On 5/31 we camped at the Whitney Portal and did a mini 1-hr hike to the trail head. The next day we left camping site at 3:30 and started hiking at 4:15 AM. Trail condition was very nice. At 8:20 AM we reached the Trail Camp. During the rest at the Trail Camp, we watched the 99 switchbacks and the chute. There were a few guys on both. We were a group of 8.
Two of us chose to use the switchbacks and 6 (including me) chose the chute. All of us left the Trail Camp at 8:40 AM. I spent 2.5 hours on the chute, and saw several people sliding down Video: Mt. Whitney Chute 6/1/2014
. The other two who chose the 99 switchbacks arrived at the trail crest 15 min earlier than me.
I heard that there were several parts of the switchbacks covered by snow but doable. After 20 min rest on the trail crest, we headed to the summit. The trail crest was almost clear of snow, however we felt the elevation and moved very slowly. We reached the summit at 2:10 PM and was the 39th group on 6/1. I guess there were 5 groups after us made the summit on that day. The weather was exceptionally well. There was no wind at the summit and we even had 20 min sunny nap outside the Smithsonian shelter.
We reached the trail crest sign again at 4:30 PM. The snow became hard especially on sliding tracks on the chute. Two person in our group, one with ice axe and crampons and another one with trekking poles and microspikes, got minor skin injury on leg. I slided down about half way and lost my trekking poles when I tried to decelerate. A kind guy helped me to get back my trekking poles. I decided to move back to switchbacks with two other persons in the group.
I met with other memebrs at the Trail Camp around 6:30 PM. It was a long way back to the Whitney Portal, but compared with the chute I was satisfied on solid trail.