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Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
#50322 06/25/17 09:10 AM
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Approach:

Friday 6/23/17

5PM - Dinner at Whitney Portal (we brought food from home)
530PM - Leave Whitney Portal
8PM - Arrived at Outpost Camp/Set up camp
9PM - "Sleep"

Saturday 6/24/17

2AM - Wake Up/Get Ready
3AM - Leave camp
5AM - Arrive at Trail Camp
530AM - Leave Trail Camp to climb the Chute
740AM - Top off the Chute/Arrive at Trail Crest
8AM - Leave Trail Crest
10AM - Arrive at the Summit !!
1030AM - Leave the summit
1145AM - Arrive at Trail Crest
12PM - Glissade down the Chute
1230PM - Reach bottom of Chute
2PM - Arrive at Outpost Camp
3PM - Leave Trail Camp
440PM - Arrive at Whitney Portal

Our pace was about 1mph going up.

I drank 2 liters of water going from Outpost Camp to the summit and back, 2 liters for 12 miles of hiking. (I tend to not drink that much water when hiking).

The water crossing at the junction with the North Fork Trial is intense. Prepare to walk in knee-high water to get across.

The wooden bridge crossing prior to Lone Pine Lake is washed out in the middle so you will walk in water again (about 15 ft long).

We used crampons and ice axes going up the chute. Early in the morning the snow was nice and it was easy to get grip with each step. There is significant amount of snow just above Mirror Lake. I would suggest at least using micro-spikes from that point on. Although crampons would work too. We only had crampons so we used them.

From Trail Crest to the summit it is mostly clear of snow except for the last section prior to the summit. However, there is a use trail to the right of the major snow patches where you can bypass the snow.

I always had on my base layer but switched between a down jacket and wind-jacket over that. It would get hot and up the chute it was warm with the reflection of the sun off the snow.

It was my 6th time on Whitney. 4th on top via the Whitney Trail and two other times via the Mountaineer's route (though I did not summit those times)

I hope this trip report is of use.

Best of luck!

-Christian

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
smasherbot #50323 06/25/17 09:17 AM
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Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your experience, I'm wondering when you cross the wooden bridge near lone pine lake, do you get your feet wet or you still can cross it without getting wet? I really don't like to get a wet foot. Thank you!

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
Yueming #50324 06/25/17 09:51 AM
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You're welcome! I just walked in with my boots and all. I didn't want to take the time to take them off haha. If you don't want to get wet then cross barefoot.

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
smasherbot #50325 06/25/17 01:14 PM
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Hi Christian,

Thanks for the timing report. I have an overnight permit and will be there on July 3/4th. I have a couple f questions for you:
1. What do you think about the 99 switchbacks? Do you think they will be open in a couple of weeks?
2. I had climbed the chute with microspikes/axe last year. Did you see people using microspikes at this time of the year?

Thanks

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
amit #50330 06/25/17 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted By: amit
Hi Christian,

Thanks for the timing report. I have an overnight permit and will be there on July 3/4th. I have a couple f questions for you:
1. What do you think about the 99 switchbacks? Do you think they will be open in a couple of weeks?
2. I had climbed the chute with microspikes/axe last year. Did you see people using microspikes at this time of the year?

Thanks


1. July 3/4 is a week from now. I don't think they will be. There is still so much snow up there. The chute may start further up but I don't think the switchbacks will be open.

2. I didn't see anyone up the chute with microspikes. It's doable but harder than with crampons. I have gone up the chute with microspikes and crampons and crampons are way better hands down. If you can, get some crampons.

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
smasherbot #50332 06/25/17 09:13 PM
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See video below for a short video from our hike.


Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
smasherbot #50344 06/26/17 10:08 AM
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Christian,

Couple additional comments.

We had a group who summited Thursday, June 22nd. We used microspikes, ice axes and did just fine provided you have an early start. Felt perfectly safe at all times. We left trail camp at 3:30 am.

I agree that the switchbacks will probably not be exposed or ready for used by July 3/4th.

Have fun

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
Colorado-hiker #50359 06/27/17 08:47 AM
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Thanks a lot!

I have already read about Outpost Camp vs Trail Camp for overnight camping. But the posts were slightly outdated.

Currently, which one would you recommend, considering elevation/wind/mileage?

Thanks,
Amit

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
amit #50361 06/27/17 09:28 AM
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amit: Outpost Camp is better in all respects but one: you are farther from the summit.

However, it has many advantages: In the trees, not as cold, lower elevation allows may mean less altitude sickness. If you just get up earlier it is certainly possible to make the summit. Leaving Outpost at 6 AM should put you at Trail Camp at 8 AM, and Trail Crest at 10 or 11.

And finally, you don't have to carry your gear so high on the mountain.

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
Steve C #50366 06/27/17 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
amit: Outpost Camp is better in all respects but one: you are farther from the summit.

However, it has many advantages: In the trees, not as cold, lower elevation allows may mean less altitude sickness. If you just get up earlier it is certainly possible to make the summit. Leaving Outpost at 6 AM should put you at Trail Camp at 8 AM, and Trail Crest at 10 or 11.

And finally, you don't have to carry your gear so high on the mountain.


Amit,

Given current conditions, I would say Outpost is better. Like Steve said, it's not as cold, better protection from the elements (trail camp is very exposed), and plenty of water sources. Plus it's a shorter walk back to the parking lot.

Personally I have stayed at both camps on different trips. Here are the Pro's And Cons of Trail Camp:

Pros:
Closer to the summit (shorter summit day). Can give you a better chance of success.

Cons:
Cold, windy, high altitude (you probably won't get any sleep and may not have much of an appetite)
Very tiring to carry your gear all the way here.
Still a long walk back to the parking lot.

Side note: On one trip I hiked up to trail camp, got there around 3pm. Had a pounding headache. I tried to sleep but it didn't work. So I got up at 3am and got to the summit at 630am. I was the first one up there. It was magical. I rushed on down and was home by 4pm later that day.

Bottom line, I would recommend staying at outpost, get some rest, eat a nice meal, drink plenty of water, and stay warm. Then leave early enough to be at the bottom of the chute by 5/6 am. It gets increasingly harder to climb once the sun gets hotter and melts the snow. You want to give yourself extra time to get up the chute.
Just make sure you are comfortable with finding the trail in the dark. With all the snow melting right now, the trail can be hard to find at some parts. But a good GPS (GAIA is very popular) will go a long way.

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
Steve C #50367 06/27/17 09:59 AM
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Thanks Steve. That helps. I was aiming to start climbing up the chute at 5am. Do you think that's too early in terms of snow condition on the chute?

Thanks,
Amit

Re: Whitney Trail Summit Success 6/24/17
amit #50368 06/27/17 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted By: amit
Thanks Steve. That helps. I was aiming to start climbing up the chute at 5am. Do you think that's too early in terms of snow condition on the chute?

Thanks,
Amit


That's a perfect time to start. When I went, most people were starting between 4-6am. The sun starts peeking out at around 530am and melts the snow rather quickly.

-Christian


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