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


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
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 2016 (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.

Edit for 2016: Note that parking this summer is severely limited due to the Whitney Portal road construction. After June 19, there is NO PARKING along the road. Only one car per hiking party is given a permit to park in the actual parking lots at Whitney Portal.

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#47185 - 08/01/16 02:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
Loc: Fresno, CA
There is a useful report here in the Road Construction thread:

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads...&#Post47182

Tips on electrolytes, wag bags (and marmots), and parking.

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#48102 - 08/13/16 09:07 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
TB40 Offline


Registered: 07/31/16
Posts: 9
Loc: CA
Summitted yesterday...

Stating the obvious here, but zero issues, snow, or obstructions on the trail. Temps were very nice, 95% of the day I was in a t-shirt and gym shorts. Still enough water flowing on the way up the switchbacks to easily collect in case that is helpful, the lake right next to Trail Camp seemed a bit stagnant, I was planning on collecting water there, but opted to skip.

The Marmots are in full effect - one tried, literally, to steal a protein bar out of my wife's hand when she looked away. She screamed in my face, causing me to scream, which gave everyone in the vicinity a good laugh. We met some backpackers who came up from Guitar Lake and dropped their bags at the "corner" just past/below trail crest. When we returned, a marmot had chewed through a pocket in his bag to get at an empty wrapper. In another case, someone stashed their bag behind a rock on the back trail before the summit. A marmot absolutely destroyed/shredded the pack.

Thanks everyone who provided information on this site, I would not have successfully summited without the help.

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#48194 - 08/23/16 08:10 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Frankie Bones Offline


Registered: 05/21/15
Posts: 10
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Happy Tuesday!

Our group of 4 reached the summit on Sunday before the weather rolled in. Temperatures were manageable at trail camp with highs in the mid 70s and lows in the 40s. Summit temps were mid to low 40s around 8am with a light wind. Overall the trail was in great shape with no issues or obstructions -- water was flowing, as earlier stated by another member, around the 23-25th switchback. Marmots were rarely seen on the topmost ledges of trail camp where we were setup but we hung our packs with some rope over a steep rock just to be safe.

Everything went as planned aside from our group witnessing an elderly gentleman take a fall just below trail side meadow. Fortunately he was not too badly hurt -- laceration to the lower leg and arm as well as a broken finger. We were able to clean and bandage the wounds and I fast packed out to find a ranger for additional assistance. Fortunately one was not far from Outpost however upon relaying that there was an injured elderly hiker with the aforementioned injuries an unknown disposition he seemed more interested in questioning us on our permit and wag bag usage. A bit disconcerting to say the least.

Despite that and after some additional assistance we were all able to help walk the gentleman down to the portal before the storm rolled in and get him a ride to a local hospital for further evaluation.

A unique ending but a solid reminder that anything can happen. Be safe and enjoy the journey.


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#48210 - 08/25/16 05:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Frankie Bones]
TB40 Offline


Registered: 07/31/16
Posts: 9
Loc: CA
Nice report!

Is this THE REAL Franky Bones by any chance?

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#48248 - 08/29/16 10:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ChuckG Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Summited on the 26th with a group of 4. Trail looked great thanks to the 2 awesome rangers who constantly maintain it. We started the ascend on Thursday and there weren't that many people. Came across a family of 4 who summited with a 6 and 8 years old ! Met one guy who was finishing a 10 days hike averaging 30 miles a day and 2 groups finishing 25 days hikes on the PCT and John Muir trails.

Some observations:
- At this point, the road construction is almost complete and they are building the fences and sides. Less than 30 minutes wait.
- The bear canister they rent at the visitor center are heavy !
- Didn't see a single bear and no marmots at trail camp. Saw some marmots on higher ground than trail camps. Came face to face with a deer on the trail!
- Visitor center ran out of extra wag bag to sell and Whitney Portal store dont sell them.
- As soon as you go behind big rocks at trail camp or bushes at Outpost, highly likely you will find some stashed used wag bags. Very sad to see so much junk left on the ground by previous hikers.
- Temp can fall below freezing point at Trail camp during the night. We even got some hail at one point.
- It rained recently so there were plenty of places to get water. Temperature past Outpost camp were always in the 50s and 60s so we drank max 1L between water sources. No need to carry 3-6L.
- The prices at the Portal store are very decent, often cheaper than REI. The food is indeed great. We tried their hamburgers, BLT, melt, all very good.
- Didn't know that a 68 years old died after falling off a month ago. I would not like to do trail crest with a headlamp in pitch darkness... We did Trailcamp to Outpost with our headlights and beside missing all the scenery, it seemed like a very long journey.
- Overall awesome experience and very friendly hiker community ! thanks

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#48249 - 08/29/16 11:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ChuckG]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 49
Loc: UK
Small world - I think we were the family of four (on the basis I didn't see any others with kids at all, let alone as young as ours)!

Conditions were good with plenty of water flowing at the ?23rd? switchback, as well as a trickle at the cables. There were some tiny patches of snow on the summit trail that could be used for water in emergency.

On the west side, as with every previous time I've climbed, there is water 0.5-1 miles after guitar lake at some springs beside the trail maybe 0.5mile before the 10 switchbacks. There's also plenty of good camping at this point just SW of the trail.

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#48251 - 08/30/16 07:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 356
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: britonwhit(ney)


On the west side, as with every previous time I've climbed, there is water 0.5-1 miles after guitar lake at some springs beside the trail maybe 0.5mile before the 10 switchbacks. There's also plenty of good camping at this point just SW of the trail.


Careful sharing "secret" campsites

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#48262 - 08/30/16 07:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
eje67 Offline


Registered: 07/09/14
Posts: 52
Loc: Los Angeles County
Great weather today (August 30th), and trail is in excellent condition. At ~8:30 a.m. I'd estimate temps at the summit in the low 40s maybe cooler, with 5-10 knot winds. Sunny. Looks like lots of wind in the forecast so if you're hiking the next few days be ready, wind and cold were factors today especially on the back side of the mountain.







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#48263 - 08/30/16 08:19 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
spaulk1 Offline


Registered: 08/30/16
Posts: 1
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Are there still hikers out now returning from summit today? Estimate of return for 12:30PDT summit today?

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#48265 - 08/30/16 10:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: spaulk1]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
Loc: Fresno, CA
spaulk1: It is not uncommon for hikers to take 9 hours and longer to get down. When I was there 8/27 and 8/28, there was a stream of headlamps shining up on the trail well after dark.

It sounds like you were waiting for word from hiking friends. I hope they made it out ok. 99.9% of them seem to make it without any issues, often taking longer than expected.

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#48382 - 09/12/16 01:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Halfdomer Homer Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Beautiful day on Sat Sept 10. Made it up in 9 hrs and back down in 5. Perfect weather, didn't even need a jacket on the summit. I heard it rained a little that night though.

-Dan

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#48437 - 09/20/16 09:45 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
Loc: Fresno, CA
DUG hiked the Main Trail Sept 19. His picture shows ice is forming again at the cables. This is new ice that is freezing from the water that is seeping out of the cracks in the rocks at the cables.

Thanks for the picture, Doug!


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#48438 - 09/20/16 10:07 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
chinombre Offline


Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 6
Loc: santa monica

Is that patch easily passable with standard boots/footwear?

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#48439 - 09/20/16 10:10 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chinombre]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
Loc: Fresno, CA
Yes. The rocks on the edge are dry. If the ice covers a larger area, the cables are there to hang onto.

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#48441 - 09/20/16 10:11 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
chinombre Offline


Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 6
Loc: santa monica
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Yes. The rocks on the edge are dry. If the ice covers a larger area, the cables are there to hang onto.


Rad, congrats!

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#48442 - 09/20/16 12:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: chinombre]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 314
Loc: Wildomar
Super easy to walk by in trail runners. Stay on the rocks next to the cables and hang on if you need to.

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#48443 - 09/20/16 02:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: DUG]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6563
Loc: Fresno, CA
DUG: Is the Trail Camp pond frozen over in your picture?
shocked

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#48445 - 09/20/16 07:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 314
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: Steve C
DUG: Is the Trail Camp pond frozen over in your picture?
shocked


Not only is it not frozen, but the water I filtered early in the morning wasn't even that cold. It was a warm day on the trail. I only used my jacket briefly.

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#48466 - 09/24/16 09:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 6
Loc: Northern California
Summited 9/23. The pond at TC was frozen before sunrise on 9/23, but thawed during the day. The night of 9/22 was truly frigid - much colder than 9/23 - so I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t freeze again for a while. Water was plentiful at all spots below Trail Camp, but no water was flowing from the springs on the switchbacks, even in mid-afternoon on our return trip from the summit on 9/23. DUG’s pictures of the cables looked just like what we saw – very solid ice through the middle 50 feet of the cables. As Steve C notes, the ice is easily passable on higher rocks - currently in any type of footwear (just pay close attention not to step off the ice-free higher rocks. Snow on the trail is very sporadic between the cables and the summit, and so thin, it probably melted today due to much warmer temperatures on the mountain than the days before.

Road construction is now almost to the Portal. Delays were only about 30 minutes or so, but covered the area from a few miles out of Lone Pine, all the way to the Portal itself. We had to wait for the pilot car simply to exit the family campground at the Portal. We got caught by the last pilot car delay coming out of Lone Pine at nearly 8pm on 9/21, so they are working late.

Perhaps this is true at any time, but late September conditions can change dramatically from day to day as this week showed. 9/21 the mountain was shrouded in clouds and looked ugly from Lone Pine. 9/22, on the other hand, was cloud-free all day. All returnees we talked to while hiking up to Trail Camp on 9/22 reported harrowing conditions the previous night at Trail Camp. Multiple parties reported destroyed(!) tents during the night due to severe winds. “Hurricane-force” was the adjective reported by several. Most reported thunderstorms and several parties independently reported a helicopter blaring a siren warning people off the summit ridge during the day of 9/21 (I’d never seen that reported on the forum before – is that unusual?). Returnees from a night at Outpost also reported high winds. Conditions were much better on 9/22 - quite cold on the way up from the Portal, but few winds, so we braved Trail Camp. The night was nearly wind-free, but extremely cold - well below freezing and rather uncomfortable. 9/23 day was still chilly but much warmer at night than 9/22 (only freezingish, not frigid). A bit windy on the summit, but clear skies all day and not uncomfortable. Today (9/24) most were in shirt sleeves below Trail Camp once the sun was fully up. At 1pm when we got back to our car, the Portal was shorts weather.

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