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


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
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 2015 (Old)

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#42100 - 04/06/15 08:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is a Main Trail report from Saturday, April 5:

Quote:
Dayhiked the main trail on Saturday April 5th. Snow started around 11,300'. I decided to take the switchbacks up and the chute down. The switchbacks are passable, but are a pain, the chute is much nicer. The snow was firm and had a nice punchy crust. Three people decided to glissade and all three came away with injuries (separated shoulder, cartwheeling and smashing into rocks. The chute is double black diamond glissading, don't try it unless you really have some experience, it was too icy on Saturday to even think about).


For those who don't know: Glissading is done by sitting on the snow, and sliding, feet-first down-slope, trying to use an ice axe as a brake. It is really dangerous, sometimes fatal, when conditions are icy.

Several of his pictures:
The cables


The last switchback before Trail Crest

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#42189 - 04/14/15 02:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rmills213]
Blake95 Offline


Registered: 04/14/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Virginia
Any ideas what the conditions might be like early June? I have a permit but am debating on whether to fly out there if there will likely be a lot of snow on the mountain. I'm not to thrilled about a lot of exposure on snow/ice. Any advice?

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#42190 - 04/14/15 03:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Blake95]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 170
Loc: Saugus, CA
Hi Blake,

In a year with average snow-fall the MWMT usually remains covered beneath significant drifts of snow until mid-late June. However, we are in a record drought year, so we shouldn't have too much snow early June.

I'm not anticipating anything significant A few friends and I are planning on climbing Whitney on the 6th. I'm not expecting anything more than a few drifts (worst case scenario you may want trekking poles and/or micro-spikes for a few sections).

I'd go for it, if I were you smile
_________________________
“How to get the best of it all? One must conquer, achieve, get to the top… to know there’s no dream that mustn’t be dared…” - George Mallory

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#42200 - 04/15/15 05:42 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snacking Bear]
Blake95 Offline


Registered: 04/14/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Virginia
i live on the east coast and we have had lots of snow this year. Wasn't sure what it was like out west. Thanks for the feedback. I'm going for it!

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#42205 - 04/15/15 10:13 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Blake95]
Phil11d Offline


Registered: 04/15/15
Posts: 1
Loc: CA, USA

Hi Blake,

I agree with snackingbear. Last year I went up the first weekend in June and aside from a bit of snow on one part of the switchbacks the route was totally fine.

This year we have had even less snow, I have a permit for May 29th and don't expect there to be any issues.

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#42230 - 04/16/15 08:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Blake95]
JArmstrong Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Glendale, CA
I did the Mountaineer's Route the 1st weekend of June in 2014. There was some snow, but nothing we couldn't handle in micro spikes. We had crampons, but never had to use them. Last year was a dry year and this winter was even more dry. I'll post pics if I can get it to work.

(Went up the MR and came down the traditional trail.)

Here's a link to pics:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/52913270@N02/sets/72157645103435925/

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#42330 - 04/27/15 09:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
smantha62 Offline


Registered: 04/20/15
Posts: 1
Loc: Yakima, WA
This is a slightly delayed update/post on the conditions from the weekend of 4/11/15-4/13/15 for the mountaineers route. My husband and I met my brother in-law and two friends who were traveling from New York in LA and we quickly headed to the Sierra's. We had beautiful weather. I have attached our trip account which is pretty detailed with photos and video. Enjoy - this is a great climb!

Our trip account


Edited by smantha62 (04/28/15 06:38 AM)

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#42331 - 04/27/15 11:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: smantha62]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 170
Loc: Saugus, CA
Samantha (I'm going to assume that's your name) sounds like you had a great adventure. You also have some awesome photographic skill!
_________________________
“How to get the best of it all? One must conquer, achieve, get to the top… to know there’s no dream that mustn’t be dared…” - George Mallory

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#42332 - 04/28/15 12:11 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
Loc: Fresno, CA
I spent one memorable night like this at the base of Mt Williamson. Will never forget....

(Turn down the volume before playing)



Smantha62's text:
Quote:
The bright spots of direct sunlight on our orange tent marked the end of the least enjoyable night I've ever spent in a tent. We had been holed up in our miniature nylon compounds for nearly 10 dark hours with wind gusting over 45 miles per hour. Our tent bucked and weaved as variable gusts assaulted every square inch and any slack nylon was transformed into a violent noise maker.

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#42337 - 04/28/15 04:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
happytrails Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 18
Loc: West Covina, Ca
Whitney Main Trail conditions from 4/27/15.

http://gocarine.smugmug.com/Category/42715-Whitney-MT-Dayhike-with/48920485_qshT9t#!i=4022337449&k=dPGzf24

My good friend Akemi and I were planning on trail running as high as we could go with the minimal gear we brought. (Me: trail runners, yak traks, trekking poles.) When I reached the cables, I felt confident with the snow quality, put on my yak traks and continued forward. I used part of the chute to reach Trail Crest and took the chute again on the way down thanks to some established boot tracks (I didn't want to risk passing the cables agains after the afternoon heat softened the snow). Gusty winds at Trail Crest, the windows, and summit plateau, otherwise a GREAT day. Total trip time: 9.5 hours.

Kevin: I stood at the exact location of your photo... No tent, no gear, no wallet. It's time to move on.


Edited by happytrails (04/28/15 04:42 PM)

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#42338 - 04/28/15 06:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: happytrails]
ruckustrx11 Offline


Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 36
Loc: San Diego
Wow! Brave soul. Thank you for the info. I plan on going up on the 10th. Hopefully, the main trail is a little more clear by then!

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#42339 - 04/28/15 07:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Ewg Offline


Registered: 04/28/15
Posts: 1
Loc: Planet earth
Whitney trail conditions 4/27/15

Trail became mostly snow covered at 11,500ft.

The switchbacks above trail camp appeared much more exposed and dangerous than the chute to the right/north. Chute was managable with micro spikes and trekking poles. No serious exposure although you could blast into some rocks/boulders if your glissade became out of control.

Overall i would think conditions would be pretty intimidating for the average hiker after trail camp up to the trail crest, but for most people with previous crampon/micro spike experience on moderately steep terrain you'd probably feel pretty comfortable. That being said, if snow conditions get much firmer/icey, the snow chute would be an absolute no fall zone and could be intimidating for anyone, no matter your experience. Unless you're a badass, then your good... But if your a bad ass you probably wouldnt be reading this.... Or hiking the whitney trail for that matter.. Haha.

I love you all. Enjoy the journey.





Edited by Ewg (04/28/15 07:16 PM)

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#42373 - 04/30/15 11:50 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ewg]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a report from Apr 29:

Quote:
A spell of nice spring conditions permitted me to summit yesterday April 29. Here are some observations:

The trail to Trail Camp is essentially free of significant snow. Lone Pine Lake is no longer frozen. The spring in Bighorn Park is flowing. The last significant flowing water is the creek at Trailside Meadow. Consultation Lake remains completely frozen. The ice on the pond at Trail Camp is melting.

The few hikers who attempted the Switchbacks were not having much success. The consensus route was up the snow chute to Trail Crest.

There was a fair amount of snow on the trail on the backside from Trail Crest to the Summit, but no traction devices were needed.

For those wishing to scramble up Muir from the West, the conditions were perfect.

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#42482 - 05/14/15 03:07 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Rohan Offline


Registered: 05/14/15
Posts: 1
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
So, the weather is pretty bad this week.

Plan -
Saturday - Whitney Portal to Trail Camp.
Sunday - Trail Camp to Summit & back.

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Whitney/forecasts/4418

Image - http://i.imgur.com/H8OJGEf.png?1

Would you recommend snow shoes (carrying crampons for the icy chute for sure) or we can get away with it?

Is there any advice you can give us (been there twice earlier - May 2012, March 2013)?

-RA


Edited by Rohan (05/14/15 03:09 PM)

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#42485 - 05/14/15 04:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rohan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
Loc: Fresno, CA
That Mountain-Forecast site always exaggerates the possibility of show and precipitation. Check the NOAA site on the weather, too.

Leave snow shoes home. Gaiters will help keep snow out of your boots. Keep your clothing dry with a good outer layer.

Remember two things: the mountain will always be there, and the top is only half way. Make sure you turn around in time to make it out safely.

If you have to bail, check the unused Whitney permits pages, and know that you can come back practically any time and try again when the weather is good.

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#42509 - 05/15/15 10:17 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: happytrails]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 207
Loc: Reno, Nevada
9.5 hours, car to car, in April? You are tougher than ever, Carine! Wanna day hike Williamson this summer?


Edited by bobpickering (05/15/15 10:19 AM)

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#42518 - 05/16/15 07:14 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Ysmtrnr Offline


Registered: 05/16/15
Posts: 4
Loc: Ca
what are your thoughts now considering all these late storms? We have 6/9 permits. While we are all very experienced trail runners we do not have snow experience. We were planning on yaktrax and hiking poles. Should we move up to crampons?
Is it even hikable at this point? Even if the Forcast is 1/2 wrong that is 15 more inches of snow.

I'll take any opinions!



Edited by Ysmtrnr (05/16/15 09:32 AM)
_________________________
Yosemite Runner

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#42520 - 05/16/15 11:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ysmtrnr]
SanGorgonioHiker Offline


Registered: 03/24/14
Posts: 35
Loc: Southern CA
I am doing Langley around June 7/8 ish (day hike), and I'd like to have anyone's opinion too. I'm guessing Army Pass will not be passable w/o crampons/ice axe, but New Army should be fine with poles?
_________________________
"Come and Let Us Climb the Lord's Mountain!" -Isaiah 2:5

www.hikinginsocal.blogspot.com

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#42522 - 05/16/15 07:52 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ysmtrnr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5590
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Ysmtrnr
what are your thoughts now considering all these late storms? We have 6/9 permits. While we are all very experienced trail runners we do not have snow experience. We were planning on yaktrax and hiking poles. Should we move up to crampons?
Is it even hikable at this point? Even if the Forcast is 1/2 wrong that is 15 more inches of snow.

I'll take any opinions!

Ysmtrnr, Not sure where you are getting those inches. Beware that some sites way over-exaggerate the possible amount of snow. Checking the NOAA site, the text reports 1 to 2 inches possible.
- - - - - - - - - -

SanG Hiker: I think your guessing is correct on Army Pass vs New Army Pass. In a few weeks, the new snow that has fallen will all be gone.

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