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#46385 - 05/23/16 09:33 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: saltydog]
chasen4r1 Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern California
I was planning on hiking the High Sierra Trail from Sequoia to Whitney Portal from the 25th - 30th/31st, but seeing this pictures of Whitney, Trail Crest, and the Chute, I'm not sure I'd be able to get down considering I only have Microspikes (not crampons) and I don't own an ice ax.

Does anybody have any images from this previous weekend, 5/20 and on? Do you think the snow will have melted any by Memorial Day? Any recommendations?

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#46386 - 05/23/16 10:21 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chasen4r1]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
The weather is being unseasonably cool, so you will encounter nearly the same conditions. With microspikes, you can walk down -- hiking poles (with snow baskets) would be especially helpful.

Understand that later in the afternoon, as the day cools and the slope is shaded by the mountain to the west, the slope can become icy (depending on the temperatures). So you should try to get down no later than 3 PM, and earlier would be better.

HST (High Sierra Trail) info, NOT the Mt Whitney trail: Are you sure you can negotiate that tunnel and snow in the narrow chute above Hamilton Lakes (at 9300')? It can be pretty treacherous when the trail is covered by the winter's snow.

Here... I did a google images search for "hst tunnel hamilton lakes", and found this picture and post by RoguePhotonic:
Quote:
Your biggest concern with snow is going to be the tunnel section as you drop off or climb the Kaweah Gap. If you have any gear you will be fine but in 2008 in mid June I had to spend 2 hours digging a level trail through the snow because it was hard packed and steep. One slip means death in that spot.

Notice the cut in the snow:



You might want to consider carrying an ice axe and crampons, just for that particular spot.

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#46391 - 05/23/16 02:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
YetiNinja Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 1
Loc: CA, San Francsico
Hello everyone,
I am super stoked to be doing Mt. Whitney this coming weekend 5/27-5/30, My team of three, including me, planned on doing the Mountaineers route, but from the pictures I have seen, it looks like that may be more dangerous than usual right now. What are your thoughts? I did not see a lot of pictures being uploaded from the Mountaineers route so I thought I would ask before getting there lol.
We all have experience doing Mt. Whitney's Pacific crest, as well as 5 other mountains so experience with snow, rock and ice. Can we still do it this time of the year? Or would be be taking unnecessary risks? Your honest thoughts are welcome! Thanks!


Edited by YetiNinja (05/23/16 02:54 PM)

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#46393 - 05/23/16 03:06 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: YetiNinja]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
YetiNinja: People are doing the MR every day now. Check out the pictures posted by "Turns" here and his photo album here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/142965686@N07/with/27086732991/


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#46394 - 05/23/16 03:13 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
chasen4r1 Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
...You might want to consider carrying an ice axe and crampons, just for that particular spot.


Thanks, Steve. I'll be picking up an ice axe today. I'd hate to plan for this trip and have to turn back early. I'm hoping we can get through the Tunnel/Precipice section without issues, and later, to use a nice slow, controlled descent down Whitney when we get there.

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#46395 - 05/23/16 04:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JLynch Offline


Registered: 05/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
Thanks Steve!!
I will definitely check both of those links. I am printing all your suggestions and checking out all links:) I want to map this out on paper and then come back with my list of questions!!

Thanks again:)

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#46397 - 05/23/16 04:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1561
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
The weather is being unseasonably cool, so you will encounter nearly the same conditions. With microspikes, you can walk down -- hiking poles (with snow baskets) would be especially helpful.

Understand that later in the afternoon, as the day cools and the slope is shaded by the mountain to the west, the slope can become icy (depending on the temperatures). So you should try to get down no later than 3 PM, and earlier would be better.

HST (High Sierra Trail) info, NOT the Mt Whitney trail: Are you sure you can negotiate that tunnel and snow in the narrow chute above Hamilton Lakes (at 9300')? It can be pretty treacherous when the trail is covered by the winter's snow.

Here... I did a google images search for "hst tunnel hamilton lakes", and found this picture and post by RoguePhotonic:
Quote:
Your biggest concern with snow is going to be the tunnel section as you drop off or climb the Kaweah Gap. If you have any gear you will be fine but in 2008 in mid June I had to spend 2 hours digging a level trail through the snow because it was hard packed and steep. One slip means death in that spot.

Notice the cut in the snow:



You might want to consider carrying an ice axe and crampons, just for that particular spot.


That's the spot that stopped us (and many others) in July of 2011. There was a lot more snow cover, from below the tunnel to above the chute in Rogue's pic. The section shown was a snow bridge over the trail, about 60 feet across, with 2-3 feet of clearance underneath. So we had our choice of traversing over with deadly exposure or crawling under, through icewater above and below. We opted for another day at Hamilton lakes and an out and back. It collapsed two days later. Early season, you need good beta on this particular spot.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#46398 - 05/23/16 04:57 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: saltydog]
chasen4r1 Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: saltydog


That's the spot that stopped us (and many others) in July of 2011. There was a lot more snow cover, from below the tunnel to above the chute in Rogue's pic. The section shown was a snow bridge over the trail, about 60 feet across, with 2-3 feet of clearance underneath. So we had our choice of traversing over with deadly exposure or crawling under, through icewater above and below. We opted for another day at Hamilton lakes and an out and back. It collapsed two days later. Early season, you need good beta on this particular spot.


Wow that's slightly terrifying, probably a good call to spend more time at Hamilton. I wish it was easier to get an updated and current picture of that section of the trail!

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#46401 - 05/23/16 06:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Adam7272 Offline


Registered: 04/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Hello all:
I have a party of 4, we will begin hiking early this Friday (May 27) to hike up and camp at Outpost or Trail camp Friday night, then take the switchbacks to the summit on Saturday, and then one more night camping on Saturday night before heading to the bottom on Sunday
Will we be able to make this route with micro spikes and ice axe? This is our first hiking/camping adventure in the snow, although we are experienced day hikers. That being said, it will be the first time using ice axe and micro spikes.
Are cramp ons more necessary, or should we be okay with this set up?

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#46405 - 05/24/16 10:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Chipster Offline


Registered: 05/05/16
Posts: 3
Loc: US
My group went up on 5/22 and made it up to Trail Camp. Did not summit the next day since a couple people form my group got hit hard by the altitude. At night I feel like it was under 20 degrees as our 20 degree sleeping bags were barely adequate. My water bottle in the tent had ice in it when I woke up.

There is snow that needs to be crossed once pass mirror lake but crampons weren't necessary to get to Trail Camp. Didn't see anyone using the switch backs.

There was water that can be filtered at trail camp.

Coming down from trail camp it started snowing.

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#46407 - 05/24/16 12:00 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adam7272]
Iclimbmnts Offline


Registered: 04/29/16
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Adam7272

What time was your party planning on taking off Friday morning, I am still trying to plan departure times w/ parking & road work?

Your permit dates & plans are the same as mine, as a solo female hiker, it would be nice to a least know there are others planning the same time frame as myself.

Thanks

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#46409 - 05/24/16 06:19 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chasen4r1]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1561
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
HST is covered pretty thoroughly, including TRs and very current beta, at High Sierra Topix.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#46417 - 05/25/16 08:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: saltydog]
Iclimbmnts Offline


Registered: 04/29/16
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Has anyone taken a look at the predicted weather forecast for hikers this weekend?

I am set to take off this Friday for an overnight on the MT.

According to mountain-forecast.com it appears that 5" of snow will fall from evening to overnight on Friday... What do you experienced folks think of this?

Still possible? I'm gunna give it a go regardless, no shame in turning back at the chute.

Thanks,

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#46418 - 05/25/16 08:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Iclimbmnts]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
Mountain-Forecast is always heavy on the amount of snow.

Look at the NOAA weather for the Whitney summit area

I think NOAA is closer to the true situation. If you look at the Mt Whitney Weather page, and look at the loop of the Western US Infrared, what we have is just a lingering bit of weather -- no big storm coming in from the Pacific.

Go prepared. It is still possible. NOAA even predicts Sunday will be "mostly sunny".

Good luck, and have fun!!

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#46419 - 05/25/16 10:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Adam7272 Offline


Registered: 04/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Hi Steve,
do you think the switchbacks are possible this weekend? As I mentioned in a previous post, we have ice axe and micro spikes. I can rent cramp ons if necessary.
Any advise is very appreciated.

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#46420 - 05/25/16 10:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Iclimbmnts]
Adam7272 Offline


Registered: 04/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Hello Iclimbmnts,
I am not sure exact time now, but we plan on picking up permit and grabbing breakfast in lone pine, so maybe 10am will be in parking lot area. we will look out for you. My name is Adam, my wife Lindsay, my brother Stephen, and his wife Christina.

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#46421 - 05/25/16 10:42 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
rpeers209 Offline


Registered: 05/25/16
Posts: 3
Loc: California, United States
Hello,

Me my girlfriend and her father are planning to summit Whitney June 26 as the culmination to a weeklong backpacking trip. While we are all experienced hikers, none of us has much familiarity with hiking in the snow.

I was wondering if anyone knows what the typical trail conditions are for Whitney around that time (June 26).

Thanks for all the help.

Robert

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#46422 - 05/25/16 11:06 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: rpeers209]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7615
Loc: Fresno, CA
Adam7272: Crampons are better, but microspikes might work.

I don't have any experience with the microspikes, but I understand they are not appropriate for descending on steeper slopes in icy conditions. Here's what you should do, if you don't take crampons:

As you encounter steeper slopes while you are climbing, turn around and practice descending. Make sure you are ok in descending mode. If not, then don't climb any higher. Make sure everyone in your party tries this.

None of the Whitney Main Trail route should be too icy, so the micros might work ok. Please be sure to report back what works (or doesn't) for you.
- - - - - - - -

rpeers209:
By late June, much of the snow will be melted, but there will be some lingering. By then, people are usually using the switchbacks, but encountering a few snowy/icy situations, especially at the cables. People usually just go without any special equipment, but need to be careful in those spots.

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#46423 - 05/25/16 12:52 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adam7272]
Iclimbmnts Offline


Registered: 04/29/16
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Adam7272

Planning on starting by myself a bit earlier, but probably meet you fine folks at trail camp ! Yellow Eureka Tent!


Insiyah smile

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#46425 - 05/25/16 04:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MannyHerrerajr Offline


Registered: 05/25/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Hello everyone
Was curious if anyone can provide info on the 99 switchbacks? Can you follow the trail or are they completely covered? How long is it taking for a single day round trip? I d only able to get a single day permit and will be hiking this Monday. In planning to start at 3am. Thank you!

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