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#54861 - 03/25/19 02:34 PM Tips for 1st attempt!
jacquelinek Offline

Registered: 03/25/19
Posts: 1
Loc: San Diego, CA
Hi! I was able to get a permit for June 26, 2019. Any tips? I know there will still be a lot of snow and wasn't expecting to get my earliest choice.
This is my first attempt so any advice is appreciated.

#54863 - 03/25/19 05:17 PM Re: Tips for 1st attempt! [Re: jacquelinek]
Wiff Offline

Registered: 07/23/14
Posts: 67
Loc: LA
Congrats! What are you looking for? Snow-specific information, or anything?

#54865 - 03/26/19 09:03 AM Re: Tips for 1st attempt! [Re: jacquelinek]
Delkan1066 Offline

Registered: 08/17/17
Posts: 11
Loc: Minnesota
Keeping this generic and not snow related...

The two biggest tips that I believe lead to our successful summit were:

1 - Camp a few nights at Horseshoe Meadows before your climb (it makes a huge difference).

2 - This sounds silly, but once you have trouble catching your breath, concentrate on breathing out forcefully. This was a tip from Doug that made a big difference for us. It clears out space in your lungs for fresh oxygen.

#54866 - 03/26/19 11:30 AM Re: Tips for 1st attempt! [Re: jacquelinek]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Welcome, jacquelinek,

I expect June 26 will be a little early for the switchbacks to open up -- they are covered in snow, and until someone breaks a trail through the snow, people use an ice axe and crampons and climb straight up the slope just west of the switchbacks.

Most people do ok with that scenario, but last year, there was a terrible accident where someone lost their footing near the top, and slid and tumbled all the way to the bottom. They were followed by several others! This occurred about 7:30 AM (when it was too cold/icy for the snow to soften and give better traction). It was late afternoon before the several injured were all airlifted down.

With that warning, visit the Reference forum, and especially the Important Whitney Links post, and read up on the Ice Axe Use topics. Understand that 99% of the people going up the slope do just fine, but there is that added element of risk that you take on.

With all that said, it IS possible that the switchbacks will be open by late June, and then you would be just fine hiking with microspikes and hiking poles.

#54867 - 03/26/19 11:40 AM Re: Tips for 1st attempt! [Re: Steve C]
Wiff Offline

Registered: 07/23/14
Posts: 67
Loc: LA
Ditto to Steve's points, and this: Don't make Whitney the first time you use an ice axe and crampons!