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#34108 - 11/26/13 12:28 PM Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date)
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread, for trail reports during 2014. (Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

2015 Conditions

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2012
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011

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#35025 - 01/28/14 08:06 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 208
Loc: New York
Wow. Bone Dry. Makes me want to come out in trail runners!

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#35150 - 02/18/14 09:54 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob H climbed Wotans Throne several days ago and posted some pictures. Here are the switchbacks from Wotans Throne:




Switchbacks on the left, Mt Muir on the right.

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#35151 - 02/18/14 03:57 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
happytrails Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 29
Loc: West Covina, Ca
The chute looks very appetizing! Heading up with two colleagues end of April before season opens. Happy climbing everyone!

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#35702 - 04/09/14 06:11 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: happytrails]
ukalpine Offline


Registered: 04/09/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Central
Anybody has any updates for main trail?
I am looking into next week.

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#35755 - 04/11/14 08:22 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ukalpine]
Expeditiondan Offline


Registered: 03/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Anyone have any updates on the MR or main trail? Has the snow started melting yet with the warm weather?

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#35756 - 04/11/14 09:04 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Expeditiondan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Kurt Wedberg, with SMI guiding posted some pictures from his recent trip up the MR. His link. There is pretty much solid snow from Lower Boy Scout Lake on up. (above 10,500') That is the same as Bighorn Park on the Main Trail. Here's one of Kurts pictures at the notch, about 14,000'


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#35769 - 04/11/14 07:52 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Oh wow does that look like fun....

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#35786 - 04/14/14 09:01 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Akichow]
Expeditiondan Offline


Registered: 03/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: California
I am wondering how much snow will be left on the MR on July 1 this year when I am going up. Is the snow much lighter than normal this year on the MR?

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#35789 - 04/14/14 11:21 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Expeditiondan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Is the snow much lighter than normal this year

"Much lighter" would be an understatement. California is in the worst drought ever recorded.

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#35791 - 04/14/14 02:23 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Expeditiondan Offline


Registered: 03/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: California
I guess I should amend the question,

Is the snow in the MR gully low enough that late June will be free of snow?

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#35801 - 04/14/14 11:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Expeditiondan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
The main gully normally doesn't melt out until quite late. But most people just climb the rocks to the left without any problems. That route will be dry and clear by the time you go.

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#35837 - 04/17/14 12:15 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Sam Das Offline


Registered: 04/17/14
Posts: 41
Loc: California, USA
Hello,

How is the current condition? Is the main trail covered in snow on the hike up to trail base camp?

I am going in 1st week of June. Would there still be snow on the trail? Do I still need to bring clampon and ice axe during that time of the year?

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#35866 - 04/17/14 06:39 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
gatesofthenorth Offline


Registered: 04/17/14
Posts: 1
Loc: United States
I am thinking of heading up this weekend - 4.18-4.20. Where do people typically camp the night before at this time of year? Is Horseshoe Meadows open? I have heard for winter climbs, people usually park in the campground and start from there. Any info is appreciated.

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#35868 - 04/17/14 10:17 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: gatesofthenorth]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
The Portal Road gate opens Friday afternoon. Horseshoe Meadows is closed yet another week. I would drive up to the Portal and camp in the walk-in camp sites just below the parking near the trail head.

If you go up the trail, bring back a report -- first snow, first major snow, etc. How deep was the deepest?

Bring back pictures, too. They will help a lot of people.

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#35979 - 04/23/14 12:46 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob R hiked to Bighorn Park last weekend, here are a few pictures from his set

Whitney Portal


North Fork Lone Pine Creek



First snow on the trail



The log crossing



Bighorn Park

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#35982 - 04/23/14 08:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Expeditiondan Offline


Registered: 03/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Hopefully we get some good reports from higher up coming in soon.

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#35997 - 04/23/14 05:53 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Expeditiondan]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 208
Loc: New York
wow, log crossing dry...light snow year?

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#36001 - 04/23/14 09:50 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
davidfrietz Offline


Registered: 04/23/14
Posts: 2
Loc: Arizona
I plan on going this weekend for the first time. I want to go before they start requiring permits. Any advice on gear or trails for a first timer?

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#36005 - 04/24/14 01:08 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: davidfrietz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Nyker: We're having a major drought here!


David F: there are plenty of permits online in the first two weeks of May, and there will be plenty of unused permits available for walk-ins most of June.

It is mighty early for a first timer to be going. If you are really set on going, go up the Main Trail as far as you feel safe. For gear, take crampons and an ice axe. They will come in handy.

Good luck!

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#36008 - 04/24/14 07:11 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
davidfrietz Offline


Registered: 04/23/14
Posts: 2
Loc: Arizona
Thank you. Will there be any vertical climbing? Or just upgrade hiking? Where is the best spot to set up camp. I plan on going Saturday to sunday

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#36012 - 04/24/14 09:39 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: davidfrietz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
The most vertical is the slope to the right of the switchbacks in the picture above.

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#36055 - 04/25/14 10:16 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Randie Offline


Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hi! Hiking Whitney may 11th. Would I need an ice axe and crampons even with this drought?

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#36056 - 04/25/14 10:54 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Randie]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
There is a storm hitting the Sierra today, NOAA predicts a few inches of snow should fall on Whitney.

People will likely be going up the slope west of the switchbacks well into May. Last year people were reporting using the switchers by May 23. It is likely this year will be the same.

So yes, take ice axe and crampons.

BTW, it is highly likely you can get a walk-in permit easily any time in June: Unused Whitney Permits - 2013

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#36060 - 04/25/14 02:47 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Randie Offline


Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 3
Loc: California
What's your opinion on hiking Whitney after this storm with a few people in the group with no experience in hiking in the snow and 1 person with no hiking experience

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#36062 - 04/25/14 03:45 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Randie]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Randie
1 person with no hiking experience


I wouldn't take anyone Whitney as their first hike. Then again, I'd be reluctant to even bring an experienced hiker unless I've personally hiked with them. This is under 'ideal'conditions, not in May when there could be lots of snow.

I may be in the minority though. Last month I met two girls on Skyline Trail in Palm Springs. One of them had never hiked before.

_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#36063 - 04/25/14 03:58 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
When I was younger and crazier (and a college student), I'd take college friends on Memorial Day backpacking trips in Yosemite. Being May, the trails were often mostly covered in snow. Some of the hikers were completely inexperienced. They all made it!

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#36065 - 04/25/14 04:18 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Randie]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Randie
What's your opinion on hiking Whitney after this storm with a few people in the group with no experience in hiking in the snow and 1 person with no hiking experience


As long as you do not have any expectation of reaching the summit you should be OK. In other words, when/if you reach trail camp, and start up the chute, do not expect all hikers to get to trail crest, much less to the summit.

If you stay together as a group, this means the chute should be the limit of your travel. Going up the chute without ice axe, crampons, and self arrest skills is not advised.

Wait for another 4 to 6 weeks, and all might reach the summit. Even then it will be a test.

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#36069 - 04/25/14 07:47 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John Sims]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: John Sims

As long as you do not have any expectation of reaching the summit you should be OK.


That's a good point John. My comments were made thinking they wanted to reach the summit and were planning on sticking together.

I'd consider Half Dome one of my first hikes (had no idea what I was getting into), followed up by going down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel in one day.

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#36079 - 04/26/14 07:40 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
josen88 Offline


Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'll be hiking it from Horseshoe Meadow thru Rock creek and Crabtree Meadow and ending at the portal on memorial day weekend, the last week of May. Im guessing the backside of Trailcrest won't be free of ice by then would it?

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#36087 - 04/26/14 10:53 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: josen88]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
josen88, you will encounter snow/ice on the trail.

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#36109 - 04/27/14 07:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Matthew Offline


Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hi all. I'm planning on hiking to the top over Memorial Day Weekend. Do you think ice axes/crampons will be needed?

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#36113 - 04/27/14 10:19 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Matthew]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hard to say, it's a month away. See posts 36055 and 36056 above.

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#36163 - 04/29/14 11:03 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Happytrails has posted a trip report and pictures here:  Whitney MT 4/27-29, 2014

All her pictures are here:  Whitney Main Trail 4/27-29, 2014

Here are a few pictures:

The log crossing:


Mirror Lake


Switchbacks in the center, the "chute" is the slope to the right of them.


The cables section is not being used

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#36254 - 05/05/14 10:34 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a current trip report with good pictures:

Mt. Whitney Trip Report and Photos: May 3, 2014



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#36489 - 05/14/14 12:33 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
A trip report from May 10:

Mt_Whitney_Day_Trip_5_10

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#36559 - 05/18/14 01:34 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
JPUtah Offline


Registered: 05/18/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Utah, USA
Wonderful images, but I have a question about "Switchbacks in the center, the "chute" is the slope to the right of them." Please forgive my ignorance!

I cannot see the purported switchbacks in the image, and I don't have a good enough topo to identify this area. Are you suggesting that an ascent should avoid the switchbacks, in favor of a direct ascent of the chute?

I got a lottery permit for June 1-2 and do not know what sort of snow conditions to expect, especially since the Whitney zone is to get a dusting of snow mid-week next week. Some posts are suggesting crampons/axe. The direct ascent of the chute, assuming stability and taking into consideration freeze/thaw conditions, would seem better.

Any advice would be appreciated!

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#36573 - 05/19/14 01:17 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: JPUtah]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
JP, crampons and ice axe are a very good idea.

Weather coming this week is for snow between Tuesday and Wednesday night, and a possible accumulation of a foot of snow. It will be interesting to read reports later in the week.

I like the NOAA weather page for the Mt Whitney summit (Link on the Mt Whitney Weather page, too). Also on the Whitney Weather page is Howard Sheckter's Mammoth Lakes Weather. Howard's text includes this:
Quote:
The storm is a very significant one from a precipitation perspective, for so late in the season. Although I want to see some more model runs today and tonight, the thinking with most models is that there up to a good solid inch of QPF in it over a 48 hours period for the South Central Sierra. . The storm will become very convective and so there will be some areas over the sierra, between Mammoth and Mt Whitney that may get up to a foot of snow, over the ridges. Once again this will depend upon the exact track and how it swings inland across Central and South Central CA. - See more at: http://mammothweather.com/#sthash.eHPTwzyY.dpuf


JP, from 2012 conditions, here are 3 pictures showing the cables section, a few switchbacks, and the chute to the west of the switchbacks (on the climber's right).

And for THE picture showing the switchbacks and the chute, BobR took this from Wotans Throne, and (the late) Wayne Pyle edited it and added the switchback numbers to the picture. You should be able to click on it, and zoom in and scroll around for the detail. This is Wayne Pyle's switchback chart


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#36623 - 05/20/14 12:13 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
John D Offline


Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Sorry if this is not the right place to post this question. It's only my second time so be gentle. I've done the main trail several times so I thought I'd give the Consultation Lake route a try. I understand you get to the lake by following the stream from trailside meadow. However not sure the way from the lake to the trail at the base of the switchbacks. Is it easy to find/follow and how far is it from the lake to the trail below the switchbacks? Any insight provided will be appreciated. Thanks JD

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#36626 - 05/20/14 01:55 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John D]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 564
Loc: Murrieta, CA
If you're just looking for privacy and not necessarily getting next to the water, I would go past Trailside Meadow and when you get next to the lake, make a left. Sounds simple, and actually pretty easy. There are some drop offs, but easy to get down to camping spots. Getting close to the lake is harder, but at least it's private and you can walk right back to the trail easily.
_________________________
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If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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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: 7740
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: 7740
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: 7740
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: 7740
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: 7740
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: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Another picture posted by ajlilchick


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#37050 - 06/03/14 08:21 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: seancully]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
Originally Posted By: seancully
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?

Questions like these are asked a lot, and there are plenty of things wrong with them. A few that aren't mentioned often enough come to mind:
  • We don't know you and your skill level, experience, judgement, etc., on the terrain you are inquiring about. We can guess, but if the guess is wrong, you could die.
  • When someone responds, you usually don't know the same about them. There are those whose advice I would take into consideration, and those I would not. The spectrum is wide.
  • The operational phrase is "take into consideration" not "take as gospel."
  • You ask questions on June 2 and plan to be there on June 7. Responses, even if accurate based on the conditions one day, can be worse than meaningless several days later. This is particularly true for terrain (like the switchbacks) in a season (like right now) where even a day can make a big difference.
  • Continuing on this theme, snow conditions can change drastically with the time of day, cloud cover, weather, etc. We don't know when you plan to be there on the ascent, nor when you plan to come down. Worse, time schedules often do not work out as planned on Mt. Whitney.
This absolutely isn't intended as a lecture. As I said at the start, questions like yours are asked all the time, and understandably so. They should continue to be asked, and people with pertinent information should continue to offer it. I'm just replying in a way you didn't expect.

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#37061 - 06/03/14 10:39 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Looking at the above pictures through the eyes of someone who has only summited Whitney once, I would say that the report of the "Switchbacks being open and usable" is highly overrated (at the moment that the pix were taken) Not much room for error.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37078 - 06/03/14 06:06 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Damian Offline


Registered: 06/03/14
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Our group is tentatively planning a trip from Horseshoe Meadow to Whitney Portal starting June 22st, and have been grateful for everyone's posts regarding conditions on the Whitney Trail. Has anyone come up the JMT from Guitar Lake recently? How are the conditions on the way up to Trail Crest?

And more generally, does the JMT/west slope of Whitney typically thaw out a bit sooner than the east side/Whitney Trail? Seems like the JMT climbs a slope facing roughly west (as opposed to north-east for the Whitney Trail between Trail Camp and Trail Crest).

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#37081 - 06/03/14 07:23 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Damian]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Has anyone come up the JMT from Guitar Lake recently?
josen88 answered your question: Horseshoe Meadow to Whitney portal memorial day weekend.

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#37104 - 06/04/14 07:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
seancully Offline


Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Steve, Bob, and Bee -

Thanks for the info. Super helpful!

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#37109 - 06/04/14 09:26 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: seancully]
Robbo Offline


Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Killafornia
Me and the wife encountered Dave at the switchbacks. Those pics look pretty spot on. Dave was actually removing some snow with his ice axe. Really nice guy.

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#37144 - 06/05/14 12:09 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Robbo posted this in the Trip Reports forum: June 2nd. Only reached Trail Crest.
Originally Posted By: Robbo
Hey guys. I just wanted to provide some info about the trail conditions. From the portal to trail camp, everything is almost 100% clear from snow. A few patches here and there.

The infamous switchbacks. We did not see anybody going up the chute so we followed everyone on the switchbacks. When we reached the cables, we saw a lot of of people turn around. We decided to keep going and to be honest, the cables weren't that bad although the pictures on the "current conditions" post make it look scary as hell. But then again, being clumsy would prove fatal. To us, the 2 or 3 switchbacks after the cables felt way more sketchier. The last switchback, the one that leads to trail crest had a lot of snow and we had to do some bouldering. We saw a ton of people, even a kid, going down the switchbacks without any gear. Just poles and and a lot faith. Just like me.

We reached trail crest at 1:50 and figured that by the time we reached the summit and back, the conditions would be really bad so we decided to end our ascend there. We went down the chute and the snow was slushy. Hard to slide down at times. My wife got small cuts on her arm from a few icy spots.

So what's the verdict? The switchbacks are doable without any gear but it's REALLY dangerous.

***Also, Dave from the Lone Pine hostel was clearing a bit of the snow from the cables with his ice axe. Good guy Dave. Go visit his store and give him a high five.***

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#37149 - 06/05/14 10:35 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
I am working of a full trip report, but here are the conditions we found on 6/3 - 6/4:

The trail was mostly clear of snow from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp. There were a few snowy/icy patches, but it easy to walk around these.

It was very warm on 6/4. When I checked the temperature @ Outpost Camp around 2:00 AM it was 40. As a result, the snow was soft we easily hiked the bottom 1/3 of the chute with crampons and hiking poles. After that point, an ice ax is recommended/needed. I didn't check the temperature again until we were leaving the summit around 9 am. It was 50.

There were a few snowy/icy patches between Trail Crest and the summit. They didn't bug me much on the ascent, but on the way down, when I was tired, they made me a little nervous. We ran into people convincing others in their groups that it was ok to proceed.

@ 11:00 am, the chute was very soft overall, but there were some hard icy patches. I had to self arrest twice to slow down. There is no way I could have done this with hiking poles. My 'butt-speedometer' says my speed increased by 50% or more in a matter of seconds. The snow in these sections was hard enough to rip a hole in my waterproof pants. At the bottom we were post-holing... so just because the snow is soft and slushy where you're standing, it doesn't mean that's the case for the entire chute.

We probably talked to 15-20 people between the summit and Trail Camp. We were the only ones that went up the chute, but others were talking about going down the chute with hiking poles to self-arrest. I did what I could to convince them otherwise, but I doubt they considered anything I said.


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#37157 - 06/05/14 03:48 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Congrats! And great photo.

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#37158 - 06/05/14 04:25 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Akichow]
Travis A. Offline


Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Temecula, CA
Appreciate the updates everyone. we have a group of 12 heading up this Sunday morning on the 6/8...hoping that warm weather continues to melt those switchbacks.

After making it past those, I haven't seen any recent photos from there to the summit...that section pretty clear considering it's the other side and more exposed to the sun?

Hopefully we'll see some more trip reports from today and tomorrow that will be a good sign before we head out!

Tried to pick up a pair of microspikes at REI here in San Diego, they were sold out because it's not that season really now for them.

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#37159 - 06/05/14 05:38 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Travis A.]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Travis A.


After making it past those, I haven't seen any recent photos from there to the summit...that section pretty clear considering it's the other side and more exposed to the sun?


There are a couple of sketchy sections, but I'd imagine they'll clear up a bit by Sunday. Most everyone going through them did so without microspikes. I think I have some photos, just need to go through them all.


Originally Posted By: Akichow
Congrats! And great photo.


Thanks grin

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#37184 - 06/06/14 09:13 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 135
Loc: The OC
I think I might go in from Onion on Monday (6/9) and come over from the backside to Whitney on Wednesday (6/11).

The weather is supposed to be 5-10 degrees above normal from Sunday until Thursday. With this kind of weather bringing out lots of weekenders, and the expected bulk of PCTers coming through the region, I'm guessing the north side of Forester, the JMT up from Guitar, and the switchbacks/chute will have well established boot tracks.

I did the this hike 2 years ago during the same first/second week period of June and it worked out fine. Like last time, I'll just have my micro-spikes & poles. My timing to hit the chute will be around 1pm, so it should be nice and slushy if the switchbacks are too sketch.

Still, with this weather and volume of foot traffic, I'd be surprised if the trail hasn't been cleared - especially with guys like Davey up there chipping away.

NWS http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.ph...00#.U5HolfldWSo

TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH THE PERIOD...BUT WILL
INCREASE ON SUNDAY AND MONDAY...WHEN AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH IS IN
EFFECT FOR ELEVATIONS BELOW 4000 FEET IN THE MOJAVE DESERT.


Edited by Hobbes (06/06/14 09:16 AM)

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#37190 - 06/06/14 11:26 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
We made the trip 6/4-6/5. No issues Portal to Trail Camp.
Switchbacks: we did not use microspikes or ice axes. We don't even use hiking poles.
Some snow on switchbacks which did make it tricky but totally doable. We never felt in danger even at the cables. However, the last switchback to Trail Crest was blocked so we had to take a small detour to the left.
Trail crest to summit: not much snow but a couple of areas where we had to cross snow patches.
A side note: as we were coming down by Outpost Camp it started to snow lightly and we heard thunder.
I'll post pictures later today.

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#37202 - 06/06/14 05:03 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
John D Offline


Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I've been at the cables / switchbacks when they looked like this. It was very scary to be honest with you. I've never used micro spikes but did buy a pair of Yack Tracks which do not have spikes. Which is the better to use in conditions like the pictures? Thanks, these posts are very helpful!

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#37203 - 06/06/14 05:43 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
Uhm... How do you post photos from my computer? I have some interesting ones but I am unable to figure it out...chalk it up to altitude after-effects frown

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#37207 - 06/06/14 07:11 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: CaroMP]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: CaroMP
Uhm... How do you post photos from my computer? I have some interesting ones but I am unable to figure it out...chalk it up to altitude after-effects frown


Go to "Picture Gallery", from the "Forums" tab. Toward the top of that page there is a link to instructions for uploading pictures to this site. After you have uploaded your pictures you can copy the link from the Picture Gallery into your post, and your pictures will magically appear. The aforementioned instructions assume the reader is suffering the lingering effects so oxygen deprivation, so are fairly detailed:-)

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#37209 - 06/06/14 08:32 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
Ok, let me try. Here are some photos of the trickier parts.









Edited by wazzu (06/06/14 09:10 PM)

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#37211 - 06/06/14 08:33 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John Sims]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
I guess you can still click on the link. Too tired to try anything else. Hope it helps this weekend's climbers. Good night everyone! thanks

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#37212 - 06/06/14 08:33 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California

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#37213 - 06/06/14 09:11 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: CaroMP]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
CaroMP - I fixed the links to display your photos. Thanks for posting them.

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#37222 - 06/07/14 06:27 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: CaroMP]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 135
Loc: The OC
I'm looking @ the Whitney cam and looking at your photos (especially the guy in shorts/t-shirt - that's my outfit), and it's hard not to just get in the car and go. LOL.

Still, I must tell myself patience grasshopper - 2 more days, and the crowds will have dropped and the conditions improved ...


Edited by Hobbes (06/07/14 06:29 AM)

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#37238 - 06/08/14 09:24 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Hobbes]
jaceruby Offline


Registered: 06/08/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Minnesota
Jace here from Minnesota. I came to Cali to visit a buddy and thought I'd climb Whitney with him. At the last second he backed out on me, but I decided to drive from San Diego and do it by myself anyway. Here's my trip report from 6/7.

Got up at 4 AM and met two cool guys from L.A. and hiked the whole way up to the summit. I had microspikes and an ice axe with me and they didn't (I didn't use either the whole way up or down) At the switchbacks there were about two or three "hairy" sections. I hit the switchbacks about 8 o'clock and the cables were a little slick, but just fine. There was another switchback shortly above the cables where we actually had to do a little rock climbing to get above it. The last "bad" spot was right above the chute where there was some ice over a fairly narrow switchback with a big drop. The guys I was with had no trekking pole and I had to give them mine to make sure they were safe. I absolutely recommend trekking poles and I think microspikes, which aren't a must, wouldn't be a bad idea for certain areas. All of these spots were easy enough to navigate with a trekking pole and by mid-afternoon, the way down was very easy because of how soft the snow was.

Outside of that, the switchbacks were in perfect shape and despite not getting a chance to acclimate to elevation, I was able to leave San Diego at 5:30 PM on Friday, summit on Saturday at noon, and make it down by 5:30 PM on Saturday. I would definitely not recommend this, but because of my short window in California I had to make it up and down in a day. This was an absolutely breathtaking hike and feel privileged I was able to do it in a day.

I want to thank all of you who've posted in this forum. The constant updates on trip conditions really helped me learn this mountain from afar and plan a safe trip with huge success. I hope my report may help others.

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#37397 - 06/12/14 12:57 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
For several good pictures, check out these posted by Hobbes:

6/11 switchbacks open for business

Here is Hobbes' picture at the cables:


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#37555 - 06/17/14 05:13 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Jim F reported this on WPSMB:
Quote:
As of Father"s Day weekend: (June 15)

Snow on the last switchback below the cables and on two switchbacks just above the cables requires focus, but easily dealt with.

Able to walk on solid rock entirely on the inside of the cables. (Thanks to those who rebuilt this passage a couple of years ago.)

From Trail Crest to the Keeler Needle, two remaining patches of snow easily passed.

Excellent track through diminishing snow field on summit plateau.

Spring at 23rd switchback flowing.

Many PCT hikers on the Mountain, as well as some hikers finishing the JMT and High Sierra Trail.

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#37965 - 06/25/14 12:38 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Mauricio Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
My daughter and I reached the summit of Mt Whitney on June 24th, at 11:06 AM
The trail is in great condition, portal to hut. A lingering patch of snow against the wall at the cables, and a bit more in two of the switchbacks, very firm on our way up, at about 7:30 am, and soft, as expected, on our way back, at about 1:30 pm. There's also a patch of snow on the back side, after the windows, but in my opinion, if you just watch your step, you should be able to walk on it with no special equipment.

Beautiful weather, really warm. We only needed a sweater, or a light jacket most of the way up from Trail Camp, but other than that, it was short sleeves and shorts all the way. The night temperature at trail camp couldn't have been below 40,and there was very little wind.

The only unfortunate thing was the very high amount of wag bags left over, pretty much everywhere. Most of them on Trail Camp, but we saw a few on the switchbacks, and farther up the trail, beyond the JMT junction.

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#38282 - 07/04/14 05:48 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
dave124 Offline


Registered: 07/04/14
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hiked up to Trail Camp on 06/30/14 and the weather was perfect. After setting up our tents, there was a thunderstorm around 3pm. People coming down from the summit said they had hail. We only got heavy rain for approx 15 minutes at the camp.

On 07/01/14, we went to the summit. There is only one patch of snow left. No special equipment is needed. Just be smart. It was a hot trail. Used a ton of sunscreen and water. The water source on the switchback is still there and I highly suggest using it.

The cables are mostly clear of snow. The snow was melting quickly. I drank a ton of water and ate a lot along the way. This was my first time on Whitney. It was challenging/difficult. If you are planning on going, give yourself a ton of time and when you get tired, rest for a while and don't push yourself too much. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!!!



Edited by Steve C (07/05/14 09:13 AM)

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#38291 - 07/05/14 05:08 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: dave124]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Welcome to the board & thank you for the trip report.

Your image should display if you select "using HTML" when you post it.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#39482 - 08/06/14 10:43 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Summer conditions now. Please watch the weather forecasts as that is the biggest issue during August.

Here's a picture at the cables, July 19:


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#39483 - 08/06/14 10:43 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
August came in with a big Monsoon storm that blew up from Baja California. Thunderstorms and snow! It will be back to normal in a few days.

This picture was posted on Facebook, by John N:

Mt Whitney - Indian Winter. Aug 4, 2014


One more:

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#39638 - 08/13/14 09:48 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
jackdaniels Offline


Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 3
Loc: WA
Any update on the current conditions? Day hiking MT Whitney trail on Friday 8/15. Weather looks stellar. Planning for the worst, hope for the best smile

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#39640 - 08/13/14 10:18 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: jackdaniels]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Current trail conditions are as good as the weather. All that ice and snow is gone from the trails, so your main concern should be the weather.

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#39652 - 08/13/14 08:46 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
LuvAdventure2014 Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 20
Loc: California, USA
Conditions have improved greatly since Mon & Tues (Aug 11 & 12). When I left Lone Pine this AM, the skies were clear and there was a slight wind but the weather looked really good.

My hiking group encountered rain, hail, thunder, lightning, high winds and a couple rock slides on Aug 11 & 12. Yesterday, we made it half way up the swithbacks before we turned around. A few of the hikers returning from Trail Crest reported 50 - 60 mile winds and ankle high snow/ice. We did not have Yaktrax or crampons so we ended our attempt frown

Good luck and have a great time!

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#39884 - 08/22/14 04:59 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
JimC Offline


Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 57
Loc: SoCal
Water flow on 97 switchbacks? I'm looking to refill on 8/27 at roughly 6AM. Has anyone noticed how well the water has been flowing (early part of the switchbacks)? I'd rather skip refilling at trail camp this time.

Thanks!

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#39892 - 08/22/14 11:00 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: JimC]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
"meganlaughs" reported that the spring is still running on the switchbacks. She spent a long time filling at Trail Camp, though, since it was 3 AM and she wasn't sure whether the spring would be frozen at that time.

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#39941 - 08/25/14 11:51 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Shawna Offline


Registered: 08/04/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Zionsville, IN
We are starting our hike this weekend through Horseshoe Meadows with the hope of summiting on Wednesday. What are the ice/ snow conditions like on Whitney trail right now? Concerned about whether we need to rent some crampons or not. Thanks!

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#39946 - 08/25/14 05:10 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
JimC Offline


Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 57
Loc: SoCal
Usually if it is iced over I can find a spot to tap through. Thanks to you both --- "meganlaughs" and Steve!

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#39947 - 08/25/14 05:24 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Shawna]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Shawna, don't rent crampons. Any remnant ice will be minor.

Please do report back here: The condition of the "spring" at Switchback 23 -- is it running enough for hikers to get any water? This is the time of year that it can dry up, since it is actually melt-water from a snow field farther up on the slope.

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#39949 - 08/25/14 05:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
cantare Offline


Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 17
Loc: California
As of the evening of the 21st there wasn't any ice on the main trail, period. I passed a rapidly melting fist-sized chunk at the cables that may literally have been the last piece.

As for water, the spring/source at SB 23 was flowing quite vigorously, and I guess it would take more than a chilly night to freeze it solid! Still easy to scoop up; I enjoyed many unfiltered handfuls before moving on. One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned: that same flow recrosses the trail on several lower switchbacks, so you should make sure you're collecting it at the highest point where no one has had a chance to step in it yet (you'll be facing north/toward whitney, if climbing)


Edited by cantare (08/25/14 05:49 PM)

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#40114 - 09/07/14 09:55 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
I have seen recent reports that the spring at switchback 22 is nearly dry. I would advise people to get their last water at the inlet to the Trail Camp pond.

Ice is beginning to form along the cables due to the seeping water and cold nights.

Weather has been pretty nice, though today (Sept 7) clouds and a light sprinkling has passed through Fresno, so thunderstorms will occur in the Sierra. Watch the weather forecasts closely. First snow storms can come near the end of September and beginning of October.

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#40128 - 09/08/14 02:14 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
michaelbooz Offline


Registered: 09/08/14
Posts: 4
Loc: San Francisco
With temperatures in the 90's for this Wednesday and Thursday is it still ok to hike? I have a permit for this Thursday the 11th, is there anyone or a group I could join? Thanks!

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#40133 - 09/08/14 03:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: michaelbooz]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Michael,
Look to the left side of the web page, and you should see "Mt Whitney Weather". If you click on this link it will take you to a new page with several links to various weather sites. Check a few of them, and you will see that the temp atop Mt. Whitney will be in the 30's for most of the week, so dress warm. Nonetheless, this looks to be a great week for weather (after Today), with clear skies, no rain, and little wind.
As has been posted many times, this trail is well used. Even if you end up going alone you will see/meet many people on the trail.
John

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#40152 - 09/09/14 08:00 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John Sims]
Shawna Offline


Registered: 08/04/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Zionsville, IN
The water at the switchback was frozen when we came through and were not able to pump there. It was to the side of the trail, so no traction issues. We chose to pump at the stream before you get to trail camp. It looked at little clearer than the lake. Plus there were no visible wag bags in that water. Grrr.

I was disappointed to say the least at how many people just left them in different places, but that's a different topic.

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#40173 - 09/09/14 03:58 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Shawna]
Raf Offline


Registered: 09/09/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
We did the day hike on 9/3, the switchback streams seemed to be flowing a bit more in the afternoon than in the morning, but I would fill up further down the hill.....away from the Trail camp pond. The temperature in the valley was in the 90's, at the Portal it was in the 80's. Starting early in the morning, I was comfortable in a wicking t shirt by 1000. On the summit around noon, it seemed to be in the mid 60's, sunny and breezy, not too hot or too cold.

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#40281 - 09/17/14 11:22 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Raf]
Whatman Offline


Registered: 09/17/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Fresno, CA
Been reading the forums a long time in preparation for my Mount Whitney Trip so thanks for all the info.

Reached the summit last Sunday, 9-14-2014. We started Thursday at Cottonwood Pass. Weather was perfect until Sunday. T-shirt in the day. Got a little cold at night but nothing froze.

Stopped for water at Chicken Spring Lake, Rock Creek, Guyot Pass, Crabtree Meadow and Guitar Lake. Guyot Creek was pretty small but still enough to get good water.

We left Guitar Lake at about 5am Sunday. We reached the summit at about noon. Got stuck on the summit in a random snow/hail storm that lasted at least an hour because we left while it was still hailing fairly hard. Very cold. Lots of people on the summit were not prepared and not expecting such bad weather conditions. Visibility was only about 100 yards so we did not get to see the views.

The spring on the 99 switch backs was still flowing. We hiked all the way to the portal which was too much down hill for one day. Over all it was amazing trip.


Edited by Whatman (09/17/14 11:25 AM)

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#40375 - 09/25/14 02:05 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a report from Marty from Sept 22:

Quote:
A beautiful fall day made for a really nice summit of Mount Whitney. The day before had clouds swirling all around Trail Camp. White, grey and black clouds mixed with patches of blue but it never rained. The switchbacks were as dry as I've ever seen them. Last reliable water is at the pond and it's inlet.

On the summit a festive birthday party was under way complete with party hats and boas. Candy pumpkins were passed around. There was also a young woman who had just finished a 500 mile PCT trek. Later at the Hostel I met a veteran who was finishing the entire PCT which was certainly more fun than his 4 deployments (to Bosnia, Afghanistan twice and Iraq.)

I also want to thank Bob Q who showed me the old trail up to the JM Wilderness sign...a very enjoyable hike!


Please note that some cold and stormy weather is forecast for this weekend, Sept 27-28.


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#40411 - 09/29/14 12:53 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
This posted on Facebook by Kimberly B, from the Sept 27-28 weekend, showing their camp on the Mountaineers' Route near Iceberg Lake. This is about the same elevation as Trail Camp on the main trail.


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#40445 - 10/01/14 06:19 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
rADRIAANSEN Offline


Registered: 10/01/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Porterville-CA

- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 6:40 a.m. -




- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 6:47 a.m. -




- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 8:30 a.m. -




- Iceberg Lake 9/29/14 11:30 a.m. -


Edited by rADRIAANSEN (10/01/14 07:15 PM)
_________________________
rADRIAANSEN
http://www.mooizon.com

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#40484 - 10/03/14 02:53 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a report by Jim F on wpsmb:

Quote:
As of Thursday Oct 2, 2014:

Some residual snow from the recent hefty snowfall is still covering much of the switchbacks. The backside (between Trail Crest and the summit) is essentially clear of snow. No evidence of the spring at switchback 23.

I went up and down the switchbacks carefully with trail runners and without hiking poles. In retrospect, it would have been nice to have had the hiking poles.

The weather was awesome and this will likely continue some. I hiked the snow while it was in direct sunlight. If in the shadows, during night, or if the temperature falls, I suspect the residual ice/snow will require attention.

Many hikers were out on the trail. The number of tents counted at Trail Camp and Outpost Camp were in the double digits each. Some Fall colors are beginning to show below Lone Pine Lake.

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#40509 - 10/05/14 07:46 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Capitola Dan Offline


Registered: 10/05/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Calif., USA
Brother and I are going up 10/13. Going casual with two night on trail.
It's looking pretty clear, but any reports on nighttime temps at Trail Camp. Last I saw was ~30. Does that sound about right?

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#40510 - 10/05/14 09:03 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Capitola Dan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Dan, 63ChevyII pointed out in this post that the forecasts have been predicting the low about 10 degrees higher than actual. He was watching the actual temperatures reported at the Cottonwood Lakes remote station just a few miles south of the Whitney Trail.
(Link is on the Whitney Weather page: Cottonwood Lakes, elev. 10150' 7-day Temperatures

Based on that, I would plan on 20 degrees instead of the 30. Unfortunately, that means all your water will freeze overnight, so plan accordingly. Fill up in the morning, and anything you want to keep overnight could be heated and then put inside your sleeping bag, or at least insulated somehow.

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#40530 - 10/07/14 02:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
ChrisSD Offline


Registered: 10/06/14
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
I'll vouch for the forecast and actual temperature discrepancies. Forecast lows for Horseshoe Meadows last Thursday and Friday the 2nd and 3rd were around 38-40F. In actuality, the lows were a good 8-10F lower as my water was partially frozen at camp and on some streams. Not sure why the big discrepancy, but take it into account when planning. Also, any water that was supposed to be flowing on the Whitney switchbacks was frozen, so fill up before heading to the Summit

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#40547 - 10/08/14 09:26 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ChrisSD]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: ChrisSD
In actuality, the lows were a good 8-10F lower as my water was partially frozen at camp and on some streams. Not sure why the big discrepancy, but take it into account when planning.


That's interesting - nice to see that my observations weren't totally wrong. I was kinda wondering if the CDEC weather station had an incorrect reading (it appears the snow depth sensor has been stuck for months), or if the forecasts were that far off.
_________________________
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#40555 - 10/08/14 11:33 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
That's interesting - nice to see that my observations weren't totally wrong. I was kinda wondering if the CDEC weather station had an incorrect reading (it appears the snow depth sensor has been stuck for months), or if the forecasts were that far off.


ChrisSD's observations tend to validate the CDEC temperature readings. I would trust those while snow depth measurement requires a little more high-tech hocus-pocus.

All of this brings up the idea that a temperature and maybe a wind sensor at the summit hut would be a very helpful and heavily used station. I once talked with SEKI people about it, and got the opinion that a weather station would be "just more junk on the summit hut." After listening to another ranger's negative views on SPOT and wilderness experiences, I'm wondering if it wasn't the same guy.
...maybe we should approach CDEC and see if they might have more influence.

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#40563 - 10/09/14 09:52 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C

ChrisSD's observations tend to validate the CDEC temperature readings.

I agree!

Originally Posted By: Steve C

I would trust those while snow depth measurement requires a little more high-tech hocus-pocus.

Do you know how that is measured?

Originally Posted By: Steve C

All of this brings up the idea that a temperature and maybe a wind sensor at the summit hut would be a very helpful and heavily used station....maybe we should approach CDEC and see if they might have more influence.

It would be heavily used, no doubt and very helpful. I wonder if anyone here has any contacts at CDEC? I wonder if the discrepancy we've discovered is the norm.
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#40932 - 11/10/14 02:36 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Cynthia Offline


Registered: 11/10/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi everyone, first time posting...

Does anyone know the current trail conditions?

We are planning on hiking up the Mt. Whitney trail this upcoming weekend, and are trying to figure out how much snow pack there might be on the trail.

Thanks for your help!

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#40950 - 11/11/14 03:36 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
I just saw this on FB, posted by Carl N:
Quote:
Summitted on 11/8. Perfect summerlike weather and dozens of folks on the trail. Switchbacks had about a foot or more of powder - packed down and not a big hurdle, though it iced up quickly once the sun set, made for a precarious descent. In fact all the trails were ice rinks in the dark, microspikes were a must. Full moon helped with navigation though. Not sure how long this weather will hold, but there may be people summitting on Thanksgiving at this rate.


His pictures are here: Mt Whitney 11/8/14

One of his pictures, on the west side, N of Trail Crest:


To get an idea of temperatures, the Cottonwood Lakes remote station just a few miles south of the Whitney Trail.
(Link is on the Whitney Weather page: Cottonwood Lakes, elev. 10150' 7-day Temperatures


Edited by Steve C (11/13/14 02:23 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed link

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#40977 - 11/13/14 01:27 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Cynthia Offline


Registered: 11/10/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Thank you for the information Steve. Were you wearing crampons or micro spikes?
Also, the link to the flickr page produces an error, FYI.

Thanks!

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#40979 - 11/13/14 02:26 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Cynthia]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fixed the link. Thanks for letting me know.

Microspikes should be fine on the trail with that amount of snow.

FYI, a little precip passed through the west side of Whitney today, so there will probably be a little more fresh on the top.

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#40998 - 11/16/14 10:34 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
I attempted to go up on the 14th. There was an un-forecasted storm that rolled in on the 13th. There is a lot of ice on the main trail from lone pine lake until trail camp. The switchbacks have at least 3 feet of snow on them. There was a lot of snow at the cables as well. Its definitely the start of the winter climbing season now. Ice axe and crampons are required. I turned back around a little bit after the cables due to the conditions. I will try and post some pics in a bit.

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#41002 - 11/16/14 01:54 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Duartizzle]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Duartizzle: Thanks for the report! Pictures will be especially good. If you have any trouble posting them, email them to me and I'll put them up. Email is in my profile.

...or just go to the picture gallery forum and upload them yourself: There is a link to uploading instructions there.

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#41012 - 11/17/14 04:40 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is Duartizzle's picture:



D: Where did you encounter the last accessible water? I see the Trail Camp pond is frozen over. Did you try to break the ice there?


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#41013 - 11/17/14 04:48 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
Yes I tried to break through the ice but its completely frozen over. I ended up boiling snow. I didn't venture over to Consultation but last accessible water before that would've been Mirror lake.

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#41022 - 11/17/14 09:29 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Duartizzle]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 212
Loc: San Diego
On Nov 13 the highest accessible, flowing water I found was at Trailside Meadow.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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