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#49924 - 05/24/17 03:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
alexw Offline


Registered: 05/24/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
>You can always peel down to a T-shirt on top. Be SURE to wear sunscreen and sunglasses. This is snow blindness season!!!


Sounds like a plan. I'm no stranger to sunblock in the snow, now that I've had a few seasons of summer skiing in the Sierras. Frankly, the worst is early spring when it's cold enough for full coverage, but not face coverage. I get out there thinking "It'll be fine, with the buff..." then end up with the red face goggle tattoo of shame.

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#49926 - 05/24/17 09:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
35darkhorse Offline


Registered: 05/24/17
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Hello Everyone,

It will be must first attempt to the summit. I am planning to be on the trailhead 3 am Friday morning and try to push up to Trail Camp and set up base camp for the night if possible. On the morning of 10th (3-4am), we plan to head up to the summit if the weather permits if not we plan to see how the conditions will be the next day. Do you all have any recommendation on taking the 99 switchbacks or just the chute? Is there anything I should be cautious about on the Lone Pine trail? My general route is to take Lone Pine trail in and out. I will be carrying a map, GPS, and compass but it would be really helpful to hear from others who were on the trail recently. I just want to be prepared for worst case scenario. Also, we will be taking out crampons and ice ax. Will there be any need for snowshoes?


Edited by 35darkhorse (05/24/17 09:25 PM)

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#49927 - 05/24/17 10:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 35darkhorse]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Reno, Nevada
35darkhorse, I’ve climbed Whitney many times, but not recently. Some people need to start at 3-4 AM to climb Whitney in a day, but if you’re taking two days, I wouldn’t start before it’s light enough to see without a headlamp. Your body will appreciate the rest, and it will be easier to find your way.

As long as there is enough snow, climbing directly up the “chute” to the right of the switchbacks is better than the switchbacks. This trip report comments on the chute vs. the switchbacks. You won’t need snowshoes this late in the year.

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#49930 - 05/25/17 10:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
Posted on Instagram 5/21/17 by life_is_goodoutdoors

Caption: 1,700' of pure heaven. The Mt. Whitney chute. 3 hours ascent, 15 minute glissade down.

Just a warning: Glissading without an ice axe for a brake is life-threatening. Glissading while wearing crampons is asking for a broken leg.





Caption: Almost back to trail crest then back down the chute. Snow was getting slushy later in the day.


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#49932 - 05/25/17 12:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
alexw Offline


Registered: 05/24/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Great pictures, pretty AND helpful!

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#49954 - 05/28/17 03:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Rodnisco Offline


Registered: 05/28/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Washington, USA
Summited May 25th via Mountaineers Route then returned via Mt Whitney Trail. Lots of snow from summit to Trail Crest with a few icy spots. Good glissade down the chute next to the switchbacks. I would definitely climb straight up the chute if I were climbing this route. The switchbacks were mostly covered in snow anyway. I would not recommend climbing without crampons and ice axe above Trail Camp. Snow is melting fast on the lower slopes. Watch out for areas where the snow is undercutting next to rocks and in some cases streams under the snow. A lot of intermittent post holing in the afternoon on the slopes below Outpost Camp.

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#49963 - 05/30/17 12:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JamesH Offline


Registered: 05/30/17
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Hiked the Mount Whitney Trail starting Sunday 2:30AM (5/28). It was a new experience hiking on snow for me. A few things I thought I'd share since it was my first time. It was a very sunny day, so your experience could be different.

1. Going up the chute past morning makes it much more slushy/difficult (e.g. past 9:30). I went up after 9:30.
2. Coming down the chute after mid afternoon makes it very icy (e.g. past 3:00 or 3:30). I came down way after 3:30.
3. Walking on snow takes a lot longer than you think.
4. Pick your paths deliberately. Since everything is covered in snow, it's difficult to see the actual trail, if not impossible. It is tempting to follow other people's tracks. Sometimes it works out, other times you walk an extra 30-60 minutes taking the long way.

I found this site useful in my planning, so wanted to try and contribute something back. Good luck everyone!

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#49974 - 05/31/17 11:34 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JamesH]
jhmccann Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Did you take snowshoes? Or just crampons and an ice axe?

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#49976 - 05/31/17 02:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
OutrightExposure Offline


Registered: 05/31/17
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Heading up the main trail on Friday and debating whether or not to bring snowshoes. Any thoughts from recent climbers?

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#49981 - 06/01/17 07:21 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: OutrightExposure]
Mauricio Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
Also hiking main trail tomorrow and summitting Saturday (with my daughter and her boyfriend). Know spikes are recommended, but unsure whether we'll really, truly, will need them.


Edited by Mauricio (06/01/17 07:22 AM)

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#49982 - 06/01/17 09:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Mauricio]
retarded Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 19
Loc: SanFranfreako Bay Area
Make sure you do your research (read trip reports, trail condition info) and STICK TOGETHER.

Because you asked that I can only assume you aren't fully prepared. Please be careful and plan for everything.

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#49983 - 06/01/17 09:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: retarded]
Mauricio Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 5
Loc: CA
I'm supposed to pick up crampons later today, but looking at the current webcam image, it looks like there's only snow in the switchbacks and the hill used for glissading next to them. This has me wondering whether we'll really need crampons for this trip. BTW, it is not my intention to glissade down, but hike the switchbacks back. BUT, if we end up taking the crampons, and we find the snow to be firm enough, we might decide to hike up the hill instead of going up the "99"


Edited by Mauricio (06/01/17 09:31 AM)

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#49984 - 06/01/17 09:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Mauricio]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
You'll reach a good amount of snow about 2 miles in right before (maybe 1/2 mile prior to) hitting Lone Pine Lake. At this point, the trail is pretty much gone too, so navigate wisely.

You'll eventually begin to see the trail again to Outpost (some parts of the trail) but eventually you'll lose the trail again due to the snow, especially past Outpost Camp.



Edited by WhitneyHiker085 (06/01/17 10:22 AM)

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#49985 - 06/01/17 11:36 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sanitycannon Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
I did the normal trail this past Sunday.

Definitely needed crampons/ice axe for the chute and getting up to trail camp. Snowshoes could have been useful, but I didn't want to carry the extra weight. My pack was 13 lbs, brought along roughly 3000 calories.

If you think you'll be fast, 2-3L is enough water; if you think you'll be slow like we were, probably 4-5L will do for the day. A fast pace is like 5-7 hours to summit from whitney portal. We took 12 hours. The last water is at/near mirror lake. When you approach the lake, you'll pass by a stream where you can filter water from.

There is snow starting at 9000', all snow at 10000', definitely need crampons and ice axe. Theres a lot of false tracks in the snow, so make sure you bring a GPS. It's VERY easy to get off trail, especially in the dark because of the alpine start. We had a gps and guided a lot of people who were lost/off trail.

It's easy to also run out of water at the summit; I brought a MSR pocket rocket/fuel/etc to melt snow in case and i used it.

After you reach trail crest, you think you've done most of it, but getting to the summit can be at least another 1-2 hours. The snowfield at the top gets quite slushy later in the day.

There were no switchbacks when we did it, we just went straight up the chute. The chute gets icy starting at around 3, 3:30pm, and gets painful to glissade down. Turn around from the summit by 1-2pm at the latest, suggested 12-1pm to reach trail crest by 3. You definitely need the ice axe for glissading down.

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#49986 - 06/01/17 12:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sanitycannon]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey SanityCannon,

Just curious - what time did you start the hike at the Portal? What kind of GPS did you use to help guide the way? Have a Suunto GPS watch and wondering if programming the route on there would be sufficient to help guide the way, that, and along with some mountaineering experience. Thanks!

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#49987 - 06/01/17 12:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
sanitycannon Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
We started at 1am from the portal. We used the gaia app (https://www.gaiagps.com/) and brought along a small battery pack.

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#49988 - 06/01/17 01:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rodnisco]
alexw Offline


Registered: 05/24/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I'll add to this: my group hiked the Whitney trail on the 28th and 29th, two of us with crampons and axes planning to summit and two with just microspikes and poles. The two with spikes decided to stop at outpost camp mostly for fatigue, so we decided the other two of us would climb up more for fun, but plan to camp at outpost and not summit. The trail between outpost and mirror lake was quite covered in snow, and was passable with microspikes for someone with experience moving around snowy slopes, but crampons were very much preferable. Much above outpost, I'd say you can progress without crampons, but only if you're very comfortable on winter terrain.

I'll second the caution about buried rivers, as well. We noticed lots of post holing into flowing water when the snow got warm, though mostly didn't experience any ourselves. Most of it was into shallow minor washes, but there was the hiker who died just above outpost camp a few days ago when the snow gave out into a major flow: http://ktla.com/2017/05/24/san-marino-wo...heriffs-office/

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#49999 - 06/03/17 04:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rodnisco]
JBarx27 Offline


Registered: 06/03/17
Posts: 1
Loc: JBarx27
Hi - How was the Mountaineering Route? Going up tomorrow, so looking for the most recent conditions. Appreciate it!

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#50004 - 06/03/17 11:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture of the Main Whitney Trail crossing the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, about a mile up from the trail head. Be prepared to wade!


From Instagram, posted by n8tediesel


Posted by curytyba


Edit: If anyone wants to skip this crossing, the unmaintained "Old Trail" starts at Whitney Portal, just a little past the store, and climbs 30 switchbacks, then joins the Main Trail, just steps from this stream crossing. It joins the trail above/after the crossing heading up, so no crossing is required. Old trail description and pictures is here. It is unmaintained, and getting pretty rough with large boot-size rocks in the path.


July 4: Here is a picture of the trail in Bighorn Park, just before Outpost Camp, from this report.


Edited by Steve C (07/08/17 12:22 PM)

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#50005 - 06/03/17 11:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
Also posted June 3, on Instagram by cubancrisis

Edit June 27: People report getting wet feet in this area, but the snow is probably gone by now. Sure wish people would share a picture!!!

Just below Outpost Camp -- these hikers are ON the trail.


Edited by Steve C (06/27/17 11:17 PM)

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