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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: 5201
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 Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5201
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 Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5201
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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#40114 - 09/07/14 09:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5201
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: 322
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 Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5201
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 Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5201
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: 5201
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: 5201
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: 372
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: 5201
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: 372
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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