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#44612 - 10/15/15 03:52 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Brett Potter]
Matthew Jeffers Offline


Registered: 10/15/15
Posts: 5
Loc: California, USA
This is all very helpful - I really appreciate the info! The main X-Factor in all of this will be what kind of snow falls between now and Saturday AM. Both of us are in reasonably good shape, but we'll be prepared for some extra effort, and will try to be very careful with post-holing, etc.

One last question - any thoughts re: purifying water along the trail? The last time I was at Trail Camp (2003) it was a mess and I would hesitate to drink water from up here without purifying - but not sure if things are different now ...

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#44613 - 10/15/15 04:18 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Matthew Jeffers]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7556
Loc: Fresno, CA
Two things: Ice axe is premature at this point. People need the ice axe if they skip the switchbacks and to up the slope to the west of them, which is not a good idea yet, since there isn't enough snow to prevent postholing all over. If you stay ON the trail, you won't be postholing. Also, the point about having snow baskets on your hiking poles is very good.

Water purification is a personal preference. The official stance is you should. But I, and many others, just dip and drink, and have for the past ten years with no problems. But I would get my water at the IN-let to the pond at Trail Camp, not the pond itself. To do that, you need to walk off the trail 30-50 yards. (I dip and drink from the several streams along the trail, too.)

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#44614 - 10/15/15 04:35 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Brett Dean Offline


Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Large storm with hail and sleet (some lightning and thunder) came through Trail Camp this morning at 3:30. After a few hours I packed up my gear and hiked back this morning with headlamps, the storm cleared up at about Lone Pine lake with light showers to Portal. Now home, warm, dry, and drinking a cold Mammoth Epic. Good times.

Also, as of yesterday, rangers are saying Micro-spikes and poles are a must.

I heard from a few hikers that the summit rate was about 50%. Today, not sure.

If you made summit today, please post photos.


Edited by Brett Dean (10/15/15 04:46 PM)
_________________________
I don't want a tombstone, I want a mountain.

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#44615 - 10/15/15 05:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Brett Dean]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7556
Loc: Fresno, CA
Glad you made it back, Brett. like!

Must have been a crazy experience with a 3 AM storm. Thanks so much for posting.

thanks

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#44619 - 10/15/15 11:46 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Matthew Jeffers Offline


Registered: 10/15/15
Posts: 5
Loc: California, USA
Thanks everyone. Sounds like no new snow (just sleet) at Trail Camp elevation. We'll see what the weather brings on Saturday, and will definitely post photos if we make it up there on Saturday.

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#44623 - 10/16/15 12:12 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Matthew Jeffers]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7556
Loc: Fresno, CA
I just checked the different weather sites on the Weather page (link above on the left).

The weather for the weekend looks a bit unsettled: NOAA predicts "scattered snow showers" for both Saturday and Sunday. But looking at the satellite "in-motion" loops, it is just the remnants of a tropical wave that headed north across Nevada. The Owens Valley appears to be on the western edge of the disturbance, so what hits the Sierra is just light stuff.

If people go with layers and gear to keep the occasional sprinkles and wet off, it might turn out to be a good weekend.
Microspikes and hiking poles with snow baskets are a good idea, for the icy areas on the trail.

Good luck, everyone!

Edit: Huge mud-flood on Hwy 58 near Tehachapi -- that's the route from Bakersfield over to the east side and Hwy 395. So anyone traveling that route won't make it this weekend.
News report


Edited by Steve C (10/16/15 02:47 PM)

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#44626 - 10/17/15 06:38 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
dipsydragon Offline


Registered: 10/09/15
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
My partner and I summited on 10/16 There was a lot of lightning the night before 10/14-10/15 but we thought we would hang out at trail camp anyway and check it out. On 10/16 we started at the switchbacks around 8am and there were frequent snow showers and very low visibility. Snow was packed and actually very good to follow up the switchbacks and we had no problems all the way to the summit (except for the snow showers) . It was very doable with micro spikes and poles and around 10 people on the summit from what I remember. Just be prepared for the freezing temperatures.

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#44627 - 10/18/15 08:30 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: dipsydragon]
YOUJ Offline


Registered: 10/11/15
Posts: 4
Loc: California san diego and san j...
I started the switchbacks at 9:00AM 10/16. It was easy in the snow pack to the cables. I got scared after the cables because the trail was very thin and snow was coming down. The way it was coming down on me at that time I was worried the trail would be covered in an hour. I was warm and prepared for snow and rain but I was afraid I would not find the switchbacks if they were covered with snow on the way down. experienced people were turning around then too. I was afraid there would be no one left to help me find the trail if I tried to go on. It is so hard to get permits for Whitney that is why I tried even in the foul weather. I was rained on all day 10/15. Just wet wet wet. I pitched my tent in the dark with cold stiff fingers. I will try next year but next time I will not go if there is any snow in the forecast.

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#44629 - 10/18/15 10:34 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: YOUJ]
hikerjav Offline


Registered: 10/17/15
Posts: 1
Loc: California
YOUJ,

Thank you for the trail update. It sounds like the weather got the best of most, if not everyone that day. My brother and I plan to hike in to Trail Camp on Monday, and try for the summit on Tuesday.

Hopefully the weather is better.


Edited by hikerjav (10/18/15 10:35 AM)

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#44631 - 10/18/15 03:00 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: hikerjav]
Randy S Offline


Registered: 10/06/15
Posts: 4
Loc: Torrance CA
John,it was great to meet you, Jean and Joe. For me it was a very confidence building day even though I didn't quite make it to Trail Crest. The weather was very difficult, with the fog and snow coming down. It was a great training experience.

Dipsydragon what time did you summit and what time did you get down? We had to have passed each other. There was a group of 4-5 young women I was passing back and forth on the switchbacks. Were you part of that group? I was wearing the Russian style snow hat.

Now to start training for next year.

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#44632 - 10/18/15 05:40 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Randy S]
Matthew Jeffers Offline


Registered: 10/15/15
Posts: 5
Loc: California, USA
Hi All - quick update on trail conditions as of Saturday 10/17. My hiking partner and I got to the top at about 11:20 after starting at 2:35 from the portal. No meaningful snow on the trail until Trail Camp (about 3-6" left there in spots) but the switchbacks were snow covered. Fortunately the path was well packed down and I was able to avoid putting on crampons and did not need an axe, either. Important to have good treads and a hiking pole, though, for stability in some of the more exposed spots. The snow was powdery up high on the switchbacks, and we didn't post-hole AT ALL even on the way down. The sun stayed behind the clouds for most of the day, so the snow didn't soften up. Got back to the portal at about 6:15 just as it was starting to get dark. Temperatures were probably in the mid to high 20s on the summit - no issues with freezing camelbak tubes.

All of this being said, there was new snow all over the Sierra and the White Mountains today (10/18). Snow level seemed to be between 9500 and 10000 feet judging from what we saw during our drive north along 395. Looking at White Mountain peak from Bishop, I would estimate up to a foot of new snow up at the highest elevations.

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#44633 - 10/18/15 07:19 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Brett Dean]
jmester82 Offline


Registered: 08/11/14
Posts: 22
Loc: CA, USA
My group made it to Lone Pine Lake the day before on our way originally to Trail Camp. We decided to turn back and not risk getting caught in the incoming storm. Woken up at about the same time the next morning by the raging thunderstorm.

Glad you made it down safely!

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#44635 - 10/19/15 09:43 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: jmester82]
TahoeKine Offline


Registered: 10/06/15
Posts: 7
Loc: So Cal
My 15 year old daughter and I went up on Friday (10/16). We left the parking lot at about 4:30 am in the rain; rain cleared at around Lone Pine Lake, but fog persisted through Trail Camp. New and existing snow on the ground starting past Trail Camp with flurries to almost whiteout all the way to Trail Crest. Hiking conditions were fantastic as the new snow was very sticky for footing, and old snow was frozen to avoid potholing. I would not, however, have continued without MICROspikes. Cables were a little dicey, but not impassable. Sun came out briefly at Trail Crest and provided awesome views of snow covered Sequoia. Trail to the summit was less than ideal as only a few tracks to follow. This was probably the most dangerous area with the loose footing and the side slope, but still in the sane range. We summited at around 2:00 in heavy snow and clouds. Couldn't see much, but met some nice people at the Hut. Snow continued most of the way down to Trail Camp, but fair trail conditions down the switchbacks. Got back to the Portal at around 9:00 pm; snow definitely slows things down.

An awesome hike, but give yourself a few extra hours due to the snow.

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#44637 - 10/19/15 12:26 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: TahoeKine]
Vinod Kumar Offline


Registered: 10/10/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Sunnyvale, CA
On 10/16th we (group of 6) started at 6AM instead of 2AM due to big rain at the portal. Hiked till the Trail Camp and returned back due to bad weather and not much visibility. It was a nice experience to hike at this weather as I never did this before.

Will try again during next season with overnight camping at Trail Camp.

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#44639 - 10/19/15 03:46 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: TahoeKine]
Brett Dean Offline


Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Originally Posted By: TahoeKine
My 15 year old daughter and I went up on Friday (10/16). We left the parking lot at about 4:30 am in the rain; rain cleared at around Lone Pine Lake, but fog persisted through Trail Camp. New and existing snow on the ground starting past Trail Camp with flurries to almost whiteout all the way to Trail Crest. Hiking conditions were fantastic as the new snow was very sticky for footing, and old snow was frozen to avoid potholing. I would not, however, have continued without MICROspikes. Cables were a little dicey, but not impassable. Sun came out briefly at Trail Crest and provided awesome views of snow covered Sequoia. Trail to the summit was less than ideal as only a few tracks to follow. This was probably the most dangerous area with the loose footing and the side slope, but still in the sane range. We summited at around 2:00 in heavy snow and clouds. Couldn't see much, but met some nice people at the Hut. Snow continued most of the way down to Trail Camp, but fair trail conditions down the switchbacks. Got back to the Portal at around 9:00 pm; snow definitely slows things down.


An awesome hike, but give yourself a few extra hours due to the snow.




Way to go TahoeKine! And your daughter is a trooper!

_________________________
I don't want a tombstone, I want a mountain.

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#44643 - 10/20/15 08:52 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
ejector_crab Offline


Registered: 10/20/15
Posts: 7
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
I'm planning an overnight on Whitney this Saturday/Sunday, with a bivy at Trail Camp Saturday night, summit early Sunday, and return by dark.

I'm looking for reports from anyone who was on the trail late this weekend, after the snow passed.

Are microspikes necessary at this point in time? Any other extra (read: winter) precautions recommended? I have self-arrest skills with an axe, but since we're talking about the main trail here, it doesn't seem like a steep enough slope or deep enough snow for axe and crampons at this point in time, at least from the conditions I've seen thus far. Further, my partner does not know how to use an axe, I have no experience with cramps, and I'd prefer not to carry that gear.

As of now, the weather looks great and should make for a great hike assuming the trail doesn't have too much soft snow, but I'll be keeping an eye on NOAA through Saturday.

Thanks in advance.

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#44644 - 10/20/15 09:01 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ejector_crab]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7556
Loc: Fresno, CA
Take microspikes and hiking poles with snow baskets. The trail will have icy consolidated snow. It looks to be nice weather but really cold. Make sure you stay warm.

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#44645 - 10/20/15 09:44 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
ejector_crab Offline


Registered: 10/20/15
Posts: 7
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
Thanks Steve. That's kinda what I figured. Already planning to bring poles, but wasn't sure if traction gear would be necessary after a week of sun (albeit, cold) and other boots on the trail. I'll plan to bring spikes and hopefully won't need them. If I need spikes, I'd actually be more concerned about softening snow on the way down after the sun comes up.

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#44646 - 10/20/15 11:33 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
AdamB Offline


Registered: 10/13/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Rancho Cordova, CA
Our group of 8 started around noon on Friday the 16th. The itinerary was to camp at Outpost, hike to Trail camp on Saturday, and then summit on Sunday. We encountered a little bit of rain on Saturday on the way up to trail camp but nothing significant. Trail camp (at around 2pm) had snow in spots but not bad at all. At about 4am on Sunday, we got hit with a windy snow storm that lasted until about 6:30am, dumping 3-6" of fresh snow. This made the decision for us to break camp and head back down.

Speaking with folks that passed us coming back down, they ended up turning around 3/4 of the way up the switchbacks where they hit 3ft+ snow.

Although we didn't make it, it was a great trip and a wonderful experience nonetheless.

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#44647 - 10/20/15 11:47 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: AdamB]
Brett Dean Offline


Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Originally Posted By: AdamB
Our group of 8 started around noon on Friday the 16th. The itinerary was to camp at Outpost, hike to Trail camp on Saturday, and then summit on Sunday. We encountered a little bit of rain on Saturday on the way up to trail camp but nothing significant. Trail camp (at around 2pm) had snow in spots but not bad at all. At about 4am on Sunday, we got hit with a windy snow storm that lasted until about 6:30am, dumping 3-6" of fresh snow. This made the decision for us to break camp and head back down.

Speaking with folks that passed us coming back down, they ended up turning around 3/4 of the way up the switchbacks where they hit 3ft+ snow.

Although we didn't make it, it was a great trip and a wonderful experience nonetheless.




Great info. Thanks Adam
_________________________
I don't want a tombstone, I want a mountain.

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