Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 12 Guests and 60 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3241 Members
13 Forums
5318 Topics
49470 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 8 of 20 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 19 20 >
Topic Options
#50293 - 06/22/17 09:02 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
Paul A Offline


Registered: 06/22/17
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
A group of us are doing Whitney Friday the 30th. Last year 2 of us did the hike in 1 day in early June. We used microscopes last year. I am reading that crampons are still recommended, but have read people making it in microscopes.

We did well in microspikes last year, obviously the snowfall was intense this year. Just looking for some clarity before we head up from some people that have done it this year. Thank you in advance.

Top
#50296 - 06/23/17 09:02 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
From a report of an overnight hike, June 20-21, by Jim F:
He took the old trail up to the first stream crossing, to avoid crossing the North Fork Lone Pine Creek.
Here's the old trail location.

Jim F wrote:"Took the Old Trail (starting in back of the Portal Pond) to avoid having to cross the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, which is indeed raging as others have reported. By the way, on the Old Trail a few switch backs have been "built" to bypass where the stump of the fallen tree has been obstructing passage for a number of years."

Of the log crossing he wrote:
(June 20): "The 11 logs at the Lone Pine Lake creek crossing were stable and provided dry passage. Stream crossings in Bighorn Park required getting feet wet."
(June 21) " one of the 11 logs at the crossing at Lone Pine Lake had floated off (again), requiring walking in the creek. Also noted was an appearance of mosquitos beginning at about Mirror Lake."

Top
#50297 - 06/23/17 09:04 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
Team NEGU Offline


Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 5
Loc: CA, USA
Hi thank you so much for your reply. I was actually going to ask if coming back down the chute with an ice ax is dangerous? I am even nervous about wearing crampons really. Much less holding an ax. That scares me. Can I make it with just crampons and poles going up and coming back down? Thank you so much. I love this feed cause it's helping me prepare

Top
#50299 - 06/23/17 10:03 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Vineet]
Amol Offline


Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hello Vineet,

My 9 yo son, my wife and I will also be climbing up (Portal to trail camp) on Sunday June 25th. Based on our condition and our feel about the Chute, we may or may not hike up to the summit the following day Monday June 26th. We are first timers to Mt Whitney. We'll not be able to offer any expert advice but could definitely say hello to you smile

Top
#50301 - 06/23/17 10:10 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: adventurer456]
Amol Offline


Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Hello Andrew,

My 9 yo son, my wife and I will also be climbing up (Portal to trail camp) on Sunday June 25th. We are moderate hikers and not in our 20s smile. Based on our condition and our feel about the Chute, we may or may not hike up to the summit the following day Monday June 26th. We are first timers to Mt Whitney. We'll not be able to offer any expert advice but could definitely say hello to you smile May be you could give us some advice about the chute. My wife is definitely inundated by the chute.

-Amol

Top
#50308 - 06/23/17 12:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JedHiker Offline


Registered: 01/02/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Bishop
All of those rocks are under 6" of roiling water as of 6/19/17 and probably getting worse.
You need to locate the stones with your hiking pole and literally walk on water.
Those going up in the next week or so should start at the Portal in camp shoes and change into your hiking boots after the crossing.
Jed

Top
#50309 - 06/23/17 12:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JedHiker]
Yueming Offline


Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 20
Loc: Utah
Hi, our group plan to hike in next Saturday, I plan to use old trail to avoid crossing the north fork creek, but we still have to cross the log, do you think the log will be able to help us cross the rive with dry feet? Or we still need to plan to get wet at lone pine lake? (I heard the log has been rushed down so many times). And people also says that it'll also get wet too near bighorn park, is it that bad there? Thanks a lot!

Top
#50310 - 06/23/17 03:23 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Yueming]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
From what I have seen, you should plan on wading in the water at the two places you mentioned. Consider yourselves lucky if you don't need to.

Take extra socks, maybe even lightweight shoes to wear through the water.

Top
#50317 - 06/24/17 12:51 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
dustin Offline


Registered: 06/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: ca
hi guys, me and a few friends are going to hike Whitney this July 2-5th. I was hoping some people could give a little insight on " the chute" since I hear that the main trail on the switch backs is covered in snow. is " the chute" easy to follow, and can people who are inexperienced in snow travel safely traverse it? we all have crampons and hiking poles but opted out on the ice axes because odds are if the situation requires ice axes not to die we will pass. anyways, we've been looking forward to this trip for a while and I would hate to not be able to make the summit. don't get me wrong, I love a good challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing this " chute", but it sounds a little intimidating and I'm not sure the comfort level for the rest of my group with something like this. thanks- Dustin

Top
#50318 - 06/24/17 08:30 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Amol]
adventurer456 Offline


Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 9
Loc: adventurer456
Hi Amol,

Great. Go ahead and shoot me a text when you see this 3103184551.

I'll be starting my hike 1am on Sunday from the portal, will be at the chut around 7 am, so maybe I see you on the way down. Done the chute once before and would be happy to explain my experience and give out a few pointers. Ice chute - ice axe, helmet, and crampons are a must though.

Hope to say hello there.

Andrew

Top
#50319 - 06/24/17 07:18 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
boomboomgopro Offline


Registered: 06/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: ny
hi I'm new here and just testing how i comment here. I'm only wearing trail crampons, and i think ill be ok up the chute. next week.

Top
#50333 - 06/25/17 10:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA

Top
#50335 - 06/26/17 04:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: dustin]
Gwen40 Offline


Registered: 06/26/17
Posts: 2
Loc: New York
Hi Dustin! I'll be up there 2-4. We're taking crampons and ice axes. I don't see the use of one without the other. We're camping at trail camp. It would be great to say hello to fellow travelers.

Top
#50342 - 06/26/17 09:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
rdev Offline


Registered: 06/12/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Newport Beach, CA
Hello All-
(also posted under 'Trip Reports'
This post might be relevant to people, who like me, are rookies on ice / snow. I will try to be as methodical and analytical as possible, so apologies for the length of this missive. Also please note this is my personal experience only!

I will start with my skill set so you can calibrate your expectations:
1. I have done a decent amount of trail running at high altitudes, so I am not a rookie when it comes to mountains.
2. I went up Mt. Whitney on 6/22/14 and it took me 9h15m (as a reference)
3. I had no altitude sickness this time, unlike in 2014 (so that was not a debilitating factor)
4. I have very little experience skiing or snowboarding or glissading (if you do, you may be much more 'at home' on the trip than I was).

Given above my observations on this trip below:
1. This was one of the MOST difficult and honestly terrifying 'treks' I have ever done. I did cactus to clouds in a few hours (you can check it out on google) but this was a totally different ball game. why? the terrain and my lack of familiarity with snow and ice. I have enough experience on trails to know when one is NOT in control and on this trip I felt 'situation was out of control' more than a few times. Why? My lack of familiarity with snowy and icy terrain. I met a few people on the trail, who like me were using and Ice-axe & crampons for the first time. Please note, if you are new to this, do not waste your time and money trying to 'trek' up without these 2 pieces of equipment. The margin for error is SMALL and the risk-reward ratio is totally skewed against you, i.e. 'I made it to the summit' vs a major injury.
2. Second error on my part given the new terrain was my going solo! it was dumb luck that i ran into 4 angels right at the start, who not only paced me but had excellent snow / ice skills. Two of the guys had only micro-spikes but they have had extensive experience snow boarding and skiing, so 'glissading standing up' was walk in the park for them, which was absolutely terrifying for me given the declivity coming down.
3. The very first 'stream' we pass (I dont know the name) which is barely a mile from the start is a raging 'river'! This was at 3am in the morning. Which means it gets non-linearly worse as sun comes out. The guys tried to step on rocks to avoid getting wet but the rocks are at the edge of the stream, which means if you slip you fall deep, which is a risk i did not want to take given the water velocity. There i just 'waded' in with my 'gore-tex' boots and gaiters. Too bad, that 'gore-tex' equipment does not work if you walk into shin deep water. So now I had another 19miles to go with wet shoes and socks. My suggestion? Get sandals. Wear them till mirror lake (where you will have another set of obstacles to deal with but NOT shin deep water)
4. I trudged along with wet shoes and water (= both weight a LOT more by the way since I use heavy hiking socks) since I had only one more pair of thick hiking socks (another mistake. keep atleast 4-5 pairs or best start with, sandals)
5. You will come across a LOT more water including the 'log bridge' which is NO longer intact given one log has rolled off. I had sort of given up on walking in wet socks and shoes by then so just walked the whole stream!
6. Excluding water at all sorts of random places it was uneventful, the way I like it, till you get past outpost camp / mirror lake. Post mirror lake the trail is under snow / ice. We ran into guys who were lost. They had a GPS which unfortunately is not updating real-time (i.e. 200% snow pack for 2017)! I used alltrails pro and downloaded a route some guy had take. This was vital given we had no one else around and would have wasted valuable time 'exploring'.
7. After a climb through a snowy section, out came the crampons AND ice-axe (which is not an option for first timers, in my view). Now, one of the guys in our 'group' (remember I was super lucky to meet these guys) had done classes on ice skills and knew exactly when to take crampons out! We 'cramponed' up to Trail camp and there one could see the so called 'chute'! It scared the living daylights out of me to be honest. Its a serpentine path which shoots straight up, then left, straight and then sharp left, straight to Trail Crest. Mind you, you look down from Crest below it is almost a VERTICAL drop (closer to 70degree decline I would guess)
8. While going on this 'path' with rookie ice-axe and crampon skills (which somehow came intuitively to me, maybe will, for most, I have no idea) even though I was with the group we had some distance between us. 2 were in front of me and 2 behind. About 600 feet below the Crest, where it starts feeling 'vertical' I realized than I had made a sharper left climb up than I should have. People were using 'steps' which others had used before, further to my right! Now I had 2 options go back down (which anyone who has spent time on mountains knows is WAY MORE difficult than going up) or try to traverse laterally to my right! This entailed me making 'steps' using my crampons (kick, kick, kick till you get a foot hold) and move laterally, while NOT looking down. This was simply the most 'out of control' situation I have been in. There only 2 guys above me and 2 below. So not a lot of people. Luckily the snow was firm and my process worked. This also means post 8am it will get exponentially more complex to try to make your way up especially for rookies (since ice will crumble under your weight).
9. The last 50 feet people were using the 'spike' side of the ice-axe! That tells you how steep the final section is. (if you dont know what 'spike' is on an axe you want to re-think this). The whole section when one turns left to go UP the chute is like a vertical stair master climb. It is relentless on your legs and nothing like what I am used to (orthogonal to trail running to put it mildly)
10. post Trail crest 'walk in the park' BUT I was MORE exhausted than I remember in 2014 even though I did NOT have AMS this time unlike last! This was ALL stress due to the climb up the chute. Also I had finished my 3L bladder of water by Trail camp! This is again exceptional and clearly I was drinking way more water than last time (or my usual consumption).
11. The last 200 feet to summit are again snowed out. So had to scramble but now we ran into a number of people, so just followed them (otherwise you NEED a GPX where someone has gone recently)
12. At the top ALL I could think of was how the heck will I get down the Chute! eek
13. Came back to Trail crest quickly. There was a group of 4 who chose to 'crampon' down the chute! God bless them and others who were doing it. Simple physics tells me, going down my center of gravity is the WRONG WAY compared to going up! Everyone in my group (who were snow Gods to me) decided going down on their 'bottom' i.e. glissading which was music to me.
14. This came with its own issues! There is a 'glissade tube' (I am calling it that) that looks like a bobsled track where people go down. I let them go since I knew I am going to take A LOT of time on this. Again what I thought I knew on using an ice-axe (which is ABSOLUTE CRITICAL for your cranium while glissading down a 65degree decline) was utter rubbish. Simple rule: ALWAYS keep the pick facing back! The tube has been used (I am guessing) for the last couple of months. Since then snow has been melting. Hence the 'entrance' to the tube is good 5feet below where once stands on the Crest! eek So I had to somehow, relying on my axe get down into the tube, making sure I dont slip down! Incredible! Coming down was, again part fun and part sheer terror. Ex-post not sure which feeling dominated. Its almost vertical for 1200 feet (13.6k to 12.4k in altitude). Though you dont do the whole distance in one step, you get up, crampon and then I chose to glissade to Trail camp while others just walked down. Another point to note on 'glissading': you will gain extremely HIGH velocity in NO time going down on steep ice! There were sections where despite my attempts at excessive control using the axe I gained excessively high speeds. There was a brief moment where I was literally hanging by my axe! Then I had to make a 'step' and then let go of the axe. eek Also if you think you are wearing crampons while glissading down and will use them for resistance please re-think this 'adventure'!
15. Note: above is my personal experience. For reference: there was one guy going up in trail runners and 2 bottles of water! He made it to the top and assuming back! There were people simply 'walking down', taking giant steps, down the 'chute'! shocked So if you have tons of experience on ice and snow, I don't think your frame of reference will match mine and feel free to discard these data points! I had a guy behind me in the 'glissade tube' whom I was 'slowing down a LOT!' I apologized but I am too risk-averse to go down at 40mph out of control!
16. Coming down was no drama for a change and again I got more wet at all the expected and un-expected places. Note, the streams bulge up big time with rising sun and we had dark clouds gathering while we were leaving Trail Camp. So guessing they had rainfall which would have meant even more water. I did change my socks at the summit but shoes weighed a ton by then, so did not matter.
17. We reached back to our cars at 4:30pm! That means the whole trip took us 13h30m (we started at 3am on a new moon night)! shocked This was almost 4h30m MORE than last time!
Body now feels fine, so clearly the lack of experience on the terrain was the main fatigue factor.
I am not a meteorologist but given the snow I would be surprised if switchbacks open till August if not September.
Overall: If you are a 'fair weather hiker / runner' like me then wait for switchbacks to open up and snow to melt. Our beautiful Mt. Whitney is not going anywhere.
ps: I do NOW know how to use crampons and ice-axe! But how would I react if I slip on ice? I have no idea.

Top
#50348 - 06/27/17 05:53 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: rdev]
Gwen40 Offline


Registered: 06/26/17
Posts: 2
Loc: New York
Rdev,

Did you use mountaineering boots and crampons or did you have crampons that fit on your hiking boots? Thanks!

Top
#50349 - 06/27/17 06:58 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Gwen40]
rdev Offline


Registered: 06/12/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Newport Beach, CA
Hi-

My 'equipment':
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX mid-weight hiking shoes
Black Diamond Ice Axe (60)- rented from REI
Black Diamond Contact strap crampons - rented from REI
OR Crocodile Gaiters
Smartwool mountaineering heavy hiking socks x2

I cannot re-iterate enough, ice-axe is NOT optional. Its always about tail risks on mountains and how one does a 'self-arrest' on ice/snow with hiking poles is beyond my comprehension.

Hope this helps

thanks!

Top
#50357 - 06/27/17 09:37 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Climber Joe Offline


Registered: 10/13/15
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Last minute decided to drive up alone from LA Thurs night, motel 6 Mohave, 8am 6/23 Fri at the Interagency for walk-ins. None left, so returned 11am and scored an overnight permit. Began at Portal at 1pm, arrived at Trail Camp near 6pm. I'm a fairly experienced non-snow hiker/climber and somewhat minimalist.

--water crossings annoying but not a real issue. To save time I walked in croc type sandals all the way up to past Mirror lake

--past mirror lake people were going off trail on the snow to the left toward the Consultation (?) Lake side. I tried to stay on the original trail going right. Required some scrambling and a short snow traverse over steep terraine, but eventually got to Trail Camp probably similar or faster than the snow detour.

--whats with people leaving wag bags all over trail camp? Defeats the purpose.

--a constant low headache overnight is my kryptonite at high altitudes. So this trip was just a bit better than last year's one day effort, but not by much.

--began the chutes up 6am. I brought winter boots and compact crampons with no front teeth. No ice axe no poles. Steep scary, but I dont believe I was in danger, due to snow condition (see below re glissading). Just use the previous hiker's footsteps, step by step. I pickep up a broken hiking pole on the way up and it helped support my rests, but no fool should rely on it for actual safety. Like the axe: id prolly buy one, but for convenience in temp anchor rests as you plod up. The real safety should be in your sense of balance, and snow condition (ie Not icy).

--the last 30 feet feel vertical, but as in climbing, it means the steps/holds are better

--arrived at Trail Crest in about 110 mins.

--the next two miles to top are for me the toughest I've ever hikes. I think my body just shuts down. There was a snow patch near the end, but easily maneuvered. Top at 10am. Collapsed slept an hour. Saw lots of pct people fir whom the hike was an easy side trip.

--back at TC about 12:30pm. Ready to glissade. Here was a bit of chaos. One group of newbies with shiny gear clogged the ever deepening downchute for ages. One guy was scared and just couldnt continue. I and others had to bypass and traverse to use alternative lines down. I found that the butt down, cramponed boots approach was best for the conditions. When speed picked up, I jammed in my hiking stick with both hands for a little control. But the best control was putting out my arms against the walls of the chute. If the bottom were not clogged with ppl, there woulda been less concern to slow down.

--down in 20 mins. Packed up and descended to car ahead of a storm.

--my conclusions: a good pair of crampons needed. and ice axe would be nice but not necessary: the false confidence on gear without knowledge on usage, plus neglecting other conditions (snow condition, fitness, other ppl waiting to get down) makes it a wash.

--i would think the conditions i experienced would not last long, due to warmer weather and continued usage erosion of the snow chute area.

--lastly: i firgot to return the bear canister. Anyone know the Interagency mailing address? Seems they dont answer the phone.





Edited by Climber Joe (06/27/17 09:40 AM)

Top
#50358 - 06/27/17 09:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: rdev]
iopk Offline


Registered: 06/24/17
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Hey y'all, my team will be attempting to summit in two weeks (July 8th). My team will consist of myself and 4 other guys. My climbing buddy and I recently summited Shasta so we have some ice experience, but the other three don't.

So I'm thinking about getting them familiar with the ice axe and crampons before we head up the Chute. We're thinking of taking the mountaineer route, but because of the inexperience from the other guys, I'm thinking we'll probably take the regular route.

Thoughts?

Thanks everyone! This is such a great community!

Top
#50364 - 06/27/17 10:47 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Climber Joe]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Climber Joe
--lastly: i firgot to return the bear canister. Anyone know the Interagency mailing address? Seems they dont answer the phone.

Thanks for the report, CJ. I googled address sierra interagency visitor center, and got this:

US-395 & CA-136, Lone Pine, CA 93545

I am pretty sure USPS and UPS would deliver to that address.

Top
#50370 - 06/27/17 11:52 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Encinitas_Guy Offline


Registered: 05/16/16
Posts: 13
Loc: Encinitas, CA
Hi Folks. Planning on a quick one night trip up to Meysan Lakes this weekend with the girlfriend and dog. Has anyone been up there recently that can let me know what to expect? From what I have found I am expecting snow around 10,000' but any other info would be great. I have quite a bit of experience elsewhere in the Sierras but I have never been up this particular trail before. Thanks!

Top
Page 8 of 20 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 19 20 >