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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: 4937
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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#37036 - 06/03/14 12:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 4937
Loc: Fresno, CA
Davey McCoy, the manager at Whitney Portal Hostel posted these pictures on Facebook, from the switchbacks this past weekend.

Looks like the trail disappears under the snow here:


Cables


Cables


Looking back at the cables

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#37042 - 06/03/14 01:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 4937
Loc: Fresno, CA
Another picture posted by ajlilchick


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#37061 - 06/03/14 10:39 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1156
Loc: Northern California
Looking at the above pictures through the eyes of someone who has only summited Whitney once, I would say that the report of the "Switchbacks being open and usable" is highly overrated (at the moment that the pix were taken) Not much room for error.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37104 - 06/04/14 07:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
seancully Offline


Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Steve, Bob, and Bee -

Thanks for the info. Super helpful!

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#37109 - 06/04/14 09:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: seancully]
Robbo Offline


Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Killafornia
Me and the wife encountered Dave at the switchbacks. Those pics look pretty spot on. Dave was actually removing some snow with his ice axe. Really nice guy.

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#37144 - 06/05/14 12:09 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 4937
Loc: Fresno, CA
Robbo posted this in the Trip Reports forum: June 2nd. Only reached Trail Crest.
Originally Posted By: Robbo
Hey guys. I just wanted to provide some info about the trail conditions. From the portal to trail camp, everything is almost 100% clear from snow. A few patches here and there.

The infamous switchbacks. We did not see anybody going up the chute so we followed everyone on the switchbacks. When we reached the cables, we saw a lot of of people turn around. We decided to keep going and to be honest, the cables weren't that bad although the pictures on the "current conditions" post make it look scary as hell. But then again, being clumsy would prove fatal. To us, the 2 or 3 switchbacks after the cables felt way more sketchier. The last switchback, the one that leads to trail crest had a lot of snow and we had to do some bouldering. We saw a ton of people, even a kid, going down the switchbacks without any gear. Just poles and and a lot faith. Just like me.

We reached trail crest at 1:50 and figured that by the time we reached the summit and back, the conditions would be really bad so we decided to end our ascend there. We went down the chute and the snow was slushy. Hard to slide down at times. My wife got small cuts on her arm from a few icy spots.

So what's the verdict? The switchbacks are doable without any gear but it's REALLY dangerous.

***Also, Dave from the Lone Pine hostel was clearing a bit of the snow from the cables with his ice axe. Good guy Dave. Go visit his store and give him a high five.***

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#37149 - 06/05/14 10:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 307
Loc: Colton, California
I am working of a full trip report, but here are the conditions we found on 6/3 - 6/4:

The trail was mostly clear of snow from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp. There were a few snowy/icy patches, but it easy to walk around these.

It was very warm on 6/4. When I checked the temperature @ Outpost Camp around 2:00 AM it was 40. As a result, the snow was soft we easily hiked the bottom 1/3 of the chute with crampons and hiking poles. After that point, an ice ax is recommended/needed. I didn't check the temperature again until we were leaving the summit around 9 am. It was 50.

There were a few snowy/icy patches between Trail Crest and the summit. They didn't bug me much on the ascent, but on the way down, when I was tired, they made me a little nervous. We ran into people convincing others in their groups that it was ok to proceed.

@ 11:00 am, the chute was very soft overall, but there were some hard icy patches. I had to self arrest twice to slow down. There is no way I could have done this with hiking poles. My 'butt-speedometer' says my speed increased by 50% or more in a matter of seconds. The snow in these sections was hard enough to rip a hole in my waterproof pants. At the bottom we were post-holing... so just because the snow is soft and slushy where you're standing, it doesn't mean that's the case for the entire chute.

We probably talked to 15-20 people between the summit and Trail Camp. We were the only ones that went up the chute, but others were talking about going down the chute with hiking poles to self-arrest. I did what I could to convince them otherwise, but I doubt they considered anything I said.


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#37157 - 06/05/14 03:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Akichow Offline
WHA member

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 569
Loc: SF Bay Area
Congrats! And great photo.

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#37158 - 06/05/14 04:25 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Akichow]
Travis A. Offline


Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Temecula, CA
Appreciate the updates everyone. we have a group of 12 heading up this Sunday morning on the 6/8...hoping that warm weather continues to melt those switchbacks.

After making it past those, I haven't seen any recent photos from there to the summit...that section pretty clear considering it's the other side and more exposed to the sun?

Hopefully we'll see some more trip reports from today and tomorrow that will be a good sign before we head out!

Tried to pick up a pair of microspikes at REI here in San Diego, they were sold out because it's not that season really now for them.

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#37159 - 06/05/14 05:38 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Travis A.]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 307
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Travis A.


After making it past those, I haven't seen any recent photos from there to the summit...that section pretty clear considering it's the other side and more exposed to the sun?


There are a couple of sketchy sections, but I'd imagine they'll clear up a bit by Sunday. Most everyone going through them did so without microspikes. I think I have some photos, just need to go through them all.


Originally Posted By: Akichow
Congrats! And great photo.


Thanks grin

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#37184 - 06/06/14 09:13 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 48
Loc: The OC
I think I might go in from Onion on Monday (6/9) and come over from the backside to Whitney on Wednesday (6/11).

The weather is supposed to be 5-10 degrees above normal from Sunday until Thursday. With this kind of weather bringing out lots of weekenders, and the expected bulk of PCTers coming through the region, I'm guessing the north side of Forester, the JMT up from Guitar, and the switchbacks/chute will have well established boot tracks.

I did the this hike 2 years ago during the same first/second week period of June and it worked out fine. Like last time, I'll just have my micro-spikes & poles. My timing to hit the chute will be around 1pm, so it should be nice and slushy if the switchbacks are too sketch.

Still, with this weather and volume of foot traffic, I'd be surprised if the trail hasn't been cleared - especially with guys like Davey up there chipping away.

NWS http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.ph...00#.U5HolfldWSo

TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH THE PERIOD...BUT WILL
INCREASE ON SUNDAY AND MONDAY...WHEN AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH IS IN
EFFECT FOR ELEVATIONS BELOW 4000 FEET IN THE MOJAVE DESERT.


Edited by Hobbes (06/06/14 09:16 AM)

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#37190 - 06/06/14 11:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
We made the trip 6/4-6/5. No issues Portal to Trail Camp.
Switchbacks: we did not use microspikes or ice axes. We don't even use hiking poles.
Some snow on switchbacks which did make it tricky but totally doable. We never felt in danger even at the cables. However, the last switchback to Trail Crest was blocked so we had to take a small detour to the left.
Trail crest to summit: not much snow but a couple of areas where we had to cross snow patches.
A side note: as we were coming down by Outpost Camp it started to snow lightly and we heard thunder.
I'll post pictures later today.

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#37202 - 06/06/14 05:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
John D Offline


Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I've been at the cables / switchbacks when they looked like this. It was very scary to be honest with you. I've never used micro spikes but did buy a pair of Yack Tracks which do not have spikes. Which is the better to use in conditions like the pictures? Thanks, these posts are very helpful!

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#37209 - 06/06/14 08:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
CaroMP Offline


Registered: 05/29/14
Posts: 7
Loc: United States
Ok, let me try. Here are some photos of the trickier parts.









Edited by wazzu (06/06/14 09:10 PM)

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#37212 - 06/06/14 08:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 307
Loc: Colton, California

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#37222 - 06/07/14 06:27 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: CaroMP]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 48
Loc: The OC
I'm looking @ the Whitney cam and looking at your photos (especially the guy in shorts/t-shirt - that's my outfit), and it's hard not to just get in the car and go. LOL.

Still, I must tell myself patience grasshopper - 2 more days, and the crowds will have dropped and the conditions improved ...


Edited by Hobbes (06/07/14 06:29 AM)

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#37238 - 06/08/14 09:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
jaceruby Offline


Registered: 06/08/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Minnesota
Jace here from Minnesota. I came to Cali to visit a buddy and thought I'd climb Whitney with him. At the last second he backed out on me, but I decided to drive from San Diego and do it by myself anyway. Here's my trip report from 6/7.

Got up at 4 AM and met two cool guys from L.A. and hiked the whole way up to the summit. I had microspikes and an ice axe with me and they didn't (I didn't use either the whole way up or down) At the switchbacks there were about two or three "hairy" sections. I hit the switchbacks about 8 o'clock and the cables were a little slick, but just fine. There was another switchback shortly above the cables where we actually had to do a little rock climbing to get above it. The last "bad" spot was right above the chute where there was some ice over a fairly narrow switchback with a big drop. The guys I was with had no trekking pole and I had to give them mine to make sure they were safe. I absolutely recommend trekking poles and I think microspikes, which aren't a must, wouldn't be a bad idea for certain areas. All of these spots were easy enough to navigate with a trekking pole and by mid-afternoon, the way down was very easy because of how soft the snow was.

Outside of that, the switchbacks were in perfect shape and despite not getting a chance to acclimate to elevation, I was able to leave San Diego at 5:30 PM on Friday, summit on Saturday at noon, and make it down by 5:30 PM on Saturday. I would definitely not recommend this, but because of my short window in California I had to make it up and down in a day. This was an absolutely breathtaking hike and feel privileged I was able to do it in a day.

I want to thank all of you who've posted in this forum. The constant updates on trip conditions really helped me learn this mountain from afar and plan a safe trip with huge success. I hope my report may help others.

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#37397 - 06/12/14 12:57 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 4937
Loc: Fresno, CA
For several good pictures, check out these posted by Hobbes:

6/11 switchbacks open for business

Here is Hobbes' picture at the cables:


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#37555 - 06/17/14 05:13 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 4937
Loc: Fresno, CA
Jim F reported this on WPSMB:
Quote:
As of Father"s Day weekend: (June 15)

Snow on the last switchback below the cables and on two switchbacks just above the cables requires focus, but easily dealt with.

Able to walk on solid rock entirely on the inside of the cables. (Thanks to those who rebuilt this passage a couple of years ago.)

From Trail Crest to the Keeler Needle, two remaining patches of snow easily passed.

Excellent track through diminishing snow field on summit plateau.

Spring at 23rd switchback flowing.

Many PCT hikers on the Mountain, as well as some hikers finishing the JMT and High Sierra Trail.

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