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#48265 - 08/30/16 10:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: spaulk1]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
spaulk1: It is not uncommon for hikers to take 9 hours and longer to get down. When I was there 8/27 and 8/28, there was a stream of headlamps shining up on the trail well after dark.

It sounds like you were waiting for word from hiking friends. I hope they made it out ok. 99.9% of them seem to make it without any issues, often taking longer than expected.

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#48382 - 09/12/16 01:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Halfdomer Homer Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Beautiful day on Sat Sept 10. Made it up in 9 hrs and back down in 5. Perfect weather, didn't even need a jacket on the summit. I heard it rained a little that night though.

-Dan

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#48437 - 09/20/16 09:45 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
DUG hiked the Main Trail Sept 19. His picture shows ice is forming again at the cables. This is new ice that is freezing from the water that is seeping out of the cracks in the rocks at the cables.

Thanks for the picture, Doug!


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#48438 - 09/20/16 10:07 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
chinombre Offline


Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 8
Loc: santa monica

Is that patch easily passable with standard boots/footwear?

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#48439 - 09/20/16 10:10 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chinombre]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
Yes. The rocks on the edge are dry. If the ice covers a larger area, the cables are there to hang onto.

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#48441 - 09/20/16 10:11 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
chinombre Offline


Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 8
Loc: santa monica
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Yes. The rocks on the edge are dry. If the ice covers a larger area, the cables are there to hang onto.


Rad, congrats!

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#48442 - 09/20/16 12:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chinombre]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Super easy to walk by in trail runners. Stay on the rocks next to the cables and hang on if you need to.

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#48443 - 09/20/16 02:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: DUG]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
DUG: Is the Trail Camp pond frozen over in your picture?
shocked

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#48445 - 09/20/16 07:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: Steve C
DUG: Is the Trail Camp pond frozen over in your picture?
shocked


Not only is it not frozen, but the water I filtered early in the morning wasn't even that cold. It was a warm day on the trail. I only used my jacket briefly.

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#48466 - 09/24/16 09:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 12
Loc: Northern California
Summited 9/23. The pond at TC was frozen before sunrise on 9/23, but thawed during the day. The night of 9/22 was truly frigid - much colder than 9/23 - so I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t freeze again for a while. Water was plentiful at all spots below Trail Camp, but no water was flowing from the springs on the switchbacks, even in mid-afternoon on our return trip from the summit on 9/23. DUG’s pictures of the cables looked just like what we saw – very solid ice through the middle 50 feet of the cables. As Steve C notes, the ice is easily passable on higher rocks - currently in any type of footwear (just pay close attention not to step off the ice-free higher rocks. Snow on the trail is very sporadic between the cables and the summit, and so thin, it probably melted today due to much warmer temperatures on the mountain than the days before.

Road construction is now almost to the Portal. Delays were only about 30 minutes or so, but covered the area from a few miles out of Lone Pine, all the way to the Portal itself. We had to wait for the pilot car simply to exit the family campground at the Portal. We got caught by the last pilot car delay coming out of Lone Pine at nearly 8pm on 9/21, so they are working late.

Perhaps this is true at any time, but late September conditions can change dramatically from day to day as this week showed. 9/21 the mountain was shrouded in clouds and looked ugly from Lone Pine. 9/22, on the other hand, was cloud-free all day. All returnees we talked to while hiking up to Trail Camp on 9/22 reported harrowing conditions the previous night at Trail Camp. Multiple parties reported destroyed(!) tents during the night due to severe winds. “Hurricane-force” was the adjective reported by several. Most reported thunderstorms and several parties independently reported a helicopter blaring a siren warning people off the summit ridge during the day of 9/21 (I’d never seen that reported on the forum before – is that unusual?). Returnees from a night at Outpost also reported high winds. Conditions were much better on 9/22 - quite cold on the way up from the Portal, but few winds, so we braved Trail Camp. The night was nearly wind-free, but extremely cold - well below freezing and rather uncomfortable. 9/23 day was still chilly but much warmer at night than 9/22 (only freezingish, not frigid). A bit windy on the summit, but clear skies all day and not uncomfortable. Today (9/24) most were in shirt sleeves below Trail Camp once the sun was fully up. At 1pm when we got back to our car, the Portal was shorts weather.

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#48507 - 09/30/16 11:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Dave F]
jondotcom Offline


Registered: 05/17/12
Posts: 22
Loc: Bay Area, CA
It's been ~4yrs since the last trip and planning to go in 1-2 weeks...solo dayhike unless I can drag along a partner.

Other than the shorter days, anything of note at this time of year? Last time I did it at the end of June '12.

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#48510 - 09/30/16 02:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jondotcom]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 462
Loc: Saugus, CA
I'm thinking of going up next weekend if I can get a permit. Starting EAARLY, I may see you up there.

Usually chances for weather and snow flurries. Dress warm, you won't find running water above Trailside Meadow (and not much longer). Prepare for small bits of snow and ice to bypass.

I don't believe there will be much ground cover now though.


Edited by Snacking Bear (09/30/16 02:29 PM)
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#48511 - 09/30/16 03:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just be aware in these cold mornings...

Several years ago a group started up, and crossing a stream, the rocks at the surface had iced over, and headlamps did not reveal that what looked like wet rocks were actually really slick and icy rocks.

One person in the party slipped, and did a face plant. That ended their trip immediately.

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#48518 - 10/03/16 08:45 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here are several recent pictures -- Friday, Oct 1, 2016. There has been a light dusting of snow on the trail, making some spots a little slippery.

From FB, posted by Carl N
Quote:
Ice Ice Baby...and an inch or so of snow too above the cables on the switchbacks following some flurries on Thursday night. Microspikes may give you some peace of mind if you're heading up soon.



From FB, and Carl N
Quote:
I summitted on Friday ...here's a pic of the cables. The spikes were sure helpful on the icy patches. Conditions were great though. It was shirtsleeve weather below the switchbacks and only a light jacket needed up top. No wind or even a cloud in the sky.


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#48540 - 10/05/16 04:18 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Climber Joe Offline


Registered: 10/13/15
Posts: 5
Loc: California
I'm scheduled to go up Thurs morning early. Any most recent reports re: ice and water availability?

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#48542 - 10/05/16 07:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Climber Joe]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
I think the ice you see in the pictures above will be what you will find. Last water is the Trail Camp pond.

If it's cold, your water can freeze in the bottle, so you might need to keep it warm or at least insulated.

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#48552 - 10/11/16 06:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Vavylon Offline


Registered: 10/07/16
Posts: 9
Loc: San Diego
Conditions as of Monday October 10th in the AM:

Some thick ice at the cables as seen in the picture above- it is easy to step around and lasts only for about 10m of the trail. Saw some frost in between gravel here and there. Everything on the West side, past the crest, was windy and cold. One hiker noted that his uninsulated camelbak tube had frozen. I would hazard the temperature was in the upper 20s on the summit. Weather was expected and a lite dusting of snow, but it was clear skies by and large.

Temperatures at the portal overnight were very mild and pleasant, mid to high 50s perhaps.

I still haven't figured out the permit system but it will be irrelevant come November anyways. Though 100% of the dayhike permits were supposedly reserved, the park office had 48 to give out on a holiday Monday and from what I was told had near the same number for the day before which was a Sunday. I was extremely worried about making a 4.5hr drive to possibly not end up with a permit. At 2:00pm on the dot, there were a total of 5 people waiting for permits and maybe 3 more people there shortly after.

Including all the people I encountered on the trail that day I would guess there was a total of around 50 with a majority being overnight backpackers. There were definitely people there, but I did not feel overwhelmed by the number. Numbers are expected to taper drastically from what I have been told.

Hope this was informative smile Happy hiking!

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#48553 - 10/11/16 08:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Vavylon]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
thanks

Appreciate the information!

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#48573 - 10/17/16 01:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 462
Loc: Saugus, CA
Went up on Saturday to get some altitude and to see if I've retained any of my post-JMT/HST fitness threshold.

Not much.

Trail: Trail is totally snow free. There is about 30 lateral feet of ice by the cables, easily bypassed.

Weather: The weather was actually pretty warm for mid-Oct. The portal was high fifties, I didn't see any frozen streams at all. Even Trail Camp tarn wasn't frozen when I reached her at dawn.

The Sierra winds on the summit are coming from the north. Cold and dry, bring a bandanna or mask to keep your face warm and trap some moisture, I got a little dry-hack. My neoprene mask made it hard to breathe so I ditched it for the ascent.

Water: As mentioned, it was a little warm, no frozen streams. The stream flowing over the switchbacks is bone-dry. The stream that crosses the trail about 150' below TC was bone dry too. Some puddles at Trailside Meadow. Water was flowing at the Mirror Lake outlet, Outpost Camp, Lone Pine Creek, N. Fork, and Carillon Creek. Trail Camp tarn* (*=read "cesspool") is the last chance for water (or Lake Consultation if you are camping).

Trip: I'm not a fast hiker. I've set a goal: I won't stop dayhiking Whitney until I can do it 10h car-to-car. I didn't seriously expect to make it, but I wanted to give 'er a go. I didn't bring trekking poles, and the altitude got me. I made it to TC in 3h17m (my best time by far), I usually take about 80%-100% of my Portal to Trail Camp time to get from TC to the Summit. It looked like my goal was feasible, but then the altitude murdered me. I haven't gotten high since late August, and I felt it. I made it to the summit in 7h33m, RT: 12h10m.

I'll get it someday.

In other news: The fall colors are lovely. Though I don't like the jarring, the descent from TC to Mirror Lake is BEAUTIFUL in the early afternoon: the yellows around Mirror, the green lake, the gray north face of Thor Pk. and the red Inyos to the east.

Hit me up if you have more q's.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#48574 - 10/17/16 10:06 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snacking Bear]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 422
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Snacking Bear
I'm not a fast hiker. I've set a goal: I won't stop dayhiking Whitney until I can do it 10h car-to-car.


That's impressive. I include you in a group I call "Super-Hikers". My last trip down the Main Trail took me 6 hours. No one passed me and I passed several hikers.

I consider you a "fast hiker". Maybe my age (65) influences my judgement.

Congrats on another summit! How many times have you been up there?

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