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


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
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 2014
  Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015 (Old)

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#41875 - 03/02/15 10:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ThirdPoliceman Offline


Registered: 02/16/15
Posts: 2
Loc: San Jose, CA
I'm thinking of going up the main trail this weekend. Does anybody know what conditions are like as far as Lone Pine Lake campground?

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#41876 - 03/03/15 08:38 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ThirdPoliceman]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Snow fell up there yesterday, but it appears to be melted away in the sunny spots already. So you will encounter snow in patches, maybe solid in the shady areas.

If you go, bring back pictures!!

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#41889 - 03/04/15 07:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Peter1990 Offline


Registered: 03/04/15
Posts: 1
Loc: Ca
Hey everybody,

we are also planning on going up this weekend. Could anybody tell me what equipment we need for a winter assent and what the best route under this conditions is? Updates on the current conditions are greatly appreciated, too.

Thanks,

Peter

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#41890 - 03/04/15 08:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Peter1990]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Peter, a little more snow has fallen since the last report (the pics above). The Mountaineers Route is pretty much the preferred winter route, since it is more direct, so less snow to thrash through. The conditions you see in the pictures above (and in the link provided) are likely what you will encounter.

I sure hope you have winter climbing experience, and know the route! Don't go any farther or higher than you feel comfortable.

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#41955 - 03/12/15 09:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ThirdPoliceman Offline


Registered: 02/16/15
Posts: 2
Loc: San Jose, CA
Last weekend I started up the main trail and followed it for the most part.

I had to turn just after the cables on Sunday morning, as did another party. The snow on the switchbacks was powdery and slippery and that part of the trail was exposed.

Up to that point we had gotten by with decent waterproof footwear and hiking poles.

Just today I read a trip report describing in some detail how people went up the chute to the West of the switchbacks as late as June 2010. With snowshoes and more prior experience [than none] in self arrest we might have gotten a look at Trail Crest.

Up to the Whitney Zone border, the snow was either absent or below ankle deep. Beyond that point, we began to follow the tracks that went before us. These breeze past the sharp turn to the right onto the switchbacks down to Bighorn park and descend a steep slope near Outpost camp.

There was lots of activity at the Portal when we passed through on Saturday.

Pictures to follow


Edited by ThirdPoliceman (03/12/15 09:56 PM)

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#41960 - 03/15/15 06:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ThirdPoliceman]
sbay bill Offline


Registered: 03/15/15
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
I'm also thinking of making an ascent, probably solo.

I've never done Whitney in the winter and wouldn't do solo except the snow is so minimal this year.

I have the gear, have done rainier and some other climbs.

Would appreciate people's input on conditions this March/April.

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#41961 - 03/15/15 09:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sbay bill]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Well, if these people can do it....

Found this on YouTube:

Mt Whitney Winter Attempt for Beginners Feb 14-16, 2015

YouTube caption:
"In spite of warnings by descending climbers that the route was not passable above Trail Crest our team reached the top of the highest mountain (14,505feet) in the contiguous United States and the first and only team which reached the summit after the last storms till that weekend."

It appears to be a SF Bay Area meetup group. About 15 people started out, maybe a third made the summit. A couple of shots after dark on the summit, though they didn't take gear to camp on the summit. Must have been a very long day. They base-camped at Outpost camp.

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#41963 - 03/15/15 11:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sbay bill Offline


Registered: 03/15/15
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Thank you for the link, Steve. Conditions don't seem bad.

Interesting group. I admire thier determination, but wouldn't want to descend in the dark!

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#42019 - 03/24/15 11:58 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Eric J climbed the Mountaineers Route on St Patricks day.

Several pictures:





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#42048 - 03/29/15 11:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Beantown Offline


Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 10
Loc: SoCal
I am going to head up to the eastern sierra next week thur-tue to do some car camping and hiking. I am thinking about an overnight to Whitney up the main trail and going up the chute to trail crest. I would bring micro spikes, crampons and ice axe. Anyone know if there is enough snow to climb the chute, and if i should bring snow shoes as well? Is the portal road open and can i drive up?

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#42050 - 03/29/15 08:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Beantown]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Don't take snow shoes. You will find enough of a boot track that they won't be necessary. If you go, please bring back pictures. I'll help you post them.

As for the chute, there probably is enough. It is enough of a north-facing slope that it will have a cover of snow.

The Whitney Portal road is open. Doug may open the store this week. Here's the Inyo N.F. Conditions web page:

Mt. Whitney Ranger District Conditions

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#42053 - 03/29/15 10:19 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sbay bill Offline


Registered: 03/15/15
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Please post trail conditions. I'm planning to go up April 12th if their is enough snow to go up the chute.

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#42060 - 03/31/15 08:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sbay bill]
Rmills213 Offline


Registered: 01/15/14
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
I am heading up Whitney (and hopefully Russell) via the mountaineers route this Friday (4/3)- Sunday (4/5). I'll be sure to take some good pictures and upload them here for everyone's viewing pleasure.

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#42067 - 03/31/15 10:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rmills213]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5525
Loc: Fresno, CA
Seeing them WILL be a pleasure!

Best of luck on your adventure. Have fun, and especially, be safe.

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#42081 - 04/01/15 10:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
femaleexpat Offline


Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Currently there is enough snow in the chute. Its important to summit early as the snow melt so fast in the afternoon that all you do is postholing much.

I was in Whitney Mar 28 for a day hike.

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#42092 - 04/05/15 06:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: femaleexpat]
ruckustrx11 Offline


Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 35
Loc: San Diego
Has anyone tried to go up the main trail yet? Would like to get up before the end of the month and before the trail quota kicks in.

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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: 5525
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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#42102 - 04/07/15 09:47 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ruckustrx11 Offline


Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 35
Loc: San Diego
Awesome. Too bad its snowing today and tomorrow. The main trail probably wont be passable by the 19th...

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#42118 - 04/08/15 01:07 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rmills213]
Rmills213 Offline


Registered: 01/15/14
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Trip Report for Mountaineers Route 4/3-4/4:

4/3
Hiked up North Fork and established base camp at Upper Boyscout Lake. Trail was free of snow for the most part up until the boulder field after Lower Boyscout Lake. Snow had pretty firm boot tracks ascending the boulder field. Crampons not necessary. Upper Boyscout lake did have snow on the ground. Lake was still frozen over.

4/4
Summit day. Snow was present for most of the way between Upper Boyscout Lake and Iceberg Lake. Once again, boot tracks followed much of the way and were firm enough to not use crampons. Iceberg Lake was frozen and the area around was all snow. Chute up to the notch was hard-packed snow. No post-holing. There were a couple of guided groups ascending the chute with rope, but crampons and ice axe worked just fine. The last 400 ft was covered with snow as well. Tracks have done a good job compacting the snow. Descending was a bit scary without a rope. I would recommend roping up if you are not comfortable on steep snow angles with big exposure.

All in all, route was very manageable. Manage your time, and Summit early. Be safe. Going up is always easier than coming down.

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