We're having triple-digit heat on the west side for the next week, and NOAA shows the temps even at the Whitney summit never getting down to freezing, highs in the 50s. So the snow is melting fast! There will likely be a boot-track on the switchbacks pretty soon.
You could always leave the crampons home and try to make it through. You can go with the idea that if conditions get too bad, turn around and head down.
...Here's what they say: The mountain will always be there for another try.
I think we're going to do the same. We're probably going to keep crampons with us just in case. Like you said, I'd rather carry extra weight to succeed summitting.
Excellent news about the temperatures! We're going June 5th. We have a pass for the day, but we're going to try to get an overnight for the night of the 4th, and camp at outpost. We'll let you know how it goes! Thanks everyone for all the help!
Ashish - when do you plan on getting up to summit? The conditions are looking beautiful on Saturday night into Sunday. 35*F overnight at the summit (at this point; we'll see as it gets closer) - I'm assuming this means the chute or the trail after trail crest won't be frozen.
I was thinking of waiting to summit later in the day so it's not so icy, but if the conditions are like this, I'm thinking we're (group of 2 - my husband and I) going to try to leave outpost around 2 AM. Maybe we'll see you at the summit!
We're heading up on the 6th as well. We were thinking that throwing crampons in is really not that much to carry, and could be essential for summiting depending on conditions. Better to have it and not use it. Plus, I bought a pair just for this hike and there's no way I'm dropping $150 on a piece of gear and not using it! Heck, I'll run around the parking lot in them just to use them if I have to.
It looks like the group in the video didn't use crampons until past trail crest. Interesting.
Ashish - I think we're going to just bring our crampons (no microspikes). We're renting mountaineering boots, so I'm pretty worried about that because they're not my own broken in hiking boots. But I hear they're warm and dry, so that sounds appealing. We're evening thinking about using our own hiking boots to get to outpost camp, and then wear the rented mountaineering boots from outpost camp to the summit. Then we'll play it by ear with the crampons that we'll be carrying.
Loc: California, United States
Would love to plan it together, only problem is this will be the culmination of a weeklong trek starting farther south. As such it'd be hard to coordinate a meeting place/time on the trail. I suspect by that time of year the trail and the mtn will be crowded with plenty of experienced hikers. It is my hope to solicit some company and advice along the way.
I'm heading up the Mountain for my second time on June 23rd. I know it's a ways out from now, but looking at all the current condition responses, there's no word of opportunity to use the switch backs to Trail Crest. Is the chute the only way to go still and do you all think the Switch backs will be open and safe to use by June 23rd? The idea of Glissading down the chute is not something I'm comfortable with right now. Just want to make sure I'm not gong to get all the way to Trail camp and have to turn around due to snowed-in switch backs.
Phil K, I think the switchbacks will be the way to go in 3 weeks. There will be some ice at the cables, but people get past it with a little caution.
Sierra Seeker: If you are coming from near sea level, the best way would be to spend your night at Outpost Camp, since it is considerably lower than Trail Camp. Then get up early and try to leave for the summit at 5 AM. The lower altitude will help keep the altitude sickness symptoms down, but you are still close enough to summit and return in one day.
Steve, Thanks for the input. We had some snow pack last year around the cables and got through ok. Had to move off course a bit to get around it, but we skirted past that pretty easy. Once we got to Trail crest and started going up the backside, that's where it got a little tricky and concerning. I'm hoping that snow continues to melt with the local high temps and won't be too bad. I'll be prepped with Crampons and am hoping that's enough for that part of the trail. Thanks again for all your input. This forum is great for preparation.
Anusha - I was planning to rent REI crampons but they came with mountaineering boots and they didn't have my size (it seems to be a popular weekend) I am getting both CAMP Stalker Universal Crampons (straps on hiking boots) and microspikes and then play it by the ear.
Looks like we have a crowd coming in for June 5th/6th so that's great
Good luck everyone, hope to see you all at the summit!