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#52781 - 03/26/18 08:30 PM First-timer on Whitney.
SuzieD Offline


Registered: 03/24/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone will be hiking Whitney Portal on May 1st? Anyone with experience hiking this early in the season and first-hand advice you may share? Crampons and Ice Axe are in hand and I have read the self-arrest technique which I'll put into practice.

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#52784 - 03/26/18 11:00 PM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: SuzieD]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7481
Loc: Fresno, CA
My goodness, SuzieD! You sure picked an early date to make your first Whitney attempt. You will probably encounter so much snow that the trail will be hard to follow, especially higher up. Since May 1 is a Tuesday, there will likely only be a dozen or so people on the trail at all. Check the Unused Permits over the past years, and see how many people actually went that early.

Unless you feel comfortable navigating with a map over snow, I think you should cancel your May 1 reservation, and go for a walk-in permit during the week late in June. You can see from the unused numbers that walk-in permits are always available due to all the no-shows.

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#52880 - 04/12/18 10:00 AM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 471
Loc: Saugus, CA
I second Steve's recommendation. There are some very tricky and exposed parts of the trail, especially between Mirror Lake and Trail Camp where people get lost, injured, and killed. If you're unfamiliar with Whitney, AND Snow. You would be far better off, and more likely to summit going later in the year.

Really, those weekday summer walk-ins are pretty easy to get. I have tried walk-ins in excess of 6 times and I've never been skunked. Plus if you keep an eye on the website every couple of days you might be able to reserve the dates you want if someone cancels. That is less likely and much less certain... but still a possibility.

Happy hunting!
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#52890 - 04/13/18 04:46 PM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: Snacking Bear]
HikerJessica Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 5
Loc: Bay Area, California
I agree with this advice about walk-ups! Never been turned away when I got to the visitor center on a weekday; only missed getting a walk-up once on a Saturday (and even then, I ended up returning later and getting one for Sunday). Also, I've found in the past that the best times to check recreation.gov for newly available permits are a few minutes after 7am, 11am, and 2pm. They do NOT claim to post available permits on any time schedule, so take that with a grain of salt.

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#52891 - 04/14/18 08:16 AM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: SuzieD]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Way too early, Suzie! There will still be a lot of snow. Snow-shoes might be more useful than crampons.

Have you practiced using your crampons and ice-axe? Find a good snow slope and practice until you feel confident. Just reading about the technique is not enough.

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#52935 - 04/19/18 07:10 PM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: Steve C]
SuzieD Offline


Registered: 03/24/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Very sad to hear. After the snowfall last night and the predicted snowfall tonight, including the lakes and trail which won't be accessible, I was convinced I had to cancel.Thanks for your advice. I'll try to get the slot for an overnight July/August of next year. smile

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#52936 - 04/19/18 07:10 PM Re: First-timer on Whitney. [Re: Snacking Bear]
SuzieD Offline


Registered: 03/24/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks a lot!

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