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#51172 - 07/25/17 09:00 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
NickM Offline

Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Hi all, thank you for the valuable tips and information. This is my first trip to Whitney and I'll be trying for the summit solo on 8/1/17. Wouldn't mind tagging along with others along the way.

Edited by NickM (07/25/17 09:01 AM)

#51178 - 07/25/17 12:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Traumatized]
tomrm09 Offline

Registered: 07/24/17
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Traumatized
If you have microspikes or crampons you should be safe. After what I saw yesterday I wouldn't recommend going without.

Sounds good, I'll try to pick up some spikes or crampons this weekend. I'll post about my trip when I get back.

#51188 - 07/25/17 07:22 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: tomrm09]
Bobby49 Offline

Registered: 07/04/17
Posts: 41
Loc: California
Prior to this year, I would generally be hiking uphill through Trail Camp at dawn. I would get to a spot around Switchback #15-20 where the snow melt water had been flowing across the trail, and then it froze overnight. So, suddenly I would hit the slick patch and start to spin out. But that wasn't enough to warrant using microspikes.

Higher up, the packed snow is likely slicker, so it wouldn't be stupid to have microspikes along.

#51190 - 07/25/17 08:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: tomrm09]
mrchowmein Offline

Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 3
Loc: CA

I went up this past Saturday, July 22 wrote a quick blog post about it.

microspikes are NOT needed, but would come in handy. Definitely carry poles. the snow is melting fast. in the same day, the same snow patches were different from the morning compared to the afternoon. we encountered snow between 1/2 mile before Trail Camp all the way up to Trail Crest. crossing the patches can be a lil dicey. there is also a patch of snow near the summit, most people just scramble up the rocks around the patch.

water crossings were up to the knees. my feet were wet from mile 1 all the way up to Trail Crest. so bring extra socks.

#51199 - 07/26/17 07:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: mrchowmein]
jille Offline

Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Leaving the Whitney Portal at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 2nd. I would appreciate any updates on trail conditions by folks who are hiking this week. Details on where snow fields are still covering the main Mt Whitney trail would be extremely helpful, hence a good portion of our hiking will be limited to headlamps.

Thank you - Jill

#51220 - 07/27/17 07:11 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jille]
Mkatz Offline

Registered: 07/27/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Milwaukee, wi
Trip report ... summitted July 26.. we are first timers on whitney

My wife and I are from wiconsin so we attempted to get acclimatized by doing a hikes to kearsage pass out of onion valley and did cotton wood lakes (each separate day hikes).. since we do not live any where near altitude we took diamox 125 mg bid.

- We left at 2 am from the portal
- Take the old trail in the beginning, it cuts off .25 miles and you avoid a major water crossing, the old trail is right at the portal
- bring crocs or sandals - I only changed on way up. On the way down I said screw it and walked right through. These are ankle deep when we went
- snow crossings - if you are leaving very early like we did, the first snow crossing was icy, so we used our yaktrax. Then it was easy to get a good grip. We had poles too. On the return we used no yak trax, snow was slushy, use your polls and kick in a spot in the snow to get a good grip
- watch your water... I wish I refilled at the switchbacks going up. This is the last spot for water on the trail. My wife and I ran out right before trailcresrt on the way back
- great trip for sure, conditions are changing so fast , I have followed these forums but best to go portal store day before hike and chat with return hikers about the snow crossings and what condition they are in so u have a good idea

#51244 - 07/27/17 07:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
LarryK Offline

Registered: 07/25/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hi all, thanks for the trip reports, really helpful gauging changing conditions and thinking about what to bring along and prepare. I'm hiking Whitney on the main trail on 8/1 as a solo hiker. I have an extra permit, but the person who was going to join me can't. If you know someone who'd like it, it's available.

Also, I have a reserved site at the Whitney Portal main campground for 7/30, 7/31, and 8/1. If anyone would like to share the campsite on one or more of those dates, I'm open to it - it's only me and my car. I think each site can have two cars and up to 6 people. I'd ask only that you pay the extra vehicle fee of $7 if you have a car.

PM me if interested in any of the above (very last minute, I know). I wasn't certain if I should create a new thread or just post here with the thanks regarding trip reports. Thanks again!

#51254 - 07/28/17 08:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Mkatz]
jille Offline

Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
A Couple More Questions...

Below Trail Camp, where snow is covering the main trail, is it difficult to relocate the main trail after crossing the snow? (Walking this portion in the dark)

Or perhaps, is it now possible to stay on the main trail all the way up to Trail Camp?


#51285 - 07/29/17 06:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jille]
cantare Offline

Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Climbed main trail July 27 in perfect weather. Took old trail at portal both ways to avoid crossings (why does anyone use the new trail?)

Bighorn Park still flooded in spots, up to calf deep depending on time of day. I used water shoes until the crossing just past Outpost campsites, then stashed them in a tree. A few more wet spots above this (those waterfall stairs upthread) can be avoided with some care.

I took Consultation Lake snowfield route on the way up--that continues to melt out and has some breakthru holes, water underruns and the usual overhangs near rocks to watch for. Don't just blithely follow the old footprints without checking what you're about to walk over.

Took official main trail down. I'd say snow is no longer a real concern. Below trail camp the much-discussed traverse has melted out to the point where there's just one minor hump of snow to walk over.

The 97 switchbacks are almost completely clear--I think there were 2 or 3 where I cut the corner--#92 was the worst of these and needed a brief steep scramble up/down scree.

Snowmelt "spring" at #23 flowing merrily after AM thaw...drank about 4 untreated liters.

Cables are melted out.

Below trail crest on final straight there is one easy snow traverse left. The second, formerly scarier one right at the top is almost completely dirt now.

Summit snowfield reroute after Keeler Needle (i.e. the last and biggest "window") is still in effect. After passing this window and before reaching the main snowfield on the ridgeline ahead, look up and to the right for an obvious line of cairns and follow the diverging rough trail steeply up to the summit. You will rejoin the main trail just short of the summit at a place flanked by two large cairns; remember this junction for the descent. There were a number of people who missed this cutoff in both directions.

#51297 - 07/31/17 07:21 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cantare]
jille Offline

Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Thanks "Cantare" for the info!!!

#51302 - 07/31/17 02:42 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: cantare]
lpj Offline

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 2
Loc: California, Orange County
I summitted for the 6th time on the 27 also. I would concur with everything you said. Taking the old trail up and back saved us an additional water crossing. It was easy to find after looking at pictures posted on this forum. It appears that more people are using it so it is easy to follow. Still amazed at the number of abandoned wag bags along the trail. Trial Camp was not very crowded. I filled a 1 gallon zip lock bag of small pieces of trash left behind at trail camp and along the trail. I think if everyone stopped and picked up the small stuff along the way it would help. Wag bags are a different story. Also, why is it that every year when I go to filter water at Trail Camp I am met by a pile of noodles in the water from someone who decided to wash their cooking gear in the water? People need to also realize that if you are going to summit you need get off the top early! I saw a lot of people at Trail Crest at 2:00 p.m. that were trying to summit. I ran into a day hiker at Outpost Camp at 10:00 a.m. who was going to summit.......REALLY? The best was the hiker who came into Trail Camp at 7:00 p.m. crying because they had a migraine for 4 hours because they ran out of water and still had to hike down to their camp at Outpost. provided me the best and most detailed weather information. Finally, a big THANK YOU! to everyone who contributes to this forum. Your information is up to date, detailed and very helpful. I wish everyone a safe and memorable hike. LIFE IS GOOD!

#51304 - 07/31/17 03:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: lpj]
david_garza Offline

Registered: 03/28/17
Posts: 29
Loc: Glendale, California
Originally Posted By: lpj
Taking the old trail up and back saved us an additional water crossing. It was easy to find after looking at pictures posted on this forum.

Is there a particular thread you can link to? Thx.

Edit: Link to Old Trail information

Edited by Steve C (08/06/17 02:06 PM)
Edit Reason: add link

#51306 - 07/31/17 07:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: david_garza]
BFR Offline

Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 73
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
I hiked down the trail yesterday. The trail was entirely clear with the exception of a section right near the top that can be easily bypassed. There are two snow traverses that can be easily done without any gear. The only water issue is near Outpost camp where approximately 10 meters of the trail is submerged with 4-5" of water.

Edited by BFR (07/31/17 07:34 PM)
Strava, IG

#51307 - 07/31/17 07:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Squib09 Offline

Registered: 07/29/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Vista, CA
Summited with a group of 7 on the 28th. It was my second time, as well as two other people in our group. The rest were doing it for the first time.

We got to the portal at 1PM on the 27, and our group of four was on the "new" trail by 1345. It was hot, especially on the exposed portions up until we got to Big Horn Park. Cover from the sun is a must if you start in mid afternoon. In Big Horn Park were were assaulted by the mosquito's and had to take off our boots for a solid 100' of trail (pressed between a granite face and the inundated meadow) that was under about 12" of water. That water was cold! but it felt good on our feet.

We made Trail Camp by just before 1900, but that time was delayed significantly by a gross navigational error on my part. We missed a switchback past the flooded trail north of Mirror lake and wound up veering to the south of the preferred course and up .80 miles of snow (by my watch), putting us on the shore of Consultation lake. That was not fun, there were old tracks on the snow we were following, but a bush blocked our view of the switchback and we were probably overly expectant of a snow crossing before Trail Camp from reading other trip reports here. We then had to hike a few hundred meters over the rocks to trail camp, where we rendezvoused with three of our partners who had hiked up earlier in the day.

We were on the trail by 0745 on the 28th and reached Trail Crest in just over two hours. The spring between switchbacks 22 & 23 flooded all of the switchbacks below it with cold water. The snow on switchback 88 was not a real technical challenge, but I was a bit freaked out by the thought of accelerating down the steep snow back below the snow covered switchback if I fell. Those were some slow, deliberate and careful steps for me, with trekking poles but no crampons. Switchback 91 had a much smaller, but slightly trickier patch of snow, but there was more room to fall with that one.

The hike to the summit was as advertised, with several hikers on the way down letting us know about the cairns that guided us around the snow patch on the approach to the summit. There were still multiple climbers slogging through the snow or wandering through the boulders outside the cairns on our way up, so the gouge wasn't well distributed. We were on our way down by 1:30PM and reached Trail Camp in 2:18, where we packed up and recharged our water. The trip down was relatively uneventful, other than the fact that the mosquitos down trail from Outpost Camp were somehow worse than the day before.

We took the new trail again, and watched the open sign on the Portal store turn off as were were 15' from the door at around 2045. The gentleman manning the store opened up to sell us some gatorades after we helped him load the trash into his truck, which was greatly appreciated.

I last summited in 2012, and was stunned by how much water is on the trail this year, I would certainly not bring excessive water weight on a summit attempt this year due to the easy availability of water everywhere on the trail. Climbing Whitney is still the best adventure one can have in a day or two in the Sierras!

Edited by Squib09 (07/31/17 08:10 PM)

#51315 - 08/01/17 09:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Squib09]
mtlover Offline

Registered: 07/12/17
Posts: 1
Loc: Nevada
Thanks Squib09 the very very helpful detail report!

#51377 - 08/03/17 02:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
G4u2 Offline

Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 1
Loc: San Diego, CA
I did a solo overnight hike starting at Whitney Portal at 5:15 am on July 30th. I got to Trailcamp by 9:00 am, which was much earlier than anticipated. It's hard to gauge how in shape you are based on talking with different people! I then decided I didn't want to stay at the featureless camp for the whole day and headed to the summit.

I left there at 10:00 am. I got to the top at 1:15 pm with picture-perfect weather. After about 30 minutes the nice puffy clouds on top of Mt. Whitney quickly changed to darker ones, so I decided to start heading back. By the time I was at Trailcrest, I could hear thundering.

By the time I made to Trail camp (4:00 pm), I could see the whole ridge was getting hit by what looked like sheets of precipitation. From 12,000ft, I wasn't sure if it was hitting the ground though. Nonetheless, the lighting was pretty scary and definitely got me back to Trailcamp faster. The lesson there is: try to summit before noon this time of the year.

By the way, a great spot to get clean water is at the switchbacks between Trailcamp and Traicrest. It's a good filling time as you are coming back of the mountain and the water is not stagnant like the one by Trailcamp. I then debated getting back to Portal, but ultimately decided to spend the night at Trailcamp.

I left there at 5:00am, and leisurely came down, taking pictures. I was back to Portal before 8:30 am.

On the microspike need, I brought and used them at two locations - one small patch before Trailcamp, and the other sketchier patch right below Trailcrest. Can you do without them? Absolutely. Also, on water shoes, I regret bringing them. The only spot you need to take your boots off is right below Outpost camp. The flooded trail is not gravelly and one could easily walk barefooted - save some weight.

More pictures:

#51380 - 08/03/17 03:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: G4u2]
WanderingJim Online

Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 190
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: G4u2
Also, on water shoes, I regret bringing them The only spot you need to take your boots off is right below Outpost camp. The flooded trail is not gravely and one could easily walk barefooted - save some weight.

I actually use my water shoes for camp shoes so I don't have to slip my big boots all the time on for nightime strolls to the nearest bolder. smile So they'd be dual purpose in my case. And I got a fairly light pair that are about 12 oz.

Hope you enjoyed the sunrise from Trail Camp before heading down. That was one of my highlights of my first Whitney hike (well two, since I stayed two nights at Trail Camp smile ).

#51385 - 08/03/17 06:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: G4u2]
WanderingJim Online

Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 190
Loc: California
So have they repaired the door on the hut so you can sleep inside?

#51395 - 08/04/17 08:01 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: G4u2]
Raptor Offline

Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 2
Loc: California USA
Great post! The link to the photos of current snow and water conditions is very helpful. I'm heading to Whitney for the first time for an overnight hike next weekend and have been a little anxious about the trail conditions, but your photos have set my mind at ease.

#51397 - 08/04/17 09:43 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
Veda Loca Offline

Registered: 08/01/17
Posts: 6
Loc: CA, USA
Did you use crampons?

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