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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: 7386
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: 1
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: 7386
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: 7386
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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