Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 11 Guests and 58 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
2878 Members
13 Forums
4969 Topics
47072 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#4904 - 06/04/10 10:44 AM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
This thread is designed to hold posts displaying pictures and describing the current conditions of the Main Mount Whitney Trail (MMWT).  I hope everyone will contribute.

Please feel free to post pictures of your own or from any source (please post a reference to the original location), so that everyone can come here and easily find/read/see the conditions.

Older posts will be moved as conditions change. (As a result, some posts may appear to answer comments that are no longer in the thread.)

Thanks for everyone's help. Your posting trip reports helps untold numbers of hikers following you.

Older posts moved here:   Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2017 (Old)

Note: Sometimes this thread spans a number of pages. You can click through all the pages, or click here to display all in one page.

Top
#49720 - 05/01/17 02:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Tyler Bee Offline


Registered: 06/15/15
Posts: 10
Loc: phoenix az
climbed mountaineer's route 4/28 and 4/29. summary follows.

road is easily driveable all the way to the portal by any vehicle. bathrooms open. water spigots not running. Portal store was closed. Trail was snow free until the north fork of Lone Pine Creek junction. There appeared to be relatively continuous snow on the main trail after that point.

on the MR: highest accessible liquid water was at lower boy scout lake. good snow coverage from about 9400 all the way to the summit. the area just below the recent slide looks like it could be suspect as the sun angle gets higher and there are some warm days. we noticed some wet/loose slides in the basin around iceberg lake that slid sometime between 8am and 1pm on 4/29. a few areas to be careful of during the warmest parts of the day

on the final 400 there is one section of exposed rock that is somewhat tricky to manage. a larg-ish party was belaying through this section. we did it unprotected but the rope seems useful for less confident parties. above that rock section it is very steep but the snow conditions were firm and there were an abundance of nicely kicked steps leading to the plateau

THE SUMMIT HUT IS ALMOST ENTIRELY FULL OF SNOW. the door has become detached. do not count on getting much shelter inside of the hut (could fit 2 people max)

no marmots spotted on our trip. main trail appeared passable but I can not say for sure


Top
#49721 - 05/01/17 02:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 6
Loc: CA, USA
Gallery showing the conditions on the Main Trail as of April 30 2017


(1) On the main trail, deep snow starts from the third intersection of the trail with Lone Pine Creek. From there, the tracks go straight up Lone Pine Creek to Outpost Camp - a nice shortcut.

(2) Trail crest was about 50% snow free. There were about 3 sketchy sections (15ft each) where there was both snow and a steep cliff.

(3) We didn't use our snowshoes. The winter trail shortcuts were steep, so we ended up using crampons the whole time.

(4) Mirror lake was the last obvious spot to get water. You might be lucky and find a puddle at trail camp - but I would plan on melting snow in case you don't.

(5) While outpost camp was mostly covered with snow, there were some nice snow-free sites at Trail camp.


Sunrise on the chute is magical:


Edited by Philippe (05/01/17 04:56 PM)

Top
#49723 - 05/01/17 03:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Philippe, congratulations on making the summit via the main trail!

This picture looking down toward Trail Camp is great!


Top
#49743 - 05/03/17 02:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
Chaneyka1 Offline


Registered: 05/03/17
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Congrats on the success, Philippe!

As I'm heading there this weekend I'm curious about a couple questions.

Did you have any trouble with cables or any other section of the main trail where you required any real technical skills?

You mentioned not using your snowshoes... I take it you didn't have any trouble post-holing? Do you think we'll have any trouble saving the weight and not bringing them at all?

Thanks for the help!

Top
#49746 - 05/03/17 10:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Chaneyka1]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Don't bring snow shoes. They will slow you down. Spring snow is mostly solid, and there will be plenty of people going before you packing it down.

You won't go on the switchbacks where the cables are. It is easier to go straight up the snow. Some people say technical skills are required, others say just go.

Understand that soft snow in the morning can harden to an icy crust after the sun moves west and that slope is in the afternoon shadow. Unless you are sure of your crampon/ice axe skills, get down before 2 or 3 PM.

Top
#49779 - 05/10/17 07:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Aman Offline


Registered: 05/10/17
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan (MI)
Road to Whitney portal was fine no issues at all in any car.
Ice Axe + Crampons
Did not use Snow Shoes
My partner and I hiked up the Main Trail starting Friday (5/5/2017) at 11am. Trail head was clear of snow but about a mile in we could see snow on the trail. Now there was no trail visibility so we started following the foot prints in snow which were kind of everywhere but we just kept on following one set which basically went straight up. Needless to say it was pretty steep. But not scary steep. Deep snow, thigh high, started right before Mirror Lake. Again since the trail was not visible we made up own trail in the snow and went up the steep slope to the left of Mirror Lake. This was steeper than at the beginning of the main trail. This was a bit scary as the sun was shining hard making the snow softer, thigh deep at times. Thigh high snow all the way up to Trail Camp. We spent the night on rocks. It was not very cold but cloudy with STRONG winds. I had rocks on my tent to keep it in place. My shoes and socks were wet from trudging in deep snow so put on a new woolen pair. Left at 4am next morning for Chute. Shoes were relatively dry. Snow was firm, no problem waking over it. Could only see up to the point where the light from the headlamp reached. Started Chute without crampons and ice axe. Got up a little, before Chute went crazy steep we put crampons on took out ice axe. It took at 1hr30mins to get up the chute. I was SCARED but we did it. The fact that i could not see clearly how steep it was because of the dark helped me focus on my feet and ice axe. By the time we got to trail crest sun was rising at horizon. It was cloudy. I was just glad to have finished the Chute. By around 8 am we were at the summit. Trail Crest to summit was pretty simple although we were tired from the previous day. While coming back we slid down the Chute. Looking at it in the day made me realize how crazy steep it was. Even getting down was scary. My partner and I started climbing it down (head towards Trail Crest and feet towards the bottom of Chute). But this was putting a lot of stress on my quadriceps and it was a LONG way to go down. So i decided to slide down. Chute is so LONG. It took us considerable time to even slide down that steep slope (used my ice axe for braking). We were down at trail camp close to noon. Packed out tent and started hiking down. Sliding down Mirror lake was so much fun! Again the snow was soft now almost of the way down. Slipping/sliding often. Got back to the parking lot. Got back to the parking lot, from Trail Camp in about 3hr15mins. It was a relief from cold and wet socks.


Edited by Aman (05/10/17 07:37 AM)

Top
#49780 - 05/10/17 09:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
rancho Offline


Registered: 05/10/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
It sounds like the warm whether has turned the mountain into a postholing slog with increased wet slab avy risk. Does anyone have a good sense of whether this weekend's cooler temps will firm up the snow in time for a smooth Saturday morning haul up the MR? Thinking snowshoes in addition to crampons/axe, but not sure if that's enough given the current conditions.

forecast for reference: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Whitney/forecasts/3500

Thanks!

Top
#49781 - 05/10/17 01:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Aman]
fit2climb Offline


Registered: 05/25/16
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Good report. Thanks for the update cool

Top
#49789 - 05/11/17 12:26 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
scottycamera Offline


Registered: 05/11/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hey guys! So last August I climbed Whitney, But recently got permits again this year for JUNE. They only question I have is, Do you just skip the 99 switchbacks and go up the Chute?
Thanks
Scotty

P.S.
here is a link to last years video!
stay tuned for the June video with snow!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiHFMiTxnvI
_________________________
SCOTTYCAMERA

Top
#49793 - 05/12/17 08:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
This excellent picture from just above Trail Camp was posted on Instagram by timwoo, taken 5/9/17. The "chute" or slope west of the switchbacks is visible with his tracks. Traces of the actual switchbacks can be seen in the rocks at the left edge of the picture. Mt Muir, 14,019' is in the center.

TimW's caption:
Quote:
@curtishowell and I made first tracks up to #trailcrest on #mtwhitney yesterday (5/9) after a storm hit this past weekend. Follow the zig zags on the right for our trip up, and the straight line down on the left for the #glissade down.

*on getting to the rocks in the middle of the picture*
Curtis: we're about a third of the way there
Me: ONLY A THIRD?

(Click on the picture for a larger view.)


They made it to Trail Crest, and turned around, as the trail down to the JMT junction was completely buried with snow coming off the cliff side. No picture though.
Here's his text:
Quote:
#mtwhitney turned me and @curtishowell away a second time. We made it up to #trailcrest at 13,600ft before being turned back by the narrow trail (read nonexistent) and steep cliffs of the #jmt. We determined it too sketchy to pass, and so made our way down. Sad, but happy to be back home safe and sound!
We also learned a lot of lessons first hand:
(1) snow path does not equal summer path, shortcuts are your friend
(2) early start and crampons make a lot of sense together so the snow doesn't get too soft to travel over
(3) summer water sources might be frozen in May
(4) weather changes real quick
(5) you haven't made it until you're at the top
(6) you haven't actually made it until you've taken a shower.
Anyone make it to the summit on #mtwhitneytrail this past week (5/7)?


Edit: Good luck to anyone going today. NOAA weather forecast is for wind up to 50 mph at 12,000' (Trail Camp), on Saturday decreasing to 25.


Edited by Steve C (05/12/17 09:12 AM)

Top
#49794 - 05/12/17 10:13 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: scottycamera]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 277
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: scottycamera
The only question I have is, do you just skip the 99 switchbacks and go up the Chute?

Yes. When there is enough snow to cover the rocks, it is best to skip the trail and climb the snow. Itís usually best to follow existing boot tracks up to Trail Crest, but you can make your own if you like.

Top
#49798 - 05/14/17 05:28 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey Guys,

Quick question - I am planning on hiking the main trail during 4th of July weekend. Conditions should be normal by then, correct? No snow danger or anything of that nature? Or does it really depend?



Edited by WhitneyHiker085 (05/14/17 05:29 PM)

Top
#49799 - 05/14/17 09:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Last year, most people were using the switchbacks by June 15. This year snow is heavier, so July 4 may be the point when the switchbacks are finally open.

We won't know until that time. You will probably be hiking over some ice remaining on the trail. Microspikes might be helpful.

Top
#49800 - 05/15/17 07:49 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 106
Loc: The OC
Hey Steve, yes the winds did get up to 50mph on 5/12. Here's my TR from Bishop pass:

http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15825

Top
#49801 - 05/15/17 08:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Crazy wind!! You guys got out on Friday, and the wind was forecast to peak on Saturday!!!

Doug from Whitney Portal Store wrote that two hikers spent Saturday night in the summit hut (it's still full of snow), and were flown off the summit Sunday morning (5/14/17). One was then air-lifted to Reno.

No further info on the situation, but it sounds like one may have suffered an incapacitating injury at or near the summit. The wind must have died down enough by Sunday for a helicopter to visit the summit.

Edit: more on the rescue here.


Edited by Steve C (05/15/17 11:45 PM)

Top
#49805 - 05/15/17 07:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Scott H Offline


Registered: 01/08/17
Posts: 5
Loc: San Diego
Just got off the main trail today,very tough hike up to trail camp yesterday, crampons suggested 1/2 mile before lone pine lake, trail disappears from that point.Log crossing is not advised as they are covered in thawing snow, at outpost camp solid snow no running water yet I would suggest hikers stay to the right going up towards mirror lake, to the left is very steep and extremely icy, trail camp was cold, weather was clear at 3:00 am attempted the chute by 5:00 the weather hit with snow and limited visibility, we chose to turn back was hoping the weather was going to hold off but we all know how that goes.Prepare for cold temps and watch your footing near the snow bridges as they are thinning,Ran into a few hikers who summited on sunday hopefully by Wednesday it will clear up for everyone

Top
#49819 - 05/16/17 12:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Gootz Offline


Registered: 05/16/17
Posts: 1
Loc: San Diego
Our group of 4 summitted via the main trail on Monday May 15 around 9am in a light snow.

We left Whitney portal at 6 am on Sunday May 14. We started hiking on snow two miles in. Postholing was not an issue at all for us. We did not bring snowshoes, and if we had we would not have used them. One of our group members brought skis and started skinning at Mirror Lake. We camped around trail camp at 12,500 ft. No running water. We didnít see any dirt or flat rocks to camp on so setup on snow. We woke at 4 am on May 15 to clouds over the mountain and this turned into light snow and deteriorating visibility by 5am. We left our camp wearing crampons and didnít take them off until we returned to trail crest after summitting.

Crampons, solid mountaineering boots, and ice axe were a must have. Skis were not used on the chute and were left at camp. From trail crest to the summit, there was a rocky/icy/snowy boot track to the summit that was in much better shape than we expected.

There were 2 packs in the summit shelter which must belong to the two people that were flown off the summit on the 14th. By the time we returned to trail crest there was about 4 inches on new snow accumulation and the snowfall was increasing. The glissade down the chute was smooth. The ski down from trail camp to mirror lake was marginal at best and knowing what we know now, would not have brought skis. The pizza in lone pine was good.

Top
#49830 - 05/17/17 08:34 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Gootz]
Aman Offline


Registered: 05/10/17
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan (MI)
Someone was flown off the summit? Do you know what happened?

Top
#49831 - 05/17/17 09:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Aman]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Aman
Someone was flown off the summit? Do you know what happened?

Summit Fever is a deadly serious disease:   Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >