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#42916 - 06/04/15 01:21 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Cronus4]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
That's actually not as bad as imagined.

Thanks for the picture Cronus!

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#42917 - 06/04/15 01:44 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Cronus4]
Raghu Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Thanks so much for the pic Cronus. Was it the first time you put crampons on? Did you keep them on all the way till Trail Crest?

Originally Posted By: Cronus4
Cables on 6/2. at this point I didn't have on crampons, I put them on when I got to the guy you see at the far side of the pic.



Edited by Raghu (06/04/15 01:45 PM)
Edit Reason: minor

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#42929 - 06/04/15 04:02 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Raghu]
Cronus4 Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 5
Loc: USA
I left them on until the summit and then back to trail crest, where I took them off to glissade. I suppose I could have gotten away without them on TC but I wanted to be cautious.

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#42931 - 06/04/15 05:50 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Cronus4]
Raghu Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
pretty cool that you felt comfortable enough to leave then on. I used crampons only briefly many ages ago.. I don't really remember how they feel while hiking.

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#42941 - 06/05/15 10:02 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
jechristo Offline


Registered: 06/05/15
Posts: 1
Loc: California, USA
Two of us planning a trip Monday June 8th. First timers to the summit. How serious is the snow/need for crampons or microspikes?

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#42944 - 06/05/15 10:50 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: jechristo]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
From conjecture, I would think microspikes/poles would suffice by the time you go this Monday. With the forecast of snow for this weekend the most you would get is a dusting of snow it seems.

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#42945 - 06/05/15 10:52 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]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
Thanks again to Steve C all who have provided experience based information. It is valuable.

We will summit Whitney from the portals trail head departing Sunday 6/7 and returning Monday 6/8, acclimating at Whitney portals 6/6.

Our plan is to take the SB up and down and use crampons. No ice picks or poles. If anybody with current experience wishes to correct me on my strategy I am open to it.

I look forward to returning with a full report on Tuesday.


Shout out if I may: I spoke with John at Elevation in Lone Pine. He was very helpful.

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#42947 - 06/05/15 11:39 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Hobbes]
Roger R. Offline


Registered: 05/29/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Bay Area
Wow, looks like the chute might still be skiiable for a while.

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#42948 - 06/05/15 11:51 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Roger R.]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Roger R, there are way more accessible and friendly slopes to ski than the chute on the Main Mt Whitney Trail. Even on good snow years, very few people ski anywhere in the Mt Whitney area. And nobody tries as late as June.

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#42956 - 06/05/15 04:36 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Travis McGee]
AndrewChanez Offline


Registered: 05/31/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Seattle, WA
Travis McGee - It would be great to hear your report. We are hiking to Trail Camp 6/10 and plan to summit and return home on 6/11. Your report would be about as good of a "current conditions" as we could possibly hope for! Best of luck to you and your group.

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#42961 - 06/05/15 05:08 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Travis McGee]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 109
Loc: The OC
Since I'm not adverse to adding my 2 cents, my general rule of thumb when there is still snow is:

option 1 - SB impassable: take ice axe & crampons for the Chute. Know how to kick-step on the way up, and glissade using ice axe as tiller/self-arrest tool on way down. Since even people with (some) experience hike snow conditions occasionally, practice a little bit at the bottom of the Chute first. If glissading looks too slow/wet/slushy, then treat your hips/legs to some plunge stepping - the beer(s) & vitamin I will taste so much better @ the Portal.

option 2 - SB passable, but still snow/ice on parts of the trail: take micro-spikes & poles (add snow baskets).

My guess is that the SB will be fine. The photo above suggests you don't even need traction, but would be nice if you had something like micro-spikes. In no case would I leave poles behind. IMO, they are indispensable (even take them along with axe - collapse and put in pack).


Edited by Hobbes (06/05/15 05:14 PM)

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#42962 - 06/05/15 05:19 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Hobbes]
Travis McGee Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 10
Loc: Orange County, CA
Andrew: I will post it earlier using cell phone if I can.

Hobbes: Thanks and good to know. I am banking on ths SB being open. As it turns out we will be using micro-spikes and poles. If we can't summit well just make the best of it and enjoy some clean air.


Edited by Travis McGee (06/05/15 05:19 PM)

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#42963 - 06/05/15 06:09 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Hobbes]
Raghu Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Hobbes, those are pretty valuable 2 cents. What do you think about going up SB and try to glissade down chute? I am thinking it might be doable if there are no rocks visible (and others are doing it).

We are going up on Monday the 8th and will report back here.

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#42967 - 06/05/15 08:02 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Raghu]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Raghu
What do you think about going up SB and try to glissade down chute? I am thinking it might be doable if there are no rocks visible (and others are doing it).

We are going up on Monday the 8th and will report back here.

Raghu, be sure to read this entire thread, Glissading on Mt. Whitney. People can get hurt glissading: Ice is a major factor, and wearing crampons is a good way to break a leg.

It is really fun when conditions are right; but it can go bad, too. Just want you to be fully aware.

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#42968 - 06/05/15 10:13 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
mtmania Offline


Registered: 06/05/15
Posts: 1
Loc: NE US
I attempted the summit yesterday, Jun 4. Started up the Chute at 3 AM. Bailed at 4 AM because I didn't like the looks of the weather. Broke camp, packed up, and boogied down the trail at 5:50 AM. Back at the TH at 9:45, temp 44 F, simultaneous rain, hail, and snow. (adiabatic lapse rate suggest it must have been snowing at Trail camp with temp around 32 F). At 10:45 AM, sitting in sunny Lone Pine eating huevos rancheros while watching storm clouds rage on the mountain, craving a Chute Glissade for desert.

Jun 3, some people did the SB with bare boots, reporting it was very unsafe that way. Traction needed! Glissading down the Chute was very fine with ice ax. Some survived glissading with poles but were lucky. Broken poles are littering the Chute.

Chute snow conditions fine for ascent until about 9 AM and excellent for glissading after about 10 AM once the sun softens the snow.

General consensus was that, with traction, the SB is the easier way up, glissade the easier way down.

Previous day's summiters all reporting that backside trail generally snow covered, small ice patches. Microspikes or crampons plus one or two poles very desirable entire length of backside with brief rock walking. There are multiple chaotic tracks on final pitch to the summit. Advised that with traction, simply walk up anywhere until there is no more up left.

Travel time between Trail Crest and Summit reported by nearly every Jun 3 summiter as two hours in either direction. Slow and deliberate step placement necessary at all times.

If ascending the Chute, take the right fork in the trails near the top part. If glissading, walk over to the top of the left fork in the tracks (left fork when looking up from Trail Camp) which brings you to the top of the best direct line down.

These conditions are likely to hold for the next several days.

Toss rocks at the marmots, they are taking too many liberties (don't try to wound them, just a little tough love).




Edited by mtmania (06/05/15 11:56 PM)

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#42969 - 06/05/15 10:57 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Raghu, personally I would steer clear of the chute without an ice axe.
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#42970 - 06/05/15 11:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: mtmania]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thank you for that update! Any pictures to share?

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#42971 - 06/05/15 11:45 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
From Kathleen C on fb, taken June 4:

The cables section of the switchbacks. It's not wise to try that without hardware on your feet.


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#42972 - 06/06/15 07:17 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 109
Loc: The OC
Yeah, I'd take spikes for the SB in that condition. (Always poles for the entire trail in any condition regardless.)

IMO, the problem with descending the Chute during the transition period are the rocks. If the SB are even partially clear like in the photo, the Chute begins to have (more) exposed rocks. That makes glissading more difficult (dangerous) and leaves plunge stepping (which is also not without peril).

Either way, take off crampons or spikes when glissading or plunge stepping down the Chute. If you decide to descend via glissading or plunge stepping down the Chute, have an ice axe.

So, to summarize, when there is snow/ice, you really need three things:
- ice axe
- poles
- crampons (for ascending Chute & back-end) or spikes (for ascending/descending SB & back-end)




Edited by Hobbes (06/06/15 07:20 AM)

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#42975 - 06/06/15 11:08 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Raghu Offline


Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Thanks Steve, that is such a great thread. didn't know plunge stepping was a good alternative and could be just as efficient. We hope to be heading back from Trail Crest around 1pm and look for favorable conditions you mentioned in the thread. Rocks might be issue too. will surely evaluate.

Hobbes, 63Chevyll, MtMania, thanks for the update. Our gear:
  • poles
  • micros spikes (YakTrax XTR)
  • crampons (renting from Lone Pine Sp Goods)
  • Ice Axe (renting from same place)
  • gaiters (might help with plunge stepping)


Originally Posted By: Steve C

Raghu, be sure to read this entire thread, Glissading on Mt. Whitney. People can get hurt glissading: Ice is a major factor, and wearing crampons is a good way to break a leg.

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