word for all this that starts with a n.


I'm curious if there are statistics of rescue or tragedy specifically involving the chute.

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#36894 - 05/29/14 11:48 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: gvblack]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
gvblack: No one keeps those stats, that I know of. It's just us long-time participants that recall the deaths. The one I recall was an older man who returned from the summit too late, found the snow had turned to ice. I believe the switchbacks had icy snow too, so he tried sliding, and lost control. It has been at least 5 years since that occurred. I don't recall others, but I am sure SAR people could tell about more.

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#36903 - 05/30/14 08:58 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Steve,

There were two that I know of. I know there was the couple would after having success glissading the chute in 2003 with poles as breaks, did it again in 2004 with her being seriously injured and him dying. This was an early quota season incident. The other was in October 2005, I was up there just after the incident that I am sure up. This guy did after an early storm without poles...the information is on this website.

One thing everyone should know, not every SAR incident makes the news. The one I was involved in did not and it involved helicopters and 3 people transported. A lot of what ends up in the papers and on tv is people search out the reporters for their 15 minutes.

It's not the way up that gets you...it the way down. People see this summit as their Mt. Everest rather something that can be done anything their skills match conditions. When skills do not meet conditions problems can occur.

They occur infrequently but when they do they tend to be spectacular in nature and involve those who are prepared, both professionals and amateurs.

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#36927 - 05/30/14 11:59 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: wbtravis]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Quote:
Went to Whitney Portal this afternoon in preparation for Sunday hike, and spoke to hikers coming off the trail. Large changes in weather the last few days. Hikers making it up to the top, and switchbacks now passable, although icy in parts. Ranger at Interagency suggested we carry microspikes rather than crampons, based on her latest information. Still very cold and windy at the top, according to hikers coming off trail. Still some hikers not prepared for the snow or cold at top, as bottom exceedingly warm.|
Source: WPS Forum



hmmm... grin
I may have to call the ranger station tomorrow to confirm this.

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#36944 - 05/31/14 05:28 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
thanks
Ranger today (Saturday) said that switchbacks are passable -by some hikers- but recommended crampons rather than microspikes. Any thoughts?
I have no problem wearing either but would not want to carry both!
In any case, an ice axe is on my packing list


Edited by CaroMP (05/31/14 05:28 PM)

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#36996 - 06/01/14 09:15 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
hike on hike Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 1
Loc: California
My group hiked Mt. Whitney yesterday (5/31) without additional gear (crampons/microspikes) and made it to the top and back safely. We said we would see how the conditions were but most hikers already coming down said the conditions were fine. We decided to go up until we felt it was unsafe, this was luckily to the summit, going back down the switchbacks was fine however if we had gotten there any later the ice may have been a big factor. We did see quite a few people using the chute (I would not attempt that without proper experience/skills/equipment). Prepare for the summit but be more satisfied by coming back in one piece. A very enjoyable day.

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#37031 - 06/02/14 09:27 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
seancully Offline


Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey guys!

I'm new here. Climbing the big Whitney this Saturday.

Are crampons and ice axes still recommended for taking the switchbacks? Or does being "passable" mean that the snow has melted enough to do without them?

Thanks guys!

Sean

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#37036 - 06/03/14 12:05 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Davey McCoy, the manager at Whitney Portal Hostel posted these pictures on Facebook, from the switchbacks this past weekend.

Looks like the trail disappears under the snow here:


Cables


Cables


Looking back at the cables

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#37042 - 06/03/14 01:29 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Another picture posted by ajlilchick


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