Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 8 guests, and 5 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 9 of 17 1 2 7 8 9 10 11 16 17
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
BohemianJess #53536 06/15/18 05:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 15
S
Offline
S
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 15
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.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
sumo #53537 06/15/18 06:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Offline
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
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

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
BohemianJess #53539 06/15/18 07:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Offline
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Just spoke to someone who finished hiking today and the switchbacks are cleared, only a few small patches of light snow!👍

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
bobpickering #53540 06/15/18 08:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
S
Offline
S
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
@bobpickering Thank you so much for your advise! This newbie appreciates it!!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53541 06/15/18 08:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
S
Offline
S
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
Thank you Steve C!!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
BohemianJess #53544 06/15/18 09:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
S
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
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.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53545 06/15/18 09:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
S
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
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.


Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53548 06/16/18 06:32 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
B
Offline
B
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
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.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53549 06/16/18 06:37 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
A
Offline
A
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
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!

Last edited by altra_ben; 06/16/18 10:38 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
altra_ben #53550 06/16/18 07:02 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
B
Offline
B
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
Thank you so much for the update. Now I can start to get excited about our trip!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
altra_ben #53551 06/16/18 07:36 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 24
S
Offline
S
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 24
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?

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
ScottHikerEsq #53552 06/16/18 08:11 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
A
Offline
A
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2
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...

Last edited by altra_ben; 06/16/18 08:13 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
altra_ben #53554 06/16/18 08:27 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 18
2
Offline
2
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 18
Thanks Ben for the great update!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
altra_ben #53556 06/16/18 10:42 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
Offline
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 7
You’re probably the one I spoke to on ig, or someone from your group! Regardless thank you for the detailed update!! Much appreciated!!!

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
altra_ben #53559 06/16/18 03:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
A
Offline
A
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
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.

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53561 06/16/18 07:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
S
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
Andrew W posted these pictures at the cables on 6/16/2018   ( from facebook ):







Last edited by Steve C; 06/16/18 08:43 PM. Reason: fix date :-)
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53562 06/16/18 08:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 359
Likes: 10
Offline
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 359
Likes: 10
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Andrew W posted these pictures at the cables on 8/16/2018  


Cool, can I borrow his time machine?:)

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53567 06/17/18 09:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
S
Steve C Offline OP
OP Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,437
Likes: 92
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:

Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
Steve C #53568 06/18/18 05:23 AM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 27
J
JMH Offline
Offline
J
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 27
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.

Last edited by JMH; 06/18/18 07:56 AM.
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
JMH #53570 06/18/18 09:18 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 15
S
Offline
S
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 15
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.



Last edited by sumo; 06/18/18 01:02 PM.
Page 9 of 17 1 2 7 8 9 10 11 16 17

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4
(Release build 20200307)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.30 Page Time: 0.063s Queries: 55 (0.045s) Memory: 0.6926 MB (Peak: 0.8442 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2023-02-07 02:19:51 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS