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#4904 - 06/04/10 10:44 AM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
This thread is designed to hold posts displaying pictures and describing the current conditions of the MMWT (Mount Whitney Main Trail).  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.

Older posts moved here:
  Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013
  Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014 (Old)

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#39482 - 08/06/14 10:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
Summer conditions now. Please watch the weather forecasts as that is the biggest issue during August.

Here's a picture at the cables, July 19:


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#39483 - 08/06/14 10:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
August came in with a big Monsoon storm that blew up from Baja California. Thunderstorms and snow! It will be back to normal in a few days.

This picture was posted on Facebook, by John N:

Mt Whitney - Indian Winter. Aug 4, 2014


One more:

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#39638 - 08/13/14 09:48 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
jackdaniels Offline


Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 3
Loc: WA
Any update on the current conditions? Day hiking MT Whitney trail on Friday 8/15. Weather looks stellar. Planning for the worst, hope for the best smile

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#39640 - 08/13/14 10:18 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jackdaniels]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
Current trail conditions are as good as the weather. All that ice and snow is gone from the trails, so your main concern should be the weather.

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#39652 - 08/13/14 08:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
LuvAdventure2014 Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 16
Loc: California, USA
Conditions have improved greatly since Mon & Tues (Aug 11 & 12). When I left Lone Pine this AM, the skies were clear and there was a slight wind but the weather looked really good.

My hiking group encountered rain, hail, thunder, lightning, high winds and a couple rock slides on Aug 11 & 12. Yesterday, we made it half way up the swithbacks before we turned around. A few of the hikers returning from Trail Crest reported 50 - 60 mile winds and ankle high snow/ice. We did not have Yaktrax or crampons so we ended our attempt frown

Good luck and have a great time!

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#39884 - 08/22/14 04:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JimC Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 39
Loc: SoCal
Water flow on 97 switchbacks? I'm looking to refill on 8/27 at roughly 6AM. Has anyone noticed how well the water has been flowing (early part of the switchbacks)? I'd rather skip refilling at trail camp this time.

Thanks!

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#39892 - 08/22/14 11:00 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JimC]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
"meganlaughs" reported that the spring is still running on the switchbacks. She spent a long time filling at Trail Camp, though, since it was 3 AM and she wasn't sure whether the spring would be frozen at that time.

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#39941 - 08/25/14 11:51 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Shawna Offline


Registered: 08/04/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Zionsville, IN
We are starting our hike this weekend through Horseshoe Meadows with the hope of summiting on Wednesday. What are the ice/ snow conditions like on Whitney trail right now? Concerned about whether we need to rent some crampons or not. Thanks!

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#39946 - 08/25/14 05:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JimC Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 39
Loc: SoCal
Usually if it is iced over I can find a spot to tap through. Thanks to you both --- "meganlaughs" and Steve!

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#39947 - 08/25/14 05:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Shawna]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
Shawna, don't rent crampons. Any remnant ice will be minor.

Please do report back here: The condition of the "spring" at Switchback 23 -- is it running enough for hikers to get any water? This is the time of year that it can dry up, since it is actually melt-water from a snow field farther up on the slope.

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#39949 - 08/25/14 05:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
cantare Offline


Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 6
Loc: California
As of the evening of the 21st there wasn't any ice on the main trail, period. I passed a rapidly melting fist-sized chunk at the cables that may literally have been the last piece.

As for water, the spring/source at SB 23 was flowing quite vigorously, and I guess it would take more than a chilly night to freeze it solid! Still easy to scoop up; I enjoyed many unfiltered handfuls before moving on. One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned: that same flow recrosses the trail on several lower switchbacks, so you should make sure you're collecting it at the highest point where no one has had a chance to step in it yet (you'll be facing north/toward whitney, if climbing)


Edited by cantare (08/25/14 05:49 PM)

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#40114 - 09/07/14 09:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
I have seen recent reports that the spring at switchback 22 is nearly dry. I would advise people to get their last water at the inlet to the Trail Camp pond.

Ice is beginning to form along the cables due to the seeping water and cold nights.

Weather has been pretty nice, though today (Sept 7) clouds and a light sprinkling has passed through Fresno, so thunderstorms will occur in the Sierra. Watch the weather forecasts closely. First snow storms can come near the end of September and beginning of October.

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#40128 - 09/08/14 02:14 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
michaelbooz Offline


Registered: 09/08/14
Posts: 4
Loc: San Francisco
With temperatures in the 90's for this Wednesday and Thursday is it still ok to hike? I have a permit for this Thursday the 11th, is there anyone or a group I could join? Thanks!

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#40133 - 09/08/14 03:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: michaelbooz]
John Sims Offline
WHA member

Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Bay Area, California
Michael,
Look to the left side of the web page, and you should see "Mt Whitney Weather". If you click on this link it will take you to a new page with several links to various weather sites. Check a few of them, and you will see that the temp atop Mt. Whitney will be in the 30's for most of the week, so dress warm. Nonetheless, this looks to be a great week for weather (after Today), with clear skies, no rain, and little wind.
As has been posted many times, this trail is well used. Even if you end up going alone you will see/meet many people on the trail.
John

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#40152 - 09/09/14 08:00 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: John Sims]
Shawna Offline


Registered: 08/04/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Zionsville, IN
The water at the switchback was frozen when we came through and were not able to pump there. It was to the side of the trail, so no traction issues. We chose to pump at the stream before you get to trail camp. It looked at little clearer than the lake. Plus there were no visible wag bags in that water. Grrr.

I was disappointed to say the least at how many people just left them in different places, but that's a different topic.

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#40173 - 09/09/14 03:58 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Shawna]
Raf Offline


Registered: 09/09/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
We did the day hike on 9/3, the switchback streams seemed to be flowing a bit more in the afternoon than in the morning, but I would fill up further down the hill.....away from the Trail camp pond. The temperature in the valley was in the 90's, at the Portal it was in the 80's. Starting early in the morning, I was comfortable in a wicking t shirt by 1000. On the summit around noon, it seemed to be in the mid 60's, sunny and breezy, not too hot or too cold.

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#40281 - 09/17/14 11:22 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Raf]
Whatman Offline


Registered: 09/17/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Fresno, CA
Been reading the forums a long time in preparation for my Mount Whitney Trip so thanks for all the info.

Reached the summit last Sunday, 9-14-2014. We started Thursday at Cottonwood Pass. Weather was perfect until Sunday. T-shirt in the day. Got a little cold at night but nothing froze.

Stopped for water at Chicken Spring Lake, Rock Creek, Guyot Pass, Crabtree Meadow and Guitar Lake. Guyot Creek was pretty small but still enough to get good water.

We left Guitar Lake at about 5am Sunday. We reached the summit at about noon. Got stuck on the summit in a random snow/hail storm that lasted at least an hour because we left while it was still hailing fairly hard. Very cold. Lots of people on the summit were not prepared and not expecting such bad weather conditions. Visibility was only about 100 yards so we did not get to see the views.

The spring on the 99 switch backs was still flowing. We hiked all the way to the portal which was too much down hill for one day. Over all it was amazing trip.


Edited by Whatman (09/17/14 11:25 AM)

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#40375 - 09/25/14 02:05 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a report from Marty from Sept 22:

Quote:
A beautiful fall day made for a really nice summit of Mount Whitney. The day before had clouds swirling all around Trail Camp. White, grey and black clouds mixed with patches of blue but it never rained. The switchbacks were as dry as I've ever seen them. Last reliable water is at the pond and it's inlet.

On the summit a festive birthday party was under way complete with party hats and boas. Candy pumpkins were passed around. There was also a young woman who had just finished a 500 mile PCT trek. Later at the Hostel I met a veteran who was finishing the entire PCT which was certainly more fun than his 4 deployments (to Bosnia, Afghanistan twice and Iraq.)

I also want to thank Bob Q who showed me the old trail up to the JM Wilderness sign...a very enjoyable hike!


Please note that some cold and stormy weather is forecast for this weekend, Sept 27-28.


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#40411 - 09/29/14 12:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Online
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5157
Loc: Fresno, CA
This posted on Facebook by Kimberly B, from the Sept 27-28 weekend, showing their camp on the Mountaineers' Route near Iceberg Lake. This is about the same elevation as Trail Camp on the main trail.


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