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#54559 - 01/03/19 12:28 PM Older Trail Conditions - Mt Whitney Trail, 2019
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
        Out-of-date Mt Whitney Trail Conditions -- 2019

The posts below have been moved from the main Current Conditions thread for trail reports during 2019.
(Posts are moved periodically after they no longer represent current conditions.)

Previous years:
    Whitney Main Trail Conditions 2018
    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

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#54561 - 01/07/19 11:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Solarifur Offline


Registered: 01/07/19
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Went up to check out whitney on the 29th and 30th of december last week.
There was the usual first roadsign block that you can drive around up in plce, but the 2nd roadbock that stops any vehicles about 2 miles from the trail head wasnt there. We went up in a tesla and nearly made it to the trail head parking lot but couldnt get enough traction around the last curves. a few 4x4s made it up fine. You can get up in chains probably. Even saw a toyota corolla up there. we parked close by only about a mile from the trailhead below where the snow wasnt as deep so at least we had to do less of a walk.

Theres currently about 2 - 3 feet of snow from 2 weeks ago that is still un-consolidated. difficult to put the tent pegs in such soft snow. Too early and not enough powder in the season for any real snow travel too. Also heard that the cables on the normal route up are still buried from a passing hiker we met.

I'll be waiting for the next big dumping of snow soon.






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#54562 - 01/07/19 12:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Solarifur]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 283
Loc: California
I'm sure this weeks storms have already piled a lot more new snow onto the area.
_________________________

http://wandering.earth

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#54687 - 02/12/19 10:34 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a picture posted on FB on Feb 9, 2019.

They snowshoed via the WP Road up to Whitney Portal.


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#54735 - 03/01/19 11:44 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Scott G Offline


Registered: 03/01/19
Posts: 3
Loc: Ca
Way cool! This is on my bucket list!! Awesome picture!

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#54823 - 03/17/19 09:32 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
First hike reported from the Main Trail, 2019.

March 15-17, 2019.
Reported on FB by James W.

Two on skis, two with snowshoes.

On Whitney Portal Road


Bighorn Park / Outpost Camp. They spent night 1 here.



Climbing, below Trail Camp


Night #2 at Trail Camp



Climbing toward the switchbacks and "the chute"


Looking down to Trail Camp from Trail Crest

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#54965 - 04/18/19 11:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
This was posted on FB by Russell B
He posted several followup videos.
They climbed Mt Whitney, April 13-15, 2019.

Quote:
Alrighty Whitney fans, my buddy and I did the Whitney Trail this past weekend and hit the summit on Sunday afternoon. Here is a quick trip report...

Day 1- Gate was locked, added 4 miles to the journey. Started at 4:30am. Trailhead was clear of snow and so was the first mile... after the first mile all snow. No snowshoes needed, it was well packed. Navigation was a little difficult but GAIA with downloaded maps makes it pretty easy. We were able to make it to camp by 5pm. We camped out just below Trail Camp.

Day 2- Woke up at 2:30am. Walked up to Trail Camp and put on crampons... The snow chute was an unbelievable challenge- took us just under 3 hours. Made it to Trail Crest around 8am. The backside trail was a little more sketchy (see pictures). It was narrow and slushy at times... Definitely need to be experienced in crampons to do this safely. Made it to the summit just after noon. We took our time and it was a difficult traverse. Coming back down was very easy after Trail Crest.

Day 3- Woke at 6am and we were back at the car by 11am. Really easy walking on the way down.

We were the only ones on the Whitney Trail... Plenty of people going up the Mountaineers Route. Definitely need all of the right winter mountaineering equipment... Warm layers, hard shells, down jacket, ice axe, crampons, etc. etc. Experience with navigation in the snow is definitely very important. Feel free to ask questions, I will try to answer along the way. Cheers!

A followup:
Quote:
We definitely did not need the snow shoes we packed.... it was dead weight. (We ditched the snowshoes after the first three miles. They were not necessary.) But if it gets softer and slushier- you will want them. So it just all depends, sorry for the squishy answer. I’d bring them.
Lone Pine lake is not too far. If the gate is open I bet you can make it there in 3-4 hours. The biggest thing is navigating. We got a little lost going up the first day but GAIA is the best. There is no trail, but there are some boot trails... you just can't trust them.
It will be awesome, enjoy!


Also, I called Inyo County road dept, and the word is that they are still working on clearing rocks, and it should be open by "the end of the month... but call again next week." wink

Looking down on Outpost Camp / Bighorn Park


Climbing above Mirror Lake


Dawn, above Trail Camp


Climbing the chute just below Trail Crest


West Side, JMT


Summit Hut is full of snow, no door


Descending the chute area.




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#54968 - 04/18/19 07:20 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Pranav Bhole Offline


Registered: 04/15/19
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Hello, we got the permit to hike on 3rd May, can you please let us know that will the gate to trailhead (whitney portal) open at that time?

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#54969 - 04/18/19 09:29 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Pranav Bhole]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
No promises, but I think it should be. It has never been closed May 1 before.

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#54983 - 04/23/19 09:05 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Doug from the Whitney Portal store reported on the road today, Tue, Apr 23, 2019:

Quote:
Road should open this Friday, soft open now to middle gate about 1 mile below trailhead. DON'T BLOCK THE ROAD,park at the overview about 1000' before the gate.

Still a closed gate near the trailhead, just before the overflow parking lot. If this gate is locked parking will be limited, about 10 spaces and then along the road meaning if like last weekend you may not find a parking spot near the Portal.

I will post as the gates open.

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#54992 - 04/24/19 10:41 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just for fun: Here's a picture posted by Yosemite N.P. on their FB page, Apr 24, 2019. Snow plow working the Glacier Point road.


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#54998 - 04/25/19 04:17 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 450
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Yesterday, I climbed the Mountaineer’s Route and then descended the main trail (with a detour to Mt. Muir). As Doug said, the lower gate was open, but the next gate up (about a 40-minute walk from the trailhead) was locked. The road was completely clear. The parking lot next to the trailhead still had three feet of snow in the morning, but they cleared it by the time I hiked out. I didn’t go by the pond, but the road was clear as far as I could see. My guess is that they will open all the gates on Friday, as Doug said.

There is a lot of snow everywhere, once you get a few hundred feet above the portal. There is avalanche debris on the north fork (Mountaineers’ Route) in the canyon below Lower Boy Scout Lake. You don’t want to be there in the middle of the day. I don’t think anybody has been on the ledges yet. It appeared that you could take them if you wanted to, but you would be forced onto easy snow up higher. There is great snow coverage all the way to about 100’ below the notch. The final 400 is mixed snow and rock.

You can follow the main trail up to about 9,300’. After that, the tracks take some shortcuts, but more or less follow the trail. The chute has lots of snow. It will be the best way up and down for quite a while. The trail on the back side is mostly snow, but there are plenty of bare patches. There are several short, steep places that are hard to cross without crampons.

Overall, the snow is soft, which makes for a lot of extra work. Fortunately, I rarely punched into the snow deeper than my ankles. Leave the snowshoes at home. I hope this helps. Have fun!

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#55001 - 04/25/19 09:08 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Jay Garcia Offline


Registered: 02/01/18
Posts: 12
Loc: Seattle, WA
Wow amazing job, Im planing to do the same on the week of May 6, I hope by then the upper gate is open.

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#55006 - 04/26/19 11:31 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Jay Garcia]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 450
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Doug just posted that the gate is open.

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#55023 - 04/30/19 02:24 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Philippe Offline


Registered: 04/28/16
Posts: 11
Loc: CA, USA
Summited on Sunday April 28 following the Main Trail.

Tracks follow the usual winter trail:
- chute to access Outpost Camp above the snow-covered creek.
- chute to access Mirror lake above the snow-covered creek.
- Consultation lake detour (Trail Side Meadow snow-covered)
- chute to access Trail Crest (99 switchbacks snow-covered)

Observations:
- Road open all the way to the trailhead - no snow nor ice.
- Mirror lake has flowing water.
- Pond at Trail Camp is frozen.
- Snow-free spots to setup tent at Trail Camp.
- Heavy snow by the cable section of the 99 switchbacks (cf picture)
- Trail Crest has snow patches but good footprints all over.
- Wind was crazy, winter tent was a must.

You can check the pictures I took here:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZH2X2Fg1SuHhXdau8

Have fun and be safe!

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#55024 - 04/30/19 09:21 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Philippe]
MikeH Offline


Registered: 04/05/18
Posts: 61
Loc: Escondido, CA
Excellent photos, Philippe! Must have been a great time.

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#55025 - 04/30/19 09:54 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks, Philippe! I appreciate the report!

Here's a picture from Hayden M taken Saturday, 4/27/19. Click on the image to see a full-size view. If you look closely, you can see the cables section.

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#55045 - 05/04/19 07:44 PM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: Steve C]
ZHIKER15 Offline


Registered: 05/04/19
Posts: 1
Loc: California
Started on the main trail about 1045 am towards the north fork went on the mountaineers route .. hit snow about about 1/4 mile up . Would say crampons is a must past lower Boy Scout . Took e Bach ledges. All clear of snow .water running off the rock are extremely slippery . Snow bridges are falling all over , so be careful. “ post-holing is a must. Took about 6 hours to get up with a few breaks . Clear weather until we got to upper boyscout , slight snowing with wind picking up towards the evening . Weather says clear tomorow for the summit , will leave camp about 3 am and head up . Inside tent as temps are pretty cold still with the wind picking up . “ have service “No water at upper Boy Scout yet as we filled up at lower before heading up the 2 hr misery hike. Will up date tomorow ..


Edited by ZHIKER15 (05/04/19 07:46 PM)

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#55133 - 05/11/19 10:32 AM Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail [Re: bobpickering]
Donal Offline


Registered: 05/11/19
Posts: 1
Loc: Colorado
Hi Bob, a small team of us are planning on taking the Mountaineers Route next weekend (18th). I've been struggling to find a clear description of 1) how best to cross the streams without getting wet, and 2) how best to tackle the final 400. From what I've read, I understand that the traverse option is easiest/safest to the summit when we get to the top of the couloir, but I'd like to hear your opinion particularly with current conditions, because it appears that the past week has dropped a few inches of fresh snow.
We're all in good shape and have experience with crampons, self arrest, and 14ers.

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#55145 - 05/12/19 01:00 PM Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Mountaineer's Route [Re: Donal]
Hoot Offline


Registered: 02/01/19
Posts: 17
Loc: Ohio
Can anyone give a report from the Mountaineer's route in the past few days? It looked like the trail was going to get some new snow. I'm particularly interested in conditions at Upper Boy Scout Lake where we plan to camp Wednesday night. Will we be camping on snow? Can we get water at the lake or its outlet or is it likely to still be frozen solid?

Regarding the final 400', it looks like you take a left at the notch to climb the steep Class 3 route to the summit. To do the Class 2 alternative, it looks like you largely continue straight past the notch and traverse upward. Does that sound right? Will these two options be fairly obvious to first timers once we get to the notch?

Hoot

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