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#33890 - 10/24/13 02:21 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Connor]
WhiteLight Offline


Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 3
Loc: SoCal
A friend and I went up the Whitney Trail Mon night to Trail Camp, summitted Tues and hiked back out. Keychain thermo said high 20s at night, @ 12,000'. Lakes weren't frozen over yet and streams everywhere had enough for filtering. Some ice, snow on the way to camp, nothing sturdy boots couldn't handle. 99 switchbacks all the way to the peak has hard, packed, squeaky snow, which again, no problem for real boots.

Cables:


From summit looking down:


Trail Camp:


Trail Camp:


From the notch:


Back of the spires, on the way to the summit from notch:


Headed out, chasing the sun:


Edited by WhiteLight (10/24/13 02:25 PM)

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#33898 - 10/24/13 10:27 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: WhiteLight]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Nice! Thanks for the great pictures.

Congrats on your late year summit.

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#33918 - 10/29/13 08:24 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
JakeGano Offline


Registered: 10/29/13
Posts: 3
Loc: Anchorage, Alaska
My wife and I hiked the Mt. Whitney trail last week (10/22). We managed the crux (finding the postage-stamp sized trail sign at 5:45 am) and found ourselves switchbacking up an amazingly urbane trail. Urbane as in your governator could probably take a wheel chair up most of it if he set his mind to it. Above the second camp we donned microspikes (recommended). We also had a whippet with us but didn't use and I wouldn't take one again. The snow was firm and we didn't have to do any post-holing. We topped out under sunny skies and enjoyed a couple of bottles of Sierra Nevada at the top of the Sierra Nevada, seems appropriate (however if anyone tells you a beer helps with an altitude headache, it doesn't). With half a dozen stops (including about 45 minutes at the summit) the round trip took us about 12:45.

Some observations:

The average size of the pack people take on this trail seems to be about 120 liters. The first time I passed by someone with a one of these monsters I assumed they were Gideons packing two dozen bibles up to the summit shelter. After seeing that everyone had packs that big, I realized that's just how people roll around here. (Our packs, together, were less than 30 liters).

Also, Californians like to where there puffy coats. Even when it's 65, and they're hiking uphill, with a pack.

Fun trip!

Lone Pine from Lone Pine camp.


Whitney and the Milky Way


Near the junction with the JMT


Summit thirst!

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#33919 - 10/30/13 10:04 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: JakeGano]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Congrats Jake and your wife! And thanks for the conditions report and pictures.

With a 12:45 round trip, you two are in great shape. I am curious what you do for conditioning.

Also, I had to look up whippet. Still not sure... a dog? a whif of Nitrous oxide from whipped cream canister? Or guessing here -- a canister of oxygen?

Besides the "headache in a bottle", what did you do for water on the hike?

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#33920 - 10/30/13 10:29 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


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


Also, I had to look up whippet. Still not sure... a dog? a whif of Nitrous oxide from whipped cream canister? Or guessing here -- a canister of oxygen?


Oh good, I wasn't the only one! laugh One thing that did come up in my search was 'Black Diamond Whippet Self Arrest Pole'
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#33921 - 10/30/13 10:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
cborigo Offline


Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 6
Loc: PA
Yes the Whippet is a self-arrest tool used for ski mountaineering. Not something you would want to rely on as an ice axe, but in emergencies it might help arrest a fall.

As for pack size, that obviously depends on the plan of the hikers/climbers. Since you were doing a one-day trip obviously your pack will be much smaller. For someone taking two or three days to acclimate and go at a leisurely pace, the normal demands of a tent, stove, extra food, bag, etc. will obviously dictate the need for a bigger pack. Of course it's up to each person to decide how they value comfort vs. weight, as long as it doesn't compromise safety.

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#33935 - 10/31/13 06:29 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: WhiteLight]
Redelf Offline


Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 2
Loc: San Pedro, CA
Thanks for the report and this is very helpful, since we are doing The Whitney Trail this weekend staring on 11/2/13.

Based on your photos, it looks like there is no need for snow shoes, is this correct?


Edited by Redelf (10/31/13 06:29 AM)

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#33938 - 10/31/13 09:30 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Redelf]
TKE Offline


Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Cardiff, California
Per a call to the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center this morning, Monday's storm brought "very light snow" below 10,000ft and a "light dusting" of snow above 10,000ft. They strongly recommend crampons due to icy conditions but don't believe snow shoes are necessary.

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#33942 - 10/31/13 11:07 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: TKE]
Redelf Offline


Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 2
Loc: San Pedro, CA
Thanks, that is very helpful.

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#33958 - 11/01/13 07:39 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
JakeGano Offline


Registered: 10/29/13
Posts: 3
Loc: Anchorage, Alaska
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Congrats Jake and your wife! And thanks for the conditions report and pictures.

With a 12:45 round trip, you two are in great shape. I am curious what you do for conditioning.

Also, I had to look up whippet. Still not sure... a dog? a whif of Nitrous oxide from whipped cream canister? Or guessing here -- a canister of oxygen?

Besides the "headache in a bottle", what did you do for water on the hike?


I've been doing Mtn Athlete Base Fitness twice a week in the morning for years. Other than that my training is as capricious as the Alaskan weather. I did a lot of peakbagging this summer where I'd take a really light pack, run where I could and hike the rest. I put in some pretty big days this way, and did a lot of long trail runs. My wife did an Ironman in June and runs 3:30 marathons so I just do what I can to keep up with her!

Seriously, though, we weren't going that fast. We took half a dozen rests, including probably 45 minutes at the top. I bet someone who nodded in the direction of acclimatization and made an effort to jog intermittently could probably do it in around 10 hours.

The whippet is a ski pole with a small ice axe head. That and micro-spikes are my dirty tricks for fast peakbagging. They open up a lot of terrain to getting climbed in trail runners. Although boots, proper crampons, and and ice axe still have there place, you will slow down a lot on easy, snowy terrain compared to the whippet/micro-spike/trail runner setup.

For water, I carried a 2-liter Platypus Big Zip (awesome product which I highly recommend). It was full when I started and I refilled (~1.5 liters) on the descent at the first lake at the base of the long section of switchbacks.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I love to talk training and gear.

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#33960 - 11/01/13 07:44 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Redelf]
JakeGano Offline


Registered: 10/29/13
Posts: 3
Loc: Anchorage, Alaska
Originally Posted By: Redelf
Thanks for the report and this is very helpful, since we are doing The Whitney Trail this weekend staring on 11/2/13.

Based on your photos, it looks like there is no need for snow shoes, is this correct?


Not as of 10/22. Unless there is a very significant accumulation between now and then, no.

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#34009 - 11/07/13 04:03 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: JakeGano]
Garyr Offline


Registered: 11/07/13
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hiked main trail to summit over 11/2-3. A few patches of ice below Trail Camp, easily navigated. However, above Trail Camp trail is almost entirely snow covered. Microspikes & poles provided enough safety. I wouldn't go up without them.

Overnight temp at Trail Camp was 17. Moderate winds. Summit temps were in the teens with wind chill. Sunday was very blustery, but crystal clear.

Lake at Trail Camp was frozen over, but a small hole allowed for filtering water. Don't think it will last much longer. No signs of bears or marmots. Overall, a great trip!

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#34107 - 11/26/13 12:19 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture posted on the Sierra Elevation Facebook page




With this heavy snowfall this late in the year, the Whitney trail is pretty much a snowshoe hike at this point. Only a few hardy souls will be heading up. What usually occurs is that people will start up, then lose the trail and head off in various directions, resulting in many spur tracks to nowhere.

Once the trail is snowed under like this, winter hikers take over, and most will head up the steeper and more direct North Fork of Lone Pine Creek -- the Mountaineers Route. Many people will go with commercial mountain guides (SMI is one) in the winter, especially in the late winter months.

Beware if you go: Storm forecasts sometimes under-predict the level of snow. Two guys were lucky to be rescued from the North Fork area on Nov. 24. If not for the helicopter rescue, it is questionable they would have survived. Here's that thread: Recent SAR Ops

The trail head structure from the same set of pictures:

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#34759 - 12/29/13 10:11 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Pele Offline


Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Ca
Has anyone been up within the last week? I saw another post with the road being closed and iced over, but what does the mountain look like right now? No fresh snow in a while, sunny clear skies over the coming days, and 60 degree temps at 6000ft have me curious about sneaking in a long day hike with some extra safety gear. Did anyone have Christmas up top?

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#34761 - 12/29/13 10:23 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Pele]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
> 60 degree temps at 6000ft have me curious about sneaking in a long day hike with some extra safety gear.

Pele, from the webcam picture, it appears all the snow has melted from the sunny slopes. (a third dry winter in a row frown   ) So you might just encounter pretty easy conditions. It would sure be great if you got some current pictures of the area.

Understand that sometimes people drive past the road closed sign as far as they can go, but it is always at their own risk. Make SURE there is no precipitation in the forecast if you do that.

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#34762 - 12/29/13 03:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
tstorm Offline


Registered: 12/26/13
Posts: 3
Loc: SLO, CA
I'm planning a trip up the MR in a few days, I'd also love to hear a trail report. Is there enough snow to rely on snow gear or has it melted to the point of needing to climb rock?

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#34784 - 01/01/14 10:52 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: tstorm]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 349
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I havenít been up the MR since April, but Iím sure the final 400 will have exposed rock, some water ice, and some snow. Let us know what you find; Iím toying with going up in January if it stays dry.

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#34789 - 01/02/14 08:02 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: bobpickering]
tstorm Offline


Registered: 12/26/13
Posts: 3
Loc: SLO, CA
The rangers got a trail report on the 31st that matches what you said Bob - exposed rock in the notch, little to no snow. So, we decided to postpone the trip and wait for some snow cover. Curious to hear what you find in January though!

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#34805 - 01/03/14 10:30 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: tstorm]
sierragator Offline


Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 17
Loc: CA
New Year's Day 2014: Launched at 4:00 NYD from just w of the Meysan TH as the road was still covered in snow beyond that point (nice stuck "yard art" up a the portal). Didn't recognize Davey and Tracy until later that morning in better light. Shared a good day on the mountain with them. We decided to try the switchbacks as the boot track led that way. There was no boot track up the gully and the snow was slabby and looked prone to sliding, so up the switchers we went. Just beyond the cables it got sketchy with big drifts and big exposure without the needed time to dig a proper path through. Opted to live to fight another day. Report that the NF route is very icy these days. We need more snow!

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#34953 - 01/19/14 08:39 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013 (Out-of-Date) [Re: sierragator]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Sierragator did yet another Whitney Summit yesterday, via the Mountaineers Route. It is incredibly dry this winter.

Here are a few pictures from his Facebook album:

The steepest "Final 400" just before the summit:



The summit hut:



The Summit Register:

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