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#46600 - 06/07/16 07:26 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ashish M]
tomandjeff Offline


Registered: 06/07/16
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hi Folks, Thanks for the latest updates. Here is my question. I am not sure we are up to this trip. I am 50 (but in good shape for 50). My son is 15 and in great shape for 15. I have self arrested 20 years ago but not since. My son never has never used crampons or an ice axe.

I was not planning for this much snow when I put in for the lottery and we got an earlier slot than I expected. So we are scheduled for June 11. Planning to start at 2AM from the bottom, up and back in one day.

Does anyone think the switchbacks will be open by Saturday? Having not snow climbed in along time and my kid never - will we be able to get up the chute? Also, we have inexpensive but in good shape Hi-tech boots. Think that is a mistake? Also, the last time I did this we roped up when climbing Mt. Hood. Does no one use ropes on Whitney?

Thanks! -Tom

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#46601 - 06/08/16 12:57 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: tomandjeff]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6781
Loc: Fresno, CA
People don't use ropes on this route on Whitney.

I think you and your son can do it. If you don't glissade down, there isn't as much risk and not as much need for ice axe.

I think the switchbacks will take you longer than using the chute. This year, people have put in a good zig-zag boot-track on the chute area, so you can follow that, both up and down.

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#46602 - 06/08/16 09:23 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: tomandjeff]
Richmond Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 9
Loc: San Francisco
tomandjeff

You guys can definitely do it! I had never used crampons or an ice axe before and it was no problem. Leaving at 2 should be fine. If you're in good shape that will give you plenty of time.

We talked to a ranger who thought the switchbacks may be open this weekend, but wasn't sure. I'm sure you guys will be fine! Have fun!

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#46603 - 06/08/16 09:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ashish M]
Kay Offline


Registered: 06/06/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CALIFORNIA
Thanks for all the updates. I plan on hiking Whitney this Sat, June 11th (one day summit). I currently own Microspikes and plan on renting crampons. I wanted to find out whether you recommend one or the other (or both)? Thx for input!


Edited by Kay (06/08/16 10:12 AM)

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#46604 - 06/08/16 10:03 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Richmond]
anusha mcnamara Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 10
Loc: California
tomandjeff - I agree with Richmond! My husband and I also never used ice axes or crampons before and we were fine. I had looked up YouTube videos of how to arrest with an ice axe, and practiced to make sure I felt comfortable when we were there. You can always walk down the chute if needed. We also brought a rope just in case, but never used it. You don't need to bring one up; not worth the weight. You will do great!

Kay - Keep watching the weather reports and play it by ear. If conditions are similar to when we climbed on 6/4-6/5 (which I highly doubt), it might be worth bringing both the crampons and microspikes and see how you feel when you get there. I saw people use microspikes and they got up the chute ok, but this was when the snow was firm at 3 AM. For a day hike, by the time you get to the chute, the conditions will be softer. I would definitely recommend microspikes for the backside, but the chute might be nicer in crampons. However, if the snow melts enough, and you can do the switchbacks, microspikes might be enough to carry.


Edited by anusha mcnamara (06/08/16 10:08 AM)

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#46605 - 06/08/16 10:15 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: anusha mcnamara]
Kay Offline


Registered: 06/06/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CALIFORNIA
Good point about conditions on the chute and time of day. Very helpful, appreciate your input Anusha.

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#46606 - 06/08/16 11:01 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Kay]
heatpro Offline


Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 9
Loc: CA, USA
If anyone has been up recently and used the switchbacks, can we expect them to be usable by June 19th without crampons/spikes?

Thank you!

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#46607 - 06/08/16 01:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: heatpro]
Ashish M Offline


Registered: 06/01/16
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
If the current weather trends continue then it's likely but I'd suggest keep an eye glued here smile

I ran into many doing just fine with microspikes but they were definitely not new to hiking in snow..

My recommendation:
Day hikers should definitely carry crampons+ice axes unless there's clear word out there on not needing them.

Overnight campers can afford to use microspikes in firm snow if they start early in the night (finish the chute by sunrise) and walk down the chute on all fours.

Again, keep an eye here for latest updates

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#46608 - 06/08/16 01:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: heatpro]
amit Offline


Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 4
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
Hello everyone, thanks a lot for all the updated information! It's encouraging to see people climbing up the chute despite having limited/no experience with ice axe and crampons etc.

I will be day-hiking Whitney on coming Sunday. I plan to start from Whitney Portal at midnight in order to summit around sunrise.

Has anyone used switchbacks to climb up yet?

I am more worried about getting down the chute rather than climbing up, considering the heat during day.

Let's hope we get to use switchbacks this weekend. Fingers crossed!

Thanks y'all!
-Amit

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#46610 - 06/08/16 03:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: amit]
Phil K Offline


Registered: 06/03/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Gilbert, AZ
Amit,

Please keep this forum updated on how the switchbacks look when you hike this weekend. We are hiking on the 23rd and have a group of 8, mainly non-experienced snow hikers doing Mt. Whitney for the first time. We'd really prefer to work our way up the switchbacks and then back down the same way, but will only go that way if it's safe. This forum is the best out there for feedback, so your input is priceless.

Thanks and best of luck up there!!

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#46611 - 06/08/16 03:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: amit]
anusha mcnamara Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Amit, I promise going down the chute isn't as bad as it looks. I was really fearful about it, and ended up having a blast glissading for the first time ever (probably the most fun I've ever had on a mountain, which is saying a lot). By the time you go down, the snow will be soft and slow. Good luck!

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#46614 - 06/08/16 08:11 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: anusha mcnamara]
amit Offline


Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 4
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
I talked to a guy who completed the hike a day ago. Here is what he said about switchbacks:

Don't worry about all the rumors you hear about it, it really wasn't that bad. The first half mile from guitar lake is a bit difficult to find the switchbacks because they're covered in snow, but it was fine with microspikes. The switchbacks at the top were easy to use as well, it's snow covered until about half a mile from the summit, but again it was fine with microspikes. People had carved out footholds on any part that needed them. With microspikes and an ice ax, it's entirely manageable. Same with forester pass.

Edit: the above paragraph is addressing the west side of Mt. Whitney -- the John Muir Trail where it climbs Mt Whitney. Forester Pass is about 15 miles north of Mt Whitney on the JMT.


Edited by Steve C (06/09/16 11:43 AM)

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#46615 - 06/08/16 08:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Phil K]
Luisito Offline


Registered: 04/15/15
Posts: 21
Loc: San Jose, CA
Hey Phil, a group of four of us will be doing an overnight hike next weekend, 6/16 -17. From the posts and photos so far and my experience from 2 years ago, the switchbacks will be doable as soon as next week. I will plan to provide my update in this forum after the hike. smile

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#46617 - 06/09/16 12:45 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: anusha mcnamara]
amit Offline


Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 4
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
Hi Anusha,

Is it easier to glissade down the chute in softer snow ?

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#46618 - 06/09/16 06:22 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: amit]
ramel09 Offline


Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
Amit - this sounds like two different sets of switchbacks
I think most everyone is referring to the 97-99 switchbacks from trail camp to trail crest which is on the main whitney trail.

if your guy is talking about guitar lake that would be the switchbacks that bring you up from the valley if your on the JMT forrester pass is also a section of the JMT that is not related to hiking mt whitney


Luisito - I will look forward to your trip report, I am coming up on Sunday to camp and acclimate and hiking on tuesday/wednesday - hoping to leave any extra crampons and ice axes behind if I can!

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#46620 - 06/09/16 08:43 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
shanewolf Offline


Registered: 06/06/16
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
I am hiking this Saturday night/Sunday AM with a big group...looking like mother nature is trying to make this much more interesting: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=36.6&lon=-118.28

Hoping this blows through but the big drop in temps from early this week certainly mean something is rolling through.

And in response about those switchback comments, those are definitely the backside JMT switchbacks right?

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#46621 - 06/09/16 09:40 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: shanewolf]
tomandjeff Offline


Registered: 06/07/16
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
So... I am thinking we will go with crampons not microspikes.

Should we plan to take them off from the top of the chute to the summit? What do you folks recommend?

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#46622 - 06/09/16 09:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: shanewolf]
jennett Offline


Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Shane - we are doing an overnight on Sunday - Monday. Fingers crossed the weather passes quickly and everyone is able to summit safely. We'll probably see your group on our way up - best of luck!

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#46631 - 06/10/16 12:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
shanewolf Offline


Registered: 06/06/16
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Weather still looking iffy this weekend, anyone going up saturday or sunday?

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#46632 - 06/10/16 12:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: shanewolf]
BDB Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Chicago, IL
We are planning on hitting the trail at 1-2am on Monday, looking to see if we can do it in a day.

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