Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
1 registered (ScottHikerEsq), 13 Guests and 89 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3179 Members
13 Forums
5218 Topics
48780 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#4904 - 06/04/10 10:44 AM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7126
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 2017 (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.


Top
#51132 - 07/24/17 06:59 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Traumatized Offline


Registered: 07/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
7/23 day hike: Some of our group made it to the summit in about 9 hours and my fiancÚ and I got about 1000 meters away by 9 hours, could see the summit before the hail and lightning storm started and we had to turn back. Those storms gear up quick! It lasted several hours and felt like we just couldn't get off the mountain soon enough. Very scary.

On our way down we dreaded going back across the snow patch at the top of the switchbacks and the one below trail camp. These felt very sketchy on the way up, and on our way down we saw a man fall about 20-30ft off the one under trail camp. He was badly injured and thankfully there were a lot of people around to help get him out as he was unconscious . He had to stay on the mountain overnight because helicopters can't rescue this late in the day because it's too dark (6pm-ish). We started booking it down to the portal to get help as no one had a radio or working walkie talkies. On our way down no one we passed had these either. A lady who was with the man came up on the trail behind us as we descended, she passed us up and was able to bump into search and rescue who had just finished helping another man down that made this exact same fall earlier in the day.

These two patches of snow are very scary especially because of the snow melt. There are a lot of loose rocks on the one at the top of switchbacks, and the one below trail camp is very unstable. If you have microspikes or crampons be smart and USE THEM! If not, then invest in your life and buy them!

Top
#51307 - 07/31/17 07:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Squib09 Offline


Registered: 07/29/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Vista, CA
Summited with a group of 7 on the 28th. It was my second time, as well as two other people in our group. The rest were doing it for the first time.

We got to the portal at 1PM on the 27, and our group of four was on the "new" trail by 1345. It was hot, especially on the exposed portions up until we got to Big Horn Park. Cover from the sun is a must if you start in mid afternoon. In Big Horn Park were were assaulted by the mosquito's and had to take off our boots for a solid 100' of trail (pressed between a granite face and the inundated meadow) that was under about 12" of water. That water was cold! but it felt good on our feet.

We made Trail Camp by just before 1900, but that time was delayed significantly by a gross navigational error on my part. We missed a switchback past the flooded trail north of Mirror lake and wound up veering to the south of the preferred course and up .80 miles of snow (by my watch), putting us on the shore of Consultation lake. That was not fun, there were old tracks on the snow we were following, but a bush blocked our view of the switchback and we were probably overly expectant of a snow crossing before Trail Camp from reading other trip reports here. We then had to hike a few hundred meters over the rocks to trail camp, where we rendezvoused with three of our partners who had hiked up earlier in the day.

We were on the trail by 0745 on the 28th and reached Trail Crest in just over two hours. The spring between switchbacks 22 & 23 flooded all of the switchbacks below it with cold water. The snow on switchback 88 was not a real technical challenge, but I was a bit freaked out by the thought of accelerating down the steep snow back below the snow covered switchback if I fell. Those were some slow, deliberate and careful steps for me, with trekking poles but no crampons. Switchback 91 had a much smaller, but slightly trickier patch of snow, but there was more room to fall with that one.

The hike to the summit was as advertised, with several hikers on the way down letting us know about the cairns that guided us around the snow patch on the approach to the summit. There were still multiple climbers slogging through the snow or wandering through the boulders outside the cairns on our way up, so the gouge wasn't well distributed. We were on our way down by 1:30PM and reached Trail Camp in 2:18, where we packed up and recharged our water. The trip down was relatively uneventful, other than the fact that the mosquitos down trail from Outpost Camp were somehow worse than the day before.

We took the new trail again, and watched the open sign on the Portal store turn off as were were 15' from the door at around 2045. The gentleman manning the store opened up to sell us some gatorades after we helped him load the trash into his truck, which was greatly appreciated.

I last summited in 2012, and was stunned by how much water is on the trail this year, I would certainly not bring excessive water weight on a summit attempt this year due to the easy availability of water everywhere on the trail. Climbing Whitney is still the best adventure one can have in a day or two in the Sierras!


Edited by Squib09 (07/31/17 08:10 PM)

Top
#51377 - 08/03/17 02:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
G4u2 Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 1
Loc: San Diego, CA
I did a solo overnight hike starting at Whitney Portal at 5:15 am on July 30th. I got to Trailcamp by 9:00 am, which was much earlier than anticipated. It's hard to gauge how in shape you are based on talking with different people! I then decided I didn't want to stay at the featureless camp for the whole day and headed to the summit.

I left there at 10:00 am. I got to the top at 1:15 pm with picture-perfect weather. After about 30 minutes the nice puffy clouds on top of Mt. Whitney quickly changed to darker ones, so I decided to start heading back. By the time I was at Trailcrest, I could hear thundering.

By the time I made to Trail camp (4:00 pm), I could see the whole ridge was getting hit by what looked like sheets of precipitation. From 12,000ft, I wasn't sure if it was hitting the ground though. Nonetheless, the lighting was pretty scary and definitely got me back to Trailcamp faster. The lesson there is: try to summit before noon this time of the year.

By the way, a great spot to get clean water is at the switchbacks between Trailcamp and Traicrest. It's a good filling time as you are coming back of the mountain and the water is not stagnant like the one by Trailcamp. I then debated getting back to Portal, but ultimately decided to spend the night at Trailcamp.

I left there at 5:00am, and leisurely came down, taking pictures. I was back to Portal before 8:30 am.

On the microspike need, I brought and used them at two locations - one small patch before Trailcamp, and the other sketchier patch right below Trailcrest. Can you do without them? Absolutely. Also, on water shoes, I regret bringing them. The only spot you need to take your boots off is right below Outpost camp. The flooded trail is not gravelly and one could easily walk barefooted - save some weight.


More pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/TN2CSJTkVSBKbpd6A

Top
#51420 - 08/05/17 04:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MrHoff Offline


Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I was part of a group that climbed Mount Whitney this week. On Wednesday, August 2, we hiked from Whitney Portal up to the ridge overlooking Consultation Lake (about a third of a mile short of Trail Camp), where we set up our tents. The following morning, we broke camp at about 6:30 and reached the summit at about 10:30. Hooray!! Due to threatening clouds, we left the summit at 11:00, returned to our camp-site, packed up, and made it back to Whitney Portal by 6:30 PM.

Snow is not a problem on the trail. Between Whitney Portal and Trail Crest, there are two short snowfields that do not require crampons, micro-spikes, or even trekking poles. About a quarter-mile short of the summit, there is a snowfield that is easily avoided by a well-cairned by-pass trail.

There is some water on the trail, but it is only a problem for hikers wearing non-waterproof or low-top footwear. I wear medium-weight Salomon hiking boots. With nimble rock-hopping (and trekking poles for balance), I was able to keep my feet dry on the way down from the summit. People with low-top boots will want to change to water shoes in a couple of spots.

Overall, the trail is in great shape. We enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience -- and you will, too!

A side note: We encountered many abandoned "wag bags" of human waste left along the trail. Eeewww! Please be considerate of your fellow hikers, and be responsible stewards of the environment, by bringing back your "wag bags."

Top
#51423 - 08/05/17 06:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: MrHoff]
Keithdavis79 Offline


Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca
We summitted Whitney 8/4/17. Left portal at 2am and returned just before 4pm. We took the old trailhead to bypass any fears of getting soaked by the two water crossings early on. It was very easy to locate the old trailhead using this thread.
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/15657/Old_Trail_Trailhead
The flooded meadow crossing just before outpost camp was ankle high. We navigated carefully and were able to escape with mostly dry feet. I wore mid high gore-Tex boots and stayed relatively dry throughout the day. I elected to not carry water shoes in order to save time changing shoes. I'm overall happy with my decision but this is a personal preference.
In regards to microspikes or crampons in my opinion there is no need. There are a couple very minor snow crossings. This is the worst (Midway up on the switchbacks)
https://goo.gl/photos/sc6oEjXC4gtsD8GP8


A couple weeks ago there was a treacherous crossing near the top of the switchbacks but it has since melted out completely.
See photo. https://goo.gl/photos/VDeD4VJNG1vWuNUS8


With trekking poles and hiking boots there were no issues on any of the snow crossings.
The weather was cloudy and cool. I wore a t-shirt and shorts most of the day but put on a light rain jacket and gloves at trail crest while waiting for friends to finish the switchbacks. I did bring a long sleeve shirt and pants as well but never put them on.
A couple other things to note: The portal store was not cooking food nor offering showers due to "no water". We later discovered signs posted at the portal spigots noting E. coli had been detected in the water at the portal and they recommend boiling the water before drinking etc. Fortunately we had filled our bladders prior to our arrival and had extra food. But we were looking forward to a meal at the portal store the night before our hike.
Lastly, there was a ranger on the trail checking for permits and wag bags. We saw her handing out citations to people who couldn't produce their wag bags. That's all for now. Safe travels!

Edited by Keithdavis79 (08/05/17 09:19 PM)

Top
#51436 - 08/06/17 08:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
tabbycats Offline


Registered: 08/06/17
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
My sister and I reached the summit on Saturday 8/5/17. Keith has a great description of the current conditions. I just wanted to add that we took the new trail from the Portal and had no problem getting across the first few water crossings while keeping our feet dry. At the ankle-deep crossing before Outpost Camp we took off our shoes for the crossing, which, though cold, actually felt really good on the way back.

Top
#51454 - 08/07/17 08:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Keithdavis79]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1063
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Keithdavis79

Lastly, there was a ranger on the trail checking for permits and wag bags. We saw her handing out citations to people who couldn't produce their wag bags.

Very interesting. What was the citation for? Anyone?

Top
#51456 - 08/07/17 09:49 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SierraNevada]
bobbyj54 Offline


Registered: 07/27/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Ca., USA
Has anyone come up the west side. We have a High sierra trail trip planned for end of August. Curios if anyone knows the conditions

Top
#51457 - 08/07/17 09:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SierraNevada]
Keithdavis79 Offline


Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: Keithdavis79

Lastly, there was a ranger on the trail checking for permits and wag bags. We saw her handing out citations to people who couldn't produce their wag bags.

Very interesting. What was the citation for? Anyone?


Citations if you could not show her your wag bag, either used or unused. You're required to carry one. If you don't have one to show they assume you either never had one to begin with or left it on the trail. I believe the citations were just warnings but It was nice to see there was some sort of regulation. There are wag bags all over the trail. Very disappointing.

Top
#51464 - 08/07/17 01:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SierraNevada]
cantare Offline


Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: Keithdavis79

Lastly, there was a ranger on the trail checking for permits and wag bags. We saw her handing out citations to people who couldn't produce their wag bags.

Very interesting. What was the citation for? Anyone?

"Failure to have your sh__ together"? laugh

Top
#51496 - 08/09/17 12:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7126
Loc: Fresno, CA
Posted on Instagram by haydayhikes
North Fork Lone Pine Creek (approx. Aug 3)

Using the Old Trail for the first mile bypasses this -- it joins the main trail just a few yards after this crossing.


Top
#51544 - 08/11/17 05:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
retarded Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 13
Loc: SanFranfreako Bay Area
How are the mosquitos now?

Heading up this weekend!

Top
#51550 - 08/11/17 08:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: retarded]
david_garza Offline


Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 23
Loc: Glendale, California
There are mosquitoes at Trail Camp later in the day.

Top
#51556 - 08/12/17 11:30 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Anisha Sinha Offline


Registered: 08/12/17
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
Summited on August 10th, 2017.

Trail conditions - No micro-spikes/crampons needed. There is no snow on the trail above trail camp. There was a tiny patch (less than 10 feet on pretty flat gradient) between Trail Side Meadows and Trail Camp. It is stained pink in patches due to Chlamydomonas alga. Do not eat it, however much it reminds you of watermelon snow cones on a hot and tiring hike. The water crossings are very manageable. I followed the regular trail and had to cross the two water crossings within the first mile from the trail head. There's lots of water gushing across but enough outcropping rocks to tip toe across. Waterproof boots with good treads will help. The meadow before Outpost Camp has a few crossings too. Rangers installed a new log bridge over one of them as I came by (Thanks!). The waterfall staircase (as I call it) a mile above Mirror lake is gorgeous. It may look intimidating but the rocks are not slippery. Some steps have shallow water and others can be stepped around. All water crossings are no more than about ankle deep.

Weather - I found the weather to be in line with forecasts from mountain-forecast.com. Expected 39-43F at the summit in AM hours and it felt like that. Perhaps a little colder than that due to wind chill. At those temperatures, you will need something more substantial than a fleece jacket. Dress in layers so you can take a few off while coming down as it gets pretty warm below Trail Crest after noon. People in shorts found it to be uncomfortably cold at the summit in AM hours.

Water - Lots of water is available on the way. Major refill points that I found to be good - one within a mile before Lone Pine Lake and then there is the stream by the Trail Side Meadows (between Mirror Lake and Trail Camp). Look out for the wild flowers by the stream. It is a sight to behold. Lake at Trail Camp is popular too. There are a couple of streams on the switchbacks above Trail Camp. The snow is still melting and I do not think the flow rate will dwindle any time soon. In terms of water planning if it helps - I used about 2 liters from trail head to Trail Camp, another 2 liters from Trail Camp to Summit and back to Trail Camp and a final 2 liters from Trail Camp to trail head.

Critters, bugs and animals - Bear sightings (second hand report) in Whitney Portal campground (lock your food in the camp site's bear lockers). A few deer on the way (before lone pine lake and between Outpost Camp and Mirror Lake), a coyote at trail camp on the far side of the lake, and mosquitoes at a few places (I was fine without any repellants). Watch out for squirrels and marmots at Trail Camp. They can chew through your tent if you leave food in your tent.

Gear - Waterproof boots with good tread, dress in layers, sunblock and mosquito repellant, hiking poles, cap, sunglasses, bear locker if camping at Trail Camp (other places have bear lockers).

On Mountain sickness - I used prescription Diamox. Talk to your doctor about what you should do for more advice. Drink lots of water and keep yourself well fed. I did not feel any mountain sickness starting from almost sea level and up and down back to sea level in 3 days.

Rangers - Whitney rangers walk up and down the trail checking on permits and wag bags. Make sure you keep them handy. Hats off to the rangers for doing a great job and all those trail maintainers. The trail is in great shape. Lots of nice people and smiling faces on the mountain. Have fun and safe travels!

Top
#51558 - 08/12/17 01:06 PM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
BGDCPA Offline


Registered: 07/28/17
Posts: 2
Loc: OR
Summit on 8/11/2017

Left Whitney Portal at7:15am and made Trail Camp at 11:00 am. Trail is in great shape.Left Trail camp at 3:50 am and made summit at 6:20 am (2.5 hours).

Though I did use water shoes just before outpost - no longer needed them on the way out. All the way down the mountain I was able to navigate the water sections without removing my low top North Face Ultra 109 hiking shoes.

Weather was amazing and plenty f spots at trail camp. But as always - people come in late - make a ton of noise for hours - and thus no consideration for those of us who want an early start and early to bed...so be ready for that - get away from other camp spots...if you want to rest.

Water at trail camp lake is still in great shape. I pumped but the water looked good...and cold. I saw maybe one mosquito at outpost but it did not bite me - so really did not need repellent.

One patch of snow down low - but so easy to cross and only 20-40 feet across. for me going solo - carried 30lb pack and that is it...that was too much food because I thought I would be there longer. Don;t over do it - light is good and much more enjoyable....and that was even with my luxury 2 person tent for one.

For sure - do not leave your food unattended even in a zip lock bag. Chipmunk stole my summit snickers bar at trail camp...bet he/she was happy....that and my peanut butter crackers.

Use mountain-forecast.com for weather and NOAA - they are the most accurate...no before you go. Finally, You Got This....enjoy it - take lts of picture. I suggest early starts - because later in the day it gets really hot - even as early at 11:00 can be brutal. Lot's of sunscreen. Every hour and a half - sunscreen, hydrate, eat 200-300 calories....every stop it helps.

Top
#51559 - 08/12/17 02:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BGDCPA]
Brett Dean Offline


Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 26
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

I understand that the Portal has a "boil only" policy right now because of water issues, possible e. coli? in the water.

Question: And I think I know the answer, but I just want to be sure. Can I safely pump/filter my water as a summit? Is this just an isolated issue with the Portal area?

Thank you in advance

Brett
_________________________
I don't want a tombstone, I want a mountain.

Top
#51563 - 08/12/17 04:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brett Dean]
BGDCPA Offline


Registered: 07/28/17
Posts: 2
Loc: OR
Yes you can pump... filter anywhere in the mountain between portal and trail camp... which is last place to water up

Top
#51568 - 08/12/17 10:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
MrHoff Offline


Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Posted on Instagram by haydayhikes
North Fork Lone Pine Creek (approx. Aug 3)

Using the Old Trail for the first mile bypasses this -- it joins the main trail just a few yards after this crossing.


I crossed this stream by walking along the rocks. Used trekking poles for balance. No problem. Feet stayed totally dry.

Top
#51571 - 08/13/17 12:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Anisha Sinha]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7126
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Anisha Sinha
Summited on August 10th, 2017....
Anisha Sinha: Great report. Thanks!

Several comments...
Weather: Mountain Forecast is good for temperatures, but in the past they have over-predicted the potential amounts of snowfall. I like NOAA better. Both are included in the links on the Mt Whitney Weather page, link is always above on the left, in the Feature Topics box.

Anisha wrote:
> The meadow before Outpost Camp has a few crossings too. Rangers installed a new log bridge over one of them as I came by (Thanks!)
It would be fantastic if someone could post a picture of the new log bridge!

> Critters, bugs and animals - Bear sightings (second hand report) in Whitney Portal campground (lock your food in the camp site's bear lockers).
MORE on this: Especially in the early-morning darkness: Do NOT set your pack down and walk away from it. And Do NOT open a bear box and leave it open while you walk back to your car. The bears know this is an excellent opportunity to lurk nearby, then run, grab a bag, and run off with it!!!

Top
#51614 - 08/14/17 08:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Mac Offline


Registered: 08/14/17
Posts: 4
Loc: LosGatos CA
Anisha - If you were part of the two family group doing this adventure, we passed each other both days on the way up and down - a long day on the trail.

I filmed the coyote on the morning of the 10th on the back side (south?) of trail camp across the gully on the lower portion of the mountain slope, it was hunting for marmots in the rocks who where making quite a ruckus/distress call to their friends. It was quite a ways off but as we looked at one another for a bit, it retreated. I was able to grab my video camera and film, as it stopped several times to look back at me. I may have also saw a pup run through the rock croppings farther back near where the coyote was going but in blink of an eye unable to catch it on film?

I came across the new log bridge as the two rangers (guy and gal) were making adjustment chops to log. If I remember correctly is located just after Outpost going down/ before Outpost going up? As I approached, I asked should I be the guinea pig as they let me cross and tried to shake the log - its solid - I believe less than 10 feet/length and less than 1 foot/width.

Except brief period of light hail (extracted from tent) at trail camp evening of the 9th, weather was in line with forecasts.

Top
#51667 - Yesterday at 10:54 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brett Dean]
retarded Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 13
Loc: SanFranfreako Bay Area
Originally Posted By: Brett Dean

I understand that the Portal has a "boil only" policy right now because of water issues, possible e. coli? in the water.


I did the day hike on 8/14 and camped at the family campground for two nights. Sorry I didn't take a picture but the warning on the campground taps implied that the water should be OK if your immune system is not compromised.

Thanks for those that shared this though as I brought extra water from home, likely full of medicine and chemicals people flush down the toilet (lol).

Overall condition of the trail on 8/14 was the same as noted prior, except the section at Outpost camp was heavily flooded in the early AM. This area was lightly flooded in the evening of the 14th.


Edited by retarded (Yesterday at 10:55 AM)

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >