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#45920 - 04/25/16 11:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
This posted on Instagram April 25, by xerorisk

They climbed via the switchbacks, then glissaded on the way down.

"No chutes for us #mtwhitney #99switchbacks #whitneyinthewinter"



Caption: We took the switchbacks up but the fastest way down is always the chute smile #glacading #whitneyinthewinter #mtwhitney #whosinfront



It should be pointed out that the picture here does NOT show good or recommended glissading method. This slope should never be done without ice axe, proper braking and knowledge of self arrest. People have died on this slope, and have lost control even with good technique. These folks just had the good fortune of perfect timing, to descend before any icy patches developed. It only takes one.

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#45944 - 04/26/16 02:18 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ericploeb Offline


Registered: 04/12/16
Posts: 18
Loc: Los Angeles
I'm climbing May 7th with a friend of mine. How were the conditions? Can you tell me your schedule/departure times?

Thanks! Looks awesome and great pics!

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#45948 - 04/26/16 03:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ericploeb]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
ericp, I just copied those pictures from Instagram. I don't know the details of their trip.
...ok, more info: christinec_097 was with "xerorisk", shows some of the same pics, and a little more info. One of her pictures shows the summit hut, and the caption reads: "Early morning at the top of Mt Whitney. This cabin kept us alive at 14508 elevation"

Not sure if it was planned or not, but they spent the night ON the summit! I don't think they carried overnight gear. crazy

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#45962 - 04/27/16 02:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a view of the "chute", the slope west of the 99 switchbacks above Trail Camp, taken by Shri S on April 19.

His report is here. His pictures are here.


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#45965 - 04/27/16 03:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
This posted on Instagram April 25, by xerorisk

They climbed via the switchbacks, then glissaded on the way down.

"No chutes for us #mtwhitney #99switchbacks #whitneyinthewinter"



Caption: We took the switchbacks up but the fastest way down is always the chute smile #glacading #whitneyinthewinter #mtwhitney #whosinfront




I should probably be pointed out that the picture here does NOT show good or recommended glissading method. This slope should never be done without ice axe, proper braking and knowledge of self arrest. People have died on this slope, and have lost control even with good technique. These folks just had the good fortune of perfect timing, to descend before any icy patches developed. It only takes one.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#45985 - 04/28/16 04:57 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 10
Loc: CA, USA
Pictures from last Sunday - April 24:

View from Trail Camp:


View from Trail Crest:


Thanks to everyone for sharing their pictures, it helped us to know what to expect!


Edited by Philippe (04/28/16 06:22 PM)

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#45993 - 04/29/16 11:57 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
ericploeb Offline


Registered: 04/12/16
Posts: 18
Loc: Los Angeles
How was the weather? Is that a storm below you?

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#46003 - 04/30/16 11:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JohnGaglio Offline


Registered: 04/30/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Wrightwood, CA
Hey folks,

I am new to this forum, lots of really good information here so I thought I could contribute.

I have any overnight permit for the Whitney Trail for the 2nd-4th of May. We will be going in with 4 guys total including myself. Going in with full gear, Ice Axe, Crampons etc ..etc....

Will try and update my posts to this section in real time if possible. Going to take a lot of pictures of course and will try to get them up for everyone ASAP.

Should start seeing stuff from me beginning Monday morning.


Edited by JohnGaglio (04/30/16 11:40 AM)
_________________________
-John G.

"Pain is weakness leaving the body… "

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#46006 - 04/30/16 03:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JohnGaglio]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Sounds great John! Unfortunately, cellular service is really spotty to non-existent on the Main Trail. We have seen people able to connect from the windows along the trail between Trail Crest and the summit, and a few can connect from the summit. I've been able to connect on the summit only on the edge north of the summit hut.

Due to the spotty connections, be sure to set your phone on airplane mode to save its battery, and only try to connect when you really want to.

Have a great trip! Looking forward to any pictures and such that you can provide.

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#46009 - 05/01/16 07:09 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 127
Loc: The OC
Looks like 5/2-4 is the next window, so these guys are lucking out. However, another forecast storm is beginning to make 5/5-8 appear questionable.

I can't go tomorrow, but perhaps after next weekend we might get a nice clear window.

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#46010 - 05/01/16 07:33 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
IdEaMaNi Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 21
Loc: Texas
@Philippe - Were you guys able to summit? That picture at least shows a nasty storm incoming. Can you please post more pictures and share a little more about your experience?

A bunch of us are going to summit on the 13-14th weekend in May. Based on Hobbes reply, when i checked the weather condition, it does look bad! Hopefully things subside by then..

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#46018 - 05/01/16 11:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IdEaMaNi]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
IdEaMaNi, that picture, the last on the previous page posted by Philippe (View from Trail Crest) does not look like a storm to me, but rather just clouds or fog. Granted, when the area is fogged in, you can't see far, and you get zero views, but it isn't necessarily stormy.

Today's webcam shows the summit under clouds, but then checking the Doppler Radar for Lone Pine (link on the Mt Whitney Weather page, above on the left), it shows the area is not receiving any precipitation. There IS some precip north and south of Whitney -- at least 10 miles away, but the clouds on Whitney are not dropping any moisture.

When planning for a trip, you should look at the various weather forecasts linked on the Mt Whitney Weather page, and make your decisions based on what they predict.

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#46026 - 05/01/16 12:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Picture from Whitney Portal, April 30.

Posted by Rohan A on FB.


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#46034 - 05/01/16 02:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 127
Loc: The OC
If I see something like this, I ain't moving off my couch. shocked



Seriously, though, I understand summit desire for those who have patiently gone through the permit process. It's just that the mountain determines what actually goes down, not bureaucratic paperwork.

If you have any kind of flexibility, the trick during spring is to wait until a storm passes by. Hopefully, you can jump on it when/if a high pressure system fills in behind, creating a brief window where conditions are working in your favor.

Summer is a different game, associated more with daily afternoon showers & monsoonal flows. While the weather window is generally open, the trick is to get up and down as early as possible.


Edited by Hobbes (05/01/16 03:01 PM)

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#46044 - 05/01/16 08:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
IdEaMaNi Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 21
Loc: Texas
Oh.. my bad sorry! Thank you Steve C for the explanation. Yes, I am following that on a regular basis and will definitely check the same as we come close to our hiking date.

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#46084 - 05/02/16 10:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IdEaMaNi]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 10
Loc: CA, USA
@IdEaMaNi: On Saturday, we hiked to trail camp, we had a clear blue sky all the way. However on Sunday, it was cloudy and when we were 3/4 up the chute, it started to snow pretty intensely. When we made it to trail crest, there was already half an inch of snow and the weather was getting worse, so we turned around and didn't summit.

The hike from the trail head all the way to trail camp is not technical. We were very happy with microspikes and trekking poles. For the chute, we were expecting the trail to have switchbacks, but it was going straight up. That section is comparable to a steep blue ski slope. Here, you really need an ice axe and crampons. We used the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes instead of crampons and had very good traction all along the chute whether on ice or powder.


Edited by Philippe (05/02/16 10:42 PM)

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#46116 - 05/04/16 11:27 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
cabeale Offline


Registered: 05/04/16
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hi all, just back from an attempt via the Main Trail and wanted to add some more details.

We left Whitney Portal at 9am Sunday May 1 and made good progress to Mirror Lake where we filtered water. We Continued to climb up towards Trail Camp, but the going was much slower.

A little after coming up the switchbacks above Mirror Lake, the main trail switchbacks and climbs before traversing across a slope. On the left of this we saw footprints heading up a snow ramp to the left, but after having route finding issues last year we decided to follow the trail this time, which turned out to be a mistake.

After the switchbacks we encountered a slightly exposed traverse across a reasonably steep snow slope so had to pull out the ice axes and slowly make our way across.



A couple more hills and we rolled into Trail Camp about 4pm. Looking back down the slope we saw the same tracks we had seen earlier continuing all the way directly to camp.

As we got into camp it started snowing and we were unsure if we were going to be able to get up the chute the next day.



It snowed lightly all night but we woke at 4am to clear skies. We ate, kitted up and hit the trail at 5am. The snow was fairly deep across to the base of the chute, but there was a trail from UCSB group from a couple of days earlier. (I chatted to them at Whitney Portal and they made it to the base of the chute, but turned back due to concerns over the state of the chute).



At the start of the rock band in the chute, the trail ended, and the real work started. The snow ranged from shin to knee deep, and was super soft making progress slow and difficult.







After a long hard slog we reached Trail Crest about 9.15am. We ate and rested for a few minutes, trying to decide if we should continue. There was a ton of new snow over the back and half the group was pretty tired. I took a few steps to try and see if I could find any sign of the trail and sunk in up to my knees.



We decided that postholing all the way to the summit wasn't a smart plan, so called it good and headed back to camp.

The snow was so soft on the chute that glissading didn't really work (we just sank into the snow), so we plunge stepped our way back down to the top of the rock band. From there we had a little more luck with the glissading, but it wasn't any faster than walking down.

We refueled, broke down camp and made it out to Whitney Portal by 3pm, following the trail out of camp we had seen the day before.


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#46119 - 05/04/16 01:18 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cabeale]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 127
Loc: The OC
Beautiful photos - thanx for the update on conditions.

It's hard to hike right after a snowstorm without snowshoes. The result is pretty much as you described it. Great for skiing, not so much for hiking. Part of the trick is to allow a few days to let new snowfall (semi) melt and consolidate.

There's a new storm forecast Th-Sat, with clearing expected to begin on Sun. As high pressure builds in after the low exits eastward, we're supposed to see a warming trend peaking on Thurs.

My plan at this point is to drive up & camp @ LP lake Tues, hike up to TC Wed (as well as do some other acclimatization activities), then hit the Chute 6am Thurs. Hopefully, a few days of intense sunshine and warm(er) temperatures will allow the snow to melt a bit, and then ice over & firm up each night in order to allow travel with crampons.


Edited by Hobbes (05/04/16 01:31 PM)

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#46127 - 05/05/16 02:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cabeale]
Billy Beroux Offline


Registered: 04/08/16
Posts: 9
Loc: CA
Thank you for sharing the awesome pictures and great trip report! Can you tell me what dates you were on the mountain?

Thank you,

Bill

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#46131 - 05/05/16 03:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's an outstanding picture from the Mountaineers Route, Upper Boy Scout Lk is out of view to the left, Lower Boy Scout Lk is out of view on the right.

Posted on Instagram, May 4, by dansherman1982


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