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


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5831
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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#43623 - 07/21/15 10:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5831
Loc: Fresno, CA
This picture was posted on facebook by A.P. Esckelson, from July 20.

Beware and be prepared for the often stormy weather this summer.

Watch the weather forecast just before you go.


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#43671 - 07/26/15 10:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5831
Loc: Fresno, CA
A picture at the cables, July 25, 2015.


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#43771 - 08/03/15 11:57 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 267
Loc: Orange County, CA
What's with all the haze in the Whitney Cam today? Is that smoke? Where's the fire?

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#43772 - 08/03/15 02:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brent N]
CatB Offline


Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 14
Loc: the o.c.
It might be this fire:
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/4423/
2 years ago there was a fire in the Kern area & the smoke would blow over the crest & into LP in the afternoons. The wind pattern would shift at nite & the mornings would be clear then the wind would change direction & blow it back in the afternoon.
I'm going up this week so I hope it clears out.

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#43773 - 08/03/15 03:26 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: CatB]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 267
Loc: Orange County, CA
Hi, CatB. I hope so too. Good luck.

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#43809 - 08/04/15 11:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: CatB]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5831
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a composite picture someone posted on Facebook showing the smoke hanging in the valleys.

Posted by Peter N. Caption:
Quote:
For those who interested how much smog was visible from the summit - this is a pano shot I took around 8:30 AM on Monday, August 3. Notice yellows clouds? That's smog from Cabin fire.



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#43817 - 08/05/15 08:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 237
Loc: Saugus, CA
Interesting!

I believe that the smoke is coming from the Cabin Fire in Sequoia.

I found a great fire map here.
_________________________
“We can never sneer at the stars, mock the dawn, or scoff at the totality of being." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

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#43833 - 08/05/15 03:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5831
Loc: Fresno, CA
SB: Thanks for the fire map info!

Inyo staff sent me another smoke information link:
http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/

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#43857 - 08/06/15 01:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Grady Offline


Registered: 06/09/15
Posts: 5
Loc: san diego, ca
Whitney Sunrise Sunday August 3rd. Hiked switched backs in the moonlight of the full moon and made it just in time for the sunrise.


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#43895 - 08/07/15 08:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 49
Loc: California
I started my hike on the 4th and there was a haze over the whole area in the morning of the 4th. A strong smoke smell as well and people coming down mentioned it was at the summit the previous day. Cleared up in the afternoon, probably due to a shift in the wind.

At the summit the next day, it was clear and I could see the fire smoke to the south-west as shown in the picture. Seemed to be blowing mostly southward at that time.

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#43953 - 08/12/15 01:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
Keith J Offline


Registered: 08/11/15
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
Hey Whitney Hikers ...

I have a friend heading up Whitney along the main trail from the Portal next week (Aug 20). Trying to give him advice with regards to water availability.

With the weak snowfall this year, is there still water any water on the lower switchbacks ??

Thanks.

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#43957 - 08/12/15 04:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Keith J]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 49
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Keith J
Hey Whitney Hikers ...

I have a friend heading up Whitney along the main trail from the Portal next week (Aug 20). Trying to give him advice with regards to water availability.

With the weak snowfall this year, is there still water any water on the lower switchbacks ??

Thanks.


The spring was flowing nicely on August 5th when I came down from the summit.

Not gushing, but enough to fill bottles as needed. Think I got a 1 liter bottle filled in less than a minute.

I'd recommend filling up from the streams below Trail Camp and using the spring to top off anything needed coming up or down. Streams are much faster to fill from.

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#43989 - 08/16/15 10:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Keith J]
WaltzingMatilda Offline


Registered: 08/16/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Northern California
I was just there last week (8/10-8/14/15) for my first time climbing Mt. Whitney. There was plenty of water everywhere I expected to see water (judging by my trail map, and what I had heard others tell me), on most sections of the trail. The highest water source was the spring at the 21-23rd switchbacks (in the upper 97 switchback section before Trail Crest), which was flowing just fine. If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't have thought that we are going through a severe drought here in California. I carried 3 normal quart size Nalgene bottles with me on my hike, and most of the time I felt the 3rd one was just going along for the ride. There were plenty of sources to stop and refill along the way.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your hike!
_________________________
In this lifetime we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. ~Mother Theresa

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#43995 - 08/17/15 04:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sertile Offline


Registered: 08/17/15
Posts: 1
Loc: MO
First time on Whitney next week, 8/24, and not sure how to pack. How cold is the summit this time of year? What temp sleeping bag would you recommend? I don't want to carry a lot of winter clothes if I won't be needing them. Thanks!

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#43996 - 08/17/15 05:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sertile]
ThirdPoliceman Offline


Registered: 02/16/15
Posts: 5
Loc: San Jose, CA
I found this link useful when planning my climb. I recall that NOAA forecasts corroborated the contents last March, but cannot verify that at this time.

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#43997 - 08/17/15 06:42 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sertile]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 838
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: sertile
First time on Whitney next week, 8/24, and not sure how to pack. How cold is the summit this time of year? What temp sleeping bag would you recommend? I don't want to carry a lot of winter clothes if I won't be needing them. Thanks!


to be blunt, you better take them.

lowest temp IN AUGUST that I have had at 12,000 ft near or on Whitney is 18F. Add wind to that and you better be prepared. You cannot count on a more typical 30-40. Yes, daytime 60 on the summit is nice, I have had that, but 40 F, 30 mph wind, sleet, and no sun and you are frozen. Most days are much, much nicer than that, but what day will you have?

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#43999 - 08/17/15 10:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sertile]
WaltzingMatilda Offline


Registered: 08/16/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Northern California
It is worth the extra work and effort to carry some warm duds wth you. Seriously, about 80-90% of the time I was wearing typical summer/fall hiking clothes, during my hike 8/10-8/14. But as soon as I got within less than apx. 1000' of the summit, it got ridiculously cold. I wore a sweatshirt jacket over a t-shirt almost the whole way up, but as soon as I got close to the summit, the chill in the air was noticeable and significant. It felt like February. Sunshine turned to gray ominous-looking clouds. I pulled my down coat out of my day pack and was glad I had bothered to tote it along.

I talked to a US Forest Service Patrol Ranger at Trail Camp the night before I summited, who told me he had met hikers on the trail who turned back in the last lap of the climb to the summit, because it had gotten much colder than they expected to and they weren't prepared.

I carried an old-school sleeping bag which is hard to rate by today's standards. Perhaps it was rated for fall weather at the most, but definitely not winter-rated. Either way, I was not what I would call "comfortable" the night before I summited (at Trail Camp), and I thought I was well-read and knew what I was doing. Hence, what I am suggesting is that it is worth every extra effort you make to carry some warm clothes and bedding along with you, even if you only wear them a small percentage of the time. I was in Lone Pine less than 24 hours from the time I summited, and it was shocking to me how drastically different the temperatures were; the summit felt like February whereas the town most definitely felt like August.

Just my two cents. Hope this helps. Good luck with your hike!
_________________________
In this lifetime we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. ~Mother Theresa

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#44000 - 08/18/15 01:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WaltzingMatilda]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 1987
Loc: Cairns
If you know the temperature and elevation at the starting point and the elevation of the summit you can predict (within certain bounds) the temperature of the summit using the adiabatic lapse rate.

For unsaturated air, the rate is about 10 degrees centigrade per Km. Portal to Mt. Whitney summit happens to be very close to 2 Km gain and 20 degrees centigrade change is 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't forget to subtract!

So for metric-challenged hikers, it's about 5.5 degrees F. per thousand feet. That's a good rule of thumb, but there are many variables. YMMV.

That predicted temperature is before the wind-chill factor is calculated. That's a whole other post.

Obligatory Wiki and the math is here.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#44001 - 08/18/15 06:23 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: wagga]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 26
Loc: Novato, CA
In August you can get by with just a nice lightweight wind jacket that also has a hood and some layer of protection for added warmth. We're talking only about a pound here or less. Just make sure to check the weather forecast (as mentioned above) before you head up.

I hike in mid to late September and so I also bring along an extra sweater and pants (and gloves and a cap). Altogether they weigh about 3 pounds.

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