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#46803 - 06/22/16 10:44 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Sara Keenan]
Luisito Offline


Registered: 04/15/15
Posts: 21
Loc: San Jose, CA
Glad you enjoyed the photos. The back side (last 1.9 mi) wasn't bad. On 6/16, there were patches of snow on a few areas but it's very manageable. The last switchback to the hut / summit was covered in snow. Most people were able to go up with poles and microspikes. I believe the heatwave this week will clear the area very quickly.

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#46804 - 06/22/16 10:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: mkmwhitney]
Luisito Offline


Registered: 04/15/15
Posts: 21
Loc: San Jose, CA
Hi mkmwhitney,
The trail (last 1.9 miles) between the crest and summit wasn't bad at all. No tough spots compared to the one at the cables! I wore my microspikes but saw others trekking up with just their hiking boots. The last switchback and slope to the summit / peak was covered with snow but I think it should melt away with the heat this week.



Edited by Steve C (06/22/16 11:06 AM)
Edit Reason: show picture

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#46805 - 06/22/16 11:06 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MTN Offline


Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 9
Loc: Alta Loma, CA
Thank you all for the great reports. Our group will be starting our overnight trip tomorrow. It's great to have such detailed and current information.
Thanks all.

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#46806 - 06/22/16 11:10 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Luisito]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
There is usually one snow patch on the trail just left of the picture above where snow remains for some weeks. A groove often wears into it from so many hikers, that can be several feet deep.

Originally Posted By: Sara Keenan
How far up the switchbacks or beyond is there running water near the trail during the day that can be treated? In years' past someone will post where on the way up they encounter a water-source in the switchbacks or above as the snow melts until the streams from snowmelt run dry in late July or August.

The last water on the trail is always at switchback #22 above Trail Camp. It runs across several switchbacks. The source is a snow field high above and off-trail, and it dries up late in summer. This time of year, it might be frozen early mornings.

And many people will just dip and drink that water. It's about as pure as you can get.
Luisito's picture 47:

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#46812 - 06/22/16 08:37 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Luisito]
sonalAlpha Offline


Registered: 06/22/16
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
Amazing pictures Lusito!

I m planning to hike Mt. Whitney on the 4th of July weekend. How will the snow look then?

Also which camera did you use? I need to buy one.

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#46813 - 06/22/16 08:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Sara Keenan Offline


Registered: 05/09/14
Posts: 31
Loc: United States
Thank you Steve.

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#46818 - 06/23/16 08:14 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sonalAlpha]
Luisito Offline


Registered: 04/15/15
Posts: 21
Loc: San Jose, CA
thank you... I hope by July 4th, all the snow will melt away on the switchbacks with the recent heatwave! smile I carry a Canon Mirrorless camera on all my hikes. It's an EOS M. Very lightweight and compact. smile

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#46819 - 06/23/16 09:16 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Luisito]
Zizo Offline


Registered: 06/17/16
Posts: 3
Loc: socal
Just want to report that we were able to Summit on June 20 with just hiking shoes and hiking sticks. You really don't need microspikes or crampons. The last switchbacks to trail crest is the only spot that you need to pay attention but I'm sure the snow will be gone in a week. Overall, I think it's very doable to do a one day hike without any winter gears. There were plenty parking at the portal so that's also a good news. Good luck everyone.

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#46820 - 06/23/16 09:44 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Zizo]
Ernest Offline


Registered: 05/19/15
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
a quick and simple (but informative) update. Thanks!

Also want to add that there will almost never be an ideal setting for this hike (well for me at least on my last 4 trips). There will always be some issue getting to the top but it's all about determination and willingness to get to the summit despite the circumstance. Good luck to everyone!


Edited by Ernest (06/23/16 09:47 AM)

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#46821 - 06/23/16 10:08 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
StarDustyLove Offline


Registered: 06/23/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Ventura CA
Hi everyone, I am new to this board and want to say many thanks for the trip reports! My friend and I are planning to summit next week, leaving the afternoon of the 28th on a multi night trip, coming back the 1st. I will post when I get back about conditions, pictures, etc. First time, super excited! Wish us luck smile

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#46823 - 06/23/16 11:02 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve T. Offline


Registered: 10/07/15
Posts: 9
Loc: Northern CA
Any news or pics for the Mountaineer's Route? We are heading up the second week in July and am curious how much snow is left.

Thanks!

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#46824 - 06/23/16 12:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Bwolfy Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Washington State
Just a quick note. Our group of 6 made it to the summit on 6/22 after camping on 6/21 at trail camp. We only needed our hiking shoes and trecking poles. We did have to step outside of the cables for two steps on the way up but it had melted even more on the way down and we were able to stay inside. The last switchback had some snow but there was an easy trail to follow. We went on top of the rocks at the trail crest rather than try to cross on the snow above the chute, which was easy and I would recommend. There are then about 3 sections of snow right before the summit that has a well made trail making for easy travel. Going down on this section would be the only place I could see micro spikes being a convenience but none of our group needed or chose to put them on. Definitely not a need. We did see a few people trying to go up the chute, and it looked miserable and slow!

Our group of 6 ranged in ages from 29-40, 2 experienced and 4 who had never done anything like this. Keep up on water intake, sunglasses and sunscreen! We were in t shirts the entire trip except at night/camping. Have fun and thanks for all of the help from previous posts!

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#46825 - 06/23/16 01:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Bwolfy]
btfleming4 Offline


Registered: 06/22/16
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
I am headed up there tonight, this news is great to hear!

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#46834 - 06/23/16 10:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Bwolfy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
Pictures supplied by Bwolfy from June 22.
Click each one for full-size.

Trail, with Trail Camp pond



At the cables






[url=hhttps://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Whitney/i-QzxcCzt/0/L/image4-L.jpg][/url]



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#46836 - 06/24/16 09:38 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
adventurer456 Offline


Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 9
Loc: adventurer456
SNOW CHUTE REPORT from 6/22:

First time ice axe, crampon use, glissading. Started chute at 5:30am. Reached Trailcrest at 10am (could have been faster if were in better shape).


Slush encountered at rocks toward the top. Take off crampons and hike middle rock field towards the top to pass slush. Then put them back on to summit trail crest.

Yes, switchbacks will be faster this time of year. Someone else reported at 3am snow chute was very good/hard. We encountered some slush, but it was not not doable.

Glissading was extremely fun. Slush snow will slow you down but you still need to self-arrest. At the top I was self-arresting for about 100 yards to make sure I had control. Also use your feet (without crampons) to dig into the snow).


DO NOT proceed without watching self-arrest and crampon usage videos and practicing on snow at the bottom of the chute.

Chute probably good for the next week as long as you have an early start, but it will be slower and tougher than switchback (everyone else is taking switchbacks).

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#46838 - 06/24/16 10:44 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Tom S Offline


Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Bishop, California
I also, have really appreciated this forum and this discussion in particular, and wanted to give a trip report from yesterday 6/23

We left at 3:00 a.m., and were glad we did. We had a variety of abilities in our group and one group member got sick, and he and his father ended up turning back. A third group member got to trail crest and did not feel up to dealing with the issues there (more on that). And I was unable to summit, as I did some shuttling between our more advanced and less advanced groups as they got separated on the trail, and that extra effort overtaxed me a bit, causing me to have to take a bit of a recovery break on the upper portion of the 99 switchbacks, and by the time I was recovered I felt that I was too far behind to not cause major delays with our decent. But 5 of our 9 summited, including an 11 year old boy and a 12 year old girl.

As to the dicey areas. The cables now have a path on the correct side of the cables, though it is VERY narrow in some areas (one foot in front of the other, right next to the cables). It was doable but a little hairy, as the cables are there because that is a very steep drop off, so walking close to the edge and having to rely on the cables quite a bit is a step more intensity for someone who is more of a hiker than a mountaineer.

The other dicey area is at trail crest, at the top of the chute, where you are making the transition to the west side. The trail has a moderate amount of snow on it in 3 areas. Two areas are fairly walk-able with a moderate degree of care. But the 3rd area has no path right at the level of the trail, and people have established a route through the snow above, and a route that is partially through the snow and a bit through the rocks below the trail. These routes make many nervous as a mistake could cause one to slide down the chute. So many bypassed this entire area by scrambling over the rock outcropping and then coming down on the trail after it has passed through the "window". Even though I did not summit I went through this to at least get to see the west side (and I was still assessing if I would try to summit). I scrambled over the top. This took a level of agility beyond what I felt I had after hiking 9 miles uphill. Wasn't too technical, but was definitely a moderate degree of scrambling. I came back on the upper snowy path. I used my walking stick and drove it into the snow above to help with maintaining balance. I found that the path was well compressed and did not sink into the snow, and just took my time and was careful.

While waiting for the portion of my party that summited I was able to see many parties navigate this obstacle. About half or slightly less went up and over the rocks. Half or slightly more went on the snowy trail. On the snowy trail some experienced hikers walked it like any other trail. But most took a fairly high degree of care, with some obviously struggling with the perceived danger. No one, on any route, had any real trouble or appeared to be in real peril. Only one person went through the snowy area, below the main trail.

Last thing. The entire trail is very wet in spots. If you do not have waterproof footwear, your feet will get wet. There are two early stream crossings. One is just water flowing over a slab of granite, and you will have to step in to 1/2" to 1" of water. The next is a normal rock hopping creek crossing, but about 20% of the rocks you will have to use are just below the surface of the water, and again non-waterproof footwear will get wet. But aside from that, there is water on the trail in all sorts of places, including the 99 switchbacks. Some can easily be negotiated around, while others the easiest path is just to tromp on through. So think abut making sure your boots are well sealed, or be prepared with sock changes. Having water shoes is not very viable (would work for creek crossing), as there would just be too much putting them on and taking them off.

All and all it was a good trip. Exhausting but rewarding. The perils of the trail are rapidly melting. Saw no one all day going up or down the chute, though someone mentioned that several people did the day before. Thunder storms were potentially in the forecast, but none materialized.

As everyone was saying up there, have fun and be safe!

p.s. I have some pictures but don't have access to them right now. Hope to post over the weekend

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#46840 - 06/24/16 02:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Tom S]
TomGet Offline


Registered: 06/14/16
Posts: 5
Loc: WA
I went up 6/20-6/21. I have to agree with Tom S's report.

On the cables, I was able to squeak by all but one on the inside, and had to swing out for one pole. I should have put my trekking pole in my pack, so I could use both hands.

At the top of the switchbacks, the only way up I saw was the path Tom mentioned. And, I'll say that with microspikes and a trekking pole, it was scary. I hung onto the rocks as much as I could, but there was one rock with nothing to grab. One slip, and it would have been a fast ride down. Once past that point, I found myself pretty high up on the knob of rocks to the left of Trail Crest - also not a fun prospect.

The rest was pretty safe - one icy spot between Trail Crest and the JMT junction. Not very visible - be real careful walking along.

As I was leaving, five miles from the trail head, the sole of one of my hiking boots detached. Fortunately, there was an inner sole, so it was still waterproof (as I found when stepping into a river). Not sure how I was going to make the rest of the hike, I tried using my microspikes as a glove to hold the sole on - it worked great. I made it out and back home.

I'll say that it was pretty disgusting seeing how many wag bags people left on the trail. I wish the park service would put serial numbers on them and fine anyone who abandons them.

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#46842 - 06/24/16 02:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Tom S Offline


Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Bishop, California
A couple quick thoughts on Tomget's post.

I did go as far (actually just a little farther) than the JMT/Summit split and did not see any ice on that trail, so I think that may have melted for the season.

Also, I think further melting may have made the snow trail at trail crest better than when Tomget passed through. I was able to use 2 rocks on the way up, and then my pole from there. There was a bit of a lip of the trail starting to form (not enough to even thing about walking on, but made it seem possible to possibly catch if slipping) It's still scary, but a more do-able scary perhaps. Probably better going from summit side towards the switchbacks then from the switchbacks towards the summit.

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#46858 - 06/27/16 09:47 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
btfleming4 Offline


Registered: 06/22/16
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
I just summited yesterday (6/26) with a group of three. There is a lot of water on the trail and some of the stream crossings are pretty deep, especially the first one. On the way up it was easier and dryer to take our boots off than to try to jump from rock to rock, but on the way down jumping on the rocks was fine.

We took our time heading up on Saturday (6/25) because we were staying at trail camp. After staying the night at trail camp we got an earlier start up the switch backs, there were a few places with thin layers of ice over the rocks. This wasnít anything to be too worried about, just have to watch your step. Coming back down, after the sun hit the trail, this all melted.

The cable area was all clear, I was able to hike right through it pretty quick, but I could see how this could be very nerve-wracking. At no point do you need to go to the outside of the cables.

Right before trail crest there is a little sketchy area. (Sorry for the bad picture, itís all Iíve got) As someone else mentioned, there is quite a bit of snow you have to cross over on a narrow path. This is one of the spots where having trekking poles definitely helped. We all had microspikes, but did not use them. I could easily see how someone would want to use them here. I think the earlier you get there, the easier it will be to cross; the snow starts to get super slushy as the day goes on.

From Trail Crest on, there was one larger patch of snow, but much more manageable. This one had a clear path beaten into so there werenít any issues. Again, trekking poles help a lot, take your time and make sure your feet are set before moving on.


Feel free to ask any questions! I have attached some photos from my first go through. I will be posting more on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/btfleming4/










Edited by btfleming4 (06/27/16 09:51 AM)

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#46859 - 06/27/16 10:21 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: mkmwhitney]
btfleming4 Offline


Registered: 06/22/16
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
Hey! This is Ben. Did you all make it?

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