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#52528 - 12/24/17 11:51 AM Older Trail Conditions - Mt Whitney Trail, 2018
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
        Out-of-date Mt Whitney Trail Conditions -- 2018

The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread for trail reports during 2018.
(Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2017
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2016
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2015
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2014
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2013
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2012
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2011


Edited by Steve C (03/15/18 11:30 PM)

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#52552 - 01/25/18 12:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Posted on Instagram, Jan 23, 2018 by codymayer22

His caption: Whitney Portal Road, looking beautiful after a night of snow


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#52562 - 01/26/18 07:15 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Ren Offline


Registered: 08/26/13
Posts: 1
Loc: California
so is whitney portal road open?

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#52564 - 01/28/18 09:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Christian Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 1
Loc: Santa Barbara
I assume everyone has a permit? When will the roads and trails open up again?

Thank you in advance 😃

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#52566 - 01/28/18 09:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Christian]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Don't count on it being open until Spring. Call the Inyo FS number listed on this link:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/inyo/recreation

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#52570 - 01/30/18 03:38 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Bob West]
Lindy25 Offline


Registered: 01/30/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Any recent reports up Whitney Trail?

I talked to the Rangers at Lone Pine - they mentioned a lot of freeze-thaw cycles creating icy areas at higher elevations. They thought no crampons or ice axe needed until above Lone Pine Lake.

I plan to head up there this wknd and hike the extra 4 miles with the closed gate, and would appreciate any recent insight!

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#52571 - 01/30/18 04:05 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Lindy25]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
No local reports that I've heard regarding the Whitney trail. Maybe Moosie has heard something.

I talked with a snow-surveyor friend last night, and he said that the surveyors had to carry their skis over Kearsarge Pass last week: no skiable snow. It is looking pretty dry south of Onion Valley, but above 12000 on Whitney it will be very icey. Ice axe and crampons needed for certain; not micro-spikes and poles.

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#52666 - 02/28/18 03:01 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Bob West]
al_novice Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Alabama
Hey guys, entered lottery for permits in mid-june and from what i can tell, trail conditions that month can vary greatly depending on snow. I know we aren't through the snowfall months, but how does the snowfall this year compare to most? (so far)

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#52671 - 02/28/18 10:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: al_novice]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: al_novice
Hey guys, entered lottery for permits in mid-june and from what i can tell, trail conditions that month can vary greatly depending on snow. I know we aren't through the snowfall months, but how does the snowfall this year compare to most? (so far)

So far, snow has been extremely low -- major drought conditions! However, the first storm of the winter is due in the next several days, so we will at least have some. Unless we get a lot more stormy weather (unlike the past 3 months) the trail will be clear by mid-June, maybe with a few snowy patches.

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#52672 - 02/28/18 11:00 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
al_novice Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Alabama
Awesome! Thanks, fingers crossed. BTW, this board is an amazing tool. I know there is nothing to replace specific trail experience, but I feel like I'll be as prepared as I can be in June. (If I'm lucky enough to get a permit)

Thanks again!

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#52688 - 03/03/18 01:37 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: al_novice]
Brett Dean Offline


Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
If for some reason you don't get a permit, you can always do a walk in.

When the permit processed changed in, 2000?, and everyone had to get their permit info in by Feb. 1st for the year, I was almost never granted a permit, so I no longer try. I've always, 100% of the time, walked into the visitor center and asked if they had permits available, and was issued one for either that day or the next.

Worst case scenario, just have a back up plan and hike Kearsarge pass, Big Pine Basin, or wherever, you're in the Sierras. Either way, you'll have a blast.

This may be easier said than done coming from Alabama.


Originally Posted By: al_novice
Awesome! Thanks, fingers crossed. BTW, this board is an amazing tool. I know there is nothing to replace specific trail experience, but I feel like I'll be as prepared as I can be in June. (If I'm lucky enough to get a permit)

Thanks again!
_________________________
I don't want a tombstone, I want a mountain.

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#52697 - 03/06/18 03:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brett Dean]
al_novice Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Alabama
We are basically planning the trip around this hike. If we don't get a permit, we are going to set aside two days that work best for us and try your method above. Thanks for the additional options, that was the info I was going to look for next.

Cheers!

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#52707 - 03/07/18 10:25 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ER10 Offline


Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: USA
Any updates on the current conditions on Mount Whitney trail to Mount Whitney? I understand there was a large amount of snowfall last weekend, however, I can't find any updates.

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#52708 - 03/07/18 10:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ER10]
pmarx Offline


Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
I am also wondering this, we are planning on taking a pass at the mountaineers route this weekend.

Further, anyone have any knowledge on road access? Would like to avoid some of the walkup if possible.

Will report back on conditions if we make it through

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#52710 - 03/07/18 10:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: pmarx]
Xi Jinping Offline


Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 1
Loc: SF, CA
This site says Whitney Portal Rd is closed: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5192379

Are there other ways to approach MR?


Edited by Xi Jinping (03/07/18 10:55 PM)

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#52712 - 03/08/18 12:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Xi Jinping]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Xi Jinping
This site says Whitney Portal Rd is closed: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5192379

Are there other ways to approach MR?

Xi, thanks for that. This year, the road has a locked gate 1.5 miles from Whitney Portal.

I'm not sure, but there may also be a spot a mile or two below that with a "Road Closed" sign posted. I think most people drive past the sign, but it means you're traveling at your own risk -- of snow or falling rock hazards.

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#52714 - 03/08/18 08:49 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ER10]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: ER10
Any updates on the current conditions on Mount Whitney trail to Mount Whitney? I understand there was a large amount of snowfall last weekend, however, I can't find any updates.

Sorry, I can't find any updates or posts anywhere. But I would expect you will find a significant amount of fresh snow higher up. I was in the central Sierra, west side, this past weekend, and the powder was deep--3-4 feet. East side is always lots less, but it blows around, so you will find some drifted spots where it will slow you down significantly.

If you guys go, it would really help if you would take a few pictures and send them this way (email them to the contact us link, bottom of the page, or contact me and I can give you my cell number to send them to.) If you don't have pictures, a few sentences describing the conditions would be EXTREMELY helpful to everyone coming here to find out.

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#52715 - 03/08/18 08:56 AM Current Conditions Mt Whitney Trail, 2018, Old
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
"old posts" message -- just a placeholder

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#52716 - 03/08/18 10:03 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
jhmccann Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 7
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Ill be heading up this weekend even though Saturday is calling for snow according to mountain-forecast.com. Im going to try and solo MR but if snow or avalanche conditions are crap Ill abort. If anyone else is heading up early Saturday morning let me know.

Those who havent been up there in the winter... couple tips... park your car away from chutes and be ready to dig yourself out if need be. Take snow chains, even if you have 4x4 with all terrain tires. Lastly snow shoes weigh a lot but beats post-holing.

If you see a black 4runner or orange tent below Iceberg Lake, weather permitting, thats me! Say hello, Ill make you a brew.


Edited by jhmccann (03/08/18 10:07 AM)

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#52718 - 03/08/18 07:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jhmccann]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: jhmccann

If you see a black 4runner or orange tent below Iceberg Lake, weather permitting, thats me! Say hello, Ill make you a brew.


I seriously doubt your 4runner will make it to Iceberg lake. smile wink
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#52719 - 03/09/18 05:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: jhmccann]
Baitao Offline


Registered: 12/01/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Michigan, Detroit
Flotation device is a must, a hard lesson learned. We made fresh trail up to lower boy scout lake, normally an hour hike but took us 7 hrs and postholing the whole way (also have to park 2.5 miles away from the trailhead). The snow was soft and waist deep and we have to crawl in some sections.

This was the condition of the weekend of Mar 3-4. Day 1 after a week of snow storm.

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#52721 - 03/11/18 10:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Baitao]
jhmccann Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 7
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Hahaha! Obviously I meant to say if you see my truck parked somewhere of Whitney Portal Road...

Well it was a short lived trip. Set up camp but snow conditions got pretty heavy in the evening. Packed out early and called it a weekend.

Always next weekend.


Edited by jhmccann (03/11/18 10:23 PM)

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#52813 - 03/30/18 12:38 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Quick_Wick Offline


Registered: 03/30/18
Posts: 1
Loc: California San Diego
Hi all,

New to this forum and I’m planning on hiking the Meysan Lake Trail on the 14th of April to get a good feel of this trail, as I will be doing this route on June 1st to the summit. I’m just hiking to Meysan Lake in two weeks to see the conditions. Anyone been on the Whitney Trail or Meysan Lake trail lately? If not, I will update y’all in two weeks when I go. Happy trails! thanks cool

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#52866 - 04/09/18 04:01 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
stentorian11 Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 2
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Hey Fellow Hikers,
I got a Day-Hike permit for June 18.
I wanted your expertise to see how the trail would look this year, i am mostly worried about the trail after trail camp. Do you think the switchbacks will be open to use by June this year ?
How was the winter this year ? Was it better than last year ?

I did the day hike last year during July and had to unfortunately head back after trail camp as i wasn't prepared enough to take on the chute (Switchbacks were covered in snow) and also partially due to altitude sickness.

Any suggestions are most welcome. Thanks!

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#52868 - 04/09/18 06:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: stentorian11]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: stentorian11
Hey Fellow Hikers,
I got a Day-Hike permit for June 18.


This year has been well below normal for snow in the Sierras. Last year was FREAKING HUGE. No comparing the two.

Switchbacks should probably be clear in late June or at least navigable.


Edited by WanderingJim (04/09/18 09:17 PM)
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#52869 - 04/09/18 10:57 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
che Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 4
Loc: ca
What is the water availability like in September after a low-snow year at Trail Camp and the switchback spring?

thanks!

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#52870 - 04/09/18 11:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: che]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
The spring on the switchbacks above Trail Camp dries up in September. The Trail Camp pond never does.

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#52873 - 04/11/18 09:35 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
dunavice321 Offline


Registered: 04/11/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Earth
Would crampons and ice axe be recommended this year from mid-June - mid July? How do the conditions compare to last year (ran into some deep-doo do at top of Wotans throne snow crossing.)

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#52874 - 04/11/18 09:39 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: dunavice321]
jorvack Offline


Registered: 11/06/16
Posts: 9
Loc: CA Sonoma County
The snowfall is indeed quite a bit under where it was last year - however spring has been pretty big.
Since it is a later snow year hard to predict June conditions.

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#52914 - 04/17/18 09:04 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Update: These pics are out-of-date. The road opened to the Portal Apr 25. see below.

Pictures from last weekend: Apr 14, 2018. These show the cars parked at the locked gate on the road, about a mile below Whitney Portal. Provided by Bob H, on his hike part way up the Mountaineer's Route.






Edited by Steve C (04/26/18 04:34 PM)

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#52916 - 04/17/18 09:18 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
This from Instagram, shared by ayushsobti

It shows the Mountaineers Route, Iceberg Lake out of view on the right, the Mt Whitney summit in the center. Three dots part way up the chute are climbers.


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#52941 - 04/20/18 09:15 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Christopher_H Offline


Registered: 04/20/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Anybody know what current trail conditions are on the main trail?

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#52942 - 04/20/18 11:28 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Christopher_H]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Christopher_H
Anybody know what current trail conditions are on the main trail?

The picture above of the Mountaineer's Route is the same elevation as Trail Camp, which is just a mile south of that. So There would be similar snow coverage, and the switchbacks will be completely under snow right now.

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#52951 - 04/22/18 09:58 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Posted on Instagram by sarahattar

April 15, 2018: This is a view from somewhere high on the slope where the switchbacks are.



Click the pic for a larger view.


Another picture: On the switchbacks



On the crest:

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#52952 - 04/23/18 08:50 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Granny Smith Offline


Registered: 06/13/17
Posts: 11
Loc: California
Good morning Steve & members,

I will be headed up for an overnight trip on 3/4 May, and am planning on climbing via the chute up to Trail Crest. I did this same thing last year in early June, but am curious if anyone knows the current status of the "log bridges" as well as if water is available yet at trail camp. I see the pics from the recent mountaineer's route, but no recent news of folks hiking the main trail towards the chute. Any advice is appreciated as I prepare the final gear list. Thanks everyone.

Cheers,

Nick

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#52965 - 04/25/18 12:05 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Update, Inyo County Sheriff's Office

Inyo Co. Sheriff's Office update on FB:

Quote:
Inyo County Road Status:

Update: North Lake Road is open to the day-use area
Update 4/27/18: Just in time for the weekend- Horseshoe Meadows Road is now open!

South Lake Road, OPEN
North Lake Road, OPEN - to the day use area
Sabrina Road, OPEN
Horseshoe Meadows Rd, OPEN
Rock Creek Lakes Road, OPEN
White Mountain Road, OPEN
Whitney Portal Road, OPEN
N. Eureka Valley Road, OPEN
Onion Valley Road, OPEN


Inyo County Sheriff's Office posted this on facebook today, April 25, 2018:
Quote:
Inyo County Road Status:
South Lake Road, OPEN
North Lake Road, CLOSED
Sabrina Road, OPEN
Horseshoe Meadows Rd, CLOSED at the gate
Rock Creek Lakes Road, OPEN
White Mountain Road, OPEN
Whitney Portal Road, OPEN
N. Eureka Valley Road, OPEN
Onion Valley Road, OPEN

THANK YOU to the Inyo County Road Department for their hard work! You guys are awesome!


Edited by Steve C (05/04/18 04:46 PM)
Edit Reason: update

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#52969 - 04/26/18 02:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 8
Loc: CA, USA
Went up the Main trail on April 23:

Pictures:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/qw6CsdYEEea4iy7S6

Cf picture comments

  • Outpost camp (went up the summer trail, no winter shortcut through the front of the meadow)
  • Mirror lake (went up the summer trail, chute access was melted)
  • Trail camp (the main pound is frozen but liquid water can easily be found in small streams and puddles, even at 6AM)
  • chute from trail camp (cable section was visible, but no tracks along the cables)
  • bottom of the chute (safe switchbacks on the chute starting from mid-height. Snow was still icy at 10am when we reached the bottom)
  • trail crest connection with the switchbacks on the summer trail
  • sketchy section on trail crest


@Nick: "log bridges" is completely clear of snow - we only put on our crampons past Mirror lake. Snowshoes were not needed when we went. Bring crampons and ice axes.

@All: thanks for posting and keeping us up to date with the current conditions : )

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#52973 - 04/27/18 09:04 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
Granny Smith Offline


Registered: 06/13/17
Posts: 11
Loc: California
Philippe,

Thanks for the update and pictures. The question on the log bridge was more geared towards its integrity, as last year in early June, it had been partially washed out and required some careful maneuvering to avoid a wet transit. I did not think they would be washed out this year with the lower snowfall totals.

Cheers,

Nick

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#52976 - 04/27/18 03:23 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Granny Smith]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 8
Loc: CA, USA
@Nick: Makes sense : ) The "bridges of logs" were sturdy and easy to maneuver.


Edited by Philippe (04/27/18 03:23 PM)

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#52992 - 04/30/18 11:45 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
Rayna Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
@Philippe: Thank you for this! Were the switchbacks generally easy to follow?

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#52999 - 04/30/18 07:48 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
stentorian11 Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 2
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
@Philippe: Thanks a lot for the latest update and photos. While coming down, did you have to glissade down, or just hike down ?
Thanks !

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#53001 - 04/30/18 11:14 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
This picture posted on Instagram on Apr 29, 2018, by ucsbadventure


(click the pic to enlarge)

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#53013 - 05/02/18 09:36 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Picture of snow filling the summit hut. The door was off this winter, so during storms, snow blows in and deposits inside. It will take months to melt out.

The picture is from a group shared on FB by Shawn Aiden. They hiked the main trail, camping at Outpost Camp. They made it with microspikes and ice axes.


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#53021 - 05/03/18 01:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: stentorian11]
Kimmy Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
The switchbacks were snow covered in July?! I'm hiking this year on July 15th...sure hope there isn't any snow then!

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#53022 - 05/03/18 03:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Kimmy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
The switchbacks will be open way earlier this year. Last year got 3 to 4 times the snow compared to this past winter.

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#53025 - 05/04/18 02:11 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Online


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 471
Loc: Saugus, CA
Any idea when HM road will open?

Thanks!
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#53028 - 05/04/18 04:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Snacking Bear
Any idea when HM road will open?

Thanks!

I re-checked, It's open!!

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#53032 - 05/07/18 02:48 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Just got back from a fun weekend - the conditions were really perfect. Except for a few patches, it was dry trail all the way until above Mirror. We elected to hike up the usual winter route up the drainage to Trail camp.

We summitted 5/5 along with at least 25 other people, the majority of whom were day hikers. That's pretty impressive, especially loaded down with mountaineering equipment.

The Chute is in excellent condition - it may hold snow for the next few weeks. Here is a shot from our camp, and one from the summit:



It's really hard to see the iced over switchbacks, but they're right to the left of Mt Muir in the foreground:


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#53034 - 05/07/18 07:18 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
dunavice321 Offline


Registered: 04/11/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Earth
Any predictions of the trail conditions and snow cover in the first 10 days of June this year?

I wanna know whether I should get crampons and an ice axe or bring microspikes instead of crampons. I'm leaning towards yes for the crampons.


Edited by dunavice321 (05/07/18 07:19 AM)

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#53036 - 05/07/18 09:54 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
CholleyRay Offline


Registered: 05/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
This looks amazing! My group will be heading out there in 2 weeks and we're just a bit nervous about any changing weather patterns. I'm happy to hear conditions were perfect for you! Let's hope it stays that way! With current conditions, would you recommend crampons or microspikes?

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#53037 - 05/07/18 12:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
Lidia Offline


Registered: 05/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Wow, that's awesome! What time did you start your hike and what time did you summit? I'm going this weekend so I'm trying to get an idea about timing. Thank you!

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#53038 - 05/07/18 01:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Lidia]
CholleyRay Offline


Registered: 05/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Lidia! Let us know how it goes after your trip! I'd love to hear about the weather conditions, your experience, and any tips you may have! smile

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#53039 - 05/07/18 01:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
My friend (who is experienced in winter travel) used Altras and hiking crampons. They are a mix between traditional crampons and micro-spikes. Everyone else - including myself - had regular boots + crampons). (https://www.hillsound.com/products/trail-crampon vs https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en/climbing%2Fcrampons/contact-crampon-BD400069_cfg.html )

If we don't get another dump, then spikes/hiking crampons will become more useful as the snow melts on the Chute. However, hikers should note that there is plenty of snow on the .1 mile section to the JMT junction, and then the entire 1.9 JMT run to the summit. So, plan on wearing whatever traction you have along that stretch as well.


Looking through one of the keyholes down to Iceberg

As far as timing, the day hikers were leaving the Portal at 3am, getting to Trail camp/Chute by 8am, gaining Trail crest by 10am, and hitting the summit around noon. So, yes, plan on averaging around 1 mph while there is still snow/ice.

Note: the trail was clear (except for minor shade patches) until above Mirror, then full coverage allowing the winter route to Consultation & TC. (That is, you simply hike up the drainage and avoid the entire run from Trail side meadow on.) Here's a shot of me looking back to where the snow route doglegs to pick up the trail down to Mirror. (Last year in May, a disoriented hiker kept going straight and fell to her death down the waterfall that drops to Outpost; you can see it behind me.)



We had a perfectly luxurious start of 8am from TC because we were planning on spending a second night before hiking out & driving back to SoCal Sunday. We took 2 hours to get to Trail crest/junction, then 2 to the summit. We hung out for an hour, and took 2.5 hours to get back to camp. 2 hours back to Trail crest, and a quick glissade and hike back to Trail camp.



Edited by Hobbes (05/07/18 01:51 PM)

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#53040 - 05/07/18 07:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
My hiking partner Honey B[adger] took this photo of the Chute from Trail crest. I'm the 3rd one down:


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#53042 - 05/07/18 08:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hobbes, THANK YOU for posting the pictures!

Here's one from Facebook by Lauren S, of the snow between Trail Crest and the JMT junction. It looks a little steep right here.


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#53047 - 05/08/18 10:18 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Lidia]
Koti Offline


Registered: 05/08/18
Posts: 1
Loc: GA
Lidia, I am also planning to day hike this weekend on 5/13. I had 3 guest pass permit, but both of them bailed on me, so I am by myself and looking for company and would like to join any group. Please let me know if you or anyone reading this post has other friends that can join.

Thanks
Koti
308-249-3698

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#53048 - 05/08/18 11:15 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Lauren is cool - she and her bf are rock climbers. Had a good time chatting with them on the summit, and then semi-walking back with them to the Crest. She and her bf are to my right behind me in this photo:



And yeah, that's why you need to wear traction from Trail camp to summit, then back to Crest. Take 'em off for the glissade down, and resume till re-joining dry trail above Mirror.


Edited by Hobbes (05/08/18 11:17 AM)

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#53049 - 05/08/18 12:16 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
Lidia Offline


Registered: 05/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
@All - Thank you for the info, updates & pics. I greatly appreciate it! I'll report back on Monday about the conditions :-)

@Koti - No worries, it happens. I have an extra permit too. It's for an overnight but my group and I are going to do a day hike due to time. You're more than welcome to join us. We plan on starting our hike @ 12am Sunday am/Saturday night. I'll sent you a text.

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#53051 - 05/08/18 06:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Hobbes]
bluewater Offline


Registered: 05/02/12
Posts: 12
Loc: Ca
Bluebird skies and great snow conditions last weekend with Hobbes.

There was enough soft snow on the chute in the afternoon to make it possible to glissade down, but it was still firm enough in the morning to make the climb up reasonable. The snow is consolidated enough to walk on without post holing (glad I left the snowshoes in the car).














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#53066 - 05/09/18 06:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bluewater]
dunavice321 Offline


Registered: 04/11/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Earth
That's beautiful. I especially love the last photo with the rainbow.

I decided I'm getting my overnight permits for some time in the last 10 days of June. Any thoughts about how the snowpack will be looking then and what conditions to expect?

Also, with the recent tragic fatality along the mountaineer's route I'd need some advice on what to do this summer. I wanted to reach the summit via the Whitney trail and chute, (not the mountaineers route) without having experience using crampons and an ice axe. I reckon I can find a good place to practice putting crampons on, walking, and self-arresting along the stretch of snow near the Wotan's throne, provided that it hasn't melted off (just before final trail camp) where my pack fell into a crevasse last year. (The strap broke while jumping over and the pack went with it.)

And if my understanding is correct, here is how reaching the summit via the trail and chute goes:

Whitney Portal, go along the regular Whitney trail till' trail camp, where it breaks off and you go to the chute?

Please fill me in.

Thanks!!!

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#53069 - 05/09/18 10:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: dunavice321]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: dunavice321
And if my understanding is correct, here is how reaching the summit via the trail and chute goes:

Whitney Portal, go along the regular Whitney trail 'til trail camp, where it breaks off and you go to the chute?

Please fill me in.

Thanks!!!

Here is a picture (from a previous year) showing the switchbacks and the chute, BobR took this from Wotans Throne, and (the late) Wayne Pyle edited it and added the switchback numbers to the picture. Trail Camp is just out of view, lower left. The "chute" is actually the slope to the right of the switchbacks in the picture (upper right corner). It is NOT a part of the MR section where the recent death occurred.

You can click on the picture, and zoom in and scroll around for the detail. This is Wayne Pyle's switchback chart


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#53074 - 05/10/18 07:14 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
G4u2 Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 14
Loc: San Diego, CA
Great picture Steve. Not to go off on a tangent,but is there a proper trail to Wotans Throne from MWT or MR?

Quote:
Here is a picture showing the switchbacks and the chute, BobR took this from Wotans Throne, and (the late) Wayne Pyle edited it and added the switchback numbers to the picture. Trail Camp is just out of view, lower left. The "chute" is actually the slope to the right of the switchbacks in the picture (upper right corner). It is NOT a part of the MR section where the recent death occurred.

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#53075 - 05/10/18 08:20 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: G4u2]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
> is there a proper trail to Wotans Throne from MWT or MR?

No. You just hike up and around WT, off trail. The northwest side is third class. You can descend from that approach down to Mirror Lake, but it is ugly steep.

Pinnacle Ridge lies between WT and the Mountaineers Route. I have never heard of anyone crossing it. It is definitely accessible on the south side, but the north side not so much.

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#53076 - 05/10/18 08:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Daniel S Offline


Registered: 04/27/17
Posts: 2
Loc: TX Texas
The chute on the right looks pretty steep. Maybe 30 degrees, possibly even more, but would it be an easier alternative to the switchbacks?

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#53077 - 05/10/18 09:03 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Daniel S]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
When the switchbacks are buried under snow, the chute is the only way to go. Ice axe and crampons are highly recommended, pretty difficult without.

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#53083 - 05/10/18 12:42 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Dan R Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
When do switchbacks generally open up?

I'm hiking it this Memorial Day (with crampon/ice axe in tow) but would greatly prefer switchbacks vs chute if possible.

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#53088 - 05/11/18 11:02 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Online


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 471
Loc: Saugus, CA
Thanks so much!
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#53095 - 05/12/18 10:49 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Dan R]
marc g Offline


Registered: 05/21/14
Posts: 3
Loc: United States
Usually, the switchbacks are unsafe (at the cables, and beyond) until after Memorial day. The Chute is the preferred route, for sure. Just start very early and try to get on the base of the chute before 6. morning sun can soften the snow quick and make it more challenging to go up.

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#53098 - 05/12/18 12:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 21
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Anyone summit recently? Planning on going memorial day weekend via main trail and chute.

How are the conditions from trail Crest and onward? Any questionable or sketchy areas? Will you need crampons for the last 2 miles or so?

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#53103 - 05/12/18 10:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Dan R]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Dan R
When do switchbacks generally open up?

I'm hiking it this Memorial Day (with crampon/ice axe in tow) but would greatly prefer switchbacks vs chute if possible.

Dan R, that question is asked every year multiple times. I finally put together a post showing when they opened up in past years.

I hope this helps:   When will Mt Whitney switchbacks open?

It was only two extremely dry years ('12 & '13) that the switchbacks were in use by Memorial Weekend. I think it will be a week or more later this year.

While using "the chute" aka the slope west of the switchbacks, you need crampons, and an ice axe is recommended, too. Once the switchbacks open up, microspikes are helpeful since there will still be snowy sections for several more weeks, and the section at the cables can be icy. (Yet some people navigate that only with hiking shoes and a lot of care.)

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#53112 - 05/13/18 07:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
VertC Offline


Registered: 04/08/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Originally Posted By: Dan R
When do switchbacks generally open up?

I'm hiking it this Memorial Day (with crampon/ice axe in tow) but would greatly prefer switchbacks vs chute if possible.

Dan R, that question is asked every year multiple times. I finally put together a post showing when they opened up in past years.

I hope this helps:   When will Mt Whitney switchbacks open?

It was only two extremely dry years ('12 & '13) that the switchbacks were in use by Memorial Weekend. I think it will be a week or more later this year.

While using "the chute" aka the slope west of the switchbacks, you need crampons, and an ice axe is recommended, too. Once the switchbacks open up, microspikes are helpeful since there will still be snowy sections for several more weeks, and the section at the cables can be icy. (Yet some people navigate that only with hiking shoes and a lot of care.)


Steve C, thanks so much for posting this info. I have been lurking on here each day to try and get an idea of what June 3rd & 4th will be like this year.

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#53115 - 05/13/18 10:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
So.BayMark posted a trip report and a link to his pictures, in the Trip Reports forum. Here's the link to his report:   Almost to the Summit

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#53124 - 05/14/18 11:28 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Jim O Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Steve C: I registered to add my appreciation to VertC's for all the valuable information you (and others) share here. Our trip is June 5, and the photos and the historical switchback opening data make it look like we should not count on the trail being open. We'll be prepared for a trip up the chute. That's very helpful!

I note the typical spread between the date of the first use of the switchbacks and the date of the predominant use. Is there conventional wisdom about how to choose which route is best during that time for group that is prepared for either? Our preference is switchbacks up and chute down, but we'll take what the mountain gives us.

Thanks again!

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#53139 - 05/15/18 12:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
TK50311 Offline


Registered: 05/14/18
Posts: 2
Loc: The Outer Rim
Steve,

Is that a current picture that you posted on the 9th of the switchbacks?

Thanks


Edited by TK50311 (05/15/18 12:33 PM)

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#53141 - 05/15/18 02:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: TK50311]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: TK50311
Steve,

Is that a current picture that you posted on the 9th of the switchbacks?

Thanks

No. That switchback picture was taken some years ago. It is posted to show the switchbacks, in relation to "the chute" aka the slope west of the switchbacks.

The conditions will likely be similar to that in several more weeks. From the looks of it, it appears that people were hiking the switchbacks -- they were open -- but some were still using the chute.

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#53144 - 05/15/18 05:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
D00d3r1n022 Offline


Registered: 05/11/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Is the road closed 3 miles from the trailhead this week?

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#53145 - 05/15/18 08:38 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: D00d3r1n022]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
The road is open. Is there somewhere on this forum saying it is closed?

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#53153 - 05/16/18 11:24 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
D00d3r1n022 Offline


Registered: 05/11/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Not here. Sorry to waste space on the forum. I just called the ranger station this morning. duhhhhhh.
When looking up conditions I found this website.
https://www.timberlinetrails.com/WhitneyWeather.html

The "Quick summary of weather and road access" has seemingly accurate weather and then says the road is closed. I got confused.

Thanks for your help! Heading up to Trail Camp tomorrow. Summit success seems unlikely with the forecast but it'll be a great time anyway.

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#53199 - 05/21/18 09:19 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Rayna Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
Just got back from a day hike on Saturday, May 19th. When we got to the chute around 8:45am a lot of folks were turning back due to an imminent storm. By the time we got to the top (around 10:00am), things looked clearer so we kept going up to the summit. At the top, clouds were rolling in so we took a few quick photos and turned right back around. Shortly after we glissaded down the chute, we could hear thunder so we picked up the pace back down. Graupel started to fall which made for a pretty fun hike back to Whitney Portal! In hindsight, we probably didn't make the wisest choice continuing up the to the summit.

In terms of gear, my hiking partner had microspikes and an ice axe for the snow-covered areas and was just fine. He used trekking poles the rest of the time. I had crampons with smaller spikes (but not quite microspikes) and an ice axe, no trekking poles. Hope this helps!

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#53200 - 05/21/18 10:17 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rayna]
Jose De La Rosa Offline


Registered: 05/22/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Reyna,
Thanks for posting your experience, very helpful and simple! Just what this is about!!!!

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#53202 - 05/21/18 01:23 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rayna]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 21
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Glad you and your team made it back down safely!

Question - how are the conditions from Trail Crest to the Summit? Did you need microspikes for the last leg from TrailCrest to Summit? Any sketchy areas?

Climbed last year via Chute around July last year but the top from Trail Crest to Summit was clear of snow. Just curious what it is right now.

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#53205 - 05/21/18 02:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
Rayna Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: WhitneyHiker085
Glad you and your team made it back down safely!

Question - how are the conditions from Trail Crest to the Summit? Did you need microspikes for the last leg from TrailCrest to Summit? Any sketchy areas?

Climbed last year via Chute around July last year but the top from Trail Crest to Summit was clear of snow. Just curious what it is right now.


Thank you! There was still quite a bit of (well-trafficked) snow from Trail Crest to the summit. Right at Trail Crest, I took my crampons off, but I put them back on not too long afterwards b/c of the snow. There were a few areas where the trail was narrow-ish with a steep drop off to one side. I just dug my ice axe into the mountain before each step and walked slowly (and didn't look down). That said, my hiking partner didn't use his microspikes, but he did use his ice axe. From the footprints, there seemed to be a mix of folks who did and did not wear crampons or microspikes. I think it comes down to what you're comfortable with. I personally felt better having that extra traction. On the way back down from the summit to Trail Crest, I kept my crampons on the whole time and took them off before glissading down the chute. I was able to keep them off the rest of the way down to the Portal.


Edited by Rayna (05/21/18 02:45 PM)

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#53206 - 05/21/18 02:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Jose De La Rosa]
Rayna Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Jose De La Rosa
Reyna,
Thanks for posting your experience, very helpful and simple! Just what this is about!!!!


Thank you, Jose!

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#53207 - 05/21/18 04:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Rayna]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 21
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks Rayna, for the info. Will definitely have my crampons ready.

Hiking up this weekend. Hopefully the weather is favorable.

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#53215 - 05/22/18 11:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WhitneyHiker085]
Rayna Offline


Registered: 04/26/18
Posts: 6
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: WhitneyHiker085
Thanks Rayna, for the info. Will definitely have my crampons ready.

Hiking up this weekend. Hopefully the weather is favorable.


Have a fantastic hike!!

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#53240 - 05/24/18 10:59 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a great picture posted May 24, on Instagram by adover36
It shows the trail along the crest, somewhere between the Main Whitney Trail / JMT junction, and Mt Muir.

click for larger size...

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#53251 - 05/27/18 03:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Brad Calvin Offline


Registered: 05/27/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Do you know when this picture was taken? I'd like to know as I have a day permit for Monday June 4.

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#53252 - 05/27/18 03:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brad Calvin]
Thom Offline


Registered: 05/27/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA USA
It’s recent. I summited 5/25 and the chute was in decent condition. I recommend you leave early — maybe 2 or 3 am depending on your speed. It gets very slushy early and some people were slipping later. I made it with microspikes and an ax without issues. One stretch on the crest trail remains sketchy but it’s very doable.

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#53254 - 05/27/18 08:45 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Brad Calvin]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Brad Calvin
Do you know when this picture was taken? I'd like to know as I have a day permit for Monday June 4.

Wed, May 23.

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#53278 - 05/30/18 04:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
wwf Offline


Registered: 05/30/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Im headed on a day hike on the 2nd of June. Q: From the start of trail head to lets say 'lone pine lake' easily distinguishable at dawn 4-5 AM? i have a flashlight etc. just don't want to go off the trail so i can make it to the shoot early. Q: do i really need a ice axe to go up the shoot? or is that just a precaution? wink

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#53279 - 05/30/18 06:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: wwf]
alfredg Offline


Registered: 05/30/18
Posts: 1
Loc: United States
Went up yesterday and the sunlight was good enough to forgo a headlamp by 530. Granted it was the night before a full moon. Having never gone via the chute, I’d definitely use an ice axe & crampons if you’re hitting it early after sunrise. By 930 the trail was slushy. We had clear skies all morning leading up to it. Good luck!

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#53280 - 05/30/18 07:42 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: alfredg]
Brad Calvin Offline


Registered: 05/27/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Alfredg:
I'm hiking Whitney next Monday w/ a friend.

Can you tell me what time you started at Portal, what time you reached summit, and what time you returned to Portal? Did you use ice axe and crampons? I assume so from your advice, but wanted to clarify. What time were you on the chute and how long did you take on the chute? Did you see others on chute using micro spikes or other equipment? Finally, were any parts of the trail waterlogged or flooded prior to reaching trail camp?

Thanks,
Brad

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#53284 - 05/31/18 08:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: alfredg]
wwf Offline


Registered: 05/30/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Thank you alfredg, will be prepared per your direction. Can you also be kind enough to respond to when you started time? and what time you were able to reach the chute? finally,what time you were able to return? Id consider myself to be in better than average physical condition, and thus should be able to make good time but would like get your thoughts in this area.
Thanks again thanks

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#53293 - 05/31/18 09:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
jerryjsun posted a trip report and some pictures here:

    Memorial Day Summit (5/27/18)

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#53331 - 06/04/18 03:09 PM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
wwf Offline


Registered: 05/30/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Hi All,

Happy that I was able to summit Mt. Whitney (day hike) on 6.02.2018 and also very fortunate to be alive, here is my account:

Started from Whitney Portal at 5 am after an all night drive (Not Ideal) from San Diego.
It was one of the most beautiful mornings with near perfect weather, was able to make good ground to Outpost Camp made it there between 7-7:30. Stopped there to take a 10 min break before barging ahead to get to Trail Camp. The trail just after Mirror Lake/Pond is a little obscure, but not too bad so long as you skirt the mountain.

Me and a group of hikers went off the trail for a little before finding our way back, and making Trail Camp at around 10 30 am.

I had decided that if was not going to make trail camp by 9:30 am at worst, i would abandon the summit bid. Here i was an hour later and debating the summit bid, was able to see a number of hikers either almost up the chute or glissading down. Had to take a break to eat and rest before pushing on, while resting i realized i may be experiencing altitude sickness or at least showing symptoms. Shortness of breath, a pulsing head ache and a slight lack of co-ordination. Took a couple of 'ibuprofen'(life savers up there), had a bite to eat, hydrated for the next 40 mins before deciding to push on.

It was now past 11 am when i was making my way to the chute, which is a good 20 mins hike from Trail Camp. As i got closer it hit me that i might be one of the last hikers attempting the summit bid, as it was now close to noon and there was just one person ahead who was almost up at Trail Crest. I set a turn around time of 3 pm and pushed on.

At this point the altitude had taken its toll and i was stopping to catch my breath every few steps, progress on the chute was painstakingly slow, and the thought to turn back was gaining momentum. I looked back to see 2 other hikers starting up, while several others were getting back after a successful summit bid,
merrily glissading down the slides which had been in use through the day. the joy on their faces fueled me to carry on.

Made it up the chute at 1:30 pm,it had been a slushy, slow and slippery assent. I was later joined by the 2 hikers who were climbing behind me. Whitney summit is a further 2.98 miles, and it was already late afternoon. Should have turned around, but we were firmly in the grip of Summit fever. The hike from trail crest is fairly easy terrain wise and mostly manageable with just hiking shoes aside from a few sketchy spots where and ice axe/microspikes or crampons are recommended. It was 4 pm before we reached the summit, where we found another couple of hikers on their way back, spent about 15-20 mins soaking in the beauty, and for me catching my breath, regaining strength were highest priority. Realizing we have a long way back we teamed up, and decided to descend as quickly as we could. Reached the chute at 6pm also on the way we overtook the 2 hikers we had seen on the summit.I was the only one with the ice axe, thus was the first one who could attempt the glissade. The chute which looked fun and harmless when the sun was out at noon, looked life threatening as the snow had now set firm making the ride down treacherous. Normally i would not have tried to glissade down, but altitude can do funny things and my judgement was clouded to say the least.

I sat down with the ice axe in hand, so i could self arrest in case the speed was too much to handle. Before i knew, i was catapulted down, gaining momentum faster than i have ever experienced barring a free fall. I planted my ice-axe which snagged on a rock which yanked it out of my hand. Now i had no way of stopping the fall, and i remember going 'this is it, i'm f#%#ed', i was now falling/sliding at maybe 30 mph at least. I thought to turn on my chest and bury my hands and feet into the snow as firmly as i could. Fell a good 200-300 feet before slowing down and coming to a halt, half way down the slide, poised precariously in the middle of the chute.

If i moved i could fall again, my first thought was hope the guys behind me don't try the glissade as they would come straight for me. Luckily they were able to see my experience which deterred them from trying the slide.

One handed, i was able pull out my micro spikes that were in my bag, and put them on one shoe which helped me get off the slide,where i was able to put on the other one. I then crawled on my back to make way down the rest of chute. The skin on my hand forearm is ripped clean on my right fore arm and several scratches on my left arm as well, my lower back is also ripped bad from the fall and arrest. Little to give, as i could have been injured severely/fatally had i gone tumbling into the rocks.

I waited at the bottom of the chute screaming at the guys behind me to take it easy and to see if i could help/get help in some way if something went wrong, they were able to make it down safe but it took them over 2 hours to get off the chute. Was able to get some first aid at trail camp before finally getting to Whitney Portal at almost midnight. Still in shock, but at least i'm alive and well

Learnings
PLEASE DON'T GLISSADE DOWN THE CHUTE, AFTER THE SUN IS OFF IT. It will kill you.
Avoid a summit bid after midday, especially if your not already up the chute.
Pay careful attention to signs of altitude sickness, carry a medical/first aid kit.
Hope this helps someone to not make the series of stupid decisions I made.
tc

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#53335 - 06/04/18 09:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: wwf]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
OMG, wwf! You're lucky you are alive!!! If you were a cat, you would have 8 lives left.

Thanks for sharing. I wish more people would read reports like yours.

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#53340 - 06/05/18 01:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
leeanne Offline


Registered: 06/05/18
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, California
I really appreciate the posts in this forum and the information about ice axe/crampon use in general on this board. We were supposed to attempt a one day summit on the 10th of June, so I've been watching this forum anxiously. Not having any prior experience with ice axes / crampons, after reading the latest posts here, I have decided to forgo our attempt this year. We'll try to get up the mountain in the summer months (next year) unless we can get some beginning/intermediate mountaineering experience under our belts. Thanks again to everyone that's posted their experience here. It's helped a lot.

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#53344 - 06/05/18 07:58 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: leeanne]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 423
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: leeanne
I have decided to forgo our attempt this year. We'll try to get up the mountain in the summer months (next year)



You can go this summer. Do some research on this site about getting "walk-in" permits.
        Unused Whitney Permits 20178

Link provided by Steve C


Edited by RenoFrank (06/06/18 02:53 PM)

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#53345 - 06/06/18 08:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: RenoFrank]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
I think I’m with LeeAnne. My wife, son and I were to do a two-day on June 19th, and I already committed to my wife that I would only take her up the switchbacks, not the chute. No reports have indicated the switchbacks are anywhere near melting out. It might be on to Plan B, with an attempt to get walk-ins later in the summer before my son heads off to college. Bummer.

Please let me know if anyone has a conditions report on the switchbacks? Thanks!

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#53346 - 06/06/18 09:30 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: RenoFrank]
leeanne Offline


Registered: 06/05/18
Posts: 2
Loc: San Diego, California
Thanks RenoFrank! Will definitely check out that link.

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#53351 - 06/06/18 02:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 203WEST]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 423
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: 203WEST
It might be on to Plan B, with an attempt to get walk-ins later in the summer before my son heads off to college. Bummer.


Not a bummer. You can likely score walk-in permits (especially midweek - All through August and September by clicking the above link you'll see Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays have many unused permits in past years.) You'll have less (almost no) worries about snow (I did forego summitting late August a few years ago because of snow above Iceberg Lake).

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#53352 - 06/06/18 03:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
DavidK Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 3
Loc: UT
Going up Friday. Can't wait! I wish there were more current reports - things change daily this time of year. I will post update after we return.

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#53353 - 06/06/18 04:30 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: DavidK]
Adventurous Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, Los Angeles
Thank you DavidK. Wishing you best of luck and looking forward to your updates. Summiting on the 18th. I’d appreciate any updates on the 99 switchbacks.

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#53355 - 06/06/18 08:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adventurous]
Mermaid14 Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 2
Loc: Ohio
Some people have been posting trip reports on All Trails. We are also summiting the 18th and fingers crossed the switchbacks are open! From the Tioga road data posted here, and weather forecasts, I’m staying positive they will open within the next week

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#53356 - 06/06/18 09:23 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Mermaid14]
Adventurous Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, Los Angeles
Thank you for the info Mermaid14. I am hopeful too and super excited! Come on switchbacks, open up! smile

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#53357 - 06/06/18 09:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adventurous]
al_novice Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Alabama
I will be making an attempt on the 13th and hoping to post my about my efforts a day or two after.

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#53358 - 06/06/18 09:55 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
samkhal Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
We summited this Monday (June 4th) after spending the night at Trail Camp. We planned to camp at Consultation Lake, but that lake is still frozen over. After reaching camp, we spent some time practicing self-arrest on the nearby snowfields.

We left camp at 3:45am and reached the top of the chute by 9:15. Snow conditions were good and it was easy going with ice axe and crampons. There were a number of people going up with just hiking poles and no traction; definitely would not recommend.

The switchbacks are still covered in lots of ice; one group we talked to tried to take the switchbacks, but turned back, came down, and went up the chute instead due to the conditions.

The section from trail crest to the summit has a number of short sketchy icy sections. It's quite a hassle to put crampons on for each one, so we left them in our packs and made do with careful ice-axe placements. Microspikes+axe here would be ideal.

After summiting we reached trail crest at about 11:30 on the way down. Conditions at this time were perfect for glissading, so we slid down the length of the chute and got back to camp pretty quickly.

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#53360 - 06/06/18 10:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Jim O Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I appreciated all the previous updates from others in my planning. My daughter, son and I went up yesterday. The weather was great, but the warmer temperature had the chute softening up earlier. Hearing reports from the day before and worried about slushy conditions, we moved out portal start time up from 3:00 to 2:00 am. That got us to Trail Camp by 8:00 after a detour and a break to filter water for all of us

We were topping out the chute around 9:00 am and it was already getting pretty soft by then. I’m glad we were not much later. A few made it up with microspikes, but I was glad we had crampons and axes. Earlier is better. We didn’t see or hear of anyone using the switchbacks, except for one group that used the lower portion and then cut over to the chute.

The trail from Trail Crest to the summit is mostly clear, but there are still a few tricky places with some slippery snow. They were too short to bother putting on any kind of spikes, but they required a little bit of attention. There were also some longer snow covered areas that were not much of an issue. That segment was slower than expected for us, and we didn’t get to the summit until around noon.

Conditions were great for glissading mid-afternoon, but by the time we were going down most people had used one track that was dug down at least a couple of feet from the surface and down to visible rocks in a couple of places. I opted for another path and speed control was very manageable.

A few other miscellaneous notes as a first-timer:
—water level seemed fairly high at a few of the stream crossings. In a few places it would very difficult to keep socks dry if you don’t have water-proof boots, and it is still to cold to hike with wet feet.
—the segment from the Muir Trail intersection to the summit is the longest 1.9 miles ever. We again proved altitude is tricky; it affected my very fit 21 year-old son more than his older sister or me.
—it is stunningly beautiful. The magnitude of the grandeur of everything from the canyon rock walls to the vistas in every direction from the top are on a different scale than other beautiful places I have been.

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#53364 - 06/07/18 08:48 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
PCT hiker JJ posted on FB the first picture of the cables this year (June 6).
Edit June 16: Most people are now using the switchbacks. See the pictures below, and the report just below that from altra_ben concerning the switchbacks. ...Someone PLEASE bring back current pictures of the cables stretch!

JJ's report follows:
Quote:
I’m a PCT hiker and was trying to hitch to Horseshoe Meadows and the car ended up at Portal. I decided to just go with it and attempted to get back to the PCT via Crabtree ranger station.

I was not prepared for portal side, had done zero research, had spikes and axe but since I was following the trail and got up to the cables before deciding that wasn't the right way to go about it I went back down to camp and set up.(noonish) I told myself I'd attempt again the following day once the snow hardened. While waiting out the day and just being bored I didn't feel right about skipping PCT miles so I hiked back down to portal and hitched into Lone Pine. I'll summit Whitney from the backside (Guitar Lake) in 2-3 days.


Mt Whitney cables, June 6, 2018:

(click to enlarge)


Edited by Steve C (06/16/18 02:50 PM)

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#53366 - 06/07/18 08:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: al_novice]
Adventurous Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, Los Angeles
Thanks Al_Novice! Looking forward to your updates and wish you the best of luck. Next week’s forecast is real promising (Ave H 55F). Unless I’m missing something, the switchbacks should start clearing up next week... .

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#53376 - 06/08/18 09:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
David Nieman Offline


Registered: 06/04/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles
My fiancé and I summited on 6/8. We had one night at Trail Camp on 6/7. We left Trail Camp a little after 330am and hit the chute around 4am. We had been told that the switchbacks were still closed due to snow on the last few. It sounds like they could be open in the next week or so, weather permitting. The snow in the chute in the early morning was really firm which made for a safe and easy (relatively) ascent. We took our time getting to the summit and back. When we got back to the chute at around 1130, the temperature/sun had considerably softened the snow in the chute. Looking from Trail Crest down the chute, to the left there was an established glissade route. However, it goes down the steepest portion of the chute and there are several exposed rocks. We traversed over to the right and after testing the snow it made for a really controlled glissade descent. We both had no experience glissading (apart from a vast amount of internet research) and were able to make it down safe and controlled. We ran into many others without any experience and they were able to safely descend as well. Big take away: the chute is relatively safe if your timing is right. Ascend early, descend in the middle of the day.

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#53377 - 06/08/18 09:47 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: David Nieman]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for the report, David. How was the path over the snow in the picture here: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53042#Post53042

It's a spot part way down to the west from Trail Crest, before you get to the JMT junction.


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#53379 - 06/09/18 05:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
DavidK Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 3
Loc: UT
We made the climb as a single day-climb on Friday June 8, group of 10 but somewhat varying abilities and conditioning. Started at the trailhead at 3:15 and were at the chute around 8. Even at that hour, the snow was a little soft but not terrible to climb. We had a mixture of crampons and microspikes, and a few of the spikers felt a little more unsteady but all made it up with minimal problems.

Got back to the chute in mid-afternoon, and the snow was REALLY soft. But a delightful glissade, for those willing to trust their skills. I did the whole thing in two stretches, trying to urge my companions to relax and trust their stills to control speed! This technique works perfectly:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXfROxEqeEw

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#53381 - 06/09/18 12:28 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Vix Offline


Registered: 06/09/18
Posts: 1
Loc: AZ
Did MR route solo June 8th. Started abound 1:30 and after about an hour of route finding issues, made the chute about 7 am. There was no snow until the base of the chute and was starting to be ripe for post holing.

I mainly want to provide conditions on the final 400 as caution should be taken here. Many of the rocks as the bottom were glazed over in ice due to the thaw/freeze cycles. The only rocks not iced over were to the far left.

Once over the rocks, the final 400 was all sun cupped snow with some penitentes and still in shade at 9 am. Very solid snow/ice and think it would be difficult to get snow pickets in. It was pretty dicey climbing the last couple hundred feet with only one axe and the penitentes made it difficult to get good purchase with the front points.

Several boulders were already slung with rap rings and the slings looked in decent shape. If I could do it again, would have brought 50m rope for bail out just in case as down climbing would be difficult.

If you are not a competent climber, you may want to consider doing a different route given current conditions. The final 400 seems like it would stay pretty slick well past conditions allowing for no post-holing up the previous chute. But The "easy walk off route" looked like it was in good shape from what I could see.

Have fun out there everyone.

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#53399 - 06/11/18 08:04 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: DavidK]
Twee Offline


Registered: 06/11/18
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hi David, we are heading up Sun and would love a detailed report once you get back. Not sure if you would be able to write about it right away when u get back so that we can have some updates by the time we go. Are u doing a day hike or overnight trip?
We are a little nervous with the ice and snow condition because we have no experience with them so I’m really hoping the trail conditions are better this week than it has been.
Good luck on your trip, have fun, and be safe out there

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#53400 - 06/11/18 08:12 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Jim O Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
How was the path over the snow in the picture here: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53042#Post53042

It's a spot part way down to the west from Trail Crest, before you get to the JMT junction.



Steve, my recollection from earlier last week is that the trail was entirely clear from Trail Crest to the JMT. There were some snowy patches after though.

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#53401 - 06/11/18 08:41 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
robbie Offline


Registered: 06/11/18
Posts: 1
Loc: Orange County
Did a two day trip this weekend (June 9th-10th) with a group of 10.

We camped at trail camp which had patches of snow, but was mostly clear. The wind was pretty bad the entire time we were there. I saw several tents pretty much destroyed from the wind and someone said a tent had blown into the lake the day before. Temperatures dipped below freezing (maybe high 20's) Saturday night with many of the small puddles freezing over by morning.

I left trail camp around 5:20am, reached the top of the chute around 6:20 and summited just before 8:00am. I was moving pretty quick thanks to a night of acclimating at 12,000'. The slower people in my group started at 4am and summited around 9:00am.

At 6:00am the chute was slightly icy, but I felt very solid with micro spikes and an ice axe. Most people in my group had micro spikes and hiking poles and had no problem going up. There were a few snowy/icy areas past trail crest, but nothing that required me to put on micro spikes or use my ice axe.

On the way down from the peak we were warned that several people were seriously injured on the chute. I heard a couple different stories, but from what I can gather a girl and her boyfriend were ascending the chute with Yaktraxs and hiking poles when one or both of them slipped and crashed into another group below them. They all slid down the chute and crashed into the rocks at the base. The girl broke her arm and one guy may have fractured his skull. By the time I got to them they were wrapped in sleeping bags so I did not see the extent of their injuries. People who saw them earlier said it was really bad and that they were not doing well. I could see a search and rescue helicopter for the rest of the day going back and forth trying to evac them.

After hearing about this incident everyone in my group was pretty nervous descending the chute. Using an ice axe I glissaded very slowly to the first rocky area and scrambled down a couple hundred feet before glissading down the less steep area. Everyone else inched their way down with micro spikes on facing the chute and stabbing the ground in front of them with shortened poles. It took some of them 2+ hours to get from the top of the chute to trail camp.

I would highly recommend an ice axe if you’re planning on going up in the next couple weeks. I bought one specifically for this trip and only had a couple hours at trail camp to practice the night before. Even with my lack of experience I was much better off than other people in my group. Everyone was wishing they had purchased/rented one.

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#53402 - 06/11/18 08:57 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: robbie]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Thanks for the report Robbie! I hope those other hikers are OK. We're heading up next week, but I probably won't take my wife/son past Trail Camp without the switchbacks clear.

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#53405 - 06/11/18 10:55 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: robbie]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Robbie, thanks so much for the report.

It is good that people are being warned by reports like yours.

What I don't understand this year, is that usually, a couple of hiking groups will push up or down the switchbacks, which will make a good boot track, and then everyone hears the news and uses them. It takes about a day for the masses to really open up the switchbacks.

I just don't understand why that hasn't occurred yet this year!!!

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#53413 - 06/11/18 08:06 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
PeteK. Offline


Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 12
Loc: CA
WOW. If anyone read my trip report from Thursday, and other peoples, they would see that microspikes/Yaktraks and hiking poles are not the way to go up or down the chute....you need an ice axe and crampons to ascend and axe to descend safely. My buddy and I saw lots of people really struggling to ascend with 'spikes and poles...no idea how they fared on the way down..luckily no one got hurt that day (I don't think!?).
Stay safe out there folks!!

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#53414 - 06/11/18 10:57 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
This posted by Ellen S: Mt Whitney multiple injuries on 6/10/18

Quote:
My daughter and I left Whitney portal at 2:45 a m on June 10, 2018. Arrived at trail camp at about 7 a m. Started up chute and were considering turning back when four people slid down at over 30 mph completely out of control. They fell over 1,000 vertical feet. Screaming, bouncing, did not stop til bottom snow pack. Head injuries, broken bones, hypothermia, among injuries. Helicopters took between 5 and 8 hours. Worst accident I’ve ever witnessed. Please please do not let summit fever cloud your judgement on this stretch of the whitney trail. If anyone has an update of these climbers please post.

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#53417 - 06/12/18 05:22 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 590
Loc: Manchester, NH
It's also worth pointing out that just because you may be a skilled mountaineer, are competent with an ice axe and crampons, you're not out of danger when descending the 'chute below Trail Crest. Always keep an eagle eye out UPHILL for people (and rocks/ice, etc) which may be hurtling in your direction, and always have a plan about which way to go (right or left) in the event someone/thing is falling rapidly towards you. Falling without crampons is bad enough; having them on and falling is even worse. Don't become a casualty yourself.

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#53430 - 06/12/18 11:48 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
I keep hoping to hear any updates on the switchbacks, but nothing yet. It definitely sounds like plenty of inexperienced folks taking their chances on the chute. Not us.
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Robbie, thanks so much for the report.

It is good that people are being warned by reports like yours.

What I don't understand this year, is that usually, a couple of hiking groups will push up or down the switchbacks, which will make a good boot track, and then everyone hears the news and uses them. It takes about a day for the masses to really open up the switchbacks.

I just don't understand why that hasn't occurred yet this year!!!

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#53435 - 06/12/18 12:35 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
trillmix Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 1
Loc: OC, CA, USA
Hi everyone - I also wanted to give back to this community thread as I relied on it heavily to prepare for my overnight trip to Whitney, and my trip had a lot more action than usual…we summited on Sunday 06/10/2018.

I was a part of Robbie's group from the prior post above, and was the last/slow group. The main Whitney trail was very well graded - it's the distance and elevation that would play the biggest factors in your ascent. I am from SoCal and did the 6 Pack of Peak challenge and that really helped me prepare for the hike, distance-wise. For the elevation, I had Diamox prescribed to me and will attribute 95% of my summit success to it. If you can get your hands on some - do it!

The hike up to Trail Camp was smooth. Beautiful trail. Trail Camp was very windy Saturday night and made it feel colder than it should have been. If it wasn't for the wind then the weather would have been a perfect temperature. The wind came in spurts but the time frame when it is the worst/really picks up is usually between 3pm-7pmish. Overall, the entire weekend had great weather! We were able to practice self-arresting and glissading on some of the slopes near Trail Camp. I highly recommend doing this before doing the real deal.

Our group of 10 split into sub-groups because of different speed and schedules. I know my body and pace and that I'd need more time for everything. My partner and I started the ascent from Trail Camp around 4am and was surrounded by celestial beauty until daybreak around 5am. You don't really need headlamps after 5/530am. From Trail Camp, follow the path to the switchbacks and hike up until the switchbacks eventually disappear into the snowy parts.

It took us 3 hours to get to the top of the chute: arrival at 7am. Chute conditions were perfect. Hard packed snow that was favorable for cramponing up. I initially was going up with hiking poles but did not feel safe or comfortable and switched them out for my ice axe. Glad I did. Don't underestimate this part. The climb up the chute was brutal for me - but the views at the top are breathtaking! Just go slow and be careful. If you can, try to find a route that already has footsteps in them. It will make for a much easier climb - think of it as climbing up steps, like on a stair master machine! Dig your toe in and secure your footing. Throw your ice axe in front of you for a self-belay.

If you want to skip some of the snow then an alternative (that was recommended to us by the Whitney Portal store owner and other groups) would be to crampon up to the pile of rocks on the chute. It's a long stretch of boulders that are pretty obvious - you can't miss it (I'll try to post photos later). Boulder-hop on those to skip some snow = once at the top, you'll have about 200-300 feet of snow left to climb up on! I would definitely recommend using the rocks if you only have hiking poles. Some people from our group had only micro spikes and hiking poles and were carefully and slowly making their way down to the pile of rocks.

It took my partner and I 2-2.5hrs to ascend from Trail Crest. Perfect weather. Even with the diamox medication, it was very hard to breath on the last 1.9 miles from Trail Crest to summit. Take it slow…

The 1.9 miles from Trail Crest to summit was in good condition! There were 2-3 sections of snow and a bit of ice, but you can get through it without traction if you do a little careful maneuvering. It wasn't enough for me to feel like I had to put on my crampons/microspikes (I had both) but definitely be careful traversing it.

On our way back down, we were told the horror stories of the series of unfortunate events that happened… We got to Trail Crest by 10am and the chute conditions were slushy/the sun was melting it already. Don't forget to wear sunscreen!! Because I sure did…

I glissaded down with my rain pants, rain shell jacket, gaiters, waterproof gloves, and an ice axe (among other things). I went very slowly as the beginning is very, very steep. I was braking with my left arm and my entire left arm is sore/done for the next couple of weeks. It is a workout! I got down the chute in 2 hours or less. From the bottom of the chute there is still a stretch of snow to walk on until you're back at the open part of the switchbacks that lead into Trail Camp. You can walk this snow stretch with just your boots, hiking poles, and careful maneuvering.
---
As for the multiple injuries that happened - they were very unfortunate and terrible. Bless those kinds souls who forgo' d their summit to become trail angels and help these folks out! I met the BF of one of the injured people and he told me that his group started to ascend from Trail Camp around 6am. His GF had crampons, no ice axe. Somewhere along the way she had unstable footing/missed a step and slipped….and it was downhill from there. Literally. Thankfully some kind souls were able to help slow down her momentum (I don't know how, didn't ask for details) so she didn't get as injured as she could have been. She had broken bones, sprains, bruises, etc. But shortly after she fell it was a domino effect. Another girl fell 30-60 seconds after she did and sustained worst injuries. The 2nd girl wasn't as high up as the 1st girl but had more serious injuries. She was initially unconscious but on my way down I saw her wrapped up in emergency space blankets in the snow, wailing/groaning. The 1st girl was wrapped in blankets on a rock, not too far from one another. I don't know how long it took search and rescue to come but I did see the helicopter attempt to land multiple times. The chute isn't exactly a place for safe landing. I could still hear the helicopters coming and going as I was making the hike back down to my car between 3pm-7:30pm.

Just some personal tips: Remember to hike your own hike and ascend slowly to acclimate properly! It's a marathon, not a race. Seriously. And, I would highly, highly, recommend crampons and an ice axe. You can get by with micro spikes, but definitely not just hiking poles. Better safe than sorry!! Doesn't matter if you're experienced or a novice - these tools will save your life! Other than that, if you have the right tools and don't underestimate the trail (aka mentally prepare and practice self-arresting/glissading) then you'll do alright! It was my first time doing anything like this and yes, it was scary, but I think it's doable with the right preparation.

Before we started our trip we were told that the temperatures were warming up and that the chute was getting slushy earlier on. I would recommend getting to the top of the chute before 8am latest and down it by 12 noon. It might be too slushy if it's any later and would bring on more potential hazards.

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#53451 - 06/13/18 09:27 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adventurous]
Snick&Boo Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Hello. I am new here, so be nice. smile
I have a day pass for 6/21. I have microspikes and an ice axe. Have used it before, but it's been awhile. I know my limitations and do not want to slide down the mountain. Que, silly question: Can I walk down the chute or sliding the ONLY option? I don't care what people think, I want to live and not see SAR on my hike. Last year we did Whitney in August, so didn't have to deal with this issue. Any advise helps!

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#53455 - 06/13/18 10:33 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snick&Boo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Other posts have stated that people with microspikes have down-walked the steep slope, and have done it facing the snow. It can take two hours to get down, but it is possible. Crampons would sure be best.

If I were you, I'd plan on following the switchbacks using those spikes, both up and down. It only takes a few people to establish a walkable path on the switchbacks, even if they have snow.

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#53460 - 06/13/18 11:50 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
OChikers8073 Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
planning on a day hike mid July, does anyone know if the switchbacks are typically hikable during this time of year? I know it wasn't a heavy snow year from looking at the stats on this site.
I don't have mountaineering experience so all the conversation about glissading/ice axes/crampons is a little intimidating to say the least!

Thanks!

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#53461 - 06/13/18 12:43 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
SWriverstone Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 9
Loc: Oregon
I've got another thread going in which I've been trying to analyze the risk of climbing Whitney on a PCT/JMT hike I'm doing next week. I would be at Whitney on either Thursday June 21 or Friday June 22.

• I do not have winter mountaineering experience.
• I do not have an ice axe, nor know how to use one.
• I do have Kahtoola Microspikes (but not crampons).
• I do have trekking poles.

In my other thread...
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53432/Whitney_reality_check:_hike_pl#Post53432

...wbtravis states:
Quote:
9 people have died in SoCal the last 3 winters...8 were utilizing light traction devices and poles.

If the trail is not an option on the north side of Forester Pass or at the Chute, skills, helmet, crampons and axe are required. You cannot self-belay with a collapsible trekking pole.


Though I really want to climb Whitney (and believe I have the physical conditioning to do it), I'm not going to assume even slight risk (much less serious risk). If necessary, I'm prepared to change my southbound hike (Kearsarge Pass to Whitney Portal) to an out-and-back hike from Kearsarge Pass.

So for me, the critical factor that will determine my hike itinerary will be: will the Mt. Whitney Trail be safely walkable (without ice axe or crampons) in its entirety by Thursday, June 21?

I'm not sure how I can know by this weekend, which is when I'll be starting my hike from Onion Valley/Kearsarge Pass.

I'm an extremely fit and competent hiker who is not easily spooked. But I'm not going to assume that because some people have successfully navigated The Chute with microspikes and trekking poles means "it's safe." (Some of those people have also gotten seriously hurt.)

I'm looking for suggestions as to any other good sources of up-to-the-minute intel on the Mt. Whitney Trail (besides here!)—if anyone has any, please post up!

Thanks,
Scott

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#53462 - 06/13/18 12:46 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: OChikers8073]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Originally Posted By: OChikers8073
planning on a day hike mid July, does anyone know if the switchbacks are typically hikable during this time of year? I know it wasn't a heavy snow year from looking at the stats on this site.
I don't have mountaineering experience so all the conversation about glissading/ice axes/crampons is a little intimidating to say the least!

Thanks!


Switchbacks should be wide open in July.

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#53466 - 06/13/18 01:31 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SWriverstone]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 92
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
Originally Posted By: SWriverstone
So for me, the critical factor that will determine my hike itinerary will be: will the Mt. Whitney Trail be safely walkable (without ice axe or crampons) in its entirety by Thursday, June 21?


No
_________________________
Strava, IG

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#53467 - 06/13/18 01:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 203WEST]
OChikers8073 Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
Awesome! Thank you for the reply smile

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#53469 - 06/13/18 02:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BFR]
Robert W Offline


Registered: 06/04/16
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Why are you making the statement NO? I will be up there with large group on the 21st this month and I plan on my 8th Whitney summit via the 99 switchbacks> I know show conditions will be a little tricky but the 99 are starting to open up!


Edited by Robert W (06/13/18 02:14 PM)

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#53472 - 06/13/18 03:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Caroline H. Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Hi,
I am scheduled to summit on June 25th. What are the chances to have the switchbacks open by then? And even if they are open, should we assume there will be snow still and we will require ice axe and crampons?

Anyone experienced going up there on that day that wants to partner? smile

Thanks,
Caroline.

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#53478 - 06/13/18 05:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Robert W]
Greg6182 Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 1
Loc: New Hampshire
I’m with you on this one. A buddy and I intend on doing the switchbacks on the 19th next week. We’ve done them in April before so I’m not too worried about a little bit of snow. We’re happy to pack the trail for everyone else if need be.

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#53479 - 06/13/18 05:59 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Greg6182]
dunavice321 Offline


Registered: 04/11/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Earth
Will my long johns tucked into my socks be enough to protect me in case my pant legs ride up while glissading or will gaiters be necessary?

Don't want to buy gaiters just for this occasion. Thanks.

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#53481 - 06/13/18 06:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Blair Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hey all,

I am planning a trip for the 22nd. This will be my second time on Whitney and we plan to take the switchbacks. Figured this time of year microspikes shall do. With the ever so melting snow conditions i'm hesitant on bringing an ice axe but that will be tentative pretty much the day prior to our hike. Hopefully people have been breaking in trail! If anyone has completed a summit would love to see more pictures of switchbacks and current snow conditions! Hot weather looks to be in favor of more melt off.

Cheers!

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#53482 - 06/13/18 08:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Greg6182]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Originally Posted By: Greg6182
I’m with you on this one. A buddy and I intend on doing the switchbacks on the 19th next week. We’ve done them in April before so I’m not too worried about a little bit of snow. We’re happy to pack the trail for everyone else if need be.


We will be on the trail along with you Tuesday, the 19th. If you’re camping at Trail Camp, we’ll be the family of 3. We will be taking the switchbacks early on the 20th in hopes they are passable. We’ll be traveling with micro spikes, hiking poles, and ice axes packed just in case. We might be boot packing the switchbacks along side you!

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#53483 - 06/13/18 09:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 203WEST]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Heard from a PR past Monday that the switchbacks are open already. But she still recommended taking the Chute.

Yesterday, I heard (will try to post the FB link once I get it) the warm weather today and tomorrow should pretty much clear the switchbacks of snow.

We are planning on using them on Jun 17th (this Sunday).

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#53484 - 06/13/18 09:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 203WEST]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 203WEST
Originally Posted By: Greg6182
I’m with you on this one. A buddy and I intend on doing the switchbacks on the 19th next week. We’ve done them in April before so I’m not too worried about a little bit of snow. We’re happy to pack the trail for everyone else if need be.


We will be on the trail along with you Tuesday, the 19th. If you’re camping at Trail Camp, we’ll be the family of 3. We will be taking the switchbacks early on the 20th in hopes they are passable. We’ll be traveling with micro spikes, hiking poles, and ice axes packed just in case. We might be boot packing the switchbacks along side you!


Robert W, Greg6182 and 203WEST:
You guys are to be commended for committing to the switchbacks. You will be making the hike a whole lot safer for lots of inexperienced first-timers. I can't believe people haven't packed a path on the switchers by this time already.

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#53485 - 06/13/18 09:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Thanks! We’ll hope the best!

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#53488 - 06/14/18 06:43 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adventurous]
al_novice Offline


Registered: 02/28/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Alabama
Summited on 06/13/18. Hike Time= 8:00 ascending, 1:05 at the summit, and 6:40 descending, total time 15:45.

Left the portal at 12:45a

Got to the chute at around 5:15, conditions were perfect for climbing wearing "Hillsound Trail Crampons" and an Ice axe.

Summited around 8:45 and stayed for about an hour

Made it back to the chute around 11:00 and glissaded down. I had an ice axe, but 0 experience. It was probably one of the scariest things i've ever done.

Made it back o the portal around 4:30p

My take away: The chute is serious. Like I took it serious, after reading about it and seeing pictures on this forum, and I still under estimated it. I'm an endurance athlete, did a half ironman May 20th, and the chute killed my legs and energy going up. I only took one break from the portal to the chute, took one break before and after the chute, but then had to take 3 breaks between the chute and the summit. This may have been contributed to by the altitude as well.

Like i said I have 0 experience glissading, so maybe 11 o'clock is perfect for descending, but the snow was absolute slush and I felt like I didn't have control some of the time. I went slow, took me like 30 min to glissade, but there were a couple times i didn't think I was going to be able to stop. I would aim to try to descend the chute by about 10 o'clock.

I would not make an attempt at the chute without an ice axe, just my opinion.

Switchbacks are getting close. Like an admin said, all it will take is a couple groups to trudge through the remaining snow, and it will melt quick.

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#53489 - 06/14/18 08:39 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Stephen S posted a video on Facebook of a person sliding/tumbling completely out of control down "the chute" above Trail Camp, west of the switchbacks. I think you need to be a facebook member to view it.

https://www.facebook.com/stephen.schneider.969/videos/1746826488726698/
His main videos: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.schneider.969/posts/1747914878617859

WZ thread: Mt Whitney multiple injuries on 6/10/18

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#53492 - 06/14/18 11:47 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
SWriverstone Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 9
Loc: Oregon
Can someone enlighten me as to the cables on the route up? Where exactly are they? (I'm assuming along the trail/switchbacks somewhere, but don't know where.) Are they between Trail Crest and the summit? Or between Trail Camp and Trail Crest?

A photo on page 1 of this thread showed them completely exposed and (seemingly) easy to grasp. Are they in fact there for the purpose of hanging on to while moving along the trail or ridge? Are they safe?

It sounds like many people will be taking the switchbacks over the next few days. Please keep us all posted (I wouldn't be there until Thursday June 21). I'm still waiting on a decision to go for Whitney? Or abort completely and do a different hike.

It sounds like conditions for non-winter-mountaineering experts could become considerably safer over the next 5-7 days...(allowing for continued warm, sunny weather).

Scott

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#53494 - 06/14/18 12:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SWriverstone]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
See this image http://www.whitneyzone.com/docs/BobR/switchbacks_waynep.jpg
(Make sure you are viewing full resolution)
You will see the numbers on the bottom left to the top left marking the switchbacks.
(I don't know the date of this photo though)

The fence(not really cables) is between 45 and 46.

As of June 8 this is what it looked like https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Whitney/i-d9jXJ3W/0/b5184590/O/WhitCables180606.jpg

Hope this helps.

p.s. As of today my plan is to take the switchbacks on Sunday(June 17) morning.


Edited by sumo (06/14/18 12:11 PM)

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#53495 - 06/14/18 12:11 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Stephen S posted a video on Facebook of a person sliding/tumbling completely out of control down "the chute" above Trail Camp, west of the switchbacks. I think you need to be a facebook member to view it.

https://www.facebook.com/stephen.schneider.969/videos/1746826488726698/
His main videos: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.schneider.969/posts/1747914878617859

WZ thread: Mt Whitney multiple injuries on 6/10/18
Holy smokes! In the skiing world, we call people like that a "Jerry". Is there a comparable term in the mountaineering community?

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#53496 - 06/14/18 12:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SWriverstone]
Mermaid14 Offline


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 2
Loc: Ohio
This is my favorite map of the switchbacks: http://www.icorva.com/Photography/Whitney/Switchbacks.JPG

There is more good information on the Hiking Guy's website.

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#53497 - 06/14/18 01:00 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
SWriverstone Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 9
Loc: Oregon
Thanks sumo and others for the info on the cables. Great map of the switchbacks too. I'm driving from Oregon to Bishop, CA tomorrow and Saturday (arriving Saturday). I hope by then to have reliable news about the status of the switchbacks! If not, I may just hike up to Rae Lakes and go fishing. <grin>

Thanks,
Scott

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#53499 - 06/14/18 04:25 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Snick&Boo]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 342
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: Snick&Boo
Hello. I am new here, so be nice. smile
I have a day pass for 6/21. I have microspikes and an ice axe. Have used it before, but it's been awhile. I know my limitations and do not want to slide down the mountain. Que, silly question: Can I walk down the chute or sliding the ONLY option? I don't care what people think, I want to live and not see SAR on my hike. Last year we did Whitney in August, so didn't have to deal with this issue. Any advise helps!

Hello, Snick&Boo. While some of us can get frustrated and a little impatient with newbies who think they know everything, nobody will jump on you for asking an honest newbie question. We all started as newbies, and, admit it or not, we all did stupid stuff when we were starting out.

Glissading is mostly a newbie thing. Newbies usually think it’s cool and fun, and “everybody” does it. Sometimes it really is the best way down, but it usually it isn’t. You can easily get hurt, you can destroy an expensive pair of pants, and you can get your ass cold and wet (which may not matter in June, but it can be a big deal in winter). The first professional guide service I climbed with discouraged glissading, and I’ve only done it a few times since.

The safest way down is to face the snow and walk backwards, kicking steps as you go. Depending on conditions, it can work with or without crampons and with or without an axe. I descended a couloir near Mt. Colosseum this way just yesterday. It was soft snow, and I got by with crappy boots, crampons, and no axe.

My favorite way to descend is to face out, and just walk down plunging my heels into the snow. Depending on conditions, you can do this with either an axe or ski poles. I did this just yesterday with bare boots and ski poles lower on the mountain.

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#53500 - 06/14/18 05:01 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SWriverstone]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: SWriverstone
Can someone enlighten me as to the cables on the route up? Where exactly are they? (I'm assuming along the trail/switchbacks somewhere, but don't know where.) Are they between Trail Crest and the summit? Or between Trail Camp and Trail Crest?

A photo on page 1 of this thread showed them completely exposed and (seemingly) easy to grasp. Are they in fact there for the purpose of hanging on to while moving along the trail or ridge? Are they safe?

It sounds like many people will be taking the switchbacks over the next few days. Please keep us all posted (I wouldn't be there until Thursday June 21). I'm still waiting on a decision to go for Whitney? Or abort completely and do a different hike.

It sounds like conditions for non-winter-mountaineering experts could become considerably safer over the next 5-7 days...(allowing for continued warm, sunny weather).

Scott

Scott, you can see them in the upper right corner of this SAR rescue picture from Sunday's mess -- click on the second picture. The cables are visible in the upper right of the picture.
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53410/Mt_Whitney_multiple_injuries_o#Post53445

They are in fact there to help people navigate that section when the snow covers the trail like that. People walk on the outside until the snow melts down enough. Going up the switchbacks, until the cables section clears up, everyone should have some sort of traction devices. It is worst early in the morning when everything is icy. And things ice-up in the late afternoon when the sun drops behind the crest on the west.
- - - - - - - - - -

Mermaid14: Wayne Pyle created your favorite map. He has since passed on, but his map lives. (Big version here). He also added the switchback numbers to the picture linked by sumo (above). Here's a thread from 2011 where he posted a reply: Counting Switchbacks

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#53501 - 06/14/18 06:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: SWriverstone]
NaniTree Offline


Registered: 06/30/17
Posts: 5
Loc: California
I will be hiking up Whitney this Sunday (The 17th) and am trying to make the call on whether or not crampons and ice axes will be necessary for us to bring.

Last year I hiked up July 2nd and from what I'm hearing on the board, the conditions are comparable to last year in July(after the very snowy/wet winter) when it was still very snowy but clearing up.

Last year was my first time using crampons and an ice axe. After watching a bunch of YouTube videos and talking to the people who I rented the gear from, we felt pretty comfortable using it. Glissading is fun if you get the hang of it. The key is to begin the glissading decent down the snow while the snow is still soft. Also, know how to self arrest. I'll also mention that last year my sister and I glissaded to the right(facing downhill) of the chute as to avoid the traffic in the chute and the slickness of the chute. It worked out for us.

Planning on calling the Park Rangers tomorrow so I can make a good call on whether to bring the ice axes or not. I'm hoping to take the 99 switchbacks. I'm a pretty experienced hiker, I'm comfortable with scrambling, but I don't want to be stuck on a snowy/icy slope without the support and leverage of an ice axe.

If anyone comes back and can share the conditions before Saturday, it would be much appreciated! I'll make sure to loop back here and share my experience next week when I return.

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#53504 - 06/14/18 09:05 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Robert W]
highsierramike Offline


Registered: 07/06/17
Posts: 11
Loc: Fresno, CA
I too will be summiting on the 21st. Party of four. We are planning for switchbacks. Staying at trail camp on Wednesday the 20th. My son and I summitted last year on July 11th. From photos I’ve seen, it doesn’t look much worse now than it was then. We did switchbacks then too. Just be safe and smart!!!

I’ll post photos after the trip as well as trail conditions.

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#53507 - 06/15/18 08:01 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
AC780 Offline


Registered: 06/15/18
Posts: 1
Loc: TX
I am planning on climbing Whitney as a day hike on June 27th. I hear that the switchbacks should be usable very soon and plan to take them. Does the trail after trail crest have snow/ice on it as well? Also, do you think the conditions will still require microspikes/crampons by the 27th?

Thanks

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#53512 - 06/15/18 09:17 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: highsierramike]
Robert W Offline


Registered: 06/04/16
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Thanks and have a great hike! My team is doing the 22miles in and out same day starting at 2:30 am on the 21st. Say hi if you run into a 6'6" guy on the trail

Robert is my name.

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#53521 - 06/15/18 02:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sumo]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: sumo
Heard from a PR past Monday that the switchbacks are open already. But she still recommended taking the Chute.

Yesterday, I heard (will try to post the FB link once I get it) the warm weather today and tomorrow should pretty much clear the switchbacks of snow.

We are planning on using them on Jun 17th (this Sunday).


Spoke to a PR again and as of today they are still recommending the Chute with crampons and ice axe. She claims the cabled section of the switchbacks still has snow and no traffic through it yet for any hiking path.

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#53524 - 06/15/18 02:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sumo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
sumo, who is this "PR" you are talking to? By "PR" do you mean "Park Ranger"?  
The Whitney Zone isn't in any "park", so PR is confusing. It is in the Inyo National Forest. While the peak is in Sequoia National Park, I doubt anyone from that park is paying any attention to trails outside their park.

Whoever it is, I wish they would stop telling people this. It is now way past the time, compared to other years, when people have switched over to using the switchbacks. If you have an ice axe and crampons, there is NO place on the switchbacks that cannot be easily navigated. If you DON't have traction equipment, then using the chute is highly dangerous when it is icy (mornings and later afternoons through the night).


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#53527 - 06/15/18 03:19 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Adventurous Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, Los Angeles
Is it easier/safer to ascend the Chute before the sunrise (3am) while it is icy or it is best to do so when the snow soften up in early morning (7am)? We will be using ice axe and crampons. Also, any last updates on the switchbacks? The conditions change daily in this time of the year so I thought to check for one last time before summiting on Monday. I’d really appreciate your help.

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#53529 - 06/15/18 03:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Adventurous]
BohemianJess Offline


Registered: 06/14/18
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Hopefully we’ll hear something by later this evening of people starting to use the switchbacks!

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#53530 - 06/15/18 03:56 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
sumo, who is this "PR" you are talking to? By "PR" do you mean "Park Ranger"?  

Yes. But I'm getting my information from calling the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center. Is US Forest Service better? I can edit my posts so no one else is confused.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Whoever it is, I wish they would stop telling people this. It is now way past the time, compared to other years, when people have switched over to using the switchbacks.

I'm hoping you are right! Will be there tomorrow.

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#53533 - 06/15/18 04:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sumo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
> But I'm getting my information from calling the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center. Is US Forest Service better?

Well, the desk-rangers at the VC seem to love to dole out advice to people, and sometimes it isn't quite on the mark. I've seen cases where they got their information dead wrong.

Good luck tomorrow!! Let us know how the switchbacks look. smile

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#53535 - 06/15/18 05:53 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
BohemianJess Offline


Registered: 06/14/18
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Great news the switchbacks are good to go! Just got a response on my Instagram that about 10 people cleared them a few days ago!

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#53536 - 06/15/18 06:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BohemianJess]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: BohemianJess
Great news the switchbacks are good to go! Just got a response on my Instagram that about 10 people cleared them a few days ago!


Thank you!!

I'll sleep better tonight.

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#53537 - 06/15/18 07:22 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sumo]
BohemianJess Offline


Registered: 06/14/18
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Someone also responded that there was a small stretch tues that may need a ice axe and micro spikes but the rest was completely clear... hoping the first person is right

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#53539 - 06/15/18 08:11 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BohemianJess]
BohemianJess Offline


Registered: 06/14/18
Posts: 7
Loc: California
Just spoke to someone who finished hiking today and the switchbacks are cleared, only a few small patches of light snow!&#128077;

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#53540 - 06/15/18 09:11 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Snick&Boo Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
@bobpickering Thank you so much for your advise! This newbie appreciates it!!

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#53541 - 06/15/18 09:12 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Snick&Boo Offline


Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Thank you Steve C!!

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#53544 - 06/15/18 10:28 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: BohemianJess]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
B.Jess: Thanks for reporting this. By the way, what Instagram feed are you following?

This early, the switchback trail at the cables will still have significant snow. There may be so much yet that people might need to hang onto the cables and walk on the outside. If you're sure-footed and trust your own grip, you might be able to go without microspikes or anything, but that makes it a bit more risky.

It is amazing that it took SO long this year for anyone to come through and tell everyone that the switchbacks are open. In previous years with similar snowfall, it certainly happened earlier.

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#53545 - 06/15/18 10:39 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture of the top switchback of the 99 switchbacks, posted today 6-15-2018) on Instagram by mg_needs.

You can see how little snow there is on the trail.
It was reported (above) today that "about 10 people cleared The switchbacks a few days ago!"   See the trip report just below.



Second picture showing the crest between the JMT junction and the summit.


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#53548 - 06/16/18 07:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Bojo Offline


Registered: 06/16/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Thanks Jess and Steve for the Switchback updates. I will be attempting to make the summit via the switchbacks in the early morning hours of Monday June 25 will two 11 year olds. If anyone has any beta on the switchbacks as it comes available, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

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#53549 - 06/16/18 07:37 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
altra_ben Offline


Registered: 06/16/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
I led a group of 10 up to the summit yesterday and successfully took the switchbacks in both directions. I can confirm that the switchbacks are not only open, but actually very clear!

Like most on this board with permits around this time, I scanned for the last few weeks waiting for a glimpse of the conditions with no luck. My group was extremely mixed in experience (not ability) with some having never used any of the equipment; ice axe, crampons, microspikes, or trekking poles. With that in mind we made a group decision that we would take our time and go up the switch back blazing the trail if necessary for those in our group (and others on this forum) with less experience.

The switchbacks were 90% dry, 9% light ice that melts by mid morning into running streams, and 1% snow that becomes slushy by mid morning. I feel very confident that nearly anyone with any level of experience can make it with microspikes (true microspikes, not those ones with little pins like golf shoes) and poles. We had one in our group with no poles (or ice axe) and a couple that never got their microspikes out of the bag - for reference.

The first of the 2 primary "tough" sections is the cables... the snow is down to about a 15 foot section where the cables themselves tilt perpendicular to the trail. We had a little bit of anxiety with one of our noobs in this section, so we actually used the ice axe a carved out about a 12-15" wide path to walk it... you still want to be surefooted each step and I would use microspikes for safety, but it should be good - our anxious member made it and was later crossing other snow sections with confidence!

The second of the 2 primary "tough" sections is the very top of the switchbacks headed into Trail Crest. This section is about 75 feet long and is not difficult when the snow is still frozen from the night, you just need to watch your step and use a pole for balance... the tricky parts are: 1) there has been some post holes made that you don't want to fall down and 2) after mid morning when things get slushy its obviously more slick and easier to post hole. If you're patient it shouldn't be a problem - even our least experienced person in the group took no more than 4-5min to cross.

In my opinion, I would not be glissadding the chute at this point... I did watch people successfully do it, but there are little exposed rock points all the way down and I would hate to catch one on my a$$ and ruin a great trip! A few in our group (the more experienced) wanted to do it to speed things up, but we wanted to keep everyone together as well...

Timeline for us:
2:20am - Portal
5:20am - Trail Camp (20min for water fill ups)
6:20am - Cables (about 20min here clearing trail with ice axe)
8:10am - Trail Crest
9:20-10:30am - Peak (split into two groups for the descent at 10:30a)
11:15am & 11:45am - Trail Crest
12:05pm & 1:20pm - Trail Camp
1:40pm - Portal (first group)
4:15pm - Portal (second group)

I would love to post pics and may get to eventually, but others in my group have them and we're off to some work events in Mammoth and Tahoe areas... feel free to ask questions and I will try to answer as available. In a nut shell, if you have microspikes and poles, I have little doubt you will make it up the switchbacks with a little patience, a sunrise ascent and late morning, early afternoon descent.

Thanks!


Edited by altra_ben (06/16/18 11:38 AM)

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#53550 - 06/16/18 08:02 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: altra_ben]
Bojo Offline


Registered: 06/16/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Thank you so much for the update. Now I can start to get excited about our trip!

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#53551 - 06/16/18 08:36 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: altra_ben]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 24
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: altra_ben

Timline for us:
12:05pm & 1:20pm - Trail Camp
1:40pm - Portal (first group)
4:15pm - Portal (second group)

Thanks!


The first group went from Trail Camp to Portal in 1 hour 35 minutes? Were they trail runners?

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#53552 - 06/16/18 09:11 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
altra_ben Offline


Registered: 06/16/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Yes, our entire group is a mix of runners (some trail/ultra) that work for Altra and some were itching to open it up a bit on the descent ;P. Others not as accustomed to the mountains were content to hike it out...


Edited by altra_ben (06/16/18 09:13 AM)

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#53554 - 06/16/18 09:27 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: altra_ben]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Thanks Ben for the great update!

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#53556 - 06/16/18 11:42 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: altra_ben]
BohemianJess Offline


Registered: 06/14/18
Posts: 7
Loc: California
You’re probably the one I spoke to on ig, or someone from your group! Regardless thank you for the detailed update!! Much appreciated!!!

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#53559 - 06/16/18 04:50 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: altra_ben]
Adventurous Offline


Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 5
Loc: California, Los Angeles
Just picked up our permits from the ranger station. We were informed the switchbacks are certainly usable and currently safer than the Chute. We intend to summit through the switchbacks on Monday.

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#53561 - 06/16/18 08:10 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Andrew W posted these pictures at the cables on 6/16/2018   ( from facebook ):








Edited by Steve C (06/16/18 09:43 PM)
Edit Reason: fix date :-)

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#53562 - 06/16/18 09:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Andrew W posted these pictures at the cables on 8/16/2018  


Cool, can I borrow his time machine?:)
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#53567 - 06/17/18 10:37 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's an excellent report posted on FB by Abhijit K:

Quote:
For the people who are interested in switchbacks and in general hiking Whitney soon. Our group of 6 summited it on June 15. We started our hike on June 14, from Whitney portal and stayed at trail camp. Next morning (June15) we started around 6am for summit, reached trail crest at 9:45 am and summit at noon. We had micro spikes, poles and Ice axes and used switchbacks for going up and coming down. Switchbacks are not completely snow free but with ice axes and micro spikes we managed it and after us we met many people who actually used them.

There are couple of major spots though, where you need to take precaution. First is at cables ( in fact we saw a couple walking down after they saw snow at cables, as they were not comfortable), where we have to use caution and ice axes to cross the section. The other part is where switchback connects trail crest. That part is still under heavy snow and difficult to navigate. To avoid that, we hiked up the mountain behind it and traverse to trail crest (20 minute detour and no snow). This part was bit strenuous and may not be useful for everyone. It is important that you take your own time and pace. We were slow but super-cautious in our ascent and took almost 4 hours to reach Trail crest.

After that, last 1.9 miles were like 5 miles, very tiring but worth it at the end. Started heading down around 12:30. Going down on the switchbacks also was little tricky at the same spots I mentioned before, so we followed our exact same strategy that we used for ascent. This is our journey and use this information as per your hiking and navigation skills.


His picture:

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#53568 - 06/18/18 06:23 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
JMH Offline


Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 23
Loc: Aurora, Illinois
We have overnight permits for june 26th. No one in our group has ever used an ice axe, crampons, or micro. The plane tickets can be rebooked. So we are on the fence as to whether we should reschedule. For me these snow fields are too sketchy. So my question is how much melt might occur in this next week. This is my 5th trip to Whitney so I know the exposure with snow being at the cables and last switchback is more than I want to deal with.


Edited by JMH (06/18/18 08:56 AM)

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#53570 - 06/18/18 10:18 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JMH]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
From my post on the Trip reports section.

Originally Posted By: sumo
Completed an over night trip to Mt. Whitney Summit starting on Saturday June 16 and summiting and descending on June 17.

Whitney Portal to Trail camp is great and clear. There is one part with about a foot of snow on a flat area and it's well packed to cross just before trail camp.

Many people are using the 99 switchbacks. I can estimate in the time that we were on it we saw at least 20 people. Some with just hiking shoes and poles.

Many people are also using the chute to glissade down and hike up. But the snow is getting thin on the chute.

The 99 switchbacks still have 7 snow patches that are fully covering the trail. 2 of them were a bit tricky.

Note: The snow patches are melting heavily but hard to estimate when they will completely clear.

Unfortunately, in my opinion two of the trickiest parts may take the longest to clear. Good news is they are being crossed by hikers now and the snow is well very well packed by usage in these parts. The snow is hard early morning so offers for better grip if you are using ice axe and micro crampons or yak tracks. It was was getting soft and slushy by 11am where there is better grip on the packed trail but ice axe may simply sink into the snow completely. For details read below.

Not so tricky parts of the snow patches...
There are 4 parts on the trail and 3 at the edge of the switch backs. Both at the edge of the switchbacks can be avoided by simply scrambling up/down to the next level. Easy! Or you can use the snow path that is packed. Little difficult. So look for scrambling paths where there is snow covering any switch back turns. Note: The path to the cables is one of these.

The two straight paths on the trail are well packed by foot so they can be crossed easily as well. However, having an ice axe helped me feel safe. One of the paths had about a 20ft slide slope.

Now the 2 tricky parts...
One is by the cables which about only 10 feet long but it's at a very steep part of that stretch and it's iced at the top due to lots of snow melt that is falling from above and freezing on the shaded snow on the trail. The packed path is setup in a way that you have to walk above the cable fence height to cross.

The other is near trail crest. This is about 40ft long. This is where the glissaders start their slide from the top. So there is a good 1000+ feet drop from this point.

We had to use ice axe and crampons/yak tracks to cross these points. We saw some people do it with just hiking poles and shoes.

Good luck to the hikers that are going in the next couple of weeks. Be safe, careful and enjoy!

Please post any questions you have and I'll answer.




Edited by sumo (06/18/18 02:02 PM)

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#53571 - 06/18/18 10:22 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA


Confirm this is how it was as of yesterday. This is only 10 feet long. Be safe, feel safe and use micro crampons or yak tracks and ice axes to cross these parts.

It helped that we had a person in our group who had experience using ice axes for support.


Edited by sumo (06/18/18 10:30 AM)

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#53572 - 06/18/18 10:30 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JMH]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: JMH
We have overnight permits for june 26th. No one in our group has ever used an ice axe, crampons, or micro. The plane tickets can be rebooked. So we are on the fence as to whether we should reschedule. For me these snow fields are too sketchy. So my question is how much melt might occur in this next week. This is my 5th trip to Whitney so I know the exposure with snow being at the cables and last switchback is more than I want to deal with.


This is a bit tricky. The snow is melting fast and it's possible it will all clear by the 27th. Watch the weather reports. (I assume you will stay at the trail camp on 26th and attempt to summit on 27th).

I can tell you having someone with ice axe experience helped me tremendously. Without this person I would have turned around at the cables. I summited and returned through the switchbacks on June 17.

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#53580 - 06/18/18 02:27 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: sumo]
sumo Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Pic(taken on June 17, 2018) of the snow covered trail near Trail Crest.

https://prnt.sc/jwh1qf


Edited by sumo (06/18/18 03:05 PM)

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#53583 - 06/19/18 05:14 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WanderingJim]
Twee Offline


Registered: 06/11/18
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hey everyone, I just got back from Whitney today 6/18/18 (same day as Andrew W, pretty sure his date was a typo but I totally understand he’s probably exhausted because Whitney was no joke)

First of all, I notice there are lots of people here with different experiences such as altra-ben who is Superman, people who hike long distance/high elevation a lot, and there are people like me (37 y.o) who hike 3-6 mile trails and work out everyday thinking that I’m fit enough for Whitney.

I’ll skip the hike to Trail Camp since that’s pretty straight forward but the elevation on that hike was like level 6/10, and since we were camping on Sunday the 17th, we did take our time, took us 7.5hrs

As for the switchbacks, we started at 4:30am and got to trail crest 9am. Parts of the trail were very icy that early in the morning so be very careful. We found that there were 3 “death obstacles” and about 4 “oh shit” parts. Some “oh shit” parts were scrambling rocks but on a steep hill with lots of sliding rocks and some snow. Scary yes, difficult no. Going up was way easier than going down

Death obstacle 1: by the cables, that picture that Andrew W posted is accurate. It’s a steep drop off and icy because ice melts coming down on it and the sun doesn’t hit it as much but it’s a short stretch. The 4 of us were very scared for our lives since we have no experience with ice axe or microspikes. It literally scared the shit out of one girl in our group and she took a shit right after that snowed in cable

Death obstacle 2: after the cable there’s a long stretch of thick snow that covered the trail but there were deep obvious foot print and the snow was hard enough so we didn’t use spikes but it’s kinda long but half as scary as the first one

Death obstacle 3: right before trail crest, this one is a little sketchy, not enough snow to feel safe because on the mountain side it was down to rocks in some parts so I couldn’t stab the axe in. Couple foot path spot were wet dirt, and not enough foot print to follow so I would say scariness level close to the first but this part will probably clear next week since there’s not much snow left

Trail crest: like veryone said, longest 1.9 miles ever! We took 2-3 breaths per step because elevation. Level 9/10 for sure. Took us 2.5hrs to summit

The switchbacks on the way back was not as scary because we’ve done them before but they were more difficult because it’s hard to stablelize your axe in slushy snow and steps were a little more icy but we took our time and made it back

The hike back to portal same day was as brutal. Elevation wise no problem but I was hurting everywhere and it seems like I’ve been walking for days. Took us 4hrs down from trail camp

I know our pace may seem really slow but I just wanted to put some perspectives for novice hikers on here so they know what to expect. We did see a lot of people blazing that trail fast like elevation was no big deal (although they did have only a day pack and we had 35lbs each). We did see some people going thru those death obstacles with ice axe and no spikes so it depends on how confident you are with ur footing and whether you want to take that risk

Anyway, have a good day everyone. I think those snow patches will completely clear in a couple of weeks but not before that unless another big group will trek through and clear it.

Please be careful and be safe out there. Remember to wear sunscreen or better yet one of those neck uv protection thing and cover your face. My face is completely sunburn, windburn, chillburn and it’s kinda dusty out there so it helps protect your throat and nostrils since you’re breathing pretty hard

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#53585 - 06/19/18 09:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Twee]
Mauricio Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
Excellent report, Twee. I thank you profusely for it, as I'm leading a group of 6 this Friday (to Trail Camp and Saturday to the summit and back).

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#53591 - 06/19/18 03:51 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Twee]
shri Offline


Registered: 06/19/18
Posts: 1
Loc: San Jose, CA
Very true Twee!
Our group (3 of us), summited the same day (Mon, 06/18) and we had the same moments that your report mentions.

We started at 3.30 am, and the icy patches on the switchbacks were very slippery. At times, we were using the ice axe to break the ice on the trail to get a better grip. We did carry crampons, it was too taxing to put them on and remove them for the occasional patches, and walking with them on for all the other rocky parts of the trail would have taken a toll on our knees. As of the snow patches, since it was a cold early morning, neither could we kick in steps.

I have climbed the shoot last year, but this time, one of us was a first timer, so preferred the switchbacks.

Apparently, I think the mistake on our part was that we came prepared to climb the shoot, but not the switchbacks. Microspikes would have been easier to use.

Here are some of the images - https://imgur.com/a/4XWA5OV

Overall it was a great hike, but for folks attempting for the first time, please look the pictures being shared and be careful on the trail.

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#53592 - 06/19/18 09:03 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: 203WEST]
Evelyn Offline


Registered: 06/19/18
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
I was also hoping for someone to post the latest on the switchbacks. We are hiking this Friday and hoping the snow patches are gone.

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#53593 - 06/19/18 09:09 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Twee]
Evelyn Offline


Registered: 06/19/18
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Thank you for your detailed update. We are going on Friday and I am like you, hiked shorter trails and work out but nothing like Whitney. My biggest fear is the icy and slippery parts. So you would say crampons or microspikes? I just got my permit this morning for Friday and running around trying to get all my gear. Microspikes were expensive at REI and they only had one kind at my REI. Can't order online because we are leaving Thursday morning.

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#53602 - 06/20/18 09:18 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Evelyn]
WSC Offline


Registered: 06/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Maybe just buy some at REI and keep them in your pack, then return them unopened if you don't end up using them! For future trips, Amazon has some for $20-30 FYI

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#53604 - 06/20/18 11:04 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Evelyn]
OChikers8073 Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
Lone Pine also has some mountain shops that are pretty well stocked surprisingly. I'm sure you can find some there!

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#53607 - 06/20/18 11:34 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Evelyn]
Twee Offline


Registered: 06/11/18
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego, CA
Evelyn, if you’re sure footed and not afraid of height unlike me then I think you can do without (But please don’t take that as good advice) and I would hate to get all the way up there and have to turn around because you don’t have the right tools to summit. I agree with the others to get into town early and check their supplies.
Good luck!

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#53615 - 06/20/18 05:02 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Evelyn]
MikeHallahan Offline


Registered: 06/20/18
Posts: 1
Loc: Orange County, California
Evelyn
I hiked the switchbacks on tuesday. I used just hiking boots and trecking poles. I would call it very unsafe. Clearing the cables was the most dangerous thing I've done in a looong time. I crossed without incident but if I was a praying man i would have been praying to the lord incessantly that the snow didn't give out as I was holding on to it. It is a very precarious situation. I'm not sure what it will look like Friday but it was still very much an obstacle on Tuesday.

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#53616 - 06/20/18 06:22 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: MikeHallahan]
JMH Offline


Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 23
Loc: Aurora, Illinois
Thanks Mike and all who posted updates. What is everyones best guess for how much will melt by june 26th. We are scheduled to fly out Friday. We can reschedule because we don't want to cross that snow field. We don't know how to use an ice axe or any of the traction shoes. I've seen the exposure at the cables and the last Switchback and the snow is not for us.

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#53618 - 06/20/18 07:33 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: JMH]
Professor Offline


Registered: 06/20/18
Posts: 4
Loc: San Diego
Thanks to everyone who has posted current conditions and pics. If anyone is going soon please keep us updated right after until the snow/ice conditions are gone. I am going June 28th and will post the next day for those going right after me.

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#53622 - 06/20/18 09:49 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
NA327 Offline


Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Tulsa, OK
Here's an excellent series of pictures/videos from Instagram showing the cables section. I don't know when these were taken-- I don't know this person, I just searched Instagram for #mtwhitney-- but they were posted just a few hours ago.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkREJ-jAbHQ/?hl=en

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#53630 - 06/21/18 07:04 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WhitneyHiker085 Offline


Registered: 05/14/17
Posts: 21
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks to those who posted trip reports. Appreciate it. Looking to do the hike this weekend, day trip.

For those who recently did the hike, at the cable section - it looks like the foot path is well defined for crossing. Is it as scary as people make it seem? Even if something happens and you accidentally slip, wouldn't the cable stop you from continue down further or no.. unless you slip underneath the cable, if that makes sense.

I haven't been on the switchbacks before so just curious. Did the chute last year.

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#53631 - 06/21/18 10:29 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Brian in VT Offline


Registered: 06/11/18
Posts: 1
Loc: Vermont
Like others posting, I will be hiking Whitney via the switchbacks soon and am anxious for information on conditions, particularly at the infamous cables and any other trouble spots, as well as for advice on gear.

My permit is for June 28. Day hike with my adult son.

I realize conditions will be changing over the next week, but I am flying out from Vermont on 6/23 and 6/24 will be my best chance to buy any gear I might need, so I'll have to make some decisions ahead of time.

I plan to take my ice axe, but not my crampons. I have traction devices - one pair StabiLicers, one pair Diamond Grips (made by YakTrax, I think). Will these suffice or should I buy microspikes?
I plan to pick up an ice axe for my son and then was thinking of getting one pair of hiking poles, so we'd each have an axe and one pole at the icy spots. I have never felt a need for poles, but looking at the photos posted here, I can see how they might give an extra sense of balance at the difficult spots.

Of course, it would be great to not have to buy anything or to carry the extra weight, so if anyone can tell me that it has melted enough that gear is not necessary, it would be great to hear that.

Opinions? Advice?

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#53633 - 06/21/18 11:59 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
WSC Offline


Registered: 06/07/18
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
I'm hiking this weekend (overnight permit for Saturday 6/23). Can anyone tell me what temps to expect at Trail Camp overnight? From this site I'd estimate lows in the 40s, does that sound reasonable for folks that have been up recently?

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#53636 - 06/21/18 01:52 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: WSC]
Evelyn Offline


Registered: 06/19/18
Posts: 10
Loc: CA
Thank you. Was able to find 3 permits for July 12th so now going in three weeks and will order my microspikes on Amazon.

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#53637 - 06/21/18 03:40 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Evelyn]
203WEST Offline


Registered: 06/01/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Hey all... My wife, son, and I just finished our hike. We started Tuesday (6/19) and summited from Trail Camp on Wednesday (6/20). The switchbacks are clearing, but as noted, there are few snowy/icy spots that need a little caution, but aren't too scary for most hikers. I would recommend taking microspikes for the next couple weeks, since those snowy/icy spots are tramped in solid, and not a lot of sunlight hitting them.

Oh, and if the rangers at the permit desk pull out the photo posted above of the helmeted kid clinging to the snow, and tell you that the Chute is the preferred route - don't believe them. I didn't see a single person ascend or descend the Chute on our trip.

The cable section is mostly clear (a dry path downhill of the snow, but uphill of the cables). Two to three switchback sections are being bypassed, which makes for a little bit of scrambling, but not too difficult. It's unstable ground though, so I found these spots the most precarious. Careful scrambling up these as you might send a bowling ball-sized stone down on your climbing partner.

There are two straight-line sections (photo posted earlier by someone else) with one of them being right before Trail Crest. These spots will probably remain for a while, but aren't difficult with microspikes and hiking poles. There is one funky path that's been created at the western edge of the last section that takes you up and over a muddy spot. Be careful here as you're probably so focused on the snowy stuff and might forget the muddy stuff.

Hope that helps! Good luck to all, and thanks to those prior that helped us out with important info!

If I can get this to work right, here are some shots looking west through the cable section on Wednesday, June 20th (6am ish)





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