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#42829 - 06/01/15 04:36 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Tom G]
Andrewzuber Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 14
Loc: Tarzana, CA
Perfect! We'll be doing poker and hot cocoa at Trail Camp - feel free to bring a few hundred dollars in cash and join us!

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#42831 - 06/01/15 04:42 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Andrewzuber]
Tom G Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Annapolis, MD
We may camp 1st night at outpost camp. Big stakes poker

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#42832 - 06/01/15 04:49 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Monowheel Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Me and my group are in the same boat,leaving the 17th to summit 18th with the same questions regarding trail conditions and an alternate route. Might have to sit out on the poker game.

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#42833 - 06/01/15 04:50 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Tom G]
Andrewzuber Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 14
Loc: Tarzana, CA
That's our plan too - Outpost Camp, then Trail Camp. Figured we'd make a trip out of it rather than rushing things.

Jokers are wild.

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#42834 - 06/01/15 05:01 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ClamberAbout]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: ClamberAbout
Steve,

Hi. Long time no talk to. Say, in a post a ways back you say, "mountain-forecast.com excluded" regarding weather forecasts. Mind if I ask why it's being excluded?

Anything in particular about that site of interest? A colleague checks that site regularly regarding an upcoming hike, so just wondering.

Thanks!

Hi CA, glad you posted! Regarding Mountain-forecast, every time a storm on Whitney is predicted, if you check the amount of snow predicted, they exaggerate the amount. For example, they are predicting 4 inches for this coming weekend; in contrast, the NOAA site calls for "A chance of snow showers." ...let's wait and see what actually comes in.

I haven't been keeping exact figures, but I am pretty sure if we kept track of the total predicted snows on Whitney over a year's time, it would add up to many feet.


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#42836 - 06/01/15 05:08 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just for reference, last year this was written June 13:

Chute melted out, so not practical for
heading up/down. Switchbacks have
only a few spots where people need to
carefully move around/past what snow
is left.

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#42837 - 06/01/15 05:29 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Andrewzuber]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Andrewzuber


I'm seeing some posts that refer to an alternate route that doesn't use the switchbacks - is that correct, and if so, what advice can you give us on using that route?

Thanks so much in advance!


Hi Andrew,

The "alternate" route I guess you are talking about is "the chute". This is the scree/talus field to the north (facing up the hill, to the right) of the switchbacks. This is only viable when the snow conditions are right. By June 16th it is very doubtful that there well be sufficient snow in the chute to be a viable route. The switchbacks may still have icy spots, so some care will need to be taken. One area in particular is the area where cables (think hand rail) have been installed. This is often the last place snow and ice are found on the switchbacks, and can be slippery.

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#42838 - 06/01/15 05:47 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: John Sims]
Andrewzuber Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 14
Loc: Tarzana, CA
Originally Posted By: John Sims
Originally Posted By: Andrewzuber


I'm seeing some posts that refer to an alternate route that doesn't use the switchbacks - is that correct, and if so, what advice can you give us on using that route?

Thanks so much in advance!


Hi Andrew,

The "alternate" route I guess you are talking about is "the chute". This is the scree/talus field to the north (facing up the hill, to the right) of the switchbacks. This is only viable when the snow conditions are right. By June 16th it is very doubtful that there well be sufficient snow in the chute to be a viable route. The switchbacks may still have icy spots, so some care will need to be taken. One area in particular is the area where cables (think hand rail) have been installed. This is often the last place snow and ice are found on the switchbacks, and can be slippery.


Great - thank you! I'd planned on using the switchbacks so I wasn't really thinking of using the chute until I read that it might be required if the snow/ice made the switchbacks impassable. We'll keep an eye on conditions as the date approaches!

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#42840 - 06/01/15 08:07 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Andrewzuber]
mgl Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 5
Loc: los angeles
Summit today @8:30AM 6/1/2015. The switch backs are usable and wouldn't recommend the chute unless u going early while the snow is frozen. I did descent on the chute around 10:30AM wish I didn't. The snow is really slurpy like once the sun bakes it a bit. I was already half way down when I saw a trail runner taking the switch backs. Make sure u protect urself from the mid-day sun. I'll email some picks to Steve maybe he can post them up later.

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#42841 - 06/01/15 08:10 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Originally Posted By: KevinR
I did Whitney today via the main trail. Aside from a few minor patches, the snow line is now approx 13K'. As far as I could tell, everyone was using the chute for ascending/descending. I looks like someone did the switchbacks several days ago, but no recent traffic. Right now the trail is snow-covered above 13K, including the west side (other side of Trail Crest).

Thanks for the report, Kevin! If the snow level is about 13K, it sounds like Trail Crest is pretty much free of snow. Is that what you found?


Aside from a few snow patches, there isn't any snow in Trail Camp. The little pond is ice-free but Consulation Lake is still mostly ice-covered. The first 6 or 8 switchbacks above Trail Camp have melted, and the snow begins at the top of the glacial moraine (at least I think that formation is a moraine). At that point the foot path up to the Chute levels out somewhat, and it's snow-covered (except for the odd clear patch) all the way to the summit. There is a melted out area extending downward about 50' from the eastern lip of Trail Crest itself.

Does that make it clearer? My recollection is that Trail Camp is about 12.5k', and 6 or 8 switchbacks might add another 500'. IIRC, Trail Crest's sign is 13.8K'.

Talked with a ranger at the VC today. He said the forecast is for cooler weather towards the end of the week, with a possibility of snow on the weekend. Said they've had more snow is the first 3 weeks of May than they've had all year.

And, not to add fuel to the fire, but ... I read the thread on glissading. FWIW - of the 12-15 people descending the Chute when I was, only one was downclimbing. The rest were doing very controlled glissades.


Edited by KevinR (06/01/15 08:19 PM)

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#42842 - 06/01/15 10:08 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Travis McGee Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 10
Loc: Orange County, CA
Thank you all for your input and reports.

I see that people are using the chute for ascending and descending.

I summitted in 2012 in the summer when there was no snow to speak of. I plan to return with some fit but inexperienced hikers this weekend 6/7/-6/8.

Assuming that no additional snow accumulates, is it safe and practical to take the switchbacks? Is it likely that we need to rent crampons or will sturdy boots do the job?

Thanks.

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#42845 - 06/01/15 11:15 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: mgl]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: mgl
Summit today @8:30AM 6/1/2015. The switch backs are usable and wouldn't recommend the chute unless u going early while the snow is frozen. I did descent on the chute around 10:30AM wish I didn't. The snow is really slurpy like once the sun bakes it a bit. I was already half way down when I saw a trail runner taking the switch backs. Make sure u protect urself from the mid-day sun. I'll email some picks to Steve maybe he can post them up later.


MGL's pictures are in the Trip Reports forum: mgl summit 6-1-2015

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#42846 - 06/01/15 11:29 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's an image from April 5 of the Cables on the switchbacks. They are probably about this exposed here June 1.


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#42857 - 06/02/15 03:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
syzygy Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 3
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Some PCT thru hikers posted this regarding a successful 5/30 summit

There are also photos on their main blog

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#42865 - 06/02/15 07:43 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: syzygy]
LP Dust Devil Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Lone Pine, CA
We completed a successful summit on 5/30 with a day-hike permit. The mountain and scenery were absolutely amazing.

One call out - If you don't have experience of snow / glacier travel over steep terrain, you shouldn't go up to Trail Crest. I wouldn't advise going up the chute or the backside to the summit without an ice axe and crampons. We witnessed several people that made it to the crest that were frightened to come down the chute. Know your limits. This isn't the place to have your first experience of crampons.
That said, if you are comfortable walking over snow and know how to use an ice axe and crampons, you'll be fine. It is steep, and there is some minor post-holing (we didn't reach the chute until 10am), but just make sure someone kicks good steps in front of you.
The backside is tracked out but I still would advise crampons. The ridge isn't very wide and I saw people sliding down the windows.

I want to thank everyone who wrote previous reports. These were critical in our decision not to cancel our trip. I can't believe I might have missed the opportunity to hike this incredible mountain.

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#42866 - 06/02/15 08:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: LP Dust Devil]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
LP Dust Devil wrote:
> and I saw people sliding down the windows.

Can you elaborate? Was anybody hurt?

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#42869 - 06/02/15 09:17 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
LP Dust Devil Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Lone Pine, CA
Sorry, I reread my post and didn't realize how bad it sounded. No one fell down the windows - I saw someone in trail running shoes and poles sliding down the trail by the windows. Sorry for the scare.

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#42877 - 06/03/15 09:41 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: LP Dust Devil]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Has anyone made summit this week and would like to post updates on trail conditions? grin

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#42878 - 06/03/15 09:59 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Ernest]
AndrewChanez Offline


Registered: 05/31/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ernest there is a report from 6/1 above.

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#42879 - 06/03/15 10:02 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: AndrewChanez]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Ooh, didn't see that. Thanks for the heads up

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