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

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
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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#40411 - 09/29/14 12:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
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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#40445 - 10/01/14 06:19 PM Mountaineers Route - 9/29/14 [Re: Steve C]
rADRIAANSEN Offline


Registered: 10/01/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Porterville-CA

- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 6:40 a.m. -




- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 6:47 a.m. -




- Upper Boy Scout Lake 9/29/14 8:30 a.m. -




- Iceberg Lake 9/29/14 11:30 a.m. -


Edited by rADRIAANSEN (10/01/14 07:15 PM)
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#40484 - 10/03/14 02:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a report by Jim F on wpsmb:

Quote:
As of Thursday Oct 2, 2014:

Some residual snow from the recent hefty snowfall is still covering much of the switchbacks. The backside (between Trail Crest and the summit) is essentially clear of snow. No evidence of the spring at switchback 23.

I went up and down the switchbacks carefully with trail runners and without hiking poles. In retrospect, it would have been nice to have had the hiking poles.

The weather was awesome and this will likely continue some. I hiked the snow while it was in direct sunlight. If in the shadows, during night, or if the temperature falls, I suspect the residual ice/snow will require attention.

Many hikers were out on the trail. The number of tents counted at Trail Camp and Outpost Camp were in the double digits each. Some Fall colors are beginning to show below Lone Pine Lake.

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#40509 - 10/05/14 07:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Capitola Dan Offline


Registered: 10/05/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Calif., USA
Brother and I are going up 10/13. Going casual with two night on trail.
It's looking pretty clear, but any reports on nighttime temps at Trail Camp. Last I saw was ~30. Does that sound about right?

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#40510 - 10/05/14 09:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Capitola Dan]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Dan, 63ChevyII pointed out in this post that the forecasts have been predicting the low about 10 degrees higher than actual. He was watching the actual temperatures reported at the Cottonwood Lakes remote station just a few miles south of the Whitney Trail.
(Link is on the Whitney Weather page: Cottonwood Lakes, elev. 10150' 7-day Temperatures

Based on that, I would plan on 20 degrees instead of the 30. Unfortunately, that means all your water will freeze overnight, so plan accordingly. Fill up in the morning, and anything you want to keep overnight could be heated and then put inside your sleeping bag, or at least insulated somehow.

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#40530 - 10/07/14 02:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ChrisSD Offline


Registered: 10/06/14
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
I'll vouch for the forecast and actual temperature discrepancies. Forecast lows for Horseshoe Meadows last Thursday and Friday the 2nd and 3rd were around 38-40F. In actuality, the lows were a good 8-10F lower as my water was partially frozen at camp and on some streams. Not sure why the big discrepancy, but take it into account when planning. Also, any water that was supposed to be flowing on the Whitney switchbacks was frozen, so fill up before heading to the Summit

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#40547 - 10/08/14 09:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ChrisSD]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 379
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: ChrisSD
In actuality, the lows were a good 8-10F lower as my water was partially frozen at camp and on some streams. Not sure why the big discrepancy, but take it into account when planning.


That's interesting - nice to see that my observations weren't totally wrong. I was kinda wondering if the CDEC weather station had an incorrect reading (it appears the snow depth sensor has been stuck for months), or if the forecasts were that far off.
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#40555 - 10/08/14 11:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
That's interesting - nice to see that my observations weren't totally wrong. I was kinda wondering if the CDEC weather station had an incorrect reading (it appears the snow depth sensor has been stuck for months), or if the forecasts were that far off.


ChrisSD's observations tend to validate the CDEC temperature readings. I would trust those while snow depth measurement requires a little more high-tech hocus-pocus.

All of this brings up the idea that a temperature and maybe a wind sensor at the summit hut would be a very helpful and heavily used station. I once talked with SEKI people about it, and got the opinion that a weather station would be "just more junk on the summit hut." After listening to another ranger's negative views on SPOT and wilderness experiences, I'm wondering if it wasn't the same guy.
...maybe we should approach CDEC and see if they might have more influence.

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#40563 - 10/09/14 09:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 379
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C

ChrisSD's observations tend to validate the CDEC temperature readings.

I agree!

Originally Posted By: Steve C

I would trust those while snow depth measurement requires a little more high-tech hocus-pocus.

Do you know how that is measured?

Originally Posted By: Steve C

All of this brings up the idea that a temperature and maybe a wind sensor at the summit hut would be a very helpful and heavily used station....maybe we should approach CDEC and see if they might have more influence.

It would be heavily used, no doubt and very helpful. I wonder if anyone here has any contacts at CDEC? I wonder if the discrepancy we've discovered is the norm.
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#40932 - 11/10/14 02:36 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Cynthia Offline


Registered: 11/10/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi everyone, first time posting...

Does anyone know the current trail conditions?

We are planning on hiking up the Mt. Whitney trail this upcoming weekend, and are trying to figure out how much snow pack there might be on the trail.

Thanks for your help!

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#40950 - 11/11/14 03:36 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
I just saw this on FB, posted by Carl N:
Quote:
Summitted on 11/8. Perfect summerlike weather and dozens of folks on the trail. Switchbacks had about a foot or more of powder - packed down and not a big hurdle, though it iced up quickly once the sun set, made for a precarious descent. In fact all the trails were ice rinks in the dark, microspikes were a must. Full moon helped with navigation though. Not sure how long this weather will hold, but there may be people summitting on Thanksgiving at this rate.


His pictures are here: Mt Whitney 11/8/14

One of his pictures, on the west side, N of Trail Crest:


To get an idea of temperatures, the Cottonwood Lakes remote station just a few miles south of the Whitney Trail.
(Link is on the Whitney Weather page: Cottonwood Lakes, elev. 10150' 7-day Temperatures


Edited by Steve C (11/13/14 02:23 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed link

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#40977 - 11/13/14 01:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Cynthia Offline


Registered: 11/10/14
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Thank you for the information Steve. Were you wearing crampons or micro spikes?
Also, the link to the flickr page produces an error, FYI.

Thanks!

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#40979 - 11/13/14 02:26 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Cynthia]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fixed the link. Thanks for letting me know.

Microspikes should be fine on the trail with that amount of snow.

FYI, a little precip passed through the west side of Whitney today, so there will probably be a little more fresh on the top.

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#40998 - 11/16/14 10:34 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
I attempted to go up on the 14th. There was an un-forecasted storm that rolled in on the 13th. There is a lot of ice on the main trail from lone pine lake until trail camp. The switchbacks have at least 3 feet of snow on them. There was a lot of snow at the cables as well. Its definitely the start of the winter climbing season now. Ice axe and crampons are required. I turned back around a little bit after the cables due to the conditions. I will try and post some pics in a bit.

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#41002 - 11/16/14 01:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Duartizzle]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Duartizzle: Thanks for the report! Pictures will be especially good. If you have any trouble posting them, email them to me and I'll put them up. Email is in my profile.

...or just go to the picture gallery forum and upload them yourself: There is a link to uploading instructions there.

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#41012 - 11/17/14 04:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5310
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is Duartizzle's picture:



D: Where did you encounter the last accessible water? I see the Trail Camp pond is frozen over. Did you try to break the ice there?


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#41013 - 11/17/14 04:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Duartizzle Offline


Registered: 03/29/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Socal
Yes I tried to break through the ice but its completely frozen over. I ended up boiling snow. I didn't venture over to Consultation but last accessible water before that would've been Mirror lake.

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#41022 - 11/17/14 09:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Duartizzle]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 162
Loc: San Diego
On Nov 13 the highest accessible, flowing water I found was at Trailside Meadow.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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