Here is a summary of my day, probably different to most of the other reports:
I'd been following all the posts on this site for a while
I've basically had no snow experience (live in Sydney, Australia)
I have summited Whitney before in July with less snow
I'd purchased some microspikes recently but only briefly tried them out
I was reluctant to rent/buy crampons and ice axe based on comments about don't try them on Whitney if you have had no experience using them.
So I took poles and microspikes and based on recent trip reports I thought the summit was totally doable again.
Saying that, my goal was Trail Crest and if and only if everything was going well at this point I would continue towards the summit.
I hiked to just past Mirror lake on Monday as a practice run and to check out the 'old trail' as well as the water crossings.
I started at 4.35am this morning taking the old trail. Easy and bypasses the first water crossing. Took my shoes off going through Bighorn park.
Got up to Trailside Meadow with no problems. Feeling great, going at a comfortable pace, chatting to others. Oh.. one problem was the mosquito bites, hundreds of them, I didn't have any repellant.
Then a little past Trailside Meadow the trail hits a snow field.
At this point there was no other hikers on the trail I was on but I was sure I was in the right place. I looked to my left and about 150 yards away I saw some people heading down the snow. I thought they were lost and in the wrong place. But they looked like they knew what they were doing. Then I saw some people going up in that same area. I thought that's the path I should have taken as the slope was a lot less than what was in front of me. It was flat to walk across (existing foot prints) but a slip and slide would be disastrous in my mind. I was a little uneasy about it especially at that time there was no one near me. I thought I would probably do it easy with or without the microspikes, but what if on the off chance I did lose my balance.
So I looked at other options going further up the rocks and thought about backtracking and taking the slope other hikers were using, but in the end decided to call it a day and come back next year.
Was I being over cautious?
Did anyone else use this path (the actual normal trail up to trail camp) and think twice about it?
Anyway I still had an enjoyable day and chatted to lots of lovely people on the trail.
Wow, there was a lot of people heading up to camp tonight. Hope you all found a camp site.