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#52532 - 12/28/17 02:19 PM Route finding in snow
chicagoan Offline

Registered: 02/02/17
Posts: 13
Loc: IL
I did Whitney last summer, some parts of the trail were not easy to follow. A few feet in wrong directions might lead to a cliff. With all the snow in winter, How do you follow the trail?

#52533 - 12/28/17 05:05 PM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: chicagoan]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
If other hikers have preceded you, you might follow their footprints in the snow. If in doubt, retreat!

#52534 - 12/29/17 10:07 AM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: Bob West]
+ @ti2d Offline

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 831
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
I posted this under another thread/forum.

A quote from Chris Spanton from the 2017 edition of Backpacker magazine, page 33:

"Footprints aren't necessarily a sign of intelligent life."

You may have to take this into very serious consideration.
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

#52535 - 12/30/17 01:21 AM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: + @ti2d]
wagga Offline

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)

(Comment Of The Day)
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

#52536 - 12/30/17 07:23 AM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: + @ti2d]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Unfortunately for Mt. Whitney, too true. Whitney seems to have more than it's fair share of Lemmings.

#52538 - 01/01/18 05:10 PM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7600
Loc: Fresno, CA
During the snow season on Whitney, people will sometimes choose not to follow the trail, leaving the trail and heading up the drainage canyon in several places.

When the snow is heavy enough, as in last spring (2017) people would travel the main creek drainage up from, and down to, Outpost Camp, staying south of the creek to avoid the "Falls" area. Unfortunately, a young woman slipped and died in this area last spring -- she was descending after dark.

The second area is between Mirror Lake and Consultation Lake. The snow can make the actual trail area impassable since it is on a steep-sided granite incline. So people leave the trail and take the easier natural drainage route up to consultation lake, and then head back onto the trace of the trail as they climb toward Trail Camp.

You can see the two areas on the map below.

#52631 - 02/16/18 06:49 PM Re: Route finding in snow [Re: chicagoan]
nyker Offline

Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 203
Loc: New York

When are you planning to go in the snow? I am assuming you're referring to the Main Trail/standard route?

I've climbed Whitney in no snow, partial snow and 100% snow. Sometimes "a" route is not too hard to ascertain particularly if others have been there before you, but as others commented above, caveat emptor in following others footsteps.

Other times it was very difficult to locate any route, like right after a decent snow, and I've turned around in those conditions, twice. Maybe with a route in a gps and more time, it would have been fine, but I guess I am more conservative.

I'd say if you had trouble routefinding the Main Trail in dry weather, think twice about doing it in the snow by yourself and go with someone who's done it before. If you did the Mountaineers Route, then yes in some spots the route is hard to find and some missteps might have you off a cliff, especially at the beginning near the ledges.