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#46428 - 05/25/16 06:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Iclimbmnts]
Gerardahughes Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Visalia CA
Hi we are a group of 3 starting up the main trail on Friday for an overnight at trail camp also. We are coming in tomorrow and hope to camp at horshoe meadows tomorrow night for some acclimitization. Not sure when we are hitting the trail on Friday.
Gerard.

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#46431 - 05/25/16 09:52 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: MannyHerrerajr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
MannyH: the switchbacks are completely snowed over. We saw one group followed them up, but that is the exception. One-day trips are taking 15-16 hours. It is all snow from Trail Camp and above. Crampons and ice axe are very useful.

Read through all the pages of this thread, the pictures from two weeks ago are pretty much what you will find.

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#46438 - 05/26/16 10:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ckm15 Offline


Registered: 04/27/16
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
My group and I did the main Mount Whitney Trail 5/22-5/23, with two of us reaching the summit on the morning of the 23rd.

We stayed on the main trail until Trailside Meadow where we left the trail, following numerous sets of tracks in the snow, to avoid a section that we had been warned was sketchy by people descending. Crampons aren't necessary before trail camp.

After arriving at trail camp and setting up our tent, a helicopter flew in to evacuate someone from the base of the chute. While we do not know the details of that accident, we would note that when a helicopter passes over it can blow away a lot of your stuff. Luckily one member of our party had the presence of mind to go running after our airborne gear (a mat, pair of gaiters and a couple of other items) while the rest of us provided some ballast for our tents

We left trail camp at 3:30AM, reaching trail crest at 6:00AM and were the first group to the summit from Trail Camp at 8:45AM. The trail from Trail Crest to the summit was well established and while there were steep drop offs on the side, most of it felt comfortable. There were however 5 or 6 places where a rock stuck out into the trail, requiring some more challenging maneuvering to get around, often on thin ledges of snow. Several of these places required us to straddle the rock in order to pass it. We were able to pass these sections comfortably, however they would be worrisome if you are heavily fatigued or struggling from the altitude or not comfortable with maneuvering around rocks. See images below pictures of the trail between trail crest and the summit

On the way down we were warned by an ascending party that several people had already lost control glissading that morning. The member of our party that did not summit met us at the top of trail crest to warn us that he had met one woman who fell in a glissade track and slid most of the way down the chute, but was lucky enough to walk away with little more than bruised hands. Thanks to these warnings we decided to walk down the chute, starting at 12pm. Conditions on the chute were mixed, with most of it feeling like it would have been safe to glissade but with occasional unexpected regions of firm snow. I was thankful that we were not glissading as from my previous experience it would have been hard to maintain control in those conditions.


[img:center]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1pDsze...6=w1060-h795-no[/img]

[img:center]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/divuoC...5=w1060-h795-no[/img]

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#46439 - 05/26/16 11:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ckm15]
Carlitos Offline


Registered: 05/17/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Bay Area
Hey guys I figure this may be the best place to ask but if not I can delete and move the question elsewhere. Me and friend have been planning to climb the east face on June 13th (we have an overnight permit) but we're not 100% sure if the conditions will be too icy/snowy/slushy. Does anyone have a good guestimate on what conditions may be like around then? If it is the case that it will be too icy/snowy/slushy we would just do the mountaineers route. Thanks!

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#46440 - 05/26/16 11:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ckm15]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
ckm15, THANKS for the report, and especially the warnings about glissading! Do you know if anyone who had problems glissading had an ice axe for a brake? I know in really icy conditions, even the ice axe may not work.

Also, your pictures don't display. Are they set as private?
- - - -

Carlitos: The snow level was about at Lower Boy Scout Lake two weeks ago. Most will be gone on your approach by mid-June, but you may encounter some above Upper Boy Scout. I don't think it would be enough to hold you back much. The MR below the Notch will certainly have snow yet, so if you go that way, crampons and ice axe would be a good idea.
- - - - - - -

Required viewing for anyone thinking about glissading:
https://youtu.be/94QFImjdEAo




Edited by Steve C (05/26/16 12:32 PM)

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#46441 - 05/26/16 12:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MannyHerrerajr Offline


Registered: 05/25/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Thanks Steve!

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#46443 - 05/26/16 02:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Carlitos Offline


Registered: 05/17/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Steve C

Carlitos: The snow level was about at Lower Boy Scout Lake two weeks ago. Most will be gone on your approach by mid-June, but you may encounter some above Upper Boy Scout. I don't think it would be enough to hold you back much. The MR below the Notch will certainly have snow yet, so if you go that way, crampons and ice axe would be a good idea.


Cool thanks so much!

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#46444 - 05/26/16 02:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Carlitos]
Pseudoko Offline


Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 2
Loc: CA, USA
Hello All... me and a few friends will be going up June 3-5. I just had a couple of questions.

1. How deep is the snow right now up at trail camp?
2. How good/bad is the parking situation at the portal starting on Friday mornings currently? if it has generally been pretty full, I may just shuttle up there.
3. At about what elevation would crampons begin to be necessary?

Thanks everyone!

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#46455 - 05/27/16 09:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Carolyn Offline


Registered: 05/27/16
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi Everyone!

Looking for some advice as a first time solo female hiker.
I really want to do this hike and I have a permit for the 2 day trip for June 1st & 2nd, but I am worried about a few things. This will be my first time hiking solo, ascending past 10k feet, using crampons/ax, and hiking in the snow. I have done long multiple day backpacking trips with friends, but never past 10k, so I am unfamiliar with how altitude sickness will affect me and the snow sections have me a bit worried. Since I am going after memorial day, on a weekday, I wonder if anyone will be up near the summit that I can spot to see how they summit, since the switchbacks are snowed in. And after reading that a helicopter had to carry someone out I am a bit worried if this is a good idea.

Thank you so much for any input!

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#46457 - 05/28/16 05:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Carolyn]
Sara Keenan Offline


Registered: 05/09/14
Posts: 31
Loc: United States
You are proposing doing a lot of things for the first time on this hike. I think you are smart to be worried. I'd feel better if you went with someone with snow, ice and altitude experience. Have you taken a self-arrest class? Are you practiced enough to arrest and save your own life with that axe when seconds count?

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#46460 - 05/28/16 08:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Carolyn]
sarahD Offline


Registered: 07/12/15
Posts: 12
Loc: San Diego/Paso Robles
Pre coffee post::: If you were to go by yourself, I highly reccomend a weekend when people are sure to be around. That being said, you should have plenty of boot pack that might help OR hurt a successful ascent. Do you have any sort of GPS device? If I was going solo I would make sure to have that. Most importantly, would you feel safe going up there with no self arrest practice? You seem set on multi-day trips which is good. It's a great place to learn crampons/ice axe and what's comfortable for you, but for your first time you should go with someone more experienced. Hiking in the snow is another ballgame! If you end up post holing a lot of the way, the amount of energy to take your leg out is unreal. I want to encourage you to go, but with someone. In the summer it is different, if you're confident and have the right tools/skills then solo can be rewarding. The mountains are always in charge! If anything (weather, conditions) were to change, you don't wanna be by yourself. Altitude & being tired can really mess with you up there. You can text me anytime for advice 8583533661...as I'm half asleep at the moment. Safely first always...


Edited by sarahD (05/28/16 08:08 AM)

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#46462 - 05/28/16 09:43 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Carolyn]
Pseudoko Offline


Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 2
Loc: CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Carolyn
Hi Everyone!

Looking for some advice as a first time solo female hiker.
I really want to do this hike and I have a permit for the 2 day trip for June 1st & 2nd, but I am worried about a few things. This will be my first time hiking solo, ascending past 10k feet, using crampons/ax, and hiking in the snow. I have done long multiple day backpacking trips with friends, but never past 10k, so I am unfamiliar with how altitude sickness will affect me and the snow sections have me a bit worried. Since I am going after memorial day, on a weekday, I wonder if anyone will be up near the summit that I can spot to see how they summit, since the switchbacks are snowed in. And after reading that a helicopter had to carry someone out I am a bit worried if this is a good idea.

Thank you so much for any input!



Hi Carolyn. I'd suggest some of the things the other people have already mentioned here. try to get up there earlier if you can and camp a night or 2 at the portal to help get acclimated to the elevation. Just research the symptoms of AMS and if you start feeling any of them, I would recommend stopping and resting and wait to see if it passes and your body gets used to the elevation. If not, head back down a little bit and relax. don't push yourself if you don't feel good. Just play it safe smile

From reading the other posts, it appears most people are reaching the summit through the chute.

Since you are going solo, having a personal GPS beacon would be useful in case of an emergency. and of course bring a map and compass.

Too bad you are going up before my group goes up or i'd tell you to join us. We won't be up there until june 3-5.

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#46464 - 05/29/16 12:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MisterAnderson Offline


Registered: 05/29/16
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Hey everybody, first time poster. I recently found this board and I just wanna thank everyone for being so helpful in their information about the trail, I definitely would have gone in unprepared if I didn't do a little research.

I'm writing this post because I'm doing a single day Whitney trip on June 6th starting at 2am, and I was wondering if anyone had some insight on what the trail conditions might be like by then.

From what I've gathered, there will obviously be snow after trail camp, but are the switchbacks completely out of the question? The other members in my group have never glissaded (?) before and I wouldn't want them to go in inexperienced.

Also, it seems like most hikers are using ice axes, my group will have hiking poles, but do you think we should rent some axes? This will be our 4th time doing Whitney, but the first time with substantial snow. Thanks!

/\\ /\\\

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#46468 - 05/29/16 12:06 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sarahD]
Carolyn Offline


Registered: 05/27/16
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Thank you so much for everyones advice!
I feel confident doing it on my own but in summer conditions. I had no idea there was that much snow this late in the year. After looking at the earlier posts it really got me thinking about how much harder this will be. I am going to postpone this hike for maybe August or September. I would need to buy a gps device and I don't have any self arrest practice either. Overall the conditions for this hike seem above me experience right now.
But I appreciate everyone on the message board! So happy so many people share all this helpful information smile

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#46472 - 05/29/16 02:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Carolyn]
jason Smith Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 2
Loc: ALABAMA
Carolyn

I have an extra one day pass for June 22, from what most people have told me, most of the snow will be gone and it will be possible to make it as a normal hike. Your welcome to the pass.

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#46484 - 05/30/16 01:07 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Posted on Instagram May 29, 2016, by Paul Bates (@milkwhitetree)

This picture taken at Trail Camp:   "Sunrise at base camp"



Quote:
This is "the chute", part of a steep 1800ft/550m climb using crampons, ice ax and a lot of breaks. It would take over two hours to reach Trail Crest. Those wide dig outs in front are from glissading, which I would find on the return was the only way down in the mid-day sun.

...Note that people CAN walk down the slope.




Quote:
Past Trail Crest and on the way to Whitney. So many places like this on this stretch, grabbing to rocks and inch past with the vertical drop always present. Walking on a thin ledge of snow on the edge of a long vertical drop. This is why crampons and an ice ax should be used. It's on one of these narrow trails I caught my crampon on my snow pants and literally almost tumbled off the cliff




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#46497 - 05/30/16 03:13 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Found a report from Sunday, May 29:

"made good time until about trail camp. Felt some effects of altitude but snow was our real challenge. Without crampons we were toast. Switchbacks were buried and almost invisible. Gave going up the chutes a brief try but post holing and steep slope nixed that idea. Still it was an absolutely beautiful day and a wonderful experience!"

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#46500 - 05/30/16 10:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: rpeers209]
kevin108 Offline


Registered: 05/30/16
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hi Robert,
I' have a permit for the same day as you (June 26). Was planning on hiking with two friends who had some stuff come up and aren't able to go now. This is my first time hiking Whitney and would like to head up with some other people. Thanks.

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#46503 - 05/31/16 10:42 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
anusha mcnamara Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Has anyone tried using microspikes instead of crampons to go up the main trail using the chute?

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#46520 - 06/01/16 07:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: anusha mcnamara]
climbslc Offline


Registered: 05/20/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: anusha mcnamara
Has anyone tried using microspikes instead of crampons to go up the main trail using the chute?


Same question here.

We are definitely taking microspikes (June 6th) and putting them on at/near the snow line because we prefer hiking mixed terrain (snow/ice/rock/dirt) in those. We will probably start the chute in microspikes and play it by ear.

If there is a good boot pack then the spikes with ice axe in one hand/pole in the other will probably be fine.

But I haven't yet seen anything (including the pictures from the 29th) that make me comfortable leaving the crampons behind...


Edited by climbslc (06/01/16 07:32 AM)

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