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#54974 - 04/20/19 01:00 PM First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP
climby_climber Offline

Registered: 04/20/19
Posts: 5
Loc: California
So Iím planning on going to Mt Whitney on June 5th since thatís the only date where I was able to secure a permit. I will be going with 3 other people. I know that this is very early in the season and the Sierras have had record snowfall this year. Also, none of us had had experience with an iceaxe and crampons.

Iíve been waiting to do this for almost a year now, and this is my last summer in California, and then Iíll be heading off to college. I also know that thereís been really bad accident last time, so we donít want to be that group.

My question is if thereís any chance we can avoid the Chute altogether. Is there any chance we can just go on the switchbacks? If not, is there anyone going to Whitney during June 5th whoís experienced enough?


#54975 - 04/20/19 10:16 PM Re: First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP [Re: climby_climber]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7875
Loc: Fresno, CA
That early in June, I am pretty sure the switchbacks won't have a beaten path through them, so you will need to ascend the chute.

I suspect the bad accident was due to people wearing microspikes and not crampons, but I do not know that for sure. One thing I do know is that the accident happened early enough in the morning that the temperatures were cold and the snow surface was frozen and icy. There is NO advantage to arriving at Trail Crest before 9 AM (10 AM is even better!) -- that gives the snow surface time to warm in the morning sun, and you will have much better traction.

On May 1 at 7 AM, all the won slots that have not been paid for will become available to the fastest fingers, so you might try to get a slot for your group later in the summer. If you do, be SURE to release your reservations, so others can get them online.

#54976 - 04/21/19 12:36 AM Re: First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP [Re: Steve C]
climby_climber Offline

Registered: 04/20/19
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Thanks for the reply Steve. I might just consider going early June and take up some mountaineering lessons beforehand. If I take a lesson on how to use the iceaxe, you think that would be good enough to go up the chute?

Edit: if others arenít familiar with self arrest by the time weíre at Whitney, do you think itís possible to just experiment at the bottom of the chute to get everyone familiar before we make the climb for real? This is is assuming that I get familiar with the method by the time I get to Whitney.

Edited by climby_climber (04/21/19 12:51 AM)

#54977 - 04/21/19 12:24 PM Re: First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP [Re: climby_climber]
PeteK. Offline

Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
Yes, please release those permits for June 5th if you're not gonna use them, I would like to do a solo ascent then.

#54986 - 04/23/19 11:32 PM Re: First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP [Re: climby_climber]
leafsrule71 Offline

Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 7
Loc: PA, USA
i would recommend minimum checking some videos online about self-arrest; and if you have the time and location, head to some snow and give it some practice.

good luck!

#54990 - 04/24/19 08:33 PM Re: First time Mt Whitney June 5th...NEED HELP [Re: leafsrule71]
Kascadia Offline

Registered: 07/23/18
Posts: 20
Loc: PNW - Cascade Foothills
You need to get "lessons" in how to use an ice axe, both for self arrest and as a "stave" while walking on steep snow (up what might be a frozen ladder). And then you need to practice. It's not enough to see how an ice axe is used, if you slip, the arrest response needs to be immediate and aggressive, you don't want to waste time thinking about it. Muscle memory. . .