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#44727 - 10/30/15 08:39 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 476
Loc: Saugus, CA
That's it. Bringing axe, 'pons and a helmet...

Thanks Steve!
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#44745 - 11/01/15 12:24 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 476
Loc: Saugus, CA
Current reports of only needing spikes and poles are totally wrong. Come Monday climber best wait a few days after the storm and then plan on taking the chute.

I met up with Sai, (Shiva here on WZ) at midnight. We took off at a slow but deliberate pace.

Weather was nice, but cold, dropping into the 20's on the granite bluffs above Mirror Lake. We donned helmets and spikes (micro-spikes) below Trail Camp, but they weren't needed until the first couple of the 99 Switchbacks.

We weren't moving fast, we got to Trail Camp in 6 hours. For the entirety of the morning we discussed scenarios where we might separate, but due to the reports we were hearing, we should have no problem in reaching the summit.

I usually break the switchbacks into three sections. The first section involves the switchbacks of moderate length and incline ending at the cables (likely 30 switchbacks). The middle third involve the short, steep, and tightly winding switchbacks (about 60), these are the trickiest and the most exposed. The top third are long, moderate in incline and are around 5-10 switchbacks.

We topped out the bottom third when we arrived at the cables around 7. There was one individual who passed us early on, I assume he made the top, he had axe and crampons. As we reached the cables, a fit group of three young guys turned back, one had axe and pons, the other two had poles and spikes. We ran into two hikers who had axes and spikes and we convinced them to give it another go if we tried to chop steps with out axes.

As we began the cables there were iced over footprints that allowed easy passage with a keen sense of good balance. The first switchback past the cables does a steep 180. We chopped a few steps, but the snow quality was consolidated sugar: solid for now, but bound to be sloppy and loose in an hour or two.

Cutting up onto the first switchback, it became clear that this middle third would be tricky. The snow was piled up on the switchbacks. A thin, lightly canted path with crampon tracks marked the most viable track with a set of deep footprints on the outermost edge of the switchback (the edge). We followed the footprints for about 30 yards, but the snow quality got worse, the downhill side of the foot prints threatened to break and dump us out into the void. We were well-belayed with our axes, but we had to take a considerable amount of effort and time to sink our axe spikes deep enough to be adequately belayed.

I kicked myself for having left my crampons in the car. We paused, talking with our new partners. They had talked to a couple with crampons from the day before. That couple had made the summit, but they had crampons and they had to wait at Trail Crest until 3pm for the snow on the switchbacks to harden again.

Looking ahead, I'd guess that we'd have at least 5 switchbacks of this tricky snow, maybe more. It sounded like the crest would be easier, but since I was running on 2 hours of sleep, waiting until 3PM at the crest, and another 4-5 hours after that back to Portal, best case scenario made me think twice.

Oh, I was postholing in the postholes too.

Making the summit was about a 60% chance, but if we did I had a 100% chance of needed to shell out extra cash for a hotel, and getting down too late to get anything to eat in town. There was also a great risk of taking a bad fall.

Not gonna lie, was more concerned about missing out on beer.

Derek was down to continue while his partner wasn't. Sai also wasn't exactly interested in continuing on. This would mean that we would be forcing our group to wait MANY hours.

If I lived out of state, or this was my first time I might be swayed, but I'm not putting victuals and life on the line for Whitney summit #8

We turned around, passing both newbies and experienced outdoors-people, each of them gawking at the switchbacks above.

Heading down, we got the opportunity to burst the bubbles of a number of hikers who received bad info regarding the viability of the poles/spikes recommendation.

The trip down was beautiful. People never really talk about the scenery near Whitney. Most people gripe about the permits, the logistics, the rigors of hiking/backpacking, AMS, and other things. The Whitney portal region is absolutely gorgeous, most people experience her in the summer months during the day when the noonday sunlight washes out the shadow and texture of the mountains. The low autumn sun really made the region explode in texture, depth and color. Though I was mad about the outcome of the day, I really enjoyed the sights.

However for those looking at going up Whitney, I'd plan on needing full winter gear, and going up the chute after this next storm on Monday-Wednesday.

Check out my Instagram below for photos over the next couple days.
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@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#44769 - 11/08/15 09:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
Rohan posted these pictures on FB from today, Nov 8. He hiked almost to Trail Camp.

Parking at Whitney Portal


Trail head structure


"Nice and easy on snow"



The log crossing is slippery


Mirror Lake



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#44773 - 11/09/15 02:53 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
adventurer456 Offline


Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 9
Loc: adventurer456
Great Pics, Steve.

Is anyone attempting to climb Whintey this Wednesday (Veterans day)?

A group of two other men and I will be making an attempt. It would be nice to know others will be on the trail that day. Should be decent summit conditions if the forecast holds true.

Andrew

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#44787 - 11/10/15 09:29 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: adventurer456]
Wally Offline


Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Andrew,
I am considering making attempt this weekend. Look forward to your report.

Wally

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#44789 - 11/11/15 04:04 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Wally]
adventurer456 Offline


Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 9
Loc: adventurer456
Wally,
Ended up not going, although the weather looks good today.

Andrew


Edited by adventurer456 (11/11/15 04:04 PM)

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#44819 - 11/17/15 08:58 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
This was posted on Instagram Nov 14 ago by nigellipps.

Caption:
Quote:
[nigellipps] So it turns out if we're not macho enough to finish Whitney, up against a shear cliff where our feet slip every other step, we have to pack out our own dung... #failed #mtwhitney #ishallreturnagain #wasalmostthere

[imranthechemist] Came here 4 days ago. Slipped and my pack dragged me off the side of that big rock just after the cables, plummeted down. If the snow wasn't deep and powdery. I'd be dead. You made a smart choice man..



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#44858 - 11/22/15 12:26 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
ahousser Offline


Registered: 11/22/15
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hi all,

I am planning to attempt a summit of Whitney on either Thursday Nov. 26 or Friday Nov. 27 (I am Canadian and have already celebrated my Thanksgiving, so using the vacation time to do something fun!) depending on what the weather forecast is looking like closer to the time.

Is anyone else thinking of climbing that weekend? It would make me a lot more comfortable knowing there were others nearby on the mountain!

Also, can anyone comment on the conditions of the trail from portal to Trail Camp? Is there a lot of snow?

Thanks so much!

Alex

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#44859 - 11/22/15 12:53 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ahousser]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
Alex, I would be really surprised if you would see even one other person in the area on Thursday. The weather forecasts at this time are predicting highs below freezing at the trail head, along with snow.

I wouldn't drive anything less than 4wd up toward Whitney Portal, and if you go out in the storm, check the weather predictions closer to when you go for the amount of snow predicted. You could get your vehicle stranded up there.

The summit forecast for Thursday and Friday are for a high of 12F and low of 1F (-11C and -17C)

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#44871 - 11/23/15 08:33 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ahousser]
Tyler Bee Offline


Registered: 06/15/15
Posts: 10
Loc: phoenix az
Considering a trip for the long weekend. Would plan 3 days on the mountain and bring lots of insulation and snow/ice gear. Would like to do the MR but prepared to be flexible

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#44872 - 11/23/15 10:33 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Tyler Bee]
ahousser Offline


Registered: 11/22/15
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hi Tyler,

I am not quite prepared at this point to do the MR route; however, I am planning to hit the trailhead for main trail Thursday morning and camp at either Outpost or Trail Camp (or somewhere in between) Thursday night. I would be aiming to wake up very early Friday morning and hit the summit maybe around 9/10am. I would then trudge the 11 miles back to the trailhead that same day - I would really like to be out by Friday evening (and that is what my contacts will be expecting). You are more than welcome to join me for the summit, but could always not hike all the way out with me on Friday if you're thinking of doing a 2nd night.

I will also have axe/crampons and lots of insulation . . . unless conditions suggest otherwise, I plan to climb the chute rather than the 99 switchbacks. I understand this is the recommended route this time of year. . . . also good opportunity to scout out any hazards on the glissading path for the descent. Please let me know if you're interested in linking up. We don't even need to hike together, but I think it's prudent to have someone else on the mountain who is looking out for you.

Cheers,

Alex

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#44873 - 11/23/15 01:34 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ahousser]
Tyler Bee Offline


Registered: 06/15/15
Posts: 10
Loc: phoenix az
Right now we are leaning towards going to the La Sals in Utah. If we did go to Whitney we would be Fri, Sat, Sun. My cell is 6025075464...call or text me in the next few days and we will have figured out if we are gonna be there and if so, our route and itinerary

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#44874 - 11/23/15 02:51 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Tyler Bee]
mgl Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 5
Loc: los angeles
I might be going up this Thursday if the weather don't turn for much worse. Plan on doing up the main trail, up and back the same day.

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#44875 - 11/23/15 03:18 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: mgl]
ahousser Offline


Registered: 11/22/15
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hi mgl, What time do you plan on leaving in the morning to knock off 22 miles and get back before sunset at 4:30pm?

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#44879 - 11/23/15 06:09 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: ahousser]
mgl Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 5
Loc: los angeles
I would be leaving Wednesday midnight and plan on getting back around 4:30PM the following day.

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#44884 - 11/24/15 10:30 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: mgl]
adventurer456 Offline


Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 9
Loc: adventurer456
This just happened and he was my physics TA last year.

EVERYONE BE CAREFUL!!!!


http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-student--avalanche-20151123-story.html


Edited by adventurer456 (11/24/15 10:31 AM)

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#44894 - 11/24/15 10:58 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
This picture posted on Instagram by thesegloriousruins on Nov 21.

It shows the trail along the Bighorn Park meadow, approaching Outpost Camp.


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#44906 - 11/26/15 11:43 AM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
yeahi Offline


Registered: 11/26/15
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi, quick question!

Anyone know the conditions of Lone Pine Lake? Was considering heading to the Alabama Hills, spending 1 night down below on Friday (11/27) and then heading up the trail Saturday and spending the night at Lone Pine Lake. Not really trying to hike Whitney (have a gf and dog), but would still like to enjoy a small slice of it.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

Devon

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#44907 - 11/26/15 09:22 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: yeahi]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: yeahi
Hi, quick question!

Anyone know the conditions of Lone Pine Lake? Was considering heading to the Alabama Hills, spending 1 night down below on Friday (11/27) and then heading up the trail Saturday and spending the night at Lone Pine Lake. Not really trying to hike Whitney (have a gf and dog), but would still like to enjoy a small slice of it.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

Devon

Conditions are: EXTREMELY COLD! NOAA weather forecast is for 5 degrees at Whitney Portal Friday night. 23 even in Lone Pine.

You might try visiting the portal (ONLY if you have a car capable of driving on completely icy roads), and hiking a little if you feel like it. But I would turn around and camp down at the Tuttle Creek campground. That would be a very cold night, but not as bad as up at Lone Pine Lake.

I have a friend (wagga on this message board) who tells a story about taking a girlfriend on a snow camping trip like that. She was soon an ex-gf.

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#44908 - 11/26/15 09:58 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2240
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I have a friend (wagga on this message board) who tells a story about taking a girlfriend on a snow camping trip like that. She was soon an ex-gf.


Around the turn of the last century, went to Ruby Lake. The trails were high-angle skating rinks. Froze the dog, too.
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