Trip report from 7/12 - 7/16 starting from Horseshoe Meadows over New Army Pass to Guitar Lake, up to Mt Whitney and down to the Portal.
7/12: ~8 miles. Started after camping overnight at Horseshoe Meadows, left at about 11am after late morning arrivals to make up the original group of 8. Several steam crossings but all were feet dry using rocks/logs. Passed several returning hikers who reported snow on New Army Pass. Got rained on for an hour in the afternoon. Made it to High Lake and camped at the base of New Army Pass, rained overnight.
7/13: ~7 miles. Climbed the switchbacks to crest New Army Pass. There was a ~50 foot traverse over snow about 3/4 to the top. Near the top of the pass, the last couple switchbacks were completely covered in snow with no sign of use. The vertical wall of snow was about 50 feet high with well established steps. Two of our party did not feel comfortable climbing it and turned back, returning to Horseshoe meadows parking lot, while the remaining six of us used our crampons and ice axes to easily climb the snow wall and summit the pass. Hiked down to camp at rockcreek bear box. Between NAP and Rockcreek, there were several stream crossings, two of which were feet wet.
7/14: ~11 miles. Hiked through Crabtree meadows to Guitar Lake. Trail leaving Rockcreek was flooded but a few hundred feet back down the trail there was a safe log crossing. A few feet dry crossings until the beginning of Crabtree meadows. At crabtree, a short ways down river there were two passable log crossings, otherwise the river would be a feet wet crossing. At the trail junction, the crabtree trail was marked with the ranger's warnings about a swift, deep stream crossing so we elected to take the PCT/JMT path instead (about 0.5 miles longer), with no stream crossings. At the Crabtree Meadows campground, stream crossing to the ranger's station and pit toilet was feet wet. Hiked the last 2.7 miles up to Guitar Lake, no water crossings.
7/15: (?)10 miles. Hiked from Guitar Lake up to the Whitney switchbacks. A few snowfield crossings but easily doable without crampons/ice axes. Only feet dry stream crossings. Up the switchbacks, there was one snowfield that we had to cross twice, needed crampons and ice axes for this. First crossing was more difficult and longer than the second. Reached high camp and left most of our gear and took daypacks from here. Ridge trail was clear of snow up until the final switchbacks to the summit. Main trail was covered in snow, a few people went this way, but alternate trail before the snow was marked with rock cairns and avoided all snow to the summit. Make it to the peak, clear weather and great conditions. Returned back the way we came to high camp, grabbed our gear, then hiked the short ascent to trail crest. We could see that the switchbacks had several snow crossings, and there were established chutes for glissading. We decided to glissade down. It was late afternoon so the snow was slushy but we still were able to get good speed. The well carved chutes were full of rocks, so we had to avoid them. Would probably not recommend glissading any later this year, and this was also the advice of the rangers we heard later. As the snowfield flattened out, we hiked the rest of the way down the remaining switchbacks and camped at Trail Camp.
7/16: ~7 miles. Left Trail Camp and hiked the trail/slid down 3 or so snow fields for the first 1000 feet. Were able to cut of at least a mile of trail using the snow routes. Feet dry stream crossings thus far. Hiked through outpost camp, first three stream crossing here were feet dry, but the final two (in very close proximity) were feet wet. Continued down the trail, were not able to find the old portal trail cutoff so completed the hike on the new trail. Logs were well in place for the long river crossing, but the second to last river crossing was pretty sketchy, hopping on rocks on the edge of a waterfall. Switching to water shoes would not have been any better, however. Made it to the portal at last, where we each enjoyed a burger.