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#50121 - 06/14/17 09:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
If this is correct, the Log Crossing has been repaired:

Posted on Instagram by c.oetomo on June 13, 2017.

Caption:  Log crossing at Lone Pine Creek finally fixed as of 6.11.17. No more wet socks! #mtwhitney

By the wet look of the log, it appears it was just recently raised out of the water.
Edit: Due to high water from warm weather and heavy snow melt, the logs are reportedly floating off their supports ...regularly. Be prepared to wade!



Edit 6/26: Another picture, posted June 26, 2017. It shows a new log installed over the weekend.
Let's hope high water flow doesn't float this one off.


Edited by Steve C (06/26/17 08:53 AM)

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#50122 - 06/14/17 10:23 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture of the snow conditions at Trail Camp. That's the Trail Camp pond finally starting to melt out.

Posted on Instagram by oldmanwilson, June 10, 2017.


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#50124 - 06/14/17 03:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Jazzy3 Offline


Registered: 06/14/17
Posts: 1
Loc: CA, San Diego
I have a day permit (Mt Whitney) for June 30. I haven't been on the trail before. Can someone tell me if the trail is clearly visible to the top? Do I need any special equipment? Thanks.

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#50125 - 06/14/17 03:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Jazzy3]
Smokin Joe Offline


Registered: 06/08/17
Posts: 10
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Jazzy3
I have a day permit (Mt Whitney) for June 30. I haven't been on the trail before. Can someone tell me if the trail is clearly visible to the top? Do I need any special equipment? Thanks.


My wife summited on the 14th. She said the path is not clearly visible in the snow (i.e., wherever there is snow). She did follow foot prints of previous hikers up the chute. She said the chute was pretty mushy by 9:30 a.m. She said she saw two hikers with micro spikes turn around on the chute because they could not get adequate traction in the mushy snow/ice. She also got lost on the way down (below trail crest) and had to ask directions from campers several times (and the directions were not always accurate!). From my conversations with her (and based only on current conditions) you will need crampons, an ice ax and hiking poles with snow baskets.

I have not been on the mountain and am only reporting what my wife told me.

Smokin Joe

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#50129 - 06/14/17 08:14 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Smokin Joe]
PatT Offline


Registered: 06/10/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Ca
thanks so much for your post

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#50130 - 06/14/17 08:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Smokin Joe]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Smokin Joe
Originally Posted By: Jazzy3
I have a day permit (Mt Whitney) for June 30. I haven't been on the trail before. Can someone tell me if the trail is clearly visible to the top? Do I need any special equipment? Thanks.


My wife summited on the 14th. She said the path is not clearly visible in the snow (i.e., wherever there is snow). She did follow foot prints of previous hikers up the chute. She said the chute was pretty mushy by 9:30 a.m. She said she saw two hikers with micro spikes turn around on the chute because they could not get adequate traction in the mushy snow/ice. She also got lost on the way down (below trail crest) and had to ask directions from campers several times (and the directions were not always accurate!). From my conversations with her (and based only on current conditions) you will need crampons, an ice ax and hiking poles with snow baskets.

I have not been on the mountain and am only reporting what my wife told me.

Smokin Joe


Seems like a lot of people are getting lost heading on down from Trail Camp, or at least, that's what I've been reading and that freak accident that happened not too long ago, was somewhere around the same area down from Trail Camp.

Does anyone know if there is some sort of foot path that people are following that's leading them to the wrong path (which happens to take them towards the waterfall above Outpost camp) where they are supposed to stick to the left / towards the rock down to Mirror Lake?

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#50131 - 06/14/17 10:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: WhitneyHiker085
Seems like a lot of people are getting lost heading on down from Trail Camp, or at least, that's what I've been reading and that freak accident that happened not too long ago, was somewhere around the same area down from Trail Camp.

Does anyone know if there is some sort of foot path that people are following that's leading them to the wrong path (which happens to take them towards the waterfall above Outpost camp) where they are supposed to stick to the left / towards the rock down to Mirror Lake?


If you don't know where the actual trail is, the natural drainage when you head down from Trail Crest splits off to the right. The trail stays well to the left, heading out onto a "nose" or ridge. From the top of this ridge (as you are heading down and east), Mirror Lake is to your left. The trail makes its way down to Mirror Lake, but it is fairly steep in that area, much steeper than if you continue following the natural drainage slope more to the right/south.

Unfortunately, if you follow the drainage, you can get into some steep areas and that waterfall. So try to follow the regular trail more-or-less. Here's an interactive map from Gmap4 that you can use to scroll around on.


Map in a separate window is here


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#50132 - 06/14/17 10:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 200
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: WhitneyHiker085

Seems like a lot of people are getting lost heading on down from Trail Camp, or at least, that's what I've been reading and that freak accident that happened not too long ago, was somewhere around the same area down from Trail Camp.

Does anyone know if there is some sort of foot path that people are following that's leading them to the wrong path (which happens to take them towards the waterfall above Outpost camp) where they are supposed to stick to the left / towards the rock down to Mirror Lake?


Here's an image of where the trail heads down east from the pond. This is from Google-Earth. Compare to your topos for a better idea of the trail location. Please check the notes.



Ugly but true, the best recovery in this area, if you find yourself off route, is to backtrack to the point near the pond where you made your error and get on a better line.

Lower down the problem continues at the N vs E decision point at the rock ridge south and above Mirror Lake. People off trail to the south may follow the drainage from Consultation Lake down toward Outpost. The cliffs here aren't as bad as those north of the trail and west of Mirror Lake. Some people, particularly in winter, may intentionally shortcut to the south of the trail to come down to Outpost off trail. Again, don't follow tracks unless you already know where and why they go where they do.

A surprising note to most who come to the Whitney trail:
This means you must be able to find your way in snow or darkness with whatever cell phone, GPS, map, compass and wits you bring with you. There are -NO- reliable tracks to follow.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#50133 - 06/15/17 01:09 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: dbd]
sue Offline


Registered: 06/15/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Santa Cruz
Two friends and I hiked/summited Whitney this past weekend (June 10-12). Shout out to Sarah P's post for helping us prepare adequately, and hopefully the information we provide here helps other groups.

GEAR
- Hiking boots and crampons (not microspikes - we did not observe anyone successfully summit without crampons along the way)
- Trekking poles for getting up the snow chute and for hiking the trail in general
- Ice axes for glissading down the chute if it's slushy enough
- Gaiters for snow and stream crossings (which were not as difficult as this thread made them seem to be - water levels were high and flow was fast, but rocks and logs were placed conveniently)
- Helmets (for safety)
- Headlamps
- Sunscreen, lip balm
- Goggles, sunglasses
- Tent that is able to withstand high winds (we experienced gusts up to 50mph)
- Sleeping pad, sleeping bag (ours were rated at 20 degrees - with wearing long underwear, we felt fine)
- Layers, layers, layers as it was extra warm in the sun but terribly cold with the shade/wind/altitude
- Diamox (medication for altitude) - we took three doses total (Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening) and felt pretty good (no nausea/headaches)
- Iodine tablets or equivalent to purify water
- Ibuprofen for aches/pains/headaches
- Handwarmers... I brought two just in case and these came in clutch during our coldest moments
- We had a GPS app which helped us when the trails got confusing. Earthmate is a $30/year subscription, AllTrails is perhaps around $20/year, and there might even be a free Whitney app somewhere out there - I do remember seeing something, but not sure what that's like/if it's a solid option

SATURDAY, JUNE 11
- We stayed in Big Pine the night before at a cheap Airbnb as we weren't sure what time we'd be arriving on Friday and were skeptical about first come, first serve campsites being available
- Woke up at 4:30, picked up our permits, drove to Whitney Portal, distributed food/organized packs, and got on the trail by 7:30
- Snow coverage starts at around 10k feet a bit after Lone Pine Lake (which is gorgeous, by the way), and at that point, crampons come in handy
- We talked to several folks, who mentioned it was unbearably windy at Trail Camp (which was the campsite we intended to stay at that evening) and that Outpost Camp may be a better option (in fact, there were several hikers who got to Trail Camp and hiked back to Outpost for better camping conditions)
- Since there's not much of a trail once the snow starts (just kicked-in routes you can follow), we realized we were above Outpost Camp and decided that personally, we did not want to turn back just to hike back up in the morning
- We found a place to camp around 12pm between Outpost and Trail Camp at approximately 10.5k feet, right before it's all snow

- Did not proceed to Trail Camp due to what we knew about the wind as well as the fact that by 12pm, the snow was quite slushy and getting to Trail Camp would have been particularly difficult, especially with all of our gear
- Melted snow in the sun during the day then brought to a boil or added iodine tablets to ensure we had enough water
- Got to bed early

SUNDAY, JUNE 12
- Woke up at 3, hit the trail by 3:45
- We left most of our gear in our tent and brought water, snacks, layers, and ice axes and wore helmet, crampons, headlamps
- Took the trail in the snow that required the least down and uphill; in other words, we wanted to traverse more than climb, and so when you're looking at the chute from afar, the trail all the way to the left was the one we took
- Watched the sunrise along the way, which was unreal

- Refilled on water by Trail Camp as there are sources and the trail passes right by them
- The snow chute took quite some time, but we followed the already kicked-in trails people had made up by using our crampons and trekking poles
- Once you get to Trail Crest, it gets insanely windy and the 1.9 miles to the summit are not easy due to the cold wind chill and the strength of the gusts (and the terrain isn't the easiest as there is a bit of rock scrambling required at altitude along with small patches of snow - nothing particularly dangerous or difficult though)
- We were surprised at how many people turned around and did not summit during that 1.9 miles due to the temperatures/wind/timing
- The summit is beautiful! There's apparently service up there, but we didn't get much (though we did see a PCT hiker chatting on the phone with his friends/family)
- You're only halfway there... Once you make it back to the snow chute, make sure you check that the snow is actually slushy before trying to glissade down. That was a mistake we made - The snow was incredibly slick and icy when we were back, which made glissading very dangerous (self arresting came in handy big time). In that case, stick to crampons and trekking poles and walk down the footprints
- We planned to hike down to Whitney Portal this day, but we decided on camping another night due to our timing

MONDAY, JUNE 13
- Leisurely woke up, broke down camp, and headed back
- The stream crossings were repaired, and ice extended much further down the trail due to cold conditions

We were constantly evaluating how safe/comfortable we felt and only summited because everyone in our group was ready and felt up to it. We suggest deciding upon a turnaround time to ensure you're hiking in the best conditions and aren't putting yourself in any dangerous situations. Otherwise, enjoy and be safe out there!


Edited by sue (06/15/17 01:20 AM)

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#50136 - 06/15/17 08:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sue]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Outstanding report, Sue. Thanks for posting, and congratulations on your summit!!

I am curious what time in the afternoon did you glissade and find those icy conditions? I am sure the cold weather made it icier for you.

- - - - -
By the way, for anyone going in the next few days... The west coast heat wave is going to make it warm on Whitney. The NOAA weather site forecasts summit temperatures with lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s! The snow is going to be slushy!!!

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#50138 - 06/15/17 10:19 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Fan Offline


Registered: 06/06/17
Posts: 14
Loc: DC
To echo what Steve said, great job Sue, and thanks for sharing your experiences.

I also noticed the upcoming heat wave in checking weather forecasts daily. Would anyone care to guess what normal/average temperatures are like at Trail Camp or the summit for late June to early July?

I was surprised to read about Sue's report regarding high winds. All the forecasts I've been looking at predict 5-15 mph winds at most. Is it normal to encounter 30-50 mph winds at Trail Camp, Iceberg Lake (I'm looking at East Face climbing routes), or on the summit? Thanks!

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#50143 - 06/15/17 12:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Vineet Offline


Registered: 06/08/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Columbus, GA
Hello Friends,
We are two friends planning to climb Mt. Whitney Overnight from 25-26 June. I have two questions if anyone care to put their inputs:

1. We were not selected in the lottery and when contacted the forest office, they said that we can expect to get the Walk-In permits as a lot of people are cancelling. But we are going to find this out only 1 days before. FINGERS CROSSED!!!! Do we have anyone else in the same condition or someone who has got walk in permits for overnight?

2. Anyone planning to climb during the same period and want to tag along? We would really appreciate it.

3. What is the best current way to climb from Trail camp to Trail crest. I am hearing that switchbacks are full of snow and not safe, the only way to go up is up the Chute? Please guide.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.


Vineet

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#50148 - 06/15/17 08:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Vineet]
bsiwecki0 Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 11
Loc: South OC, California
Hey Vineet,

Since you guys are going during the week, you are more likely to get a walk in. I have done it before last year in August during the week of August 7th-10th. We came into the visitor center in lone pine around 9am on a Sunday and got an overnight permit. Also got an overnight wilderness permit for little Yosemite valley and got up to half dome at sunrise which was the longest backpacking treks I did in 5 days. I think this is usually the ideal time to visit and summit whitney because it's one of the warmest months of the year.

I would love to tag along but I'm heading up June 29th, and planning to hike to trail camp on Friday the 30th, Saturday reach the summit then back to camp and then camping at consultation lake that night. Sunday mid day on July 2nd, I'll head down the mountain.

The trek from camp to trail crest is looking like the chute is the option. I've heard people have made "trails switchbacking up the chute" I think that its still going to be necessary to use ice crampons and an axe. Not sure if I'm gonna bring an axe but possibly trekking poles but we will see closer to the date. So looking at the posts and also pictures. Crampons are a must at this point so I hope you have experience with crampons and also download a gps app. The one I have is called GAIA ands well worth the $30. You can use it airplane mode and download a pre-programmed map. Also study the topography in person so you get an ideal visualization of where you are going. I hope this helps

-Brian

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#50153 - 06/15/17 10:35 PM Re: Current Conditions Day Hike 6/14 [Re: Steve C]
bethjanelle Offline


Registered: 06/15/17
Posts: 8
Loc: california
Hi friends! Been following this forum while I was prepping for my day hike, which I did yesterday on the Whitney Trail. Heck of a day! All went pretty amazingly! I posted all about it here - trail details, lots of photos, and my gear.

http://www.bettybeyondboston.com/2017/06/mt-whitney-day-hike.html


Hope it helps!

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#50154 - 06/15/17 11:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
tbowdre Offline


Registered: 05/26/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Hi All-

Thought I would post after this site helped me to prepare and have a safe trip

Hiked from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp day one
Summit and then back to Whitney Portal day 2

- We started at the old whitney trail ~ 7am and this allowed us to skip the north fork
fork of lone pine creek crossing.
- Snow at lone pine lake and no sign of trail from this point on up to trail camp.
- Time for Crampons.
- We kinda followed the main trail via GPS initially ascending from lone pine lake
directly west and towards outpost but then boot tracks took us up and south of the
main trail, south of outpost and south of mirror lake.
- We followed this well worn trail of boot tracks south of outpost camp, south of
mirror lake and south (above) of the main drainage.
- This ended up connecting back with the with the main trail before/east of
Consolation Lake.
- Made it to Trail Camp ~ 3:00pm.
- We had a nice night at Trail Camp, plenty of spots to camp off the snow, no wind
and we were plenty warm in a +5 bag.
- 7am start for the summit... late compared to many other people!
- Climbing/walking up the chute following boot tracks made it an "easy" walk up a
very long flight of stairs. I can imagine this being a huge challenge later in the day
when snow is soft and slushy.
- ~10:30 at Trail Crest. From here to the summit crampons are not needed.
- The trail gets a little lost in the snow right before the final ascent and we just
rock scrambled towards the top and as you ascend you can pick up the trail
again.
- ***~ 12:00 SUMMIT***
- Heading down there is a little (~200ft) glissade to the right of the summit that was
fun.
- Glissade down the big chute next to the 99 switchbacks was awesome and steep
at the very beginning
- Heading towards the parking lot after packing up at trail camp (~5:00) once we
passed Consolation Lake there is a fork in the boot track trail.
- The left fork heads towards Mirror Lake and Outpost Camp and the right followed
our ascent south of the main drainage, south of Mirror and south of Outpost.
- If you stay as south as possible you will end up above Lone Pine Lake and can have
a final fun glissade (~500ft) down to the lake.
- We were at the truck by 7:30. The snow made for a very fast descent!

>>>>Happy Trails<<<<<

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#50159 - 06/16/17 08:08 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bethjanelle]
bethjanelle Offline


Registered: 06/15/17
Posts: 8
Loc: california
Oh and I got this amazing video of us glissading down the chute! I posted it on my Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVXsHEAFrVF/?taken-by=beth.janelle

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#50182 - 06/17/17 10:48 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
SD_Hiker Offline


Registered: 06/15/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hello,

I am thinking of trying to hike the John Muir Trail up from Guitar Lake to Trail Crest (West approach up Mt Whitney) during the first week of July. Does anyone have any information on trail conditions? Is the trail passable?

Thank you for any information you can provide.


Edited by SD_Hiker (06/17/17 10:48 AM)

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#50183 - 06/17/17 10:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SD_Hiker]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 780
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
You ought to call the USFS office in Bishop:

760-873-2400

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#50185 - 06/17/17 08:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
fireresq21 Offline


Registered: 05/25/13
Posts: 10
Loc: san diego
6-16-17
one day ascent

Hey Guys,
no need for a full trip report. Ill just touch on the hot topics that always seem to come up.
We did a successful one day summit yesterday. It was incredible.
Gear: Poles, crampons, ice axe (people with micro spikes were mostly unable to ascend the chute)

SUPER warm. I usually bring quite a few layers, but even with the 3am start, it was tee shirt weather all day. At top of Trail Crest there was zero wind. I never needed anything more than a long sleeve hiker shirt.

The snow melt is going insanely fast. So the water crossings are mellow in the wee hours of the morning, but upon our return in late afternoon, they were raging! All foot stones covered with water flow up to our calves. You WILL get wet. And they are very slippery and dangerous.

The log crossing still has a broken piece in the middle, but can be easily passed

Trail finding starts to become difficult around Mirror Lake. people have been breaking trail in the snow leading all over the place. mostly in interestingly wrong directions. We mainly stuck to the trail areas with minimal short cuts. once at the top of the rocky switchback area above mirror lake, expect full time snow. Crampons not needed. Good trail has been broken in leading to Trail Camp

Trail Camp has plenty of spots to filter water.

Crampons and Ice axe mandatory for a successful Chute ascent. we reached the Chute at 9am. An hour later than we had hoped. And it was well past its prime by that time already. Still very doable, but those with micro spikes were not doing well. Several parties bailed, and another borrowed a descending climbers crampons.

From Trail Crest to the summit, trail is fully clear of snow (except right before summit). about 1/2 mile before summit, cut up early before snow field and boulder hop your way up. Much easier than taking the trail all the way around and trying to navigate last snow field.

hope this helped. This board always helps me before I head up, so trying to return the favor!

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#50187 - 06/18/17 08:20 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SD_Hiker]
EdHaynes Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 19
Loc: California
I saw a video of PCT hikers making that climb about a week ago. They used poles, crampons and ice axes. Since they started out in the dark there wasn't a lot of footage of the climb. They did state that part of the trail was a bit sketchy. So I would guess that it is doable -depending upon the hiker's skills in snow country.

I second the motion to phone ahead to park service. Conditions can change rapidly.

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