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#4904 - 06/04/10 10:44 AM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
This thread is designed to hold posts displaying pictures and describing the current conditions of the Main Mount Whitney Trail (MMWT).  I hope everyone will contribute.

Please feel free to post pictures of your own or from any source (please post a reference to the original location), so that everyone can come here and easily find/read/see the conditions.

Older posts will be moved as conditions change. (As a result, some posts may appear to answer comments that are no longer in the thread.)

Thanks for everyone's help. Your posting trip reports helps untold numbers of hikers following you.

Older posts moved here:   Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2017 (Old)

Note: Sometimes this thread spans a number of pages. You can click through all the pages, or click here to display all in one page.

#51952 - 08/31/17 01:02 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
nicebloke Offline

Registered: 07/20/15
Posts: 17
Loc: Petaluma, CA
We did the day hike on Tuesday 8/29. Conditions as follows:

- Water crossing at 0.5 mi was normal, easy to cross on rocks
- North Fork crossing at 0.9 mi was high but still passable on rocks
- At 5am, the entrance to Bighorn Meadow was very wet. There was about 20-30 feet of trail under 10-12" of water, and then further along another similar stretch by the new log noted above (in other words, the log was not a help). We threw on water shoes until we climbed out of Outpost Camp. The second creek crossing was too high to navigate on the rocks without getting wet feet too. When we cam back through about 4:15pm, the water had receded dramatically, despite rainfall since lunchtime, and water shoes were not needed. everything was navigable in my non-waterproof trail runners
- Spring at 23rd switchback was running in full force. I don't see it drying up for a while (if at all this year)
- Backside has one patch of snow about 30 feet in length about 0.5 mi from the summit. Pretty easy to navigate with poles, just be careful if it gets slushy because it gets slippery. There's no alternate route obvious (I looked for cairns but found none).

#51968 - 09/01/17 08:26 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: nicebloke]
CatB Offline

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 20
Loc: the o.c.
Was on the main trail last week. We were clued in by descending hikers about how to avoid the snow field.
There is a bypass/use trail worked in just before you hit the snow. It's not that obvious but you can see it & there are cairns marking the way up. It's fairly steep with tight little switchbacks but it's short & intersects with the main trail above the snow.
But when coming off the summit make sure you look for it right away to the left or you will end up off trail in the snow like we did.

#51985 - 09/01/17 11:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
This posted on FB on Sept 1 by LT. Looks like there was a pretty heavy storm:

#52030 - 09/05/17 07:59 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Phiker Offline

Registered: 06/16/16
Posts: 8
Loc: San Diego, CA
Day hiked on Sept. 3rd.
All water crossings were easily managed. North Fork still had a good flow but it was very easy to rock hop even in total darkness (3:15am). There was only one spot in Bighorn Park where it was a little sketchy (as described earlier) but even then, with rocks and tree limbs, I did not see anybody get their feet wet. The heavy storm from August 31st must have dumped a lot of rain to raise the level of the water crossings but have now receded. Overall, my feet stayed dry for the entire trip. No big difference in water levels between early morning and mid afternoon.
The snow patch just before the summit was really easy to navigate. No need to make a detour to avoid it. The snow was getting a little slushy (9:30am-11am) but it's a short section (30 feet maybe).
Dark clouds began forming over the summit at 11am precisely and another storm broke out later that afternoon/evening. I only got a little sprinkle on the way down the switchbacks and around Trailside Meadow.
Another amazing day on Whitney, one lucky girl even got proposed once their group made it on the summit!

#52062 - 09/06/17 07:01 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline

Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 178
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
This posted on FB on Sept 1 by LT. Looks like there was a pretty heavy storm:

Looks like I was lucky I did my big trek starting on Aug 13th instead of last week.

#52124 - 09/09/17 09:02 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
A rare rainbow picture taken from near the cables during an afternoon rain.
Posted on fb by Joel O, Sept 8.

#52130 - 09/11/17 11:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Halfdomer Homer Offline

Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 18
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Trip report for Saturday September 9.

Arrived in Lone Pine from L.A. at about 1:00 PM and drove straight up to Horseshoe Meadows to acclimate a little bit (2 hours). Then down to the Hostel where the room was very nice. Had some dinner and then went to bed for a few hours sleep. Woke up and drove to the portal at about 11:30PM and sat in my car until 1:30AM. My hiking partner and I hiked up to Lone Pine Lake without headlamps because of the bright moon. We actually didn't use our headlamps all night except for the water crossings. We could see clouds coming over Trail Crest and we were anticipating some weather because the night before it had sleeted and snowed in the upper elevations.

The water crossings at Outpost camp were OK because somebody left branches in the water and we did not get our feet wet. We stopped after Mirror Lake to snack up for the long slog up the rocks to Thor and Trail Camp (my least favorite part). We stopped again at Trail Camp to eat again and I had to put on my heavy jacket and gloves because it got cooold! It was at this point that I hit the wall of sorts, I didn't want to go on I just wanted to go back to my car and sleep! I made myself press on with mighty effort and by the time we reached switchback #20 I got my second wind. Counting the 99 switchbacks really helps keep my mind on the goal and they don't seem to take forever when you know where you are (the cables start on #47 BTW).

As we ascended, the trail became covered in snow. Snow! I wasn't ready for how much snow there was! And it was slippery in the shade! There were also ice patches where puddles had formed from the storm the night before. Switchback #99 was covered in about a half an inch of snow the whole way. After Trail Crest it got really dicey going down the hill to the JMT but slow going worked well.

The trail from JMT to about the 3rd window was covered in slippery snow as well which was very scary on some of those tricky steps right next to the drop offs and it took a long time to negotiate those sections. We considered turning around because we did not want to go back over those spots if it got colder, but we went on anyway. The fog was thick in the valley of Trail Camp and it was rising up between the needles and windows like cauldron smoke, but it was only fog not angry clouds so we pressed on. We reached the small snowfield near the summit and it was narrow and slippery but pretty easy (30 feet maybe).

Finally, the summit! I celebrated my 5th Whitney ascent and ate lunch. The fog was thick on the east side so we could not see Lone Pine or Trail Camp, but the western views were open and beautiful with white puffy clouds. It was not cold or windy at 14,508 feet.

I was anticipating the dangerous trail conditions on the way back but the sun had melted all of the snow and it was fine! The light snow drizzle started as we were coming down the 99's and lasted until Trailside Meadow. We were in the dark by the time we reached the North Fork crossing coming down and my partner was so tired he did not want to cross the swollen creek so we took the "shortcut" down instead. It was very rocky and brambly and rough but we made it (thanks to the instructions I read on the boards)! 5 summits out of 8 attempts, no altitude sickness of any kind once again.. I will be back next year I think!


#52142 - 09/12/17 11:23 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Halfdomer Homer]
sankar Offline

Registered: 08/20/17
Posts: 8
Loc: Redwood City, California
I hiked up to outpost camp on Saturday 9/9 and did summit hike on sunday sep 10.

The water crossings between portal store and outpost is easily manageable with poles. I did carry the water shoes just in case but didn't use them.

We started the summit hike from Outpost on sunday (9/10) 1.30am and reached the summit at 8.30am. The trail was clear from snow/ice and water until trail crest. Between trail crest and summit, there was snow for 10 ft length. It was easy to cross it when going up but by the time we returned, that section was slippery. Poles helped a lot.

#52154 - 09/13/17 01:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
raja Offline

Registered: 09/13/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Summited on 9/11/17 (Day Hike):

First of all thanks to all the fellow hikers who shared information in this forum. It was very useful for me and also gave lot of confidence in taking up this hike.

1) Picked up the permit +WAG bag on 9/9 (Saturday).
2) Did a acclimatization hike up to Lone Pine lake after that.
3) Also started on AMS medication on Saturday Morning and took it till Sunday night. Didn't get any AMS symptoms during the hike.
5) Sunday (9/10) drove to Horse Shoe Meadows trailhead , did 1 mile of hiking and came back to Lone pine.
6) Monday Early Morning @12:30AM, started the hike and summited ~11AM. We were pretty slow so we started early to compensate that. The forecast was 60% rain & thunderstorm after 11am so we really wanted to summit before noon.
7) All the water crossing was passable without getting water into the shoes.
8) There is small patch of snow in the last mile to summit, just before the turn up to the hut. It was scary for me but with poles it was passable. Many other hikers were crossing it easily.
9) It started raining+hail once i got near the summit and was pretty cold. I didn't hear any thunder so just pushed towards the summit.
10) If i can change, one thing i would do is take less water. I carried 3 L water pouch + 1 Lt Nalgene bottle + 1 gatorade. There is ample water along the way so i would cut down to say 2Lts max.
11) We are a group of three and other two hikers could reach trail crest only around noon. By the time they were close to the summit they started hearing some thunder and others advised them to turn around. So unfortunately they didn't summit.
12) From JMT junction to the summit, crossing all those boulders was very challenging to me and took all my energy. Last half mile, i was walking like a zombie.
13) On the way down rain + thunder storm started once i crossed the log bridge after Lone Pine Lake, it was pretty scary. The thunderstorm really pushed me and last three miles i did at super pace and reached the portal around 7PM.

Sorry if it is too verbose, really excited to summit Mt Whitney.

Edited by raja (09/13/17 01:11 PM)

#52160 - 09/13/17 04:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: raja]
Kumar12 Offline

Registered: 02/01/17
Posts: 12
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I will submit my trip report later. I did the day hike on 9/11 (Monday) with couple of my friends. We started around 1:30am and two of us summited at 11:30am and another one summited around noon. I think thunder and lightning started around 1pm when we were about 1 mile on our return trip. I never seen anything like that, we were really scared. Although dark clouds were forming around 10am , they were getting cleared after some time so we kind of took a risk. I donít think I will ever do that again. The strange thing is that some people were still going when we were returning! I understand it is a very difficult decision to make when we are so close to the Summit but after experiencing the lightning, I donít think it is worth taking any risk. The snow patch crossing near the summit became very slippery but it was manageable with poles and careful footing. We returned to portal around 8pm, we had to hike the last 2-3 hours in the rain but it was okay as we had rain jackets and head lights. All the water crossings were easy to cross with the support of poles.