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#50791 - 07/10/17 11:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: M&M]
Neil B Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Anyone going to be up during the week this week?
I will be up 7/11-7/13. Planning on camping at trail camp and trying to summit Thursday AM if weather allows.

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#50792 - 07/11/17 12:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Pictures from Erik Ringnes' trip report
He shared his photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/p6oX73XwfE1ks7k68
This is the first major stream crossing. In the morning it can be crossed on the rocks. Afternoon, flows are much higher, rocks are submerged.

People can skip this crossing by taking the Old Trail. It joins this trail just 20 paces from the last hiker in this picture.



Here is Erik's picture of the over-used glissade trench / half-pipe / super-chute / bobsled route. People have been injured using this, lost ice axes, there are rocks exposed along the way. Don't use it unless you know how to keep your speed TO A MINIMUM using an ice axe. Make or Take a new slide course!!!

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#50808 - 07/11/17 01:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Benc Offline


Registered: 03/18/17
Posts: 14
Loc: Socal
On the 14th do you think microspikes and trekking poles will be adequate to safely ascend and descend the switchbacks?

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#50811 - 07/11/17 01:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Benc]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Benc
On the 14th do you think microspikes and trekking poles will be adequate to safely ascend and descend the switchbacks?

Read the trip reports from others here and in the Trip Reports forum. It all depends on how comfortable you are on steep snow slopes with microspikes.

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#50815 - 07/11/17 03:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
csquared Offline


Registered: 07/11/17
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
Permit date: July 8-9, 2017
Temperature throughout hike: High of 70s, low of 50s
Starting pack weight: 45 lbs
Campsite: Trail Camp
Time of departure from Whitney Portal: 4:05am
Time of arrival to Trail Camp: 11:20am
Time of departure from Trail Camp: 4:35am
Time of arrival to Trail Crest via the chute: 7:50am
Time of arrival to the summit: 11:10am
Time when arrived back to Trail Camp to pack up: 3pm
Time of departure from Trail Camp to Whitney Portal: 4pm
Time of arrival to Whitney Portal: 8:50pm

We started off at Whitney Portal (where we camped the night before) at about 4am. The first part of the hike just includes a whole lot of switchbacks. There are maybe about 8 river/water crossings, but the second one is the hardest (maybe about 1/3 of a mile from Whitney Portal). The water is freezing, you will get wet, and the current can be a bit strong. Use your trekking poles!

Side note: I've always just walked into the water with my boots and socks on, and have never gotten a blister from wet feet. This is my 5th 20+ mile hike with wet shoes/socks and I've never gotten blisters, it'll just feel cold and a little squishy for a bit.

The majority of the hike is pretty straight forward. Clearly marked signs. The incline was pretty gradual. Many parts are quite rocky, so make sure you have good hiking shoes on (preferable with ankle support). Right before you reach Trail Camp, you will need to cross a few snow fields. We were totally find with just our trekking poles and boots (no crampons or micro-spikes needed here).

Trail Camp isn't as bad as what everyone says. We were there on a weekend, and we weren't really bothered with the noise. We found two great campsites right next to each other for our group. Sadly it is true that there were wag bags left everywhere, so it did smell a little in certain places. But there's a great water source there!

We decided to climb up the chute the next morning instead of taking the switchbacks because most of the lower part of the switchbacks were still covered in snow. So you had to climb up part of the chute anyway. Plus, it took some people about 6-7 hours to get up on the chute.. no thanks! However, if you decide to go up the chute, ice axes and crampons are a MUST. You can easily rent them in town for pretty cheap, but you MUST HAVE THEM. I also recommend to start as early as you can - like 2am or 3am because the later you wait, the slushier the snow will get from the warmth and it will be much more difficult going up the steep parts (max incline of 39 degrees).

Once you get to the top of the chute, it's the most amazing feeling ever. That was probably the hardest part of the hike! But it ain't over yet! It's another 1.9 miles to the summit, and it's probably the hardest/longest 1.9 miles of my life. The trail just kept going and we were definitely feeling the altitude here. We barely spent 10 minutes up top and had to descend immediately because it was starting to sleet and we just felt sick.

We also took the chute down, which was super scary, but also really exciting and fun. It only took us maybe 20 minutes to get down? Seriously, make sure you know how to glissade down with an ice axe.

Helpful tips:
- Arrive a day early and DRIVE to Horseshoe Meadows (about 30 miles/~1 hour drive from Whitney Portal) to acclimate. The elevation there is 10,000'. You can hike around there too.
- Bring mosquito spray! They were everywhere and you cannot escape them.
- Bring a rain jacket/outer shell. The weather truly is unpredictable up in the mountains.
- When setting up camp, if you decide to leave your belongings on summit day, make sure you leave your tent opened! Marmots and chipmunks will chew through anything if they smell food. However, if you leave your tent unzipped, they will just come in, sniff around, realize that there's nothing there for them and will leave your stuff alone.
- Bring an extra WAG bag or two - yes, you will need to pack your poop out. Or just take Imodium!
- Make sure you hydrate and eat constantly! Bring ibuprofen. Energy/caffeine chews or Bloks were super helpful.

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#50822 - 07/11/17 06:02 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Climber03]
Climber03 Offline


Registered: 07/07/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Water below Outpost camp on 7/4/17:


Edited by Climber03 (07/11/17 07:01 PM)

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#50828 - 07/11/17 07:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jstew2691]
VagrantProfile Offline


Registered: 07/10/17
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
Latest trail conditions?!?!

I'm attempting the hike on 7/21/2017 and would definitely appreciate word on the trail conditions as I'd rather NOT have to worry about crampons and an ice axe if I can avoid it.

Appreciation in advance!

- Greg

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#50830 - 07/11/17 09:00 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Gma Offline


Registered: 07/11/17
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hello everyone, I checked this forum multiple times a day before I went up and was so grateful for the updates. Because conditions were changing quickly I had no expections of summitimg I just planned on enjoying a beautiful day hiking. I have summitted twice before but conditions were clear. I had only used micro spikes once before this trip, but am a very prepared and sturdy hiker.

This is alittle breakdown of my hike, Friday night camped at Whitney portal
Saturday picked up permit for Sunday, then hung around portal until 6:00 PM,
Then hiked a bit passed Lone Pine lake before permit area where I slept until 3:00 a.m.
I hit the trail by 3:15 a.m. Water was high at outpost camp so I decided to change to sandals which I'm grateful I did. I hiked in them through many water crossing that would have had my feet drenched.

I put boots back on right before snow to trail camp. The trail was not easy to follow in all sections and a few times me and a few others got a bit confused. I used micro spikes and poles and felt confident. By the time I had reached trail camp i had met a few people along the way. We all kind of passed off and on the trail, encouraging each other. I continued on past Trail Camp up towards the chute. I did not feel comfortable trying to get to cables on switchbacks so went up the chute. (Tough but so amazing) I want to add that climbing out of the snow up the rock to trail crest was NOT EASY. 1.9 miles to summit always is harsh but totally worth it.

Arrived on top at 11:20 a.m. And it's was snowing. Started down at 12:00 p.m. I chose to glissade down and just as climbing out of snow to rock was hard, getting back down to it was even worse. Glissading was scary at first but after I got the hang of how to do it I had a great time. I used micro spikes and my poles(shortened all the way). I chose to leave my boots on for water crossings the whole way down. I was back at portal around 5:30p.m. (I took old trail both up and down)I'm a strong believer in taking your time to look around and slow and steady wins the race. I had an amazing day and met some truly wonderful humans along the way.

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#50846 - 07/12/17 11:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: csquared]
Ruslvmusl Offline


Registered: 07/10/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Lincoln, CA
Originally Posted By: csquared

We decided to climb up the chute the next morning instead of taking the switchbacks because most of the lower part of the switchbacks were still covered in snow. So you had to climb up part of the chute anyway. Plus, it took some people about 6-7 hours to get up on the chute.. no thanks!



did you mean to say switchbacks?

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#50847 - 07/12/17 12:05 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Gma]
Ruslvmusl Offline


Registered: 07/10/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Lincoln, CA
Originally Posted By: Gma
I hit the trail by 3:15 a.m. Water was high at outpost camp so I decided to change to sandals which I'm grateful I did. I hiked in them through many water crossing that would have had my feet drenched.

I put boots back on right before snow to trail camp.

could one just wear sandals UNTIL all water crossings are completed?

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#50849 - 07/12/17 12:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ruslvmusl]
Gma Offline


Registered: 07/11/17
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
I Think yes it's possible to hike in sandals until the water crossings are done if they are comfortable. As I said that's pretty much what I did until my feet got really cold right before trail camp. Obviously you might get a little sand or rock in the sandle every once in a while but I really didn't have any problems. I just had a pair of Tevas on.


Edited by Gma (07/12/17 05:12 PM)

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#50887 - 07/13/17 12:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: VagrantProfile]
highsierramike Offline


Registered: 07/06/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Fresno, CA
Successful summit, Tuesday July 11th!!! Amazing trip/experience!!!

My son and I (and his buddy) hiked (with 35 pound packs) up to Trail Camp on Monday, July 10th. We spent the night at Trail Camp and summitted on Tuesday July 11th. After summitting, we hiked back down to Trail Camp, packed up our gear, and trekked back down to the Portal.

Our Schedule:

Saturday (7/8):

Drove from Fresno to Whitney Portal. Camped at Whitney Portal campground. Checked out Portal Store.

HUUUUGE shout out to Doug at the Portal Store. Super friendly, and offered invaluable advice!!!

Sunday (7/9):

On the advice of Doug, took it easy. Took a drive up to Horseshoe Meadows (10,000 ft), and spent some time exploring the high country to acclimate to elevation.

Monday (7/10):

Hit the trail at about 8:00 am. Again, on the advice of Doug, we kept a pace of about a mile an hour. Arrived at Trail Camp at about 3:00 p.m. (This was a great pace for us. We experienced no problems with elevation and felt great (surprisingly) after arriving at Trail Camp.)

Tuesday (7/11):

Hit trail at about 8:00 a.m. Arrived at Summit at 12:30. Spent about an hour at the summit. Hiked back down to Trail Camp and ate lunch. We were planning on spending two nights at Trail Camp, but we made a last minute decision to hike back down to the Portal! We left Trail Camp at about 6:00 p.m., and arrived at the Portal at about 8:45 pm!!

Trip Details/Trail Conditions:

We did NOT use either crampons or an ice axe. However, I would NOT recommend doing the trail without Trekking Poles. There are parts of the trail that would be really difficult without them.

We took the Old Trail, which allows you to avoid a fairly substantial water crossing. It is impossible to miss if you wish to take this route. The old trail begins at the top of the driving loop between the waterfall and huge boulder. It is also impossible to miss where the old train connects with the main trail going this way. I talked to people that took the new trail up, and they had no problems crossing. But, when we got down (at 9:00 p.m), the water level was really high. They ended up following us down the old trail.

The trail up to Outpost Camp is in great condition. There is really only one part of the trail that is flooded. This is right before Outpost Camp. My son was able to get by without getting wet. I just took my shoes off and walked through. It’s only about 100 ft. or so.
The trail from Outpost to Trail Camp is also in great condition. There are a few places where you have to trek through snow, but it is a relatively easy walk. The snow is pretty well compacted from all the hikers and the route is easy to follow.

The hike from Trail Camp to Trail Crest is without a doubt the most challenging part of the hike. We opted for the switchbacks. (This was recommended by Doug at the Portal Store and a Ranger at Trail Camp. Coincidentally, there was a group that went up the chute. We literally arrived at Trail Crest at the exact same time. Going up the chute seemed to require more energy.) There are about 4 portions of the switchbacks that are covered in snow. It is easy to see where the trail goes. I would have worn crampons here if I had them, but did not feel uneasy going without them. However, I would not have been too comfortable going without trekking poles. You do have to trek up some snow to get from Trail Camp to the switchbacks. You will see snow tracks leading up to them. Follow the tracks, and you will hit the switchbacks.

Trail Crest to summit was an awesome hike. Take it slow, and you’ll make it. The last bit of the trail (right before summit) is covered in snow. There is an “alternate” path that hikers are taking. Also pretty easy to follow, and the trail is marked.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. We met a ton of great people (David from Tennessee, the Reedley College crew, and others….) on the trail. Take your time and be safe!!!

I’ll post a few photos soon.

Stevec edit: Moved this post the the Current Conditions thread. Posting pictures: See the picture gallery for instructions.

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#50896 - 07/13/17 02:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: highsierramike]
drdrew Offline


Registered: 07/12/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Thanks for the post HighSierraMike! Can you tell me, at the top of the switch backs, are the cables still under snow?

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#50897 - 07/13/17 02:51 PM Re: Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2017 (Out-of-Date) [Re: Steve C]
Robert C Offline


Registered: 07/13/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Danville, CA
Looking for an update on the Mountaineer's Route. Permit is July 21-23.

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#50898 - 07/13/17 04:13 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: drdrew]
highsierramike Offline


Registered: 07/06/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: drdrew
Thanks for the post HighSierraMike! Can you tell me, at the top of the switch backs, are the cables still under snow?

Yes. At least mostly. There is a snow bridge of sorts you have to cross. That is the one place I would have used crampons if I had them. I was going to post a photo, but couldn't figure out how to do so.

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#50901 - 07/13/17 05:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Ruslvmusl]
csquared Offline


Registered: 07/11/17
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, CA
Yes! Sorry, it should've said 6-7 hours to go up the switchbacks. It only took us about 2-3 hours to go up the chute. Really wasn't that bad! They key is to start super early! 2 or 3am!

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#50903 - 07/13/17 06:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: csquared]
HE_i Offline


Registered: 06/30/17
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
Do I need to bring my snow gloves?

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#50904 - 07/13/17 06:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: highsierramike]
Chetan Offline


Registered: 06/03/17
Posts: 11
Loc: CA
highsierramike: I (and probably a lot of other folks) are interested in seeing those pictures, especially the switchbacks (how to get onto the switchbacks from Trail Camp, and the conditions around the cables area) smile

Could you please upload them to imgur.com and post a link to the album?

Here's a pointer to this forum's tips about posting images: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/83/Message_Posting_Tips#T11

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#50916 - 07/14/17 09:33 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Trey Offline


Registered: 07/06/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Pasadena, CA
My group going out on Tuesday (7/18/17) though Onion Valley, over Kearsarge, Forester, then arriving at Whitney about 5 days later.

I just got off the phone with Mary from 2 Foot Adventures. She says the snow is melting so fast the an Ice Axe is not longer necessary.

I need some feedback. Is an Ice Axe still necessary?

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#50921 - 07/14/17 11:28 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Trey]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Not needed for Mt Whitney trail. People are using the switchbacks now.

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