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#46137 - 05/05/16 07:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
IdEaMaNi Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 21
Loc: Texas

@Phillipe - Thanks for the clarification! We are doing it on the 13th-14th. Like Hobbes mentioned, I am hoping for the snow to melt a little.
Was the chute too steep to climb up or was it just steep enough to slow us down? Did you guys even see any signs of the switchbacks at all?

@cabeale - Thanks for the post and photos. That's a lot of snow to walk on. Must have been exhausting! Did you say, you had a tough time even finding the regular trail to the camp from the portal?

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#46144 - 05/06/16 09:57 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IdEaMaNi]
cabeale Offline


Registered: 05/04/16
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA
@IdEaMaNi - The trail from the Portal was fine - the only point where we had a decision to make was about half a mile (totally guessing here) above Mirror Lake. The main trail heads towards a slope and then turns sharply right to a couple of switchbacks before traversing the slope.

Google Maps

Last year we missed this switchback and ended up doing some hard work up and over a couple of hills so we wanted to avoid that this year. However, there was a trail that continued up a snow ramp to our left, following the path of Lone Pine Creek and in retrospect this would have been easier.


Edited by cabeale (05/06/16 09:57 AM)

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#46145 - 05/06/16 09:59 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Billy Beroux]
cabeale Offline


Registered: 05/04/16
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA
HI @Bill,

We hiked in to trail camp May 1, and made it to Trail Crest May 2, returning to the portal the same day.

Chris

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#46151 - 05/07/16 04:28 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cabeale]
IdEaMaNi Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 21
Loc: Texas
Gotcha! Thanks cabeale! I saw the google map pointer. I didn't even know we can see the trail in google maps so clearly! shocked This is great!

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#46153 - 05/08/16 09:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cabeale]
Tyoshi Offline


Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 14
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hello Chris!
Thank you so much for very useful info about the current conditions of Mt. Whitney. I am new to this forum and I'm planning to hike up Mt. Whitney next weekend.
It looks like weather is getting better towards the weekend. But I have several questions regarding this trip and if you or anyone in this forum (especially Steve-C as a thread moderator) can answer them, that would be super helpful.

1: Did anyone summit to the peak via the Main Trail (not the Mountaineer's Route) recently?

2: How is the water supply in the Trail campsite? If the little creek & pond right by the campsite is all frozen up, we may have to get water either from Mirror lake or Consultation lake.

3: Are the 99 switchbacks which lead to the Trail Crest accessible now? It looks like you went to the Chute which is a slope next to the 99 switchbacks.

The warmer weather next week may change the snow conditions and last week's info may not mean much but at least I would like to know the latest conditions in order to make right judgements.

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#46154 - 05/08/16 09:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Tyoshi]
Adam Berry Offline


Registered: 01/07/15
Posts: 4
Loc: San Diego
Hey Tyoshi,
I am also planning on hiking up via the main trail next weekend. I called the ranger station last wednesday and I was told that there was a recent successful summit via the main trail. I was also told that melting snow was the best water source right now, but I believe that will probably change come the end of this week. No other details unfortunately so I hope someone else could give some insight.

Are you planning on camping just 1 night? I am trying to figure out the best course of action, as I attempted this last winter and had to turn around because of wind and snow conditions.

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#46155 - 05/09/16 06:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adam Berry]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
Right now, I'm planning on a Friday ascent. I'm going to acclimate 2 nights: one night @ Lone Pine lake, and the second night at Trail camp.

Normally I'd spend a night @ Horseshoe or Onion, but I don't want to risk getting a late start the next day from possible traffic. This way, it doesn't really matter what time I get to LP lake the afternoon before, as long as I can leisurely leave the next morning for TC rather than rush around trying to get to Portal.

As for water, I'm planning on carrying 3L from Outpost. There should be some melt at Trail camp, but I want to have a reserve just in case.

I had been considering Thursday, but I decided to give the snow one more day to consolidate. The difficulty with the main trail is that once you ascend the Chute, you still have 1.9 miles from the JMT junction to hike to the summit. If the snow is deep and soft along the western ridge trail, then it could provide an obstacle.

The MR is a bit different, because once you ascend the Gully, you only have the final 400 remaining. While it's technically challenging climbing in snow, you don't have the long walk to/back that could add time or prevent a summit if conditions are too deep/soft.

This coming weekend should be perfect. There will probably be others thinking the same thing.



Edited by Hobbes (05/09/16 06:56 AM)

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#46160 - 05/09/16 09:13 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
cabeale Offline


Registered: 05/04/16
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA
FYI - Mirror Lake is completely open so you can save yourself a small amount of effort and fill up there rather than outpost.

I filtered 3L at Mirror Lake and drank a bunch of it there, carried about 2L up to Trail Camp to save myself some weight and then melted snow for water at camp. We arrived at about 4.30 pm, so had plenty of time to sit around and melt snow.

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#46161 - 05/09/16 09:16 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Tyoshi]
cabeale Offline


Registered: 05/04/16
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hey Tyoshi,

2: When I was up there the pond at Trail Camp was frozen and covered in ~18 inches of snow. Would suggest filling at Mirror Lake, and supplementing by melting snow if needed.

3: Switchbacks were covered in snow. I personally wouldn't recommend this - seemed a lot more sketchy than the chute, but heard at the ranger station that someone had attempted the switchbacks the week before.

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#46163 - 05/09/16 10:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
IMQ Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
I found a GoPro partially buried in the snow on the MR yesterday. If you think it's yours, message or email me.

The snow wasn't bad as far as upper boyscout--4-6 inches of soft snow at worst. We headed up Russell from there, which also didn't have terrible snow. It was about a foot deep at 13k feet when the weather turned us around.

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#46164 - 05/09/16 11:25 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IMQ]
JLynch Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
ok...so I am new to this forum as well as hiking. My daughter and I are hiking Mt. Whitney June 4th. It is a day hike. We are both in good physical shape...I'm a runner and she is a dancer (With much more hikes under her belt than me.) My question is actually related to the weather. I saw a youtube video of a hike the same weekend as ours but 2012...we were in a drought. What should we expect as far as snowpack?

My boots are water proof...would you suggest gators as well?

Thanks for any input y'all can offer:)

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#46166 - 05/09/16 11:44 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JLynch]
IdEaMaNi Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 21
Loc: Texas
Tyoshi & @AdamBerry - I am going to hike on friday-saturday with a few buddies this coming weekend. Hope to see you guys! As far as switchbacks are concerned, Steve C suggested following foot step trails rather than going to the switch backs. Having said that , based on hobbes recent post, looks like switch backs might be accessible.

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#46168 - 05/09/16 11:51 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: IdEaMaNi]
Jbyrd Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 2
Loc: Phoenix
Before reading this report I was planning on bringing snow shoes for the switchbacks this Saturday. After looking at weather and reported conditions I am questioning whether I need to add the weight. Thoughts from someone else going up?

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#46169 - 05/09/16 01:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
AnnieAM Offline


Registered: 10/06/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern California
Hi all, I'm headed up the mountain in a couple weeks and have some questions for those of you going this week, could you report back after your upcoming climbs please?

1) How are the switchbacks? Are they usable or did you climb the chute?

2) Is the lake at Trail Camp unfrozen? We're camping there and it would be nice to resupply water at camp.

3) Where does the snow start on the trail? On my past hikes snow hasn't shown up until after Outpost, but this is the earliest in the season I've been on the mountain. Is it packed down from other hikers or is it deep snow? Was ice a concern on the trail at any point? We may bring a dog (one person staying with at Trail Camp on summit day) but wanted to know how exactly to prepare.

Thanks and good luck to everyone!

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#46170 - 05/09/16 02:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Bobby Riegel Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 1
Loc: MA
Hey Steve,

I'm hiking up Whitney Trail on Friday.

Do you think I'll need snow shoes, or will ice axe and crampons be sufficient?

Any areas to be wary of?

Thanks for your help!

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#46171 - 05/09/16 03:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JLynch]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
@JLynch, by June 4, there will be a lot of boot tracks heading up the "chute" (slope west of switchbacks) Gaiters are always helpful on such slopes.

Jbyrd, snowshoes are good if you are the first one in following a fresh snowfall. But otherwise, I'd leave them in the car.

AnnieAM: I, too, am curious about the availability of water at Trail Camp. I am hoping someone will walk over to the inlet stream that feeds the Trail Camp pond, and see how accessible water is there. As for switchbacks: The chute is probably easier for now. Watch for reports, though, when people come back saying they used them.

Bobby R: I don't think you need snow shoes. Crampons yes. Be wary of deep snow along the trail from Trail Crest to the summit. Lots of fresh up there, so just hope others have packed a path through it.

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#46172 - 05/09/16 03:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Jbyrd Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 2
Loc: Phoenix
@Steve Thank you for the help. Guess I'll hope the weather holds up and there's no fresh snow!

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#46173 - 05/09/16 04:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Jbyrd]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
For what it's worth, here's the current forecast for the summit:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php...75#.VzEiAYQrKM9

Highs hitting 50s and lows around freezing should consolidate the snow very nicely.

I wouldn't bother with snow shoes, just crampons.

I'll take some photos of course, but I wouldn't expect the switchbacks to be open. All of my discussions have been focused on the Chute. If you don't have boots/crampons, you might be able get away with spikes or walking crampons - especially if you're following tracks.

But whatever you do, bring an ice axe. I'd rather have trail runners with no traction but have an axe vs boots & crampons but no axe.


Edited by Hobbes (05/09/16 04:58 PM)

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#46174 - 05/09/16 05:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: AnnieAM]
LuvAdventure2014 Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 21
Loc: California, USA
Hello AnnieAM -

I hiked on the main trail last Fri. Snow started ~ 1/2 mile b4 Lone Pine Lake.

We didn't make it very far frown - my hiking partner was sick and we turned back @ Trailside Meadow. Up until this point, the snow was packed and we walked in the shoe prints of previous hikers. It snowed lightly from 7AM on last Fri.

There was snow @ the portal when we returned! Will post a couple photos later.

Good luck!

Paula

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#46175 - 05/09/16 07:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
SemperFi_Hiking Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 1
Loc: SoCal
Hi everyone, I will be camping at trail camp weds the 11th and attempting to summit Thursday the 12th.. Hoping for great weather and good trail conditions. I've read that trail crest has some deep snow.. Are snowshoes recommended for use on trail crest? I would think it's too narrow for them.. Any suggestions would be great!! Hope too see some others out there this week.

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